LESS-RECENT/OLDER REVIEWS – S

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SACRED OATH – RAVENSONG (Angel Thorne Music)

Review by Stefan

Including their newest album “Ravensong”, Bethel Connecticut based Sacred Oath released seven full-length albums up-to-date. Formed by singer/guitarist Rob Thorne back in the mid eighties, Sacred Oath’s debut album “Crystal Vision” (unleashed in 1987) is still one of my all time favourite US Power Metal efforts. Afterwards this high ‘n mighty recording, the band’s existence came to an ‘unexpected’ end… almost 15 years later on, their return to the Metal scene was a fact.

Sacred Oath’s debut album has been re-recorded and released through Sentinel Steel Records in 2005. They appeared to have risen from a long sleep and with all of the original members, Sacred Oath offered the US Metal community a brand new album “Darkness Visible”. Great effort to me, unfortunately some of the guys left the ranks but master in command Rob Thorne never let go his passion for playing Metal and ensured that the outgoing members were given a replacement. Along with original drummer Kenny Evans, Rob and its new crew he recorded some more albums like “Till Death Do Us Part” (Live album 2008), “Sacred Oath (2009), “World On Fire” (2010) and “Fallen” (2013). Here at Metal To Infinity webzine, all of these great efforts were reviewed with pleasure and dignity, well deserved high ratings were given at the end of each discussion !

All of the Sacred Oath albums mean a lot to me, still I have to admit the band’s style began to change systematically and I don’t mean anything negative with that. Until the “Sacred Oath” output, I’d like to call their alley pure and unadulterated US Power Metal. Following efforts “World On Fire” and “Fallen” appeared with some kind of a modern twist featuring more heavy, groovy esque type of guitar acting. The good old school, typical US Power Metal vibes were still but fewer present and have to admit that Sacred Oath did not let me down and I’m sure, they never will ! Recently, the ultimate proof to convince me of the band’s musical talent and determination has been delivered with a brand new album called “Ravensong”. Written, produced, mixed and engineered by the one and only Rob Thorne at Angel Thorne Music, meet the restyled Sacred Oath during 10 songs and a runtime of 53 minutes.

‘Death Kills’ opens with a heavy tuned, groovy type of guitar riffage quite dark performed. Nothing to do with Sacred Oath’s early days style, still this song really impresses me due to I hear nothing but musicians loaded with top-notch musical skills. Rob Thorne’s vocals are strong and mighty, damn right he’s still one of my favourite frontmen. Tuneful, Sacred Oath excites me with following song ‘Taken’ and its overwhelming guitar solo’s as well… awesome ! ‘Necromancer’ opens the gates in a dark, quite spooky and gloomy way including the ‘unexpected’ additional keyboards by Rob himself. This time he uses his throat cleaner than before, all in all a darn good arranged composition that rather gives me an ill at ease feeling.

The title track offers a whole assortment of groovy elements but the end result is pretty damn good. Rob takes his throat to a more growling level in the beginning, later on he proves to be a fantastic singer as he switch to his standard vocals once again. Solid as a rock, loud and very clear… just perfect! I honestly had a strange feeling when I heard ‘Ravensong’ for the first time, it felt a bit uncomfortable and needed time to get used to it. Heard the song for several times now and got a complete different image of the entire composition, spot on to Sacred Oath ! ‘So Cold’ comes with a mid tempo pace and again, the style of music feels dark and ultra heavy. Rob’s voice is powerful and the mutual collaboration between both axemen to work out contagious. Full melodic, epic styled song that proves the musical maturity of each one in the band.

‘Live and Burn’ seems to be the most unexpected one and I can’t get a full grip on this way composition because of its rare and unusual character. ‘When All Is Said And Done’ starts very easy but please, listen and enjoy with all of your heart to the beautiful, strong vocal parts. WAISAD is a great song where both hard and soft moments alternate damn well. This one proves once again how mature the band has become throughout the last few years. Power/Heavy Metal with innovative twists and Sacred Oath know how to easily handle it, even with plenty elegance.

The last minutes of these US Metal veterans are filled with a song called ‘Brighter Than The Sun’. The beginning is introduced by a beautiful combined melodic action of both guitarists, then the rhythmic sections really coming on stream and when the magnificent vocals show up I come to the conclusion that this song can be described as highlight of the entire CD. Detailed perfection is very close according to each move all of the Sacred Oath guys deliver. The drumheads are technical and correctly played, I’d like to announce the bass lines with many words of praise, the guitar roar like thunder in a groovy but very melodic manner and last but surely not least, the Godfather of Sacred Oath named Rob Thorne’s vocal skills to reach a very high level.

IMO, “Ravensong” reflects the revamped version of Sacred Oath, still delivering US Heavy/Power Metal but with an innovative, modern twist. Being a fan of them right from their early days, I have to admit that I prefer their older albums (especially “A Crystal Vision”) above this new cut. Sacred Oath have invested in new, quite modern elements while making the new songs and nothing’s wrong with that. My appreciation to the band remains the same, take it from me that these guys delivered just another brilliant album where US Metal still reigns supreme. Order at: http://www.sacredoath.net/ Sacred Oath FB at: https://www.facebook.com/SacredOathOfficial

My rating: 86/100 (Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)


 SACRILEGE – ASHES TO ASHES (Karthago Records)

Review by Spirit In Black

NWOBHM/Heavy Metal band Sacrilege (UK) were founded in 1982. After a couple of demo’s they dissolved in 1987. In 2007, mastermind Bill Beadle activated Sacrilege again and is still active until today.

“Ashes To Ashes” is a compilation with material from the 80’s until the present. Compilation albums are a good source to learn about the music style of a band you’ve never heard before. For me, that will be an album including songs arranged from the first demo/EP/album until what they have recently released so you can hear a bit of history and how the band developed over the years. That is not what you hear Sacrilege’s compilation effort. Yes, you hear songs (‘The Ruler’) from the first demo “Gates Of Hell” up to songs (‘Ascention’, ‘Help’ …) of the last full-length album “Sacrosanct” from 2013.

“Ashes To Ashes” contains 14 tracks, all mixed up and that is a bit annoying in some way. First you listen to some newer songs and then you are back in 1983… and vice-versa! It does the joy of listening not really good and no idea why they choose to do it this way. The old songs are typical NWOBHM and the new(er) are manufactured on the Heavy Metal side, with a touch of NWOBHM. On some of the most recent compositions, there are also keyboards added to the music which is a nice extra to the (mostly) average Heavy Metal.

All demo’s and albums are represented on “Ashes To Ashes”, only one album is skipped for some reason and that is “Sacrilege”. Overall, I think this release brings a nice collection of songs that represents Sacrilege pretty good.

I give no points because it’s a compilation album.


SACRILEGE – SIX6SIX (Karthago Records)

Review by Spirit In Black

Sacrilege (UK) were founded in 1982, after a couple of demo’s they dissolved in 1987. Ten years later on, mastermind Bill Beadle activated Sacrilege again and is still active until today, with a new album “Six6Six” as proof. Actually, Sacrilege has another album released this year, a compilation called “Ashes To Ashes”.

Sacrilege started out as a NWOBHM band in the 80’s. From 2007, they have followed the path of traditional Heavy Metal, although the vibe of NWOBHM was still around. On “Six6Six” we find a micture of traditional Heavy Metal and Doom Metal a lot of Black Sabbath influences I must say. I’m not too familiar with the newer music of Sacrilege but from what I’ve heard is the addition of Doom Metal in the music new. Not that it’s original, not at all, but it sounds pretty good.

To make it clear, only 2 songs (‘Welcome To The Dragon’s Denn’ and ‘Death March Six6Six Reprise’) are still Heavy Metal and NWOBHM… the other songs are in the vein of the already mentioned Black Sabbath and Heavy Metal. ‘In Hell’ is a cool one that could be easily taken from a Black Sabbath (Ozzy era) album in my opinion. Another one I like a lot is ‘Paranoia’, great song anyway!

You can hear that Bill Beadle has found well skilled musicians, all sounds pretty tight. One thing I have my questions with and that’s the production, or better said, the sound of some of the songs. Most of them sound clear like let’s say, normal and some has its 70’s, a bit unclear sound and I wonder if this is done on purpose. Anyway, it hasn’t ruined my fun while listening though. Despite this little ”issue”, the overall sound is fresh and modern.

The change in style can have a good outcome with new fans, more media attention and so on. At the same time, it can be a let down for the fans of the first hour. Either way, this album has to be checked out before buying. Additional info at:https://www.facebook.com/Sacrilegerock

My Rating: 70/100 (Decent but best previewing)


SAILLE – ELDRITCH (Code666 Records)

Review by Sloof

Well, good heavens! Never thought that such a panzer division is living 30 minutes from my backdoor! This is, at the end of the year, probably the biggest surprise of 2014, as Saille surpasses all previous Black Metal attacks with ease! The Symphonic Black Metal might get some comparisons with acts like Dimmu Borgir, but that’s not correct; They play in the same scene and will appeal to the same adepts as well, but Saille offers so much more on their third album! They manage to create soundscapes, spoken words, intermezzos and fragments that lifts the arrangements in general. At every second, at every time frame, something is happening, and you can only discover this beautiful piece of art after several listens. Addiction is only a few steps away and Saille will welcome you into their darkest depths of hell!

A choir completes the atmosphere in the track ‘Walpurgis’, while ‘Eater Of Worlds’ has some trumpet in the arrangement. Not that expressly or convincing as Sear Bliss, but rather in a modest way, a kind of tucked away instrument that is demanding its place after several spins. That’s perhaps the biggest secret of Saille, as they manage to smuggle away several details that only exhibit themselves if you spent enough time to find out.

No words can describe the quality of the songs and the craftsmanship of the executers. This is music that needs to be heard, so stop reading and get your own copy of ‘Eldritch’, and I start my quest for the previous 2 releases of this band.

‘Eldritch’ is the perfect name for this third Saille release, as it’s freaky and completely inhuman from first till last track. This conceptual record explores several well-known masterpieces of the classic and modern Horror Literature, and if you buy this masterpiece shortly after the release date, you might be able to buy the limited edition in deluxe Artbook-CD. My pitch blackened heart beats faster on this slab of rotten stench named ‘Eldritch’!

My rating: 92/100 (Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan)


SAINT REBEL – SAINT REBEL (Target/Mighty Music Records)

Review by Sloof

Copenhagen, Denmark, is the place where the magic happens! One of many bands that deliver the goods is Saint Rebel, and they will shock the world at the beginning of 2015 with their new album ‘Saint Rebel’, released by Mighty Music Records. This sequel is an important move for the band as it needs to exceed the critically acclaimed debut album ‘The Battle Of Sinners And Saints’. That album entered the U.S. iTunes Metal Chart Top 100 and was nominated for the prestigious ‘Gaffa Awards’ in the category ‘Best Danish Hard Rock release’. Be honest, many bands can’t write this to their credits!

The members of Saint Rebel are uncompromising veterans if you listen to this second release, as every detail just fits, and in many cases, the phrase ‘Less Is More’ applies to the band! To my opinion, the vocals of Jonas Kaas are one of the main ingredients of the band. He’s able to give the songs so much emotion, and at the same time a huge portion of dirge, monody and plaint with a result that is occasionally breathtaking! While the bass of Lasse Hansen is creating a massive wall, the drums of Jesper Riis will make you gasp for air. Almost every track has a nice guitar solo with a solid and crunchy riffing! Saint Rebel is a band that will appeal to a huge crowd as they combine heaviness with emotion and at the same time keeping their eyes on constant quality!

The best track on this new album is the single release ‘Now You Know’, as it captures the whole style of the band. They are solid, bombastic and full of emotion, and the vocals in this semi-ballad and bombastic anthem just fit like a glove! The guitars of Martin and Jakob support Jonas Kaas the best way possible, and this song just screams for another play!

Saint Rebel is taking their music really serious and this code of conduct reflects in their music. The only thing that bothers me a bit is the front cover artwork. What the hell is this? A striking cover is extremely important these days, so please think on this issue when the third album is ready to be released. We should exile and discard releases with flutter-free artwork, and being musicians and therefore also consequent artists, they should pay more attention on visual stunning craftsmanship!

My rating: 83/100 ( Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)


SAINTS TRADE – ROBBED IN PARADISE (Logic(il)Logic Records)

Review by Sloof

If we consider ‘A Matter Of Dreams’ from 2012 being a mini-album, than is ‘Robbed In Paradise’ the real first full length album from Saints Trade, a band that hails from Bologna (Italy). Their passion of traditional Hard Rock resulted in successful shows and openers for bands like Ten and Jettblack. The message that the label and band proclaim is a story of heaviness and sweetness at the same time, a story of songs that honor the music from the past, and to get to that goal, they recruited many special guests who contributed on this album one way or another. All very promising, all very challenging, but what’s the final verdict?

How about the songs on ‘Robbed In Paradise’, which shows us an angel dropping to earth, referring to an annoying, unexpected thing happens in a place you consider ideal and safe. Well, the 11 tracks that feature this album have one thing in common: superfluity. All songs are very average, there is no excitement at all, and sometimes I had the idea that the band is playing at the edge of being poor and substandard. I must admit that it was a hard task to complete the album in one take. A few songs now and then are digestible and tolerable but boredom strikes quickly and I guess that’s not the intention at all. In a way, the title of the album covers it all, as I feel like I’m Robbed in Paradise!

My rating: 63/100 (Rather moderate)


SALVATION – RESURRECT THE TRADITION (Target/Mighty Music)

Review by Officer Nice

Fans of Pro-Pain, Crumbsuckers, Struggle and Burn The Kingdom should be aware. In the entire Hard Core movement there is a new sensation that listens to the name of Salvation. The reason I am mentioning these bands is because of the Salvation line-up contains players who teamed up with them in the past. We can find Gary Meskil (Pro-Pain, Crumbsuckers) within the Florida based Salvation ranks.

The front cover was enough to declare this would be a Hardcore album. Concerning my own vision and as a matter of fact it’s more Crossover than pure Hardcore but that is something you should find out for yourself. Salvation been loaded with lots of Pantera influences which does not surprise me basically. For a big part, Pantera was also inspired by the Hard Core movement themselves.

The vocalist is a man that listens to the name of Kimbo Reichard who, on this particular album, really sounds like a wild beast… I’m pretty sure he unleashes all of his anger and energy on stage too. Hardcore isn’t exactly my cup of tea but the energy this kind of bands mostly delivers is incredible. Salvation contains a modern sound and Kimbo’s vocals really fits this kind of music perfectly. With that razor sharp, thundering drums and crazy powerful bass guitar lines, the band often crosses the lines of Thrash Metal. They fill the arrangements in with – for this style – melodic lines and that fits the band without a doubt. No, not as Pantera did in the past because they were something exceptional… I don’t see Salvation give in to play a semi-ballad.

Anyway, fans of furious Hardcore/Thrash Metal really should check out Salvation. They create a wall of sound that will make you cry for your mother. Even the fact I’m not a fan of Hard Core, Salvation convinced me. I am pretty sure that anyone who adores this kind of music will listen with eyes wide shut. Check http://www.facebook.com/salvationWWHC.

My rating: 88/100 (Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)


SANCTUARY – THE YEAR THE SUN DIED (Century Media)

Review by Officer Nice

Pure US Metal magic hung in the air during their early years of existence and to be honest, Sanctuary will forever be magical! Those first Sanctuary albums are written in gold in terms of the history book of Heavy Metal, both deserves the status of ‘classic ones’! “Refuge Denied” and “Into The Mirror Black” belong to the best Metal albums ever written/performed… they still makes their spins in my CD-player on a regular basis. For lots of reasons, Sanctuary disbanded at the end of the 80s to become an icon in the US Metal scène. To me it was the must pitiful disbanding ever, especially because I never had the chance to see the band live during those days! The powerful and technical kinds of Metal, along with the overwhelming high-pitched vocals of front man Warrel Dane were so unique, Sanctuary became a milestone in the US Power Metal movement. After they called it quits, both Dane and Jim Sheppard started Nevermore and we all know the history of that band, their present status is unknown.

For the Metal Assault II Festival, Sanctuary reunited in 2012 but their performance in Germany was not superb. Especially Warrel Dane had difficulties to reach those extreme high notes but still, the songs stood tall and I was, after all, satisfied I had seen the band. Nevertheless the reunion was a fact and the band promised to write a new album but it took quite a long time to deliver this one to the world. This year, Sanctuary visited Germany again and I heard their performance in Essen was fantastic.

With “Arise And Purify” they drop a bomb through my speakers. If this album won’t reach the ultimate top of my year list, at least this track will be the best song of the year! It was a long time ago a song took me by the throat like this one. That beginning riff is so godlike! The production is perfect and the rhythm of this track is so seducing! The way this composition is arranged and performed is unbelievable strong, it’ll become ‘a hit’, forever, no doubts… as I expected from Sanctuary basically!

The album go further and one after another strong song is heading my way out. What I can say after multiple listens is that this album reminds me indeed more to the melodic Nevermore than to Sanctuary. A fact that was in particular the biggest issue in the discussions about this record on the Internet. Musical wise, this release is full of technical played arrangements and the leads are offered with full intensity. Everything on this record sounds overwhelming and intense, spectacular and lots of other superlatives can be used. Warrel Dane’s throat is not like it was in the old days and it is a fact his vocal lines are closer to Nevermore than to Sanctuary. He uses as good as no high pitched voice and this is the main reason to why there was such a big discussion. But no one can deny the fact he still has that special timbre, that exclusive voice and he still is one of the best Metal singers on this globe!

Musical wise it is a fact that some compositions are very close to Nevermore and the vocal performances empowers these thoughts. This might be the most important conclusion about Sanctuary’s new album… too less Sanctuary and too much Nevermore but to be honest; who cares anyway? What I hear is a superb Metal album full of tracks that thrills me from the beginning until the end. With songs like “Question Existence Fading”, the fantastic “Frozen”, “The World Is Wired” and the addictive title track this can’t be wrong! No one has the right to complain about this one, it’s first class Metal! The tempo on this album changes from track to track although I prefer the up-tempo tracks.

After so many years it’s good to see Sanctuary is back. They will tour through Europe with Overkill and we can only hope we will have a new chance to see them perform. The magic of their first two albums will never fade but with “The Year The Sun Died”, Sanctuary takes back their place in the Metal movement for real. With enough spectacular songs on this new release, they are able to convince old and new Metal heads. Sanctuary is able to become as big as Nevermore, as they were themselves in the Eighties… Not mainstream but at the top just below, the place were to me the best Metal bands are.

“The Year The Sun Died” is a ‘must have’ for fans of US Metal, undoubtedly an interesting record for all other metalheads as well. I am not yet able to add it to the ‘classic ones’, maybe it will take some years to get it over there, the future will tell. The bonus track, a cover from The Doors, wasn’t essential for this record but you’ll have it for free if you buy the digipack. “The Year The Sun Died”, a great album that’ll end high in lots of year lists, this product deserves a fair place in my album Top 20 list as well! Check http://www.enterthesanctuary.com

My rating: 90/100 (Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan)


SANITY’S RAGE – THE RAGE OF ONE (Rock It Up Records)

Review by Nathan McLeod

‘The Rage Of One’! Belgian thrash-metal’s ‘Sanity’s Rage’s’ debut EP ‘Rock It Up Records’ release. From ‘The Madness Invoked (Intro)’ instrumental track, I received an ‘immediate’ perception of ‘Megadeth’s – Peace Sells’ & into a bit with ‘Chris Poland’s’ ‘post-Megadeth’ project: “Damn The Machine’. Musically anyways. Further on into ‘The Rage Of One’, the post-80’s ‘Megadeth’ sound does diminish some. (RIP Gar Samuelson).

‘The Rage Of One’ is much more melodic, less heavier, less intense than their release of ‘You Are What You Swallow’ CD. In belief with ‘Sanity’s Rage’s’ line-up then as compared to the present-tense has much to do with their style they introduced almost a decade ago, with the only two members remaining from ‘The Rage Of One’ line-up of ‘Jesse Van den Bossche’, whom was on bass then/guitar on ‘You Are What You Swallow’ & ‘Kenny Molly’ on vocals. Excellent move on ‘Sanity’s Rage’s’ part ‘Jesse’ moving positions from bass to guitar!

If you do the cross-comparison of both ‘Sanity’s Rage’s’ releases, front-back/back-front, do this a few times, a) the written material structures the same from ‘The Rage Of One’ to ‘You Are What You Swallow’, b) the vocal ‘sound’ of ‘Kenny Molly’ differs from CD to CD. In ‘both’ instances, ‘musically & vocally’, ‘Sanity’s Rage’ found their style of thrash-metal in the era of ‘New Wave Of Thrash Metal’, or ‘New Era’, just took it to a whole new ‘explosive WW3’ level with ‘You Are What You Swallow’!!! ‘Progression into perfection’! This would also apply to c) the artwork, design, & layout of ‘both’ ‘The Rage Of One’ & ‘You Are What You Swallow’, ‘both’ done by vocalist ‘Kenny Molly’. A ‘truly’ talented ‘artist’ as ‘vocalist’.

‘The Rage Of One’ is ‘nostalgic-sensed’ within the era it was released, thrash-metal as it was a decade ago. Excellent work with a ‘debut’ EP. Personally is ‘not’ one of my favourite era(s) of thrash-metal, although where would be today in 2015 without it? I’d ‘assume’ nothing but ‘retro-thrash?

A VERY recent review of ‘Sanity’s Rage – You Are What You Swallow’ can be read right here from the ‘Metal To Infinity’ home page.With a VERY ‘in-depth’ interview with ‘Sanity’s Rage’ frontman ‘Kenny Molly’ coming to you straight from “Metal To Infinity”!!!

My rating: 81/100 (Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)

‘Sanity’s Rage’ personal:

*Kenny Molly – Vocals

*Kenny Claes – Guitar & Backing Vocals

*Tim De Bruyne – Guitar & Backing Vocals

*Jesse Van den Bossche – Bass

*Kristof Meert – Drums

‘The Rage Of One’ track info:

1) The Madness Invoked (Intro), 2) Apocalypse , 3) Feeding The Fire, 4) The Rage Of One, 5) The Crumbling Halls Of Sanity; *total run-time 22:06.

Produced & mixed at De Studio – Asse, Belgium, by Dirk Miers & Sanity’s Rage. Artwork & layout by Kenny Molly.

For a more ‘comprehensive’ info/look at Sanity’s Rage news, updates, & contact info, please download the Sanity’s Rage ‘press kit’: http://we.tl/YhJzj1pWKI

Or visit the following:

*Website: www.sanitysrage.com

*E-mail: info@sanitysrage.com

*Facebook: www.facebook.com/SanitysRage

Additional Sanity’s Rage info:

*ReverbNation: www.reverbnation.com/sanitysrage

*YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/SanitysRage

*Metal Archives: www.metal-archives.com/bands/Sanity%27s_Rage/73500


SANITY’S RAGE – YOU ARE WHAT YOU SWALLOW (Independent)

Review by Nathan Mcleod

I was introduced to ‘Sanity’s Rage’, a Flemish Brabant/East Flanders, Belgium based thrash-metal quintet approximately 4 years ago, just prior to their self-released full-length CD release of ‘You Are What You Swallow’. Ferocious! From the intro (instrumental) track, which has a ‘Ride The Lightning’ sound & structure, ‘Sanity’s Rage’ wastes NO time with a fast-forward, full-light-speed ahead into a ‘Dave Mustaine’ meets ‘Kreator’ crossed degree of technical frenzy musician-ship thru out ‘You Are What You Swallow’! In fact, ‘Sanity’s Rage’ does remind me a lot of the 80’s ‘Kreator’, (Flag Of Hate, Terrible Certainty), with most definite aspects of the 80’s-type sound, production, & style(s) of U.S. & European thrash-metal.

And indeed, remove the ‘whiney’ scream-type vocal form of ‘Mille Petroza’, ‘Kenny Molly’s’ vocals has that feel; extremely more throatier & heavy!!! Of that of the late, great ‘Paul Baloff’. (Rest In Peace). The occasional backing vocals heard on ‘You Are What You Swallow’ are quite deep & dark, semi-parallel to that of ‘Kenny Molly’s’. Sinister, adding anger & aggression! Powerful, adding explosion with direction! Thus the name ‘Sanity’s Rage’!

The writing ability & capabilities of ‘Sanity’s Rage’ is tip-top/top-notch. The axemen of ‘Sanity’s Rage’: ‘Maxime & Jesse’ deliver heavy-filled crunchy riffs, impeccable rhythms, insane solos with ‘Zakk Wylde’ fills. Acute with dimension, accommodating with what sounds like every fret, note, chord used on ‘You Are What You Swallow’. It’s exploration into deep space with the structure of ‘You Are What You Swallow’. Possibilities are infinite & endless what is delivered! You’ll notice hardcore (Cryptic Slaughter) & ‘Scandinavian’ black-death metal influential depth’s with ‘Sanity’s Rage’! Personally would describe ‘Sanity’s Rage’ as ‘hardcore-thrash’!

‘You Are What You Swallow’ apexes at ‘Taste Of Decay’, which I believe is the ‘strongest’ track that appears on the CD. Note: ‘Trinity Of Sorrow’ & the similarities ‘Gama Bomb’s – Tales From The Grave In Space’ material. Kick ass!

Recently signed to Las Vegas, Nevada’s “Dead Inside Records”, with the ‘addition’ of ‘Gabriel Deschamps’ on drums, entering the studio writing/recording as a quartet, ‘Sanity’s Rage’ will announce the ‘addition’ of a new bass player publicly at the time they start recording/performing. a new ‘Sanity’s Rage’ CD is in the works. I’m positive that ‘Sanity’s Rage’, their new material will be as ‘innovative’ & ‘creative’, if not more than with ‘You Are What You Swallow’?! To catch a glimpse of new material from ‘Sanity’s Rage’, they’ll be performing ‘live’ at the ‘Beermageddon’ in ‘Stoke Prior, U.K.’ which we be taking place from August 28-30, 2015!

A recent video of ‘Thumbs Up For The End Of The World’ can be caught on the ‘Sanity’s Rage’ YouTube channel. And in recent talks with frontman ‘Kenny Molly’, an ‘interview’ with him will follow this ‘review’ right here from “Metal To Infinity” …

Stay tuned!

My rating: 92/100 (Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan)

‘Sanity’s Rage’ personal:

*Kenny Molly – Vocals

*Maxime Deschamps – Guitar & Backing Vocals

*Jesse Van den Bossche – Guitar & Backing Vocals

*Davy Stuyck – Bass

*Gert Sergeant – Drums & Backing Vocals

‘You Are What You Swallow’ track info:

1) The Madness Continues, 2) You Are What You Swallow, 3) Aberration Mandatory, 4) Product Of Calamity, 5) Kisses With Fangs, 6) Shackles And Shades, 7) The Wheels Keep Grinding, 8) Trinity Of Sorrow, 9) Taste Of Decay, 10) Once You Cross, 11) Thumbs Up For The End Of The World; total run-time 47:44.

Engineered & mixed by Sven Janssens at Red Left Hand Studios – Stabroek, Belgium. Mastered by Andy Classen at Stage One Studios – Borgentreich, Germany. Artwork by Kenny Molly. ‘Once You Cross’ based upon the ‘Crossed’ comic book series by ‘Avatar Press’.

For ‘comprehensive’ information regarding Sanity’s Rage news, updates, & contact info, please download the Sanity’s Rage ‘press kit’: And I do mean “comprehensive”: http://we.tl/YhJzj1pWKI

In case of press kit download expiration or limit, visit the following:

*Website: www.sanitysrage.com

*E-mail: info@sanitysrage.com

*Facebook: www.facebook.com/SanitysRage

Additional Sanity’s Rage info:

*ReverbNation: www.reverbnation.com/sanitysrage

*YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/SanitysRage

*Metal Archives: www.metal-archives.com/bands/Sanity%27s_Rage/73500


SANKTUARY – WINTER’S DOOM (Independent)

Review by Nathan McLeod

Thanks once again to Jon Asher & Asher Media Relations, for the Winter’s Doom CD, by another great Canadian metal artist, Sanktuary. A LOT of great metal artists I’m seeing come from, out of Canada. This one from the Yukon Territories, via Nova Scotia? WOW! Sanktuary is really a great band. Quite impressed! There really is not one (1) bad track appearing on Winter’s Doom.

The CD starts off with a couple traditional heavy metal tracks with Space Race & Wild In The Wind. Both are a bit slow paced in nature, but heavy. The music & tempo pick up considerably with Vermin Lord & Winter’s Bone. A more power metal sound. And a bit thrashy. So do the vocals of Alan Binger, differ from Vermin Lord on. Heavier, a bit more of a growl, not as whiney.

Things pick up a tad bit more with the Open Your Eyes track. It’s a galloping heavy, yet melodic power/thrash metal track. As the CD moves onto Corpse Blockade & Maximum Authority, once again, the tempo picks up. Into a more noticeable technical thrash style of say, Megadeth’s – Rust In Peace CD. Basically what I am hearing on Winter’s Doom is this awesome continual climb & pick up from opening track, to closing track. It may apex slightly at Corpse Blockade as far as the tempo is concerned. With a slight decrease to Maximum Authority.

Some metal influences I hear thru out Winter’s Doom are some early 80’s Accept & Twisted Sister. Early/mid 90’s Megadeth. Some chopped up a bit era(s) of Armored Saint & Metal Church. Overall, I hear a lot of the 90’s Megadeth, with Sanktuary. Musically this is. Vocally, I hear a Mike Patton & James Hetfield approach. Although, not as aggressive.

I really like the seven (7) track approach & approx. 33mins of track time on Winter’s Doom. It’s a rather perfect approach, IMO. Not too long, not too short. The production is crunchy, with the guitars. An unpolished sound, in which I happen to like. Crossed with a polished & crisp sound, especially on the guitar, twin duo-duel leads of Emond/Binger! (A nice Friedman/Mustaine – Murray/Smith approach). Bass of Cole Hume is rather tight, doing what it needs to be doing & holding the rhythm tightly, with a few bass leads/fills present.

A tiny bit lacking would be in the drum cymbal dept. & the production of Anders Grasholm. (Very tight drummer though). And, personally a bit vocally with Alan Binger. Sounds as if some of the material sang is thru a bullhorn? Megaphone? Whatever the technical term is? Does also kinda catch any explosiveness thru out the CD. All in all though, Sanktuary are not a bad band whatsoever, & Winter’s Doom is an outstanding CD! It is material I can listen to over & over, without really getting bored of it. My fave tracks would be Corpse Blockade & Vermin Lord.

People can get a better feel for Sanktuary & their material here with Space Race: https://youtu.be/zWi8K1uQ7fQ … And this is not a Judas Priest – Screaming For Vengeance cover, it’s “Screeching For Vengeance”: https://youtu.be/kczQaxbqOQU

My rating: 91/100 (Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fa)

Winter’s Doom trackilist:

I) Space Race – II) Wild Is The Wind – III) Vermin Lord – IV) Winter’s Bone – V) Open Your Eyes – VI) Corpse Blockade – VII) Maximum Authority – total run time 32:58.

Sanktuary:

*Alan Binger – Vocals, Guitar

*Glen Emond – Guitar

*Cole Hume – Bass

*Anders Grasholm – Drums

Contact info:

*Metal Archives: http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Sanktuary/3540278655

*ReverbNation: https://www.reverbnation.com/sanktuary

*YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/SanktuarySlays/featured

*Bandcamp: https://sanktuarymetal.bandcamp.com/releases

*MySpace: https://myspace.com/sanktuaryslays

*E-mail: sanktuaryslays@hotmail.com

*Website: http://ashermediarelations.com/


SARASIN – SARASIN (Pure Steel Records)

Review by Sloof

This band is active since the 80’s and might not be confused with the UK band Saracen who featured the Roksnax compilation album in 1980 and spawned really great albums like ‘Heroes, Saints & Fools’ and ‘Change Of Heart’. No, this Sarasin is a Canadian band that released an EP in 1987 (‘Lay Down Your Guns’) and anno 2016 we can say that the only remaining original member is guitarist Greg Boileau. Their longtime friend and bass player Rob Grant died after a battle with cancer in 2012, so the band decided to dedicate this album to his loving memory!

Sarasin aims on heavy riffing and deep feelings while the fine melodic material will convince old and new fans of classic Heavy Metal! I must say that I needed little time to get into the vibe of the songs, as Sarasin has a kind of dated character and sound, but on the contrary they manage to take your attention, and that feeling grows every time that you spin the album. A song like ‘The Hammer’ has a Grand Magus influence but Sarasin adds a psychedelic touch. If you want some heavy riffing, you will adore ‘Enemy Within’ and those that want a up-tempo rocker will be amused with the track ‘Forevermore’. One thing is for sure, the guitars are present all the time and Greg Boileau and Jim Leach know exactly how to pull the strings! ‘In Our Image’ has a dated approach where the members add some background vocals as well. This is Old School and Epic, this is material that will appeal to the real muthas! Order at: http://www.puresteel-shop.com/SARASIN_1   Sarasin FB: https://www.facebook.com/SARASIN-155676316805/

My rating: 80/100 (Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)


SARAH LYNNE – METAL FOR PASSION, NOT FOR FASHION

A Story Of Metal

“Why are you so angry? What is with all of the screaming? What is the point of moshing?” I am sure you have all heard these snide comments pertaining to metal music and metalheads as a subculture of the music industry. Truth be told; metal music is one of the most feared and misunderstood genres of music. The mere mention of death growling, moshing, stage diving, cannot understand.squealing, or a wall of death: leaves mere mortals shaking in their boots. People fear what they cannot understand.

As a Metalhead I think it is only fair to listen to our side of the story. What really goes on inside the mind of a thrasher, metalhead, or, a mosher. I know what you are thinking, “Oh boy, here we go!” Wait, before you run off..just hear me out. I promise I will not start a mosh pit over this.

Manowar said it the best, “They can’t stop us, let em’ try! For Heavy Metal..we will die!” Metal is not only a genre of music, but a way of life. We have our own symbol for “metal” and we raise those horns with pride. The horns are a metalheads way of showing respect to the artist, the fans, and to the lifestyle. No, we are not worshiping the dark lord. Come on now, I thought we were past that?

Metal music is often categorized as dark, angry, evil, or, disturbing. That is actually what is so alluring about metal to a thrasher. One minute a band can be screaming at the top of their lungs, guitars shredding in the background, while a headbanging breakdown is approaching..and then the lyrics take you to an entirely different frame of mind. Metal makes you think outside of the box. You learn about life, love, addiction, mythology, religion, and history. Every subgenre is an entirely different experience. Pick your poison; from Heavy Metal to Melodic Death Metal, there is something for everyone.

Being a Metalhead is not only about the music, it is about the metal family. We are united in our love for the music, our respect, and our dedication. Being a thrasher is not just a label we carry around; it is the way we live our lives. We shred together, mosh together, headbang together, and we stick together. There is a bond between the metal family that cannot be broken. We may be a minority in this world, but that is how we like things. It allows us to connect more deeply with one another, and with the artists we admire. We may be outcasts in the eyes of society. But in our world, we are united.

To quote Dimebag Darrell, “Metal is what I am into. Shit that moves you. Shit that has heart and soul.”

Our heads will fall before our horns do.

Sincerely,

The Metal Community

Sarah Lynne aka Metalynne

(Band management – Promotions – Photography – Metal DJ)

Cell: (702)-580 – 6920

*Email: subduralhematomamgt@gmail.com

*Google +: Google.com/+SarahLynneMetalynne

*Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sarahlynne.metalynne

Twitter: @SarahLynne_SHM


SARAH LYNNE – TAKE ME TO THE RECORD STORE  

When I was younger my favorite thing to do was to browse the local “Sam Goody” or “Tower Records” stores for the latest and greatest albums. I was literally a kid in a candy store. Music has always been the most powerful force in my life. But, times have changed.

I believe that soon you will not even be able to find a local hole in the wall record store, vinyl records, or cd’s. We will force ourselves so far into the corner of the digital age that we will only be able to listen to music on our computers, phones, or mp3 players. There will be a day that we lose connection with what music is really all about, art. We will inevitably lose this form of art as a whole.

The younger generations of this world have no idea and cannot even begin to fathom the rush you feel walking into a record store surrounded by so many forms of art, and having to scour the racks for the exact song, artist, vinyl, or poster that you are desperately seeking. Sometimes, you even had to special order a certain album, just to be able to hear it. The age of instant gratification is (in my opinion) killing the music industry.

Take a moment to imagine the best concert you have ever been to. Feel the bass pounding in your chest, hear the music blazing into your ear drums, listen to crowd singing, can you capture that moment again? Imagine if you knew a time was coming that you would never again be able to experience something of that magnitude. How would you feel?

I think we owe the younger generations an apology. We need to apologize for taking away one piece of the musical experience that we were capable of maintaining for years to come. We need to apologize for glorifying talentless pop-stars, while local garage bands practice day in and day out just to perform at a local venue that can only fit thirty people into darkened booths. We need to apologize for sabotaging exactly what we thought was a well oiled musical machine.

Take me to the record store, and you can have your digital copies back. It is time for a change. It is time for a vinyl revolution.

Sarah Lynne aka Metalynne

(Band management – Promotions – Photography – Metal DJ)

Cell: (702)-580 – 6920

*Email: subduralhematomamgt@gmail.com

*Google +: Google.com/+SarahLynneMetalynne

*Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sarahlynne.metalynne

*Twitter: @SarahLynne_SHM


SCARVED – DYNAMITE (Sleazy Rider Records)

Review by Sloof

The name didn’t ring a bell, but the biography of this band is undeniably weird. ScaRveD was formed in September 2012, got a record deal in Greece by Sleaszy Rider Records and the album is finally available in their home country Belgium since January 2015. Guitar player Luc and bass player Wim played several gigs together in some cover bands, but decided that only the real stuff is worthy to be called a musician. They teamed up with drummer Geert and the search for a good vocalist begun. Caroline started her musical career in the Dance scene and scored two modest hits with the K-line project, but once you have rock in your blood and veins, true nature arises! These four people joined forces and ScaRveD was born, ready to raise some hell!

From the very first beginning, we hear a sound that refers to the 80ies with arrangements that are close to Hard Rock. When the vocals of Caro empowers the track ‘Masquerade’ we hear that her throat isn’t carrying the typical female touch from nowadays female fronted metal bands and that’s positive. With all my respect, but many ladies go too high with a negative result in the end. Concerning ScaRveD, we hear that this lady has balls, she’s a rock chick albeit a rock chick with limited range. She knows her limits and as long as she’s not trying to exceed her borders, it’s fine by me! By the way, the looks of Caro made me think on Gemma from Sons Of Anarchy, but this is completely aside.

The songs and music in general of ScaRveD is fueled with an old vibe and it’s cool to hear that bands and musicians are still impressed by earlier achievements. Listen to the track ‘Devil In Disguise’ and you will know what I mean. This song breathes the good old days, including a typical riff and added effects! A special compliment to the bass of Wim Wouters as he’s doing great work in this track! I’m sure that the quartet of ScaRveD has encountered many problems in the past as the music just breathes a history with many scars! Luc, founder, lead guitar player and ‘guy who’s responsible for the bluesy touch in ScaRveD’ earned his ranking in the band Tails Blue and you simply will hear that the members of ScaRveD are savvy musicians!

My personal favorite nowadays is ‘Army On Wheels’ as it has a very cool chorus line in the background, while fans of Blues injected rock might prefer ‘Valley Of Gloom’. Every song has an own identity, every track has a gem to discover, and I’m sure that this album will become better and better in the near future! It’s a risk to say that this album is a ‘timeless release’, but it’s definitely prestigious and complete!

My rating: 83/100 (Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)


SCISSORTOOTH – NOVAGOMORRAH (Galy Records)

Review by Nathan McLeod

I do ‘become’ a bit ‘lost’ in the ‘beginning’ of ‘Scissortooth’s – Novagomorrah’ CD. Seems a bit like ‘Scissortooth’ may be ‘somewhat’ trying to find themselves ‘musically’. I’m sure that’s the ‘farthest’ thing from the ‘truth’ as for they are ALL ‘seasoned’ musicians. It’s just what it sounds like. But ‘definitely’ do ‘shift’ gears in a ‘forward’ motion ‘musically’ as ‘Novagomorrah’ progresses.

And not to be nor sound ‘hypocritical’ here, the ‘beginning’ track of ‘Hostile Takeover’ was VERY ‘riff-oriented’ close to ‘Exodus- Pleasures Of The Flesh’ & ‘Force Of Habit’. There was IMO some ‘promising’ intro with ‘Scissortooth’. And thru out ‘Novagomorrah’ A LOT of ‘Pantera – Far Beyond Driven’ riffs ‘afloat’.

But taken a bit ‘aback’ here with ‘Novagomorrah’. There is a lot of ‘mixed’ genre’s of metal ‘influences’. Some ‘Groove Metal’, ‘Heavy Metal’, ‘Thrash Metal’. ‘Elements’ of some ‘Hard Rock’. Taken from ‘Scissortooth’s’ ‘SoundCloud’ page, which is pretty accurate: “Scissortooth is a Canadian Thrash Metal band from Vancouver, B.C.. Formed in 2003 by Derek Lundblad (Vocalist/guitarist) and Shawn Hoskins (drummer), formerly from Mantra, moved to the west coast from Grande Prairie, A.B.. The current line-up comprises of founding members Lundblad, Hoskins, and Ken Firomski (bassist), Ken (Empyria and Cradle to Grave) who moved from Granisle B.C.. (Empyria and Cradle to Grave).The band’s melodic hooks, varying tempos, and aggressive musicianship alongside of original writing approach and unique timbre has given their songs a different edge to most modern acts. Influenced by a wide spectrum of sounds of bands like Pantera, Metallica, Megadeth, Type O Negative to Soundgarden, Tool, Pink Floyd and Nine Inch Nails have lent to the songwriting and arrangements a flavor that fills a void in today’s often bland musical climate.”

These lads being from ‘Vancouver, BC, Canada’, (really the Pacific Northwest), there is that ‘Pacific Northwest’ ‘signature’ metal sound & some ‘influence’ heard & along the lines of ‘Metal Church’, ‘Annihilator’, ‘Fallen Angels’ & so on. ALL ‘solid’ bands!

‘Production’ is OK. Not a ‘bad’ job done up on ‘Novagomorrah’. If you are ‘not’ going to use a lot of ‘guitar’ rhythm’s during ‘leads & solo’s’, I’d say ‘punch’ it a bit in the ‘production’ department & or more ‘cymbals’ from the drums/bass ‘riffs’ or ‘leads’ to fill in that ’empty’ gap. ‘Pick’ up ‘tempo/beat’, which ‘Scissortooth’ does quite well & ‘accomplishment’ toward the end of the CD with tracks ‘8-11’!!

My rating: 83/100 (Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)

‘Scissortooth’:

*Derek Lundblad – Guitar, Vocals

*Ken Firomski – Bass, Vocals

*Shawn Hoskins – Drums, Vocals

*Nikki Ferrin – Additional Vocals

‘Novagomorrah’ tracklist:

I) Hostile Takeover II) 10:30 III) Slowber IV) Yellowhead V) Incision VI) Shoegazer VII) Common Thread VIII) Rotting Alive IX) Nova Gomorrah X) Rats XI) Wormwood – total run-time 58:32.

Produced by Scissortooth. Engineered & mixed by Shawn Hoskins. Mastered by Greg Mindorff @ Suite Sound Labs – Vancouver, BC, Canada. CD cover art – Liisa Melgin. Peter Gagic- Graphic layouts. Derek Lundblad – Concept, logo.

‘Scissortooth’ contact info:

*Google+: https://plus.google.com/117099260808626874526/about

*Metal Archives: http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Scissortooth/3540399616

*ReverbNation: https://www.reverbnation.com/scissortooth

*SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/scissortooth-1

*MySpace: https://myspace.com/scissortoothband

*YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqOkizA1xPcuE0-Aki85aFg

*E-mail: scissortooth@hotmail.com

Thanks to ‘Jon Asher’ & ‘Cara Ashbey’ @ ‘Asher Media Relations’: www.ashermediarelations.comashermedia@gmail.com


SCOLOPENDRA – CYCLES (Dooweet Records)

Review by Sloof

Scolopendra are active predators and their bites are very painful but rarely fatal to humans. This genus of centipedes is now transformed into an assaulting French Thrash/Death Metal quintet that is active since 2006, but ready for the downfall of men with only one arsenal of weapons in their possession: strings, drums and microphone. After the release of a first EP in 2011 (‘Apostasy Beyond Sanity’), they teamed up to become more destructive and ravaging. The only way to reach that goal was time. Time to write, compose and rectify, time to improve, impend and to create a full length monster that sets new standards for blunt force! The time is right, the tusks are filled with poison, the monster is on the loose…

The album starts with a dreamy intro called ‘Dream Sequences’ that has a spooky and SciFi atmosphere. Opener ‘Purity’ has some old Celtic Frost influences, really raw and pure with a nostalgic Old School feeling. The vocals of TLH are brutal and brought with a lot of dedication! The second part of ‘Purity’ explodes in an overwhelming pace! Totally insane how drummer ELD is creating such a great vibe that all members go in overdrive! The album is divided in 3 cycles: ‘Incubation’, ‘Psychotic’ and ‘Slaughter’ and each cycle contains a few songs. This is only to be in harmony with the album title and the lyrical content as the style of arrangements is little different all over the album. A track like ‘Mental Torture’ will please the fans of Gojira as they contain the same typical guitar licks. The third cycle begins with ‘End Of Tunnels’ which is another intro where people scream and a devastating vibe is created. The mayhem continues with ‘Pinhole Of Diffraction’ where the pace is increasing until a complete battlefield. Scolopendra is the name of a centipede, but at the same time an overall cleaning machine that prefers human bodies, severed limbs and organic waste.

This Scolopendra is taking the world by destroying all that you can image. They create a certain vibe in their songs and it fits to the whole story of the name of the band. From now on, I guess I’m going to be afraid when I see a centipede, as the risk is present that this Scolopendra is aiming for my life. Auditory mass murder, sonic violence and a devastating hurricane with members that are able to control its sound blast to form instantly recognizable chunks.https://www.facebook.com/scolopendraofficial/

My rating: 83/100 (Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)


SECOND RATE ANGELS – II (Independent)

Review by Sloof

Second Rate Angels burst onto the scene in winter 2011, rapidly carving a path through the UK, with their intense Rock/Metal sound; wowing crowds with their high octane shows. Hailing from the north of London, the band have already landed supports with the likes of Breed 77, Zico Chain, Bull Riff Stampede and Exhumer, performing at venues including The 02 academy Islington, The Garage and Camden Underworld. I was at the latter location last year, and believe me the place, venue and location are just top notch! If you’re planning a trip to London, don’t forget to take the underground to Camden as you will love it! They performed at Bloodstock Festival 2013, and were subsequently featured with high acclaim in magazines such as Metal Hammer, Big Cheese, and Powerplay… Where is Kerrang! by the way?

Their debut EP, “The Lost Days” was released in the summer of 2014, and included the single “Dragged Out”, the video for which has surpassed 10,000 hits on YouTube. With a line-up change in late 2014, new guitarist Jeremy Pringsheim, and the band have been nailing performances, and conjuring refreshing new sounds in the lead up to recording their 2016 release. The four piece are primed and stepping up to deliver their sound across the U.K and Europe.

To tell things in a short way: it’s worth the money! Opener ‘Godspeed’ has very nice guitars and vocals that are above the average! ‘2 In 24’ continues with the same passion and dedication and the pace is even increasing. Nice rhythm section and interesting vocals create a song that even deserves airplay on national Rock radio stations! It has a heavy layer but at the same time, they manage to get a melodic twist in the song, which I appreciate a lot! ‘Born Idle’ opens totally diverse with a certain atmosphere where the total-sound is important. It’s all very modest, the guitars and bass introduce us to the voice of Dave Gobran and the song is bursting out into a nice arrangement.

Second Rate Angels is a band that has a lot of potential, and I simply love their way of composing. The heaviness is present all the time, there is a lot of attention for the chorus lines and the vocals of Dave have a very good reach and sound. This is a band that needs to release a full length album as four songs are not enough to satisfy my hunger. The arrangements and sound is fresh and innovative! Now, I have an idea what this band is about, and I wonder if they are able to succeed to entertain the people for a trip of 1 hour. The 15 minutes that I just heard are a very good appetizer, but I want a whole dish! The release date for “II” is set for February 26th. 2016. Order and additional info at: http://www.secondrateangels.com/

My rating: 85/100 ( Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)


SEE THE SKY – EGO REHAB (Target/Mighty Music)

Review by Sloof

Eccentric, experimental and eclectic is the message that we get from the record label, as they want to present See The Sky as a band that is unique and that dares to be different. We are used to a lot, so let’s give it a try!

Blake Gardner, the band’s founder and composer is also a man that likes to watch movies. For example Zack Snyder’ film ‘Sucker Punch’ can be considered as the base of this album, as the blueprint of the 11 new songs that feature this release. Together with his wife Miriam Gardner (Wintergarden), he added female vocals to the songs to give more depth, more variety and more layering in the arrangements of the tracks. Male (Bjarne Mathiesen) and female (Miriam) death metal growls merged with guitars and synths (Blake) while the bass (Ronald McKay) and drums (David Marksen) add a mystical atmosphere to the songs that aren’t that easy to describe.

The album opens with ‘The Narcissist’, and that’s a perfect example about the lyrical content of this band and album. It’s all about a man his progressive journey from socially induced narcissism to full blown psychiatric institutionalism. It’s a trip in the mind of a human being that suffers psychical problems and the songs reflects his moods, ideas, dreams into the songs. Titles as ‘Therapy’, ‘Isolated’, ‘Remedy’, ‘Battle For The Mind’ and ‘Damaged Beyond Repair’ cover them all! So, what you will get with song titles like these are songs that vary from happy to deeply sad, from an elated state to dejected and downcast, from light to dark and life till death. Some might say that there are industrial elements and fragments in the songs, but I think it’s beyond industrial, it’s beyond any border that you can imagine. If a song starts furious and wild, it can end quiet and calm. If a track has multiple vocal lines, it can switch into monotonous singing, if you believe that some parts are repetitious and reiterative they will end up as cacophony of sounds, It’s like Marilyn Manson on speed, like Type O Negative in its darkest days, and everything in between.

Nothing is shunned and I can only say that this is an album that gets my deepest respect. How is it possible that people can create such an order in chaos, how do they handle all these layers, influences, inputs and outputs into 1 sound frame, into one song. An inhuman task and only reserved for connoisseurs, and I believe that See The Sky will reveal its beauty within weeks, after numerous spins, after hours of joy and amusement, albeit in a psychological atmosphere. This is craftsmanship, original and toil-worn!

If you want to know what the best song is, the most beautiful track, I’ll have to disappoint you , as it would be the same as asking what color is the most beautiful, which emotion is the finest, what day is the brightest. Take the trip, dare to challenge your limits and if you persevere I’m sure you will reach and See The Sky! http://www.seethesky.dk/ /https://www.facebook.com/seetheskyofficial

My rating: 90/100 (Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan)


SHADOWKILLER – UNTIL THE WAR IS WON (Pure Steel Records)

Review by Spirit In Black

Shadowkiller is hailing from Diamond Springs, CA in the US. After the band’s debut release “Slaves Of Egypt” (2013), they have just released the follow up called “Until The War Is Won”. In all honesty, I’ve only heard one song of the band’s debut so I can say that I have no idea what to expect about their new effort.

Shadowkiller states that it plays Progressive Power Metal and that is (obviously) what you hear on “Until The War Is Won”. The album starts with a small intro that flows into the first song ‘ Flames Of War’. The guitar melody lines are pretty cool. Second one ‘Generation Strong’ is my personal favourite with respect to the rest of the songs. Even that it’s mostly mid-tempo, the whole song breaths energy and power. Halfway the album we find ‘Staring Into Oblivion’, another fave of mine that begins as a ballad turns into a fast(er) song with Iron Maiden-esque guitar work. The title track ‘Until The War Is Won’ I would like to point out as well.

I can’t deny that a couple of times my attention fades away due to the fact that some parts and /or songs are a little boring. You can’t have it all I guess. Overall, the whole album is done really good. Well-written songs, a great production and most important: good musicianship. Without that, it doesn’t make any sense. Also, the album had to grow on me. Every time I’ve listened to it, I started to like it more.

Fans of Nevermore, Queensryche, Communic and Co. : it does no harm to check Shadowkiller’s “Until The War Is Won”. Additional info at: https://www.facebook.com/shadowkillerband

My Rating: 85/100 (Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)


SEVENTH VEIL – VOX ANIMAE (Pure Steel Publishing/Soulfood)

Review by officer Nice

I need to go back to Italy. It has been a very long time I have been there and I am longing for the sun. The weather here in Belgium is just terrible, this ain’t Spring! Now, the reason I want to travel to the boot of Europe isn’t the sun nor is it to defend Europe but it has anything to do with Metal. Last months, it can’t be a coincidence I received several albums from out there and I want to see what has changed. After all Italy has never been a ‘Metal’ country, right?. And I’ll be honest; the extreme beautiful women are another good reason.

After a short classical intro the band takes of and the modern sound is the first thing that hits me. I hear a refreshing sound from a band that is influenced by the old generation. Well, who isn’t as a matter of fact? While icons are dying on a high tempo the new generation is living from their inheritance. Seventh Veil is no exception and is for sure influenced by the Eighties melodic Metal scène, mixed with traditional Hard Rock and more newer bands. Seventh Veil produced their sound with a great blink of the eye to the nineties as well. It makes Seventh Veil a great band to listen to because of qualitative song writing and strong performances.

Filippo “Jack” Zardini plays one after the other hard hitting riff, tunes that are easy on the ear. The melodic base of bass and drums empowers the band in what they are doing and after a while the album really grows on me, as a critical listener. Seventh Veil makes each and every track attractive by making them varied, yet with recognizable refrains and choruses. It gives me a feeling that this band is able to do so much more, with the right support as the most important condition. In the case this band was from Sweden or Norway I would bet my money on it. Mister Zardini, as above, also delivers intense played leads and this is another important trump on this release. Lorenzo “Steven” Bertasi is the band’s singer and he did a very good job too. He has a very enjoyable timbre to listen to, a strong pair of lungs and his melodic kind of vocals fits the band very good. In combination with those awesome guitars it will give the listener more than once an eargasm. I gave this on multiple spins and I enjoyed every trip.

Seventh Veil delivers a good produced and mature Hard Rock album that should be heard by every fan of melodic Metal and traditional Hard Rock. From Def Leppard over Deep Purple to Volbeat and a bit Pearl Jam…. Add oldies like Skid Row, modern WASP or even good old Y & T. In the biography I read that even bands like Stone Sour and Pop Evil were influencing, although they’re not really known by me. It proves anyway how varied Seventh Veil is. Enough said? I suppose so, check these guys at http://www.seventveil.eu

My rating: 90/100 (Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan)


SHADOWBANE – FACING THE FALLOUT (Pure Steel Records)

Review by Sloof

Pure Steel Records is the label, and most of the time, they offer bands a great chance to spread their name. Shadowbane is totally unknown to me, so the info sheet was a welcomed guide to give me some additional information. Hamburg seems to be the city where it all begun, and without any premonition, I know this huge city as a travel-by city when going to Wacken Open Air, but also as the capital of Helloween!

The intro ‘Red Alert’ can be considered as a custom metal intro, so a total waste of time, luckily limited to only 50 seconds. It keeps the listener in wait, a kind of atmospheric adaption! The first real song is ‘Beyond The Winds Of War’ and this opens furious and direct. It has a good ‘metal swing’ but things reveal when the vocals of Stefan drop in! This is German metal of high quality and, very important, with a vocalist that doesn’t have annoying accents! Stefan his pronunciation is un-German and that’s a real relief! The pace is speedy-styled, a bit of the old Helloween era when the guitars of Lukas and Markus are dueling, but all with one focus: quality Metal! Pure Steel Records announced this newcomer as Post Apocalyptic Power Metal, yeah right, what’s in a name, but I would define it as modern Metal with Power Metal influences. It’s not important how your band or product is presented, as it’s only a guideline.

The songs on ‘Facing The Fallout’ have very various elements, which is only gifted to musicians that have the knowledge to write and compose with an open vision. For example, the heavy layer in ‘Traitor’. The bass of Moritz and drums of Renè are really important in this arrangement. They leave no open spot in the song and they keep the pace running! It’s melodic, driven, almost addictive, and I just love it! This band seem to be unfamiliar with other bands, as they were found in 2007 and besides a few lineup changes, they remain most of the time status quo. They released an EP in 2010 named ‘Dystopia’ (b.t.w. the ‘Dystopia’ album of Iced Earth was released at a later time, so it has nothing in common), and it took 5 years to get this debut album under their belt. Well dudes, it was worth the wait and I’m sure that Shadowbane is a name that will occur in the near future, as this is music that many people adore!

Do I need to buy their first EP as well, when the option occurs? Probably not, for two reasons: the sound on this ‘Facing The Fallout’ album is just perfect and the songs on the EP feature this debut album for 80%. I keep my eyes on this ‘Facing The Fallout’ and give it another spin, as the band and record just deserves it, or like they use to say: the power metal newcomers from the Hanseatic city are inevitable to any underground maniac in 2015!

My rating: 87/100 (Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)


SHADOW EDEN – PERPETUAL MOTION (ShredGuy Records)

Review by Stefan

How mind reaching beautiful can a guitar sound? To get an answer to this question I’d like to refer to a band from New York called Shadow Eden. Formed back in 2009 by shred guitar wizard Dave Mercado, a top-notch musician I got to know through his previous band Lazarus, a US Traditional Heavy Metal that stole my heart right on. Unfortunately, the band called it quits due to unknown reasons to me. This dissolution was tough because I saw potential in Lazarus, they were outstanding in delivering Metal with a pure Iron Maiden feel and according to myself, I was hoping on a full-length album afterwards the release of their debut EP “Episode One”.

Shortly after these guys called it quits, I was delighted with the news that was sent across the world concerning guitar wonder Dave Mercado started his own band named Shadow Eden. I’d like to call the band’s style of music like Progressive Rock and Metal spiced with fusion elements, delivered in a full instrumental mode. Without a vocalist within their ranks, Shadow Eden definitely still continues to surprise you all the way out. The band debuted with a self- titled/financed, six song loaded EP and opened a world filled with the most beautiful guitar arts you can imagine. I really love a well-tuned guitar and if it’s still played with a lot of technical skills, I feel like I’m in the seventh heaven, freed from misery and pain. Dave in a glorious role as guitar master, Randy Coven (bass) and Kenny Lane (drums) getting an esteemed appreciation to me as well… great musicians anyway !

Shadow Eden started the recording for a new album “Perpetual Motion” back in the Summer 2013 and completed in March 2014, unfortunately I must announce the passing of famous bassist Randy Coven (Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, Zakk Wylde). This tragic incident took place while the band made plans for a Summer release. It’s not easy to replace a talented musician like Randy, finally they came in touch with Paul Raniery, a fan of both bands Shadow Eden and The Mark Wood Experience. A few excellent auditions offered Paul an official entrance fee to join the Shadow Eden ranks in July 2014. So, the appropriate replacement for Randy was found but his spirit still lingers on while listening to ‘Perpetual Motion” !

To all fans of over-the-top, full shred and complete instrumental ProgRock and Metal music, here’s the new six piece killer cut of Shadow Eden! I want to make the comparison with their predecessor right away and have to admit that “Perpetual Motion” overpowers all my expectations. Starring the word ‘virtuosity’, these six new songs hit like a bomb. Many ways of incredibly axe wielding is put in a brilliant daylight by a hero, watch out for a lethal dose of stunning barre & moveable chords, bendings, right finger tappings, tons of melodic intervals, etcetara, etcetara… you’re warned !

Dave Mercado’s actions to mean much more than just a regular guitar demonstration. Once again, he proves that he belongs to the elite class of worldwide axemen. Based on both electric and acoustic guitar service, Dave’s the man ! I am also very good humoured with reference to all the bass and drum works which are chord after chord – beat after beat technical to the bone, actually the way I like the most of all. Every musician will have the opportunity to let hear his professional actions across the entire running of “Perpetual Motion”. Just give the song ‘Young Frankenstein’ (including a SUPERB drum solo) a good listen and you’ll know what I mean. With no shortcomings at all and in contrast to the debut EP, the new effort is harder and quite faster played and I’m very satisfied with that. There are less Jazzy/Fusion elements present, yet the album remains to be placed under the ‘progressive’ category.

This new Shadow Eden album has given me the ultimate opportunity to enjoy for the last time Randy Coven’s masterly bass works. A mighty good musician have died, I will always remember him as a true hero, one of my all time favourite bass players for sure !

I would like to recommend this album to anyone who has a heart for highly talented/full schredding instrumental compositions. Aficionados of Guitar Gods like Joe Tump, Joe Satriani, James Byrd, Dario Lorina, Chris Broderick, Vinnie Moore, Rusty Cooley, Richie Kotzen and stuff should not hesitate to meet a purchase on the double. Feel free to place your order via THIS link. Stop by at: Shadow Eden FB / Shadow Eden Official Homepage as well. Now the moment has come to give this killer album another umpteenth listening session in row… I just can’t get enough of and feel called to give my amplifier’s volume knob a turn to the right – let the feast on Shred Rock and Metal start all over again!

My rating: 87/100 (Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)


SHREDHEAD – DEATH IS RIGHTEOUS (Target/Mighty Music Records)

Review by Sloof

Well, this is a special one, as Shredhead is hailing from Israel, and I know that we shouldn’t have prejudices, but how well it, it will, automatically we have a certain image of that country, and most of the times it’s an image of horror and pain. Israel is very often in the news with negative issues, but this time things are different! Shredhead are the direct cause to change my opinion and from now on, I praise Israel for their contemporary approach and last but not least: their blistering talent to deliver a thrash metal attack that surpasses a sophisticated missile attack!

Let’s focus on the center of the country where Shredhead was formed around 2009 in a place called Modi’in. The first years, the band was named ‘The New Order’ but this slight reference to Testament didn’t cover the full load. The members changed their name into Shredhead around 2011, and I guess that an explanation is totally unnecessary. The name of the band covers the musical style and direction and the four members of Shredhead prove that they know their classics and deliver 11 tracks on their second album ‘Death Is Righteous’!

The band resides nowadays in Germany, Berlin to be precise, and they went to Denmark to work with Tue Madsen for mixing and mastering the new output. Danish label Mighty Music offered the band a contract and what we hold right now is one piece of aggression, played with secure and precise skills and a vocalist that is capable to put his name on the map of extreme throats! Vocalist Aharon Ragoza has a little bit of the looks of Phil Anselmo, albeit lesser muscular and he’s not afraid to start a moshpit himself. What a fine and pleasant encounter with this chunk of violence!

What about the music on ‘Death Is Righteous’? Well, the first track is a direct hit! ‘Devil’s Race’ is cumulating of the best material of Hatesphere, Machine Head and Exodus, but with an eye on eminent and egregious guitars and interesting chorus lines! ‘The Lie’ is totally diverse as it adds a little more melody to the song. When the chorus lines appear, I have a little Testament feeling, and in the second part of the song, we hear a break that slows down the pace to the minimum, to suddenly accelerating to maximum speed a la Death Angel. What a blast ! This is so fucking cool that I’m sure that a massacre will appear at live gigs!

The bands combines the best of Bay Area Thrash Metal with the European allegiance like Kreator, Destruction, Assassin, Sodom, Tankard and even Xentrix. I’m also stunned about the high quality riff master Yotam Nagor as he’s delivering the best of the best. This is deadly executed and songs like ‘Hallucinations’ will tear down the place as moshpits will arise. The vocals of Aharon Ragoza are evil and venomous with a very good English pronunciation! He’s capable to give the songs extra aggression and that’s one of the main ingredients of Thrash metal. The title track has a melodic arrangement as well, and is released as a video to support this new album.

I’ve been listening to this album for several times right now, and if you ask me to point out 1 band that is similar in arrangement and quality, I would mention Grip Inc., the legendary band with Gus Chambers (R.I.P. brother, + October 13, 2008) and speed demon Waldemar Sorychta! Shredhead starts this new year with an album that is totally out of control! You will notice new elements again and again, and the four members of Shredhead could be the leading pact of new Thrash Metal monuments! Be aware, Shredhead is on the loose and they claim only one thing: ‘Death Is Righteous’!

My rating: 90/100 (Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan)


SIX PACK OF DOOM – ANGEL’S FALL (Independent)

Review by Sloof

How confusing can a name be? In case of Six Pack Of Doom, it’s a factor that can count. I was expecting a bunch of doom Metal songs with a sloppy and muddy attitude, but it turned out to be a Metal Monster with capital M! The EP ‘Angel’s Fall’ covers 4 songs that are really promising and intriguing! This band is delivering awkward moments as they are really hard to define. One moment, it’s hard as hell, while the other they play as fast as lightning! This band is so original and interesting that we want to give them a helping hand, as they deserve it!

The quartet from Ventura California, recorded 4 tracks and released them as an independent album. The first song ‘Planet Hurt’ is pretty original, as it starts all really calm and subdued, but after 2 minutes they switch into higher gear to accelerate into Thrash Metal like Sacred Reich their Surf Nicaragua era. There are a lot of samplers in the songs, spoken words that sue the politics and social discontent, and it fits perfectly in the material. A track like ‘Killuminati’ refers to the secret societies that operate as the ‘Illuminati’, and shows that Six Pack Of Doom also carry out a message that goes beyond the average Heavy Metal song lyric. ‘The Prophet’ has a lot of Nasty Savage influences, and remembering those great times, I see Nasty Ronnie in my mind while he’s pouring hot candle wax all over his naked torso!

Those hooked on long guitar solos will be pleased as well, as there is so much happening in only 16 minutes that this disc has a lot of stuff to discover! Congratulations to Marty Mostard (guitars), Joel Perkins (Vocals), Mike Jacobs (Drums) and Justin Harrison (Bass), as they released one of the best EP’s in months! This is US Metal with a high dose of perfection and self-will! Unbelievable quirky, original from start to finish and definitely a band to keep my eyes on!https://m.facebook.com/Sixpackofdoom

My rating: 85/100 (Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)


SKEPTICAL MINDS – OMEGA THANATOS (FYB Records)

Review by Sloof

Skeptical Minds is a band from Brussels that started around 2002 and released already several albums through the years. Their Gothic Metal is now signed to FYB Records that is not only limited to Metal releases but is also active in the Rock style. Some bands that are signed are Enemy Of Reality, Seduce The Heaven, The Silent Wedding and of course Skeptical Minds. The band released a live album in 2014 (‘Run For Your Live’), and now it’s time for their third full length output “Omega Thanatos”. Before we start talking about the songs, I want to add a little story as well, because this isn’t just an album release! There is a ‘comic book’ that goes with the album, so the whole story of the songs is also visualized in a book. The promo contains the music only, but I guess that it’s worth to check it out as one unit!

A very unusual start of an album and a bit daring at the same time. Some instruments in the background and only the voice of Karolina Pacan take care of the first 2 minutes, followed by the other musicians. It’s all very melancholic and modest, but the voice of Karolina has an enchantingly charisma which is fine! ‘Balcony Dreams’ takes you on a journey where a lot of things are going to happen, and where surprises are continuously present. The song ‘Alone’ is increasing the pace and the bass of Patrice Brugneaux and guitars of Michel Stiakakis demand their spot in the arrangement. Benjamin Lazzano is the drummer of the quartet and he’s keeping an eye on the rhythm and precision.

An electro effect starts the song ‘Fears’ where the vocals are much higher compared with the previous songs, and the same electronic ingredient continues in the song ‘The Sign’. It’s like Praga Khan in Rock modus! As expected, the track ‘Horror Show’ was going to be threatening and with a dark and dangerous vibe. There is a lot of bombast in the song and gives and adds all different twists and breaks to the arrangement. The whole album continues with a variety in styles and surprises, so it’s really hard to define the musical direction of Skeptical Minds. It’s for sure that there is an audience for a band like this in the underground scene, and perhaps they will succeed in becoming a standard for all fans of electro/metal/melancholic music. Their idea to release this album together with a comic book, indicates that this band knows very well what they are aiming for. They have a certain path or goal that they want to reach, and I’m sure that their perseverance will finally pay off.

Skeptical Minds is not a band for every metal fan in general, but aims for a certain audience. If I have the opportunity to see them live, I will give them a chance, as I wonder if they will be able to evoke the same vibe in a live situation, on a stage, in front of a crowd. It makes me curious, but they deserve it all the way to get their music to the masses. The song ‘Deca-Dance’ is not suitable for my ears, as there are too many influences that my eardrums can’t absorb. I hope that this track is only a kind of ‘try-out’ and not the exactly direction that this band will maintain. End conclusion: this band is only suitable if you are very open minded ánd if you are into dance influences in a combination with Gothic and Metal. A strange mixture, but although I prefer some screaming guitars and a good ‘neck-breaking’ track, I must admit that for some reason, I understand and respect their musical challenge.

A praiseworthy result for those that like electro rhythm in their heavy songs… Skeptical Minds FB:https://www.facebook.com/pages/Skeptical-Minds/84492330166?sk=wall Order “Omega Thanatos” at the following link:http://www.theartofalainponcelet.com/shop.html

My rating: 79/100 (Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)


SLAYER – REPENTLESS CD/DVD (Nuclear Blast Records)

Review by Nathan McLeod

This CD starts out really powerful & heavy! From the intro-instrumental of Delusions Of Savior to Repentless to Take Control, this is brutal, Slayer in your face. Slows down a bit with Vices to Cast The First Stone to When​ The Stillness Comes​; just a bit. Even a bit more with When The Stillness Comes to Chasing Death. With the endings of When The Stillness Comes head banging double bass pounding heavy. Picks back up the pace on Implode to Piano Wire to Atrocity Vendor to You Against You. With the outro track of Pride With Prejudice slowing back down.

What I am hearing thru out Repentless seems like a culmination of all their releases to date as far as sound, rhythms, lyrics, drums, leads, structure, etc. Is this really anything new? Well of course it is. Is the 1st release with Gary Holt on guitar. 1st time Kerry King had taken over with damn near all the writing & composition duties. 1st time Paul Bostaph has been on a Slayer studio release In over a decade. And 1st Slayer release without Jeff Hanneman.

Outstanding job done up by Kerry King & his writing abilities on Repentless. He did a great fucking job in doing so. Paul Bostaph is back with a vengeance on the drums! The best I’ve heard Paul since Divine Intervention, if not 10x & 10-fold better. What did they give this guy? Red bull, steroids, & meth!? Gary Holt offers a superb performance on his 1st Slayer CD. Exceptional lead guitar work! Tom has been as consistent with his vocal & bass abilities since Slayer’s incarnation.

Artists that have been around as long as Slayer will undoubtedly go thru their trials & tribulations with their music, band members, personal matters, & so on. As far as music goes, well, I think Slayer was at their strongest during the mid-80’s. Started a slow downhill slope moving on into the 90’s a bit. As the new millennium approached slipped a bit farther. Onto the 1st decade into the millennium started to pick back up. And believe people believed that with the passing of Jeff Hanneman that Slayer were gonna faulter a bit. I really don’t believe they had.

I actually believe that if Slayer may have slipped a bit with Jeff no longer being with us, do believe that the flip side to that coin being is Jeff’s passing was inspirational in a sense to what you hear on Repentless & see live. A better than honest attempt at a new Slayer release without Jeff, Paul back, & Gary in the Slayer ranks.

Of the four (4) studio releases since the new millennium & the last of the millennia.I’d put World Painted Blood 1st, a tie for 2nd with Christ Illusion & Repentless, & God Hates Us All 3rd, & Diabolus In Musica in 4th. Thinking that it’s gonna take Slayer with a 2nd to 3rd release with Paul & Gary to gain that momentum once again that some people believe they may have lost. My belief is that Kerry did a fucking excellent job writing most of Repentless on his own & that the true testament of time will stand with a CD written jointly amongst Tom, Kerry, Paul, & Gary. Collectively & collabourately.

Repentless is a brutal release. Not as fast as I expected with some of the tracks a slower, melodic, sinister vibe to them. Recommend it to not only the die hard Slayer fans, but too metal fans alike. Off to the next would be to check Slayer out live & just how well what is heard here on Repentless is delivered live. I’m sure they, Slayer won’t let people down.

I really like the 1st three (3) tracks on Repentless, You Against you, Piano Wire, & Chasing Death. Implode & Cast The First Stone are two (2) tracks I have difficulty with. Reminds me a bit too much of the Diabolus In Musica & God Hates Us All, which are the two (2) Slayer CD’s I have a hard time with. What I think makes Repentless great is what I had mentioned earlier is it sounds like a cumulative of everything Slayer has done to date release-wise. I can definitely hear the early Slayer to the new Slayer material & everything in between on Repentless. Although a lot of mediocrity amidst Repentless, this is still solid Slayer.

Repentless tracklist: I) Delusions Of Savior II) Repentless III) Take Control IV) Vices V) Cast The First Stone VI) When The Stillness Comes VII) Chasing Death VIII) Implode IX) Piano Wire X) Atrocity Vendor XI) You Against You XII) Pride In Prejudice – total run time 42:09.

Repentless Video: ​https://youtu.be/yjb0j9l1sz4

My rating: 84/100 (Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)

Repentless DVD: For those who’ve never seen Slayer live with either Paul Bostaph & or Gary Holt/Paul Bostaph, this a really great DVD extra arriving with their Repentless CD. This gives the viewer & listener both a glimpse of who & what Slayer is live today or in the present-tense. I won’t say this performance is flawless. It is though far above average & up to par; a Slayer gripping performance.

There are certain areas that one can tell that this is in fact Paul Bostaph back on drums. Not a whole helluva lot, but some. Then again Paul has been in & out of Slayer three (3) different times over a 23yr period now. And Paul is definitely not playing like he had surgery on his either wrist or hand not too many years back that left him departing Testament, & Gene Hoglan returning. Really wish there was more of the drum cam on Paul thru out this DVD. Hasn’t lost his touch. But take any drummer in & outa Slayer or in the thrash metal genre who’s still pounding the skins @ 51yrs of age, give or take, & aye, props! Body sure takes a beating after all the yrs.

Tom hasn’t lost his voice much. Harder & harder & a bit apparent for Tom to hit that high scream on Angel Of Death & a couple other areas during this DVD. The other more notable track would be on War Ensemble. Had basically conformed some belief whilst reviewing their Repentless (Single): http://metaltoinfinity.be/CDREVIEWS_QRST/slayer_repentless.html

“Moving onto the ‘War Ensemble’ live track I think possibly a ‘better’ track could have been used. And is really the track I took a really ‘close’ listen too. ‘Production’ is not the ‘greatest’. Seems like ‘Tom’ misses on the ‘vocal’ lines here & there @ ‘1:39’ & ‘2:06’ into ‘War Ensemble’. Is there a ‘difference’ between ‘Paul’ & ‘Dave’s’ drumming? Of course. I can hear the ‘difference’s’. Is there a ‘difference’ between ‘Gary’ & ‘Jeff’s’ guitaring? Most definitely. ‘Kerry’ definitely stood out ‘amongst’ everyone on this live version of ‘War Ensemble’.”

Certainly has not lost his ability to play the bass. Tom don’t miss a fucking note! And now @ 54yrs of age, he obviously cannot headbang like he had for say the better part of the last 30yrs or so. Sucks getting older. Tom is & always be the voice of Slayer! I really cannot see them ever moving on without Tom Araya.

Gary Holt rips this up. When it comes to the # of guitar solos performed vs. the # that Kerry King performs thru out this DVD, it’s like 60% Gary & the other 40% Kerry. More or less that is. Can you hear the differences between Gary & Jeff? Sure you can. It’s not the structure of a Gary vs. Jeff persona that differs live, or a Gary vs. Jeff period as a guitar player. Gary seems to be a bit heavy on the tremolo with I’d say 75% of the solos performed. Thus giving them a bit of a different sound & a bit of his own twist or defining signature. And where I believe that Gary’s style of guitar playing is more resembling of that of Kerry’s than Jeff’s.

Of the guitarists that have been in Slayer, Kerry, Jeff, Gary, & even Pat O’Brien lets say. I’ve always preferred Kerry King & his style of guitar playing. Kerry IMO has always been a bit more brutal & intense with his style of playing that had always appealed to me. The more hardcore, in-your-face, down-your-throat style of guitar playing. As far as song writers go, well, I believe Jeff had Kerry beat in that dept. And obviously a bit too early to tell what Gary will bring to the table as far as writing skills are concerned with Slayer. So outa this DVD performance, Kerry belts things out! “The Song Remains The Same” with Kerry King & Slayer. Kerry has truly given Slayer the evil signature sound! Suppose he had no other choice but to be?

No, I do not take anything away from any of the guys from Slayer one bit. They work great as a unit. And even though Jeff Hanneman has been gone now going on 3yrs now, these four (4) bring some new life back into Slayer. Energetic, intense, more stage presence. The live tracks I really liked from the Live @ Wacken are: Captor Of Sin, Raining Blood, Dead Skin Mask, Black Magic, & really dug the fuck outa Angel Of Death with the Jeff Hanneman-Angel Of Death-Still Reigning banner that was flown above the stage. Rest In Peace, Jeff.

Slayer Live @ Wacken 2014 tracklist: I) Intro II) Hell Awaits III) The Antichrist IV) Mandatory Suicide V) Hate Worldwide VI) War Ensemble VII) Postmortem VIII) Captor Of Sin IX) Disciple X) Seasons In The Abyss XI) Born Of Fire XII) Dead Skin Mask XIII) Raining Blood XIV) Black Magic XV) South Of Heaven XVI) Angel Of Death XVII0 Credits – total run time 1:08:05 –https://youtu.be/pvNo5IigOJA

Making of ‘Repentless’ Documentary – total run time approx. 45mins: I’d actually caught the making of ‘Repentless’ on YouTube this past October. Very informative. I’d personally been curious as to whom did the song & lyric writing for Repentless, with Jeff Hanneman no longer with us? Apparently 90% of Repentless was written by Kerry King. (I’m actually commenting on the DVD portion of this review before the CD). I am truly hoping that the rest of Repentless, is as brutal as the title track itself?!

I’d commented in the recent past regarding Paul’s return to Slayer & the criteria that was given to both Paul & Jon Dette, same two (2) tracks, same set of parameters, same time frame, etc. I have a preference in Jon over Paul as drummers. Both equally as good as one another. taking nothing away from either of them. Just prefer Jon’s style of Paul’s. And would really like to hear these two (2) tracks that both Jon & Paul were given & both the outcomes. Purely curiosity on my part.

To comment on Gary Holt’s debut release in Slayer, was something Paul had mentioned about Gary being an “OG” in the thrash metal genre. Of course! History books ain’t lying there either. And do quite agree with Paul. This all being Gary’s replacement for Jeff Hanneman, the obvious choice. Tom says basically, “Gary earned it”. Kerry saying that Gary was his 1st choice. I don’t disagree with any of the statements & or could not agree more with what was said, & then some. I don’t think there was anyone better as a replacement for Jeff Hanneman!

So ladies & gentlemen, I’d definitely get out & see Slayer during their Repentless World Tour!

THE BAND: In the beginning, when there were no blueprints, no set paths, no boundaries or steps to follow, SLAYER assaulted the world with its hybrid of metal and punk.

*Vocals and Bass / Tom Araya

*Guitars / Kerry King

*Guitars / Gary Holt

*Drums / Paul Bostaph

REST IN PEACE JEFF HANNEMAN 1963-2013


SLAYER – REPENTLESS (Single) (Nuclear Blast Records)

Review by Nathan McLeod

You have almost ‘8-1/2mins’ of new ‘Slayer’ with ‘Paul Bostaph’ back behind the ‘drumkit’ & ‘Gary Holt’ debuted on ‘guitar’. As I ‘initially’ had commented on the ‘Repentless’ track some months back when received it via ‘iTunes’ & the ‘YouTube’ visualizer video that ‘Repentless’ had very much reminded me of ‘Killing Fields’ & ‘Haunting The Chapel’ (https://youtu.be/uivxr3O6rSE). And I still ‘stand’ behind that ‘statement’. ‘Repentless’ IMO happens to be one of the best ‘studio’ tracks I’d heard from ‘Slayer’ in quite awhile. This is really ‘Slayer’ at heart!

Moving onto the ‘War Ensemble’ live track I think possibly a ‘better’ track could have been used. And is really the track I took a really ‘close’ listen too. ‘Production’ is not the ‘greatest’. Seems like ‘Tom’ misses on the ‘vocal’ lines here & there @ ‘1:39’ & ‘2:06’ into ‘War Ensemble’. Is there a ‘difference’ between ‘Paul’ & ‘Dave’s’ drumming? Of course. I can hear the ‘difference’s’. Is there a ‘difference’ between ‘Gary’ & ‘Jeff’s’ guitaring? Most definitely. ‘Kerry’ definitely stood out ‘amongst’ everyone on this live version of ‘War Ensemble’.

If people are looking for the ‘whole’ ‘Lombardo vs. Bostaph’ & ‘Hanneman vs. Holt’ in ‘Slayer’, well, you’ll definitely find it. As well people will also find the ‘Old vs. New-King & Araya’. But I am really not so ‘critical’. I just call things how I ‘see & hear’ them. “Long of the short” being ‘nothing’ is going to bring ‘Jeff Hanneman’ back to life, (Rest In Peace), & does not seem like ‘Dave Lombardo’ will be coming back into the ‘Slayer-fold’ anytime soon. Get use to it ladies & gentlemen.

My rating: 80/100 (Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)

Tracks:

I) Repentless II) War Ensemble (Recorded Live @ Wacken 2014) – total run-time 8:25.

‘Slayer’:

*Tom Araya – Vocals, Bass

*Kerry King – Guitar

*Gary Holt – Guitar

*Paul Bostaph – Drums

‘Slayer’ contact info:

*Website: http://www.slayer.net/

*MySpace: https://myspace.com/slayer

*ReverbNation: https://www.reverbnation.com/slayer

*Metal Archives: http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Slayer/72


SKITZO – HEAVY SHIT/ FIVE POINT CONTAINMENT (Independent/Open Grave Records)

Review by Nathan McLeod

With the ‘vast’ ‘array’ of ‘musical guest appearances’ backing the likes of ‘SF North Bay Area’s’ SKITZO! How could ‘Five Point Containment’ NOT be a great/superb/excellent ‘SKITZO’ release?!! Since their 1982 incarnation, ‘SKITZO’ have almost twenty (20) releases to date.

Spanning a career of over ‘three decades’ now, ‘Five Point Containment’ is personally by far the most ‘notorious’ release in my ‘personal/professional’ opinion. (And was not released in the 80’s) … Originally ‘self-released’ in 2005, titled ‘HEAVY SHIT’, ‘Open Grave Records’ “officially” released ‘HEAVY SHIT’ as ‘Five Point Containment’ two years later.

And ‘extremely’ HEAVY is WTF this SKITZO release is! ‘Intense/thunderous’ bass-lead/riffs ‘similarly’ that of the MONSTER GREAT ‘LEMMY’! Hence the fast-tempo & upbeat cover of ‘Motorhead’s – IRON FIST’!!! Break down the ‘talent’s’ of SKITZO’s cover of ‘Blind Illusion’s – Vengeance Is Mine’. The ‘paired’ shared vocals of ‘Lance Ozanix’ & ‘Nasty Nate Clark’ do offer ‘multiple’ vocal styles, ‘cumulative’ of an ‘immense’ many/too many too name. ‘Lance Ozanix’ is JUST an ‘incredible’ & ‘versatile’ guitar player. Sure, the ‘vast’ ‘array’ of ‘musical guest performances’ appearing on ‘Five Point Containment’ may make this SKITZO release ‘top-notch’; would you expect NOTHING or anything less ?

I do judge A LOT of CD’s by my own ability, spinning it & NEVER becoming tired of what I hear. Most ‘definite’ a release 10yrs later HAVE NOT become tired of! What does make ‘Five Point Containment’ is ‘Noah Smith’s’ percussion capabilities. Truly ‘attesting’ that HEAVY does NOT ‘necessarily’ mean ‘extreme’ double-bass ‘intricate’ drumming say that of ‘Dave Lombardo’ or ‘Darren Minter’. Take an ‘incorporation’ of ‘thrash-metal’s’ many great drummers ‘past & present’ with some ‘fast/intense’-paced hardcore drummers to that of ‘death-thrash’ pioneer drummer of ‘Insanity’s’ “Bud Mills”. (RIP). ‘Noah Smith’ is ‘truly’ an ‘underated’ drummer.

If you ‘can’ find copies of either ‘Five Point Containment’ or ‘HEAVY SHIT’, it’s a ‘must have! FRONT-ROW WARNING: SKITZO LIVE!!! As the ‘Irish’ of ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ ‘infamously’ said: “If you can’t stand the HEAT, get the FUCK out of the Kitchen” …

My rating: 93/100 (Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan)

‘Skitzo’:

*Lance Ozanix: Vocals/Guitar

*Nasty Nate Clark: Vocals/Bass

*Noah Smith: Drums/Vocals

Musical guest appearances by:

*Jeff Becerra (Possessed) – *John Marshall (Metal Church, Blind Illusion) – *Phil Demmel (Vio-lence, Machine Head) – *Sickie Wifebeater (Mentors) – *John Crowhurst – *Bill Decker – *Jeffro Hunter (Beverly Beer Bellys) – *Geetar Bob Taylor – *Bret Fontaine – *Angeline Kyzar-Crowhurst – *Lisa Brown – *Jessie Shoppert.

‘Five Point Containment’ track info:

1) Curse Of The Phoenix, 2) Gag Like A Maggot, 3) Metallic Tyrants, 4) Vengeance Is Mine, 5) Stab Her Goodnight, 6) Head Of Laci, 7) Crimson Executioner, 8) Messiah Of Evil, 9) We Are The Dead, 10) Breeding The Disease, 11) Catacombs, 12) Iron Fist; total run-time 53:53.

Produced by Toby Rage! (Rest In Piece). Recorded at Grizzly Studios – Petaluma, CA. Engineered by Robert Tschann. Mastered by Justin Weis at Trakworx Studios – South SF, CA.

SKITZO info:

*Website: www.skitzo.biz

*E-mail: skitzo@sonic.net

*Facebook: www.facebook.com/nastynateclark

Additional:

*ReverbNation: www.reverbnation.com/skitzothrash

*Metal Archives: www.metal-archives.com/bands/Skitzo/4658


SKOX – YEARS OF LEGIONS (Dooweet Agency)

Review by Sloof

Aiming to write and compose Metal music from the highest quality, three musicians begun a band named Skox around 2003. The Lyon region in France was drenched in gallons of red liquid when the first demo was spawned under the name of ‘Demo 2005’. Pure carnage was the result, and the goals ahead where tightened. Skox endeavored to go further and further into their will of perfection and the stage became their next battlefield. Having opened for bands like Mumakill, No Return, Hatesphere and Napalm Death amongst many festivals, the band wanted to reveal their magnum opus. 2016 is the year where things are going to happen and ‘Years Of Legion’ is their testimony.

The album starts like an army of Irish patriots marching into war with a lot of drums to indicate the tempo. When the intro ‘Entering The Battlefield’ is ended, we switch into a more industrial style with ‘Years Of Legions’. Fierce drums, heavy riffing guitars and vocals that have no mercy! ‘Cell Swelling’ brings some Max Cavalera/Soulfly ideas, while ‘Running Out Of Time’ is more into the typical Heavy Metal style.

Skox aims on different levels at the same time, and I wonder what direction they want to continue in the future. I do hope that they will aim on a lesser industrial sound, but that’s a personal opinion. Each track seems to be a battle and ‘Years Of Legions’ could have been the battle they have been through to be where they are now. And when we skip to the last song ‘Leaving The Killingfield’ we can say that this one refers to the fact that despite abrasions, the quintet is still standing to spread their passion for their music.

I have a bit the same feeling as listening to Ektomorf from Hungary. They are very dedicated, very passionate, but I wonder if they are capable to convince a huge crowd with this kind of musical escapades, but true adepts of the genre will be pleased with this sick piece of Thrash. https://skox.bandcamp.com/

My rating: 78/100 (Decent but best previewing)


SLEEPY HOLLOW – TALES OF GODS AND MONSTERS (Pure Steel Records)

Review by Officer Nice

Sleepy Hollow…. US Metal from a fine level since many years. Yes, their first EP is dated 1990 so this ain’t at all a band of youngsters. I have all of their CD’s in my collection but I assure you it wasn’t always that easy to purchase them. But, as a big fan of US Metal, I wanted them so hard that I finally found them all and I don’t regret it. Last time I have talked about the band was when Bob Mitchell joined them to record “Skull 13”. I met Bob once in Germany, as singer from Attacker, friendly guy and in real life a nurse, did you know that?

After a first spin I notice Bob isn’t the singer anymore. A quick search learns the band replaced him by a man that listens to the name of Chapel Stormcrow. A weird name and totally unknown to me but it doesn’t take long before I get to like this man. His vocals are bizarre yet this man contains a strong pair of pipes that fits the music so well. His strong, low sounding, lungs give Sleepy Hollow some special kind of cachet. I don’t know if you know what I mean but let me try to explain. Actually his lower kind of vocal lines are giving the band some psychedelic Chapel Stormcrow touch and the result is some superb US Metal. Sleepy Hollow composed and performed on this one great melodic tracks with all hooks, refrains and leads on the right spots. Musical wise Sleepy Hollow is top on this record and to me this is their best effort ever.

From the first notes until the last I really enjoyed “Tales of Gods And Monsters” and for some reason – talking musical wise – the music, the front cover and the title of this album fits perfectly with each other. Once and a while there’s a band that reaches the goal to melt together all these elements, to create something special and to me Sleepy Hollow just did. This one touches my soul and I am sure I will not be the only one who’s impressed. This album works on my mood, just the way I like it! The dark, a bit apocalyptic, atmosphere overwhelms me and is the reason I refuse to take it out of my CD-player.

It means that Sleepy Hollow delivers an album that leaves an impression. The riffs and leads are composed and performed in some special kind of atmosphere and this tastes very good. The band lifted itself up to a higher level and I can only hope the entire underground Metal movement will hear about them now. Musical wise I get the same thrills I received from the last Winter’s Bane and the early Jacob’s Dream releases. Mix it a bit with Saviour Machine, the early Candlemass or Solitude Aeturnus attitude, without considering this as Doom Metal, and you’ll get close to what Sleepy Hollow means nowadays. Fans of the old Metal Church, Zaxas, old Seven Witches etc. can only be happy with this one. Chapel Stormcrow’s vocals might be comparable with Chaz Bond’s (Jacob’s Dream) vocal sound actually, but better to me.

This release is full of great songs that needs a bit of your time. This isn’t the kind of record you will adapt after one spin but I am so sure that those heavy loaded riffs will seduce you! Also those intense played leads are just fantastic! These guitars have a fantastic sound, so pure, so Eighties, so Metal! In combination with these passionate played leads, the technical performed basic lines by bass and drums and of course those powerful vocals it works, at least for me! It is maybe a pity that the band didn’t work out their album with more samples to make the apocalyptic feeling even stronger! But the on the other hand you will witness something pure. Not that Sleepy Hollow stands before a great breakthrough, therefore the scene is too crowded and this music too traditional, but these Americans will be mentioned from now on if we talk about first class US Metal.

This is the kind of Metal I still and always will adore. Of course high screaming voices are still wanted but Sleepy Hollow proves that US Metal can do without. With their new singer I really hope the band will receive the right attention. The new Metal Church and Attacker are coming this year too but Sleepy Hollow already makes 2016 a memorable year for US Metal fanatics. Check these guys out at http://www.sleepyhollowmetal.com. Order at: http://www.puresteel-shop.com/SLEEPY-HOLLOW-Tales-Of-Gods-And-Monsters_1

My rating: 90/100 (Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan)


SNAKE TONGUE – RAPTOR’S BREATH (The Sign Records)

Review by Sloof

Snake Tongue is a pretty new band, who started in 2014 in Sweden, followed by a short tour in Germany and Denmark in spring 2015. A few demos were recorded, a few lineup changes occurred and the overall sound and ideas became something different than the original concept. New members add fresh blood and vision and all these elements resulted in totally new dimensions to the sound of the band.

The band got signed to The Sign Records that seems to be a new label, and so far, I received utterly great material! At the same time, I have to mention the difference in styles that they release. Compared with the other recent releases, I must confess that Snake Tongue isn’t directly one of my favorite bands, but after taking some time to listen to this album, I echo their craftsmanship.

All members know exactly their position in the band and due to the perfect sound of the album, it’s possible to distinguish all layers and instruments on ‘Raptor’s Breath’. The album takes only 27 minutes and you get 9 blistering songs in that short time frame. That means that the high speed roller coaster is in action and from the very first notes, they accelerate like an arrow from a bow. I can’t mention favorite songs as every track has its own mystery to unravel.

I guess that this album is a perfect remedy after a day full of stress and shit, but it’s better not to take the driving wheel as you will speed up immediately! I would advice this album to those that like Beartooth (without the melodic parts) and Kvelertak and all what is in between. Furious from first till last second, but knowing exactly what they effectuate! Order at:https://thesignrecords.bandcamp.com/album/snake-tongue-raptor-s-breath Snake Tongue FB: https://www.facebook.com/snaketongueofficial/

My rating: 75/100 (Decent but best previewing)


SOLIFUGIA – RAMPAGE OF BRUTAL REVENGE (Independent)

Review by Sloof

Solifugia is an unknown band from Belgium (area Ghent/Meetjesland) that likes to bring their metal with a good dose of Death Metal. A nice starting point, but since I haven’t heard of them in years, I wondered if Solifugia is still active, as this EP is originally released in 2009 as an indie release. I did a little research about this band that has a very original moniker. Solifugia is a small to large arachnid that likes to resides in the Middle East and Northern Africa, where they occur widely in semi-desert and scrub. They generally inhabit warm and arid habitats and are known as very aggressive hunters and voracious opportunistic feeders. In short words: a perfect name for a band that wants to radiate violence, darkness and fear, and if you take a good look at the logo of the band, you will discover landmarks.

In 2003, they recorded a demo with 6 tracks, but none of this release (‘Araneae Attack’) feature this cd as well. The band took time to write and compose and evolve as musicians, and after listening to this ‘Rampage Of Brutal Revenge’, I’m really curious about their present level. If they develop continuously, their first full length album, due to be released end 2015 I presume, is going to be a sledgehammer!

‘Forever Blackness’ is the first track on the EP and it might sound strange, but the name Essatic popped up in my head. The same dark vibe is present, and while the bass of Zowan is pounding, the rhythm section gets supported by Temme 2 (stupid name) his drums of doom. At the same time, both axemen Temme1 (stupid name as well) and Dré torture their 6-strings instrument that shrieks out loud. Rousing riffs are regurgitated, and although the sound quality of the recording isn’t comparable with up-to-date recording techniques, it all fits pretty well! After a few minutes, we get a nice break, which seems to be a typical characteristic element of the band. Thumping and whipping and a final break in the last minute results in a very good opener of this EP. ‘Gone’ is rather slow and impending, it’s a little Slayer meets Morbid Angel from the start, but once again the band is accelerating into a climax speed! The song falls in its old, slow speed to get a secondwhiplash towards the end. It’s a little predictable, and I like surprises so I guess that I will skip this one in the near future.

The next track is totally different and a true revelation, as ‘Transference Of Consciousness’ has a deadly riff and a vigorously pace! Simply said: complete enjoyment! When the title track begins, it’s like a totally different band that is playing. At first I thought it was an instrumental part, with an additional kudos to bass player Zowan, but the quintet isn’t able to hold their horses! Before the elapsed time of 2 minutes, all hell hounds break loose and vocalist Peej turns into Cerberus to guide his horde into devastation! Some say they save the best for last, well, that’s certainly applicable for the track ‘When Winter Calls’. All ingredients and skills of the members are present in this track that leaves no one untouched. Forcibly, outrageous, scathing and hammering at the same time, and I do hope that this track is a preview of what’s to come! There is also a nice guitar solo present, and the arrangement of this track tops all previous songs!

Solifugia demonstrate how good old school Death Metal should sound and every member is accountable for the nice craftsmanship! Never thought that the future of Belgian Death Metal would look so bright…

My rating: 85/100 (Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)


SONIC PROPHECY – APOCALYPTIC PROMENADE (Metal Maple Records)

Review by Officer Nice

I was confused at first, thinking this was a band from out of Brazil but these guys hail us from out of the USA. I received a full CD with a very cool front cover, a nice booklet or how perfect can a label be to seduce us, those who write the reviews. A quick look at the official website of the band learns they released an EP and a full album before. This might be the record that makes this 6-piece band more famous in the Metal movement.

But to maintain a bigger name several things are needed. The most important issue is without any doubts the music. Sonic Prophecy delivers some good produced Heavy / Power Metal with lots of attention for the total concept of the album. This band is technical and gives us the kind of Metal that just has the right power to get focused. They deliver that kind of Metal that is influenced by both European and American Metal scène. You won’t hear anything new or refreshing but Sonic Prophecy did a very good job.

They’re clearly searching for the good vibes and the songs always contain some kind of dark mood. It’s Metal with a modern touch and this type of Power Metal should convince lots of fans of this specific genre. With tracks like “Eventide”, “Dark Is The Dawn”, “The Warriors Heart” and the title track nothing really can’t go wrong. You hear some good musicians who have an eye for every detail, in music and with the samples that creates this dark atmosphere.

Darrin Goodman and Sebastian Martin are the axemen In Sonic Prophecy and believe me, they did a fantastic job. They’re supported by Steve Bishop, responsible for the keyboards and the guitars. Although keyboards are added they play a subtle role in the music… important but subtle. Therefore the band stands often closer to the US scene than the European Metal movement and the music ‘an sich’ isn’t ‘happy’ enough to be considered as pure European Power Metal.

Shane Proustgaard is the front man of the band. He contains a good vocal sound although, to me, the vocal lines might have been even more varied. His strong lungs fit the band and the music, no doubts about that. He gives Sonic Prophecy its own identity and although these guys aren’t the new sensation, a more than enjoyable CD is awaiting you. Fans of bands like Mystic Prohecy, Winters Bane, Tad Morose, Ruffians, Onward, Lanfear etc. will surely like this band that you can check athttp://www.sonicprophecy.com 

My rating: 85/100 (Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)


SORORICIDE – THE ENTITY (Platonic Records)

Review by Nathan McLeod

Thx to ‘Josef G.’ of ‘Iceland’, whom turned me onto yet ‘another’ great ‘Icelandic’ metal band. ‘Death-metal’ to be precise. And what I am hearing from ‘Sororicide’ is ‘nothing’ new. ‘The Entity’ was released in 1991 ladies & gentlemen’ It was their ‘only’ full-length CD release to date, amongst ‘several’ demos, split-CD, & EP releases.

I do hear a bit of ‘early-Sodom’ (just slower), ‘Possessed’ (some vocally & musically), ‘early-Venom’ (mainly guitar solos), & ‘Celtic Frost’ (some vocally), amidst ‘Sororicide’. There may be a few other musical ‘influences’ & ‘comparison’s’, but, off the top of my head, those were the four (4) ‘combination’s’.

The paragraph below was actually taken from another review I researched: “This is a thoroughly enjoyable album for fans of really heavy death metal played with originality and dark atmosphere. If you think you’ve heard it all, give Sororicide a chance. They play death metal with a dark atmosphere that no other band can create with a billion keyboards”.

And could not ‘agree’ more with that ‘statement’ in terms of ‘Sororicide’. This does ‘sum’ up ‘The Entity’. Sums up ‘Sororocide’ perfectly!

Too bad these lads have ‘broken-up’, or so it ‘appears’ to be? I really do like this ‘iconic’ & ‘old-school’ ‘death-metal’. Production is a bit ‘gritty’, but then again for ALL I know, it may have been ‘intentional’? Hats off & props to some ‘killer’ & ‘superb’ Icelandic ‘death-metal’! The tracks I happen to really get into are: ‘Saturated’, ‘Old’, & ‘Withered Earth’.

Well, ‘The Entity’ is an OOP & rare gem to find. You can listen to the whole CD here on YouTube:https://youtu.be/kPTq5ouiBFo

My rating: 84/100 (Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)

‘Sororicide’:

*Bogi Reynisson – Vocals

*Guðjón “Gaui” Óttarsson – Guitar

*Fróði Finnsson – Guitar (RIP 1995)

*Gísli Sigmundsson – Bass/Vocals

*Karl Guðmundsson – Drums

‘The Entity’ track info:

I) Human Recycling II) Anger Of The Inferior III) Redrum IV) Blind V) Vivisection VI) The Entity VII) Saturated VIII) Sick Interment IX) Sororocide X) Old XI) Withered Earth XII) Frightmares – total run-time 44:56.

‘Sororicide’ contact info:

*Metal Archives: http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Sororicide/6102

*MySpace: https://myspace.com/sororicideice

*Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sororicide


SOULFLY – ARCHANGEL (CD/DVD) (Nuclear Blast Records)

Review by Nathan McLeod

Since their incarnation in 1997, Max Cavalera & Soulfly have released ten (10) full-length CD’s. Archangel being their latest addition. Honestly, I have had some difficulties with some Soulfly releases in the past. Especially with their first three (3). And believe there have been some pivotal releasstart getting into Soulfly until Prophecy was released. I really dug Dark Ages & Enslaved, as well.

Now though, speaking of the past & present-tense’s this was taken from the Metal Archives, in which I believe had a lot to do with the “why” I had some difficulties with Soulfly: “After leaving Sepultura in 1996, Max Cavalera formed Soulfly with the idea of combined sounds and spiritual beliefs after losing his stepson Dana Wells. Originally, with each new Soulfly album came a new line-up, as well as world music influences from a diverse array of locations. Soulfly started playing nu-metal (on the first album and “Primitive”) which was extremely popular at the time; recent albums (starting with “Dark Ages”) have tended toward a more agressive groove/thrash metal sound with death metal influences. They are also known for mixing their trademark groove metal sound with diverse world music influences such as bossa nova or reggae among others.”

I am into more of the thrash, heavy, hardcore, aggressive, death type(s) of metal; and you get a lot of this on Archangel. Don’t get me wrong, Max’s ability to incorporate different genre’s of metal over the years with other influential, spiritual, & tribal music is outright phenomenal! Musically that is. And as musicians go, Max has had some excellent one’s in & outa Soulfly. Top-notch I will add. This can though throw off A LOT of consistency in a band. And really doesn’t matter to me how weathered of a musician a person is. Basically monstrous amounts of different line-ups & guest musicians, almost per each CD, can have an affect on an outcome. Yes, there is a pretty heavy groove metal presence here. There are some nu-metal elements present.

Archangel is a beautifully written CD from the explosive opening track of “We Sold Our Souls To Metal” to the ending track of “Soulfly X”. (I recommend people getting the CD/DVD Limited Edition copy). Like a lot of metal releases today, Archangel has a variety of heavy, slower, fast, melodic tracks to it. You’re not gonna hear a lotta tribal-type music as people may have heard on past Soulfly releases. Marc Rizzo’s guitar work on Archangel is fantastic! Marc is just a fucking brilliant guitarist! Exceptional flamenco work on Soulfly X. Marc reminds me a bit of Tom Morello & early-Atheist guitarists combined.

To say the least, Max & Soulfly do keep things interesting from CD to CD, whether or not you like the band & their music or not? Is hard to anticipate from CD to CD what Max & Co. will do next. I’d say the liked tracks appearing on Archangel are: Sodomites, Ishtar Rising, Acosador Nocturno, Deceiver. Archangel video: https://youtu.be/0WMMdgttj_0 

My rating: 89/100 (Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)

Archangel track info:

I) We Sold Our Souls To Metal II) Archangel III) Sodomites IV) Ishtar Rising V) Live Life Hard! VI) Shamash VII) Bethlehem’s Blood VIII) Titans IX) Deceiver X) Mother Of Dragon’s XI) You Suffer* (Napalm Death Cover) XII) Acosador Nocturno* XIII) Soulfly X* – total run time 45:29. (*Bonus Tracks)


Soulfly Live @ Hellfest 2014 DVD: The DVD is though just four (4) guys getting the fuck up there & playing! Sometimes that’s all you need. The Hellfest crowd sure seemed to get into it. No extravagant stage show, stage act, or props.

This wasn’t one the greatest live performances I’ve seen of Soulfly, either. The sound was not that great. Most of what you can hear is Marc’s leads, Max’s vocals/guitar, Tony’s backing vocals, half of Zyon’s drums, (snare, cymbals, left floor tom). Can barely hear Tony’s bass & the rest of Zyon’s drumkit. I really think Nuclear Blast could’ve used some better footage. This is not official footage, but have a gander: https://youtu.be/6baMCOK0apQ

This is Soulfly, not Sepultura by any means. Aside from Max obviously, Marc, Zyon, & Tony are completely different musicians as opposed to Igor, Paulo, & Andreas. So, quite obvious the differences whilst hearing the Sepultura tracks, live. They do a great job performing them.

Taking the Soulfly tracks, this has a resemblance to Soulfly, say 10yrs ago. The drums of Zyon Cavalera to Joe Nunez are just different. Different drummers, different styles. And I think this makes the biggest difference in the Soulfly (live) today & the Soulfly (live) past-tense. Am though taking nothing away from Zyon’s ability to pound the skins. Cause pound the lad certainly does!!

About a month ago I went to see Soulfly live. Was the end of their ‘We Sold Our Souls To Metal’ North American Tour. Did a small live review at Metal To Infinity: http://metaltoinfinity.be/LIVE%20REPORTS-2/soulfy_wesoldoursoulstometaltour2015.html … The ‘Maximum Cavalera’ Tour kicks off in a couple weeks across Europe. Hopefully people get out to see them? Are worth catching live. Hopefully not every date is a festival date & people do get to check them out in smaller club venues.

Live @ Hellfest 2014 tracklist:

I) Cannibal Holocaust II) Refuse/Resist III) Bloodshed IV) Back To The Primitive V) Seek ‘N’ Strike VI) Tribe VII) Rise Of The Fallen VIII) Revengeance IX) Roots, Bloody Roots X) Jumpdafuckup/Eye For An Eye – total run time approx. 50mins.

Soulfly:

*Max Cavalera – Vocals, Guitar, Sitar

*Marc Rizzo – Guitar, Flamenco Guitar

*Tony Campos – Bass, Vocals

*Zyon Cavalera – Drums, Percussion

Contact info:

*Website: http://www.soulfly.com/

*ReverbNation: https://www.reverbnation.com/soulflyband

*MySpace: https://myspace.com/soulfly

*Metal Archives: http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Soulfly/3540344931


SOULHEALER – BEAR THE CROSS (Pure Legend Records)

Review by Officer Nice

From out of Finland comes a band called SoulHealer. They are representing their third effort and fans of Scandinavian Power Metal might already know the band. This genre has waned somewhat the latest years after an explosion of this style at the late nineties and the beginning of the first decade of this century.

These guys are delivering their stuff on a good way and this Euro oriented kind of Power Metal is well played by them. That means you will hear a very good produced album with blistering drum parts, outstanding guitar riffs, fast played leads and a singer with a strong clear voice. This music still works for a big part of the Metal scène and that declares the reason why bands like Helloween, Stratovarius, Sonata Arctica etc. remain successful.

Nothing original to be find here but SoulHealer is strong in what they are doing. You will witness good musicianship and refrains that are pretty easy on the ear. Even old school bands like Mad Max, Accept, Gravestone etc. were influencing for this band although SoulHealer is more modern. Fans of this kind of Metal can impossibly be disappointed. This is an enjoyable album, strong in its style. Check http://www.soulhealermusic.com.

My rating: 83/100 (Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)


SOUNDS OF FURY – MEDIOCRACY (Target/Mighty Music)

Review by Sloof

Sounds Of Fury is a quartet from Switzerland, Lausanne to be precise and they were found during summer of 2011. After an independently released debut album in 2012, they teamed up with Great Dane Records who re-released that album around 2014. Since 2012 until now, the band got time to rehearse and write new material which they eagerly did. At least 9 new songs were written and together with Andy Classen (formerly guitar player of Holy Moses and ex-husband of Sabina), they recorded the tracks at Stage One Studio. Lyrically, Sounds Of Fury, is inspired by anger and frustrations that happen on a daily base. Certain political decisions, speeches on TV, issues with colleagues at work … result in acidic behavior, ego centric decisions and pragmatic reactions. Check the lyrics of the track ‘Neighbour Agression’ and perhaps you will confirm that you know the described situation perfectly.

The drums of Axel are one of the highlights on this album, and that’s unusual. He’s pounding the skins like a maniac, but he’s already keen for variety. The overall sound on this album is top notch, but that’s normal if you work with Andy Classen, which I consider as one of the best producers in Europe. All songs have an equal pace, and that needs to be reconsidered. Variety is a necessity, no matter what musical style that you play or bring. Sounds Of Fury have a very moderate vocalist and that’s a pain in the ass after a while. Nico is taking care of guitars and microphone, and it would be a huge step forward if they could team up with a vocalist that adds real brutality to the songs. Monotonous results in boredom, and boredom results in oblivion, and I don’t believe that the Suisse dudes are aiming that goal. They need to reshape, add fresh elements to lift the songs and keep their eyes ánd ears wide open to dissect their songs to the smallest detail. That’s the only way if they want to survive!

If the name of the album refers to mediocrity, I must agree that they know perfectly on which level they are. It’s time to hook up, get deeper into the song writing and try to add vocal debauchery to get the material on a higher scale. The future looks bright, but they have their fate in own hands. http://www.soundsoffury.ch/

My rating: 77/100


SPACE VACATION – COSMIC VANGUARD (Pure Steel Records)

Review by Officer Nice

“Cosmic Vanguard” takes of good… What is this? Ow, Space Vacation. They’ve been in my CD-player before and didn’t I write a review about one of their former albums? Let’s check. Well, with our new website I can’t find it back but it doesn’t matter anyway. These guys are heading from out of the United States and that’s pretty clear after a few notes.

With “Heart Attack” Space Vacation delivers their third effort and I am still wondering where the band name is coming from. Bizarre… Another strange thing is that the band’s picture will remind you to the very old school of Heavy Metal. Although, also in the biography, links are given with the NWOBHM scène I have no feeling listening to this kind of bands. Space Vacation is of course influenced by the NWOBHM movement but I also hear lots of ideas that came of the more melodic American Eighties Metal movement. The clear and very good voice of Scott Shapiro has a lot to do with it.

What Space Vacation delivers is a very good and melodic Heavy Metal album, good produced and with musicians that really know how to use their skills. Awesome guitars but I suppose if I mention the name of guitar player Kiyoshi Morgan, most US Metal fanatics will understand. No? Vicious Rumors? Ah, now you see….

As mentioned in the biography, this is timeless Metal but from a very high level in my opinion. I really enjoyed these guys’ new album and although this is far from a classic album, Space Vacation delivers very good stuff ! A nice front cover, a good production, great songs… Isn’t that where it is all about? Check http://www.spacevacationrocks.com.

My rating: 85/100 (Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)


SPARTAN – THE FALL OF OLYMPUS (Into The Limelight Records)

Review by Sloof

My first contact with this band started while they were on tour as support of Marduk, and I witnessed their Biebob show in Belgium. They supported the panzer division together with Bliss Of Flesh and Belphegor and their short set was quite impressive. At the end of their gig, they forwarded free EP’s to those interested, so from then on, I was able to get more into Spartan while spinning their 2009 EP. The name Spartan is a very interesting choice, as there are thousands of stories to tell, so a writer’s block is in fact impossible. I’m personally a huge fan of the 2006 movie ‘300’ where King Leonidas of Sparta and a force of only 300 men fight the Persians at Thermopylae around 480 B.C. All these elements are now melted together with a portion of melodic Death Metal from Holland and I’m totally shocked and dazzled after listening to this debut album. The whole idea, the front cover artwork, the songs, … everything is just awesome so Holland can be proud on this band that I consider as a new highlight in their scene. Now, the debut album is released, they must be taken into account, and although they exist already for about 10 years, I still see Spartan as a new band. Their first strike is taken, their mission is fully accomplished, so it’s time to take a better look at the songs on ‘The Fall Of Olympus’!

Opener ‘The Age Of Man’ begins as a short instrumental passage to get you into a cinematic vibe, but that’s only short time as the guitars chop in merciless. The song is bursting in an outstanding arrangement where all members get full options to exhibit their skills. The vocals of Jeffrey Rademakers are like Death Metal vocals should be! The rhythm section of Spartan is ready for battle as Mike Van Bekkum (bass) and Frank Bos (drums) deliver a concrete foundation! Except for some drummer issues, the band is still together like the original start and that results in a very thight horde that wants to unleash some power and Metal! ‘Helena’ is more commercial as the chorus tends to add a sing-along vibe. A little bit comparable with the God Dethroned material from years ago, and that’s a very good standard to refer to. The slaughter continues with ‘Immortal’ where pace is increasing and the axes attack with full force! ‘Breaking The Chains Of Olympus’ opens very interesting with very nice riffing, which is totally diverse compared with the earlier songs. Adding variety is a must, so Spartan did and that’s a good move. When the vocals continue, we hear another difference as the guest vocals of Henning Basse (ex-Metalium, Mayan, Epysode fame!) secure a total diverse arrangement. It’s still brutal and heavy, but there is also a commercial touch to the song.

Another neck-breaker is the track ‘The Labyrinth’ where the band is switching into higher gear. Luckily they mixed the song with a view on every detail, which results in a very direct sound, exposing all different layers of the songs, but still Heavy as Hell! ‘The Fall Of Olympus’ is advisable for the fans of Amon Amarth that seek a little more aggression and lesser melody. A song that fits perfect in this description is ‘At The Dawn Of War’, where the arrangement has a more mediocre pace and where the throat of Jeffrey is in pole position. Mayhem and destruction continues with ‘Titanomachy’ and ‘Written In Sand’ that will leave no victims behind. The whole battleground is littered with dead corpses and that’s the goal of Spartan. Leave no prisoners behind, as they all stand as one, where they were born to fight and die, together as one, as glory awaits! Hadassa Kosten (Von Tease, theName) adds a female touch to the second last song of the album ‘Eurydice’s Song’ and this duet with Jeffrey Rademakers is another highlight on the album. Halfway there is a break in the song where the voice of Hadassa takes the leads while some guitars support in the background. You feel the anger and danger is nearby and so it is. When the guitars of Pieter Vink and Nick Van Beusekom accelerate into a deadly pursuit you get a song that is fully exposed and utterly dangerous. The album ends like it started: promising, a strong content, masterly and at the same time threatening. There has also been some collaboration with another guest, as Sakis Tolis from Rotting Christ, joins in to give a helping hand. Both vocal inputs mix together perfectly and adds a lot of atmosphere to the song and album.

Well, I must confess that I’m totally impressed about this band! They evolved a lot since their EP and indicates that the members have been working really hard to get the band into this position. I guess that the future of Spartan looks really great and that there are a lot of tours and gigs ahead to support ‘The Fall Of Olympus’. Count me in when you play in our area and give full axe and give us a show where only real Spartans should be proud of! https://www.facebook.com/Spartan-231952113485983/

My rating: 90/100 (Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan)


SPEEDWHORE – THE FUTURE IS NOW (Witches Brew)

Review by Spirit In Black

Munich Germany based Black/Thrash Metal band Speedwhore was formed in 2006, two years later on they released a first demo called ‘Rehearsal Demo’ which contains their first two, self written songs. After recording one more demo and two singles, the time had come for Speedwhore’s first full-length album entitled “The Future Is Now”.

“The Future Is Now” opens with a doomy intro called ‘Requiem Mass’, than the album kicks off for real with ‘The Call’ and all hell breaks loose, in a positive way! The album is filled with raw, filthy and evil, in-your-face Black/Thrash Metal. The songs are for the most part very fast, although the band has his moments with mid-tempo and even some melodic parts will approach your eardrums. Watch out for nice breaks in between all the speedy-ness… it blends perfectly !

That the music is Black/Thrash Metal and fast doesn’t mean it’s one pile of noise. Production wise, the end result of “The Future Is Now” sounds okay to me. It stays Black/Thrash Metal so it has to sound raw and evil. Same with the vocals, they are raw and dark as it should be in this genre. With regard to Speedwhore, the vocals also include high, almost hysterical screams. The song ‘Secret Science’ is a bit the odd kid of the class featuring a doom vibe and the use of keyboards but it’s still raw, it fits with rest of the songs.

Aside from the fact that Speedwhore isn’t original (don’t think that it’s the band’s intention in the first place), the band just made a killer album! I can say that ‘The Future Is Now’ is one of my favourite albums of 2015! More info at: Speedwhore FB /Speedwhore Bandcamp

My Rating: 89/100 (Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)


SPOIL ENGINE – STORMSLEEPER (Indepenent)

Review by Sloof

Belgian metal is alive and kicking! Belgian metal is bursting out with a scene that produce and create new bands, new allies, new formations and that’s cool! If we take a look at this year only, we must mention the Speed Metallers of Evil Invaders (‘Pulses Of Pleasure’), Doom/Black companion Thurisaz (‘The Pulse Of Mourning’), Thrash Metallers Bloodrocuted (‘Disaster Strikes Back’), Heavy Metallers 23 Acez (‘Redemption Waves’), Folk meets Viking meets Black outfit Ancient Rites (‘Laguz’), the occult gathering of Insanity Reigns Supreme (‘Unorthodox’), Groovy hardcore Reject The Sickness (‘Chains Of Solitude’) but also Extreme Black Metal bands like Wiegedood (‘De Doden Hebben Het Goed’). And I’m only mentioning some bands that pop up in my head on a random base. There is a lot more present, there is an incredibly great scene and we can easily say that all bands surpassed their skills during the past 12 months. I guess that the new release of Spoil Engine is going to be the last review of 2015, but you know what they say, it might be the last, but definitely not the least!

With all my respect for this band and their previous vocalist Niek Tournois, but we have to conclude that the new lineup results automatically into Spoil Engine Mark II or Spoil Engine 2.0 like they use to call it nowadays. The main reason is the addition of a new member that is going to torture, devastate and above all: control the microphone. The quest for that new member ended in Holland where they teamed up with Iris Goessens (also Drunken Dreams), and from then on, they focused on only one goal: tear the place apart with new songs that are more intense, more brutal and groovy and regain their position at the top of Belgian Metal!

‘Stormsleeper’ is the first result and contains 6 tracks that have a total playing time of 25 minutes, so I tend to say that this is an EP to introduce us to the new band awaiting their next full length album. “Disconnect” is the opener and starts with a little electro to switch into an intensive riffing metal monster. The guitars of Steven Sanders and Bart Vandeportaele sound mean and impending, and the whole song radiates an ominous vibe. When the grunts of Iris Goessens increase the heaviness of the song, we can only conclude that the new Spoil Engine is grabbing us by the throat to choke everyone with a grinding and molest approach. The chorus contains a lot of sing-along attitude and I’m sure that the crowds will raise their fists and scream ‘Fuck You’ together with these exuberant dogs on the loose. “Stormsleeper” continues in a much direct and melodic approach and when the song is halfway, we get another electro part (time frame 2:10 till 2:30) but Iris is wary and attentive, so she chases the men to get them into higher gear again! What metalheads demand, is what metalheads will get: a blistering and whining guitar solo to get the full attention again! There was at the same time a Bring Me The Horizon influence present, and we can only applaud for this very nice track!

“Weightless” starts very modest and the clean vocals add variety to the album! That clean approach is, again, a very good move, and illustrates that Iris has a very wide range, which is very positive for the future of the band! “Hollow Crown” accelerates at high speed and there is a lot of attention for the riffing of the guitars. Also bass player Kristof Taveirne gets his spot in this track that contains a chorus sung in clean modus. “The Verdict” has a little Rock’n Roll attitude and a chorus line that will linger on in your head! ‘This is survival of the fittest’ will be chanted out loud at live gigs! Again we get a very nice break in the track and a super guitar solo at the end! “Singing Sirens” evokes a song that is going to be sensitive and so it is. It has a playing time of approx. 5 minutes, so a lot is going to happen. It contains vivacious and multi-layer vocals and again I have to think on In Flames where Anders Fridén is able to add a certain vibe to the lyrics. That’s exactly what Iris is capable of as well, but there is only one small remark or comment. I would schedule this track in the middle of the album, or somewhere in between two aggressive arrangements. For now, it’s like a candle that fades slowly, so I missed a kind of brutal approach at the end.

Another comment that I want to declare: The album is presented in a very nice packing, and although the lyrics are printed, I do miss some pictures of the members of the band. Metalheads like metal chicks, and Iris is a good looking trump and person that will attract the male headbangers! I want to mention one thing clear as Arch Enemy is no reference at all. It’s not because you have a grunting lady in front position that likes to go wild, that you become automatically an Arch Enemy clone. Personally, I have the idea that Spoil Engine is more into the Bring Me The Horizon and Asking Alexandria style but with a more aggressive edge in a mix of In Flames their better material. They succeeded in delivering the new songs a contemporary sound and vibe and Iris adds an own personal touch to the songs. This is awesome material from a band that sets the standards really high! http://www.spoilengine.com/

My rating: 86/100 (Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)


SPLIT HEAVEN – DEATH RIDER (Pure Steel Records)

Review by Sloof

Uptempo speed metal from Mexico! Yihaa!! After the release of ‘The Devil’s Bandit’ and ‘Street Law’, the band is back with a vengeance and their newest album ‘Death Rider’ will surprise the fans of True Heavy Metal! If you want a little description on what to expect, well take the best elements of NWoBHM combined with vocals like Raven, Primal Fear and Helstar’s James Rivera. This cocktail needs to be consumed with the volume at 10 and the neck muscles ready for another battle!

Split Heaven knows where the pit is, they know what people want to hear and that’s how ‘Death Rider’ came to be. Jason Conde-Houston resides in Seattle, USA and his high pitched vocals are a perfect ingredient in the deadly mix of Speed Metal meets Heavy Metal. The first track is the title track and you better sharpen your wits as Agent Steel their John Cyriis seems to be alive and kicking, whatever people want to pretend! He didn’t move to another planet, and he’s better than ever before!

My god, what an awesome voice, so check the YouTube channel and search for their video of ‘Speed Of The Hawk’! Carlo Hernandez and Armand Ramos add twin guitar riffs and solos to the songs and the overall sound of this album is truly great! No remarks at all? Well, yes, but consider them as details. I have little problems with some of the songs as they are sung in Spanish and that results in a lesser direct feeling. I prefer to sing along and shouting out loud, but that’s a bit difficult in a language that I don’t understand at all. On the contrary, the Mexican fans will love it when they spit their songs into the crowd, and that’s the main goal for a Heavy Metal band, isn’t it? Purchase via: http://www.puresteel-shop.com/SPLIT-HEAVEN-Death-Rider_1Official Split Heaven Homepage: http://www.splitheaven.net/

My rating: 83/100 (Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it-


ST. PROSTITUTE – GLORIOUS (Mighty Music)

Review by Stefan

Those who feel attracted by modern Melodic Rock music should definitely visit St. Prostitute from Denmark. They’ve released a debut album “Here Comes The Prostitute” back in 2012 and I’m totally unfamiliar with these guys. To gather some background information I was forced to call on the Google search machine. Finally I could listen to some of the tracks with regard to their debut and made up my own opinion afterwards. I came to the conclusion that St. Prostitute’s debut was all about Rock music played real hard and with a modern vibe by well-trained musicians able to offer their individual skills with a lot of elegance. No doubt about, this type of music is excellent, well spiced food for the masses which could be played on each broadcasting Rock show worldwide. Without beating around the bush, I have to admit that all of the tracks are too mainstream minded to me. Watching a few videos, I saw a modern type, very energetic band acting like real Rock stars. Unfortunately, not my cup of tea so I was wondering if St. Prostitute’s second, new album “Glorified” should walk the same musical pathways.

We are now two years removed from their debut and the twelve tracks on St. Prostitute’s “Glorious” recording showcasing a more mature character, still I have to report that their modern type of Melodic Rock still remain untouched. That does not mean that the band’s new songs lead to an unpleasant album. I’m sure that the worldwide appreciation from fans of this genre will swallow of all the songs. Across the entire album, a lot of driven energy fires away and once again, there’s plenty of room for heartfelt melodies to enjoy. The vocals are reasonable raw/raspy and with regard to the overall sound and style of St. Prostitute, the singing parts fit very well !

I define them as a modern-esque formation, still the sound quality seems rather old school and that’s a perfect thing to me. “Glorified” has been mastered by the hands of Rueben Cohen at Burbank, CA based Lurssen Mastering (https://lurssenmastering.com/reuben-cohen). Listen to St. Prostitute’s new album “Glorified” and be a witness of a Danish Rock act with international appeal. The modern vibes throughout the album are a bridge too far for me but don’t be fooled about my score at the end. Better to check ‘em out yourself at: http://www.stprostitute.com/ than you’ll have a clear vision to make up your own verdict.

My rating: 72/100 (Between 70 and 79: Decent but best previewing)


STAHLSARG – COMRADES IN DEATH (Mighty Music)

Review by Spirit In Black

In 2013, Suffolk UK, Stahlsarg was formed and shortly after, the band went on tour to share the Black/Death Metal they play to everyone who wanted to hear it. 2014 was also a busy year for the guys, many tours in the UK and Europe they did with bands like Mayhem, Handful Of Hate and others.

Earlier this year, Stahlsarg even launched their own beer and continued with touring. A bit hard to believe that they even found time to make an album! They did it anyway and “Comrades In Death” has arrived in full glory! Black/Death Metal it is for sure! I must admit that I’m not a big fan of this genre or Black Metal in general so I was pretty sceptic when I threw this album in my CD player.

Well, that wasn’t necessary at all! I enjoyed “Comrades In Death” a lot! To be honest, the album had to grew on me though. The combination of Black en Death Metal is done pretty good. Some songs (‘Seelow Heights’, ’Frostbite Division’…) are more on the Black Metal side, other songs (‘Damocles XIII’, ’Under The Shadow Of The Silver Runes’ and ‘Castle Wewelsburg’) are more Death Metal (raw and in the vein of the all famous Swedish Death Metal). The first song (‘Razed To The Ground’) has a bit of a Thrash Metal vibe as well. It is certainly not a monotonous album as sometimes happened with other bands playing this type of music. Instead, ’Comrades In Death’ has a lot of variation (slow, mid-tempo, melodic parts) combined with pure standard Black/Death Metal elements.

Like the album title and the song titles already reveal a little, Stahlsarg has an interest in military history as the subjects of the tracks are obviously based on. Although, it’s not a concept album but the songs are just related too.

Overall, “Comrades In Death” is a good effort, the musicians are capable of playing their instruments as it should be. The well-written music and the production are good as well. One part of the album that stands out for me; the guitars… the melody lines on many songs are really great!

Stahlsarg’s Blackened Death Metal is not original (what is nowadays?) but it’s still very good, they can be proud of their first full-length album! Additional info via: http://stahlsargofficial.com/ & https://www.facebook.com/stahlsarguk

My Rating: 75/100 (Decent but best previewing)


STALWART – MANIFEST OF REFUSAL (PRC Music)

Review by Nathan McLeod

In my belief, ‘Stalwart’ are ‘Mother Russia’s’ best kept secret as far as ‘metal’ is concerned. About 3-1/2yrs ago I had received a package originating from ‘St. Petersburg’, & was like WTF is this? Turned out to be a promo copy of ‘Manifest Of Refusal’ sent by guitar/keyboardist ‘Leonid Vermin’. And had thought to myself “this is really nice & way cool”. I did not get a chance to listen to a copy of the CD immediately, nor had I’d ever heard of ‘Stalwart’ before.

Well, looking back then & still today, I was blown the fuck away once I gave ‘Manifest Of Refusal’ a spin!! As well was like “who the fuck are these guys”? Was ‘extremely’ blown away with the ‘intense-brutal-technical’ assault given on ‘Manifest Of Refusal’. I’d honestly had NOT heard anything remotely ‘kick-ass’ close ‘death-metal’ since ‘Atheist’, (RIP Roger Patterson), ‘early-Cynic’, ‘Possessed’, & ‘Death’, (RIP Chuck), with an ‘addition’ of some of ‘Germany’s’ ‘heavy-hitting’ ‘thrash-metal’ artist’s such as ‘Tankard’ & ‘Sodom’! (RIP Chris Witchhunter)

Yes! Indeed! Was absolutely ‘impressed’ with ‘Manifest Of Refusal’. And low & behold, ‘Stalwart’ had been in existence for 13yrs (at this time), of which whom would’ve guessed they had not. I stood to be corrected. Then upon much research with a lot of back & forth communication with ‘guitar/keyboardist’ ‘Leonid Vermin’, ‘Manifest Of Refusal’ was to be ‘Stalwart’s’ fifth (5th) CD release! Obviously NO stranger’s to the ‘death/thrash-metal’ scene, & veteran’s in their own rites. Once hearing the material on ‘MOR’, I was a bit determined to locate ‘MORE’ ‘Stalwart’ material. Unfortunately their ‘Annihilation Begins’ CD was only available thru them. Which is almost as ‘brutal’ as ‘Manifest Of Refusal’.

No, I’m not too fond of ‘keyboards’ in metal. Just not my thing. But none the less, what’s heard here I can deal with. Call it 50/50. Still though, ‘everything’ from ‘musicianship’ to ‘production’ is ‘outstanding’ & ‘phenominal’!!!

I was recently checking YouTube for any recent ‘Stalwart’ footage? Appears they have a new ‘frontman’. Great vocalist, but not as ‘energetic’ & ‘explosive’ as ‘Oleg’ certainly was.

My rating: 91/100 (Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan)

‘Manifest Of Refusal’ track info:

1) The Karma Circle, 2) Downgrade Evolution, 3) Rise Of The Ninth Wave, 4) Last Down Of The Era, 5) Corrosion, 6) Idol Of The Time, 7) It’s Just My Choice, 8) Manifest Of Refusal, 9) Renaissance Through Devastation; total run-time 52:00.

Recorded, mixed, & mastered at Hertz Studios – Bialystok, Poland by Slawek & Wojtek Wieslawski. Artwork by Pablo the Elephant.

‘Stalwart’:

*Oleg: Vocals

*Leonid: Guitar/Keyboards

*Antuan: Guitar

*Demian: Bass/Backing Vocals

*Alex: Drums

Contact info:

*Website: www.stalwart.ru

*E-mail: contact@stalwart.ru

*MySpace: www.myspace.com/stalwartmetal

*Distribution: http://malevolence-records.us/Store.php

*Metal Archives: http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Stalwart/23335

*ReverbNation: https://www.reverbnation.com/stalwartmetal

*SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/stalwartmetal


STAM1NA – SLK (Sakara Records)

Review by Sloof

Recently I was at the Insomnium gig with supporting bands Fleshgod Apocalypse and Stam1na and when the Finish dudes of Stam1na started their gig, I was totally overwhelmed with their presentation. They created such a power, such an energy on stage, that I stared with my eyes and mouth wide open. Most bands have very active moments, interspersed with quieter frames, but Stam1na took the stage from the very first second until the end of the set. Heads were banging at maximum speed, and none of the gang stood out, as they all remained in a whirl of madness with only one common factor: Metal!

While witnessing their stage act, I wonder myself, how about the music? Is it sufficient to see a wild show, or do we miss musical highlights? Well, unfortunately, I must conclude that Stam1na is limited in entertaining people only. There is a lot of visual amusement going on, but I missed great songs, I missed musical escapades and songs that have a nice and cool arrangement. It’s not only the Finish lyrics that hold people back to get into a Stam1na enjoyment factor, it’s the bigger picture that needs refinement, peaks and apogee. Compared with the acts of Fleshgod Apocalypse and Insomnium, the difference was immense!

I received the new album of Stam1na two weeks ago, and believe it or not, but I took a very long time to listen to the album over and over again. The quest to find the lack of quality was begun, but I’m afraid that the same comment applies to their studio albums as well. Stam1na is a nice band to watch, a nice band as supporting act and nice lads to party with, but they don’t have the skills to write sizzling songs, to compose metal hymns, to bring outstanding melodies. Tracks like ‘Usko Pois’ (‘Believe Me’) and ‘Heikko Ehkä’ (‘Maybe Weak’) might have a slightly entertaining factor, but after a few spins, boredom occurs and it should be totally different. The intention and commitment is present, but once again, it proves that a band has to survive on songs instead of gimmick.

SLK is the abbreviation for ‘Salli Luonnollinen Kuolema’ and this means something like ‘Allow Natural Death’. Perhaps it’s a personal message, a personal suggestion to the future of the band…

My rating: 70/100 (Decent but best previewing)


STARBLIND – DYING SON (Pure Steel Records)

Review by Sloof

Heavy Metal from Sweden often offers high quality and good vocalists, but every new band that we encounter will be held under a magnifying glass to see if they deliver the same high standard. After the release of their debut album ‘Darkest Horrors’, they were contacted by Pure Steel Records who offered them a deal in 2015.

This second output ‘Dying Son’ is the result of that collaboration and the release is set for December 4th. 2015. Fans of 80ies metal and adepts of traditional Heavy Metal should be pleased with this new album as it unites different elements to a modern sound and approach. Are they original? Not at all, but that’s not always a need to be pleasant, to give comfort to the listener, and Starblind knows exactly how to entertain their crowd. A lot of majestic twin lead guitars by Björn Rosenblad and Johan Jonasson deliver excellent moments and the foundation of the songs is Heavy, thanks to the skills of bass player Daniel Tillberg and drummer Zakarias Wikner. Vocalist Mike Stark might be known by several people, as he was the drummer in the great band Steel Attack, but switched his pair of drums into a microphone standard, and that was a very good move. The vocal range of Mike Stark is really outstanding, as he’s capable to go high and low, without losing any power, and at some moments I had a flashback to Christian Augustin, the legendary vocalist of Sortilège.

The albums opens with ‘A Dying Son’ which has a very amusing pace and a nice arrangement. It’s a good impression, and that’s important when you listen to a band for the first time. ‘Firestone’ and ‘The Man Of The Crowd’ continue the same way, but at the same time, there is a little risk that the listener might miss variety. And exactly at that moment, we get the fantastic track ‘Lighthouse’. What is different with this track and the previous ones, well, the fans of Titan Force and Jag Panzer will be pleased as the whole idea of this song and also the vocal approach of Mike is getting close to the original Harry ‘The Tyrant’ Conklin and his gang. The hymn of this album is undoubted ‘The Land Of Seven Rivers Beyond The Sea’ that takes about 12 minutes and contains long instrumental passages. There are, same goes for 80% of the songs, a lot of Iron Maiden influences, however they handled very well. Starblind is influenced by Maiden, that’s for sure, but that counts for thousands of other bands as well. This comparison is only to give you the correct idea what to expect.

Starblind delivered a very nice and decent Heavy Metal album anno 2015 with some flashbacks to the glorious years of the titans. I do hope that they will keep on restyling their upcoming songs into material with an own identity, an own sound, as I’m sure that there is a lot more potential in these guys! https://www.facebook.com/StarBlindtheBand/

My rating: 84/100 (Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)


STARGAZERY – STARS ALIGNED (Pure Legend Records)

Review by Sloof

Finally, the wait is over!! Since the fall of 2013, the new album of Stargazery was announced, but every time things got postponed for various reasons. To be honest, I thought that the band was involved in a difficult situation, but perseverance pays off, so here it is: the second album of Stargazery ‘Stars Aligned’. On the debut album we saw a tall ship and the artwork continues with the same vessel but it seems like it’s heading for troubled water! Perhaps it’s a reference to what happened in the band, or the problems that occurred to record this second album, as it took pretty long time to have it all done. For those that aren’t familiar with this Finnish band, this is a Metal Monster that spits quality time after time! The vocals are superb, but that’s no surprise as Jari Tiura takes his place behind the microphone and he was vocalist in MSG and Masterstroke before! Guitar player Pete Ahonen formed the band around 2005 after leaving Burning Point and Ghost Machinery and the lineup of the band has been stable for years.

The opener is called ‘Voodoo’ and the chorus lines “I put a spell on you, Voodoo” are from the very first moment a real earworm. It will linger on for days, so you will be warned! ‘Angel Of The Dawn’ is very commercial, with a very high Europe factor, and has a dark approach as well. ‘Missed The Train To Paradise’ is a logical continuation and brings a melodic track with a high dose of sing-along attitude. ‘Invisible’ opens pretty hard and heavy and the guitars of Pete Ahonen demand their spot. This song is totally diverse compared with the first 3 tracks. It’s much darker, lesser commercial and hasn’t a clearly recognizable chorus. Also the keyboards of Marco Sneck have a prominent part in this song and this is without doubt the one that appeals to me! For the next song, we go into a bombastic modus! ‘Absolution’ is a dark piece of metal with a heavy layer and slow down pace. It seems like Stargazery is leaving the path of commercial songs and that’s a good move, as I prefer this band when they sound dark, mystical and obscure. And the chosen direction continues with ‘Academy Of Love’ and ‘Painted Into A Corner’ that sounds like the good old Rainbow!

Compared with their debut album, it’s a logical continuation, but the surprise effect was greater in 2011 when ‘Eye On The Sky’ was released. That album was nominated as #13 in my personal top 20 of that year, and I have little doubt that ‘Stars Aligned’ will be able to surpass this position in my top 20 of 2015. Only future will tell, but in the meantime, I’m going to give this album a few more spins and enjoy every moment of it!

My rating: 85/100 (Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)


STARQUAKE – TIMES THAT MATTER (Pure Steel Records)

Review by Sloof

Friends of mine recently went to Holland, to see Uriah Heep live, and afterwards they were really excited about the show that this band performed in Bergen Op Zoom! Well, I have good news for these lads, as they can look forward to equal craftsmanship, as there is a new star on the horizon. The upcoming months, I will personally introduce them to Starquake, and I do hope that even you, the one who is reading this review will follow my guidelines! Heavy Rock with a lot of rhythm, passion and dedication, that’s the feeling that Starquake left behind after listening to their second album “Times That Matter”.

They came out of the blue, but they are here to stay! This album and band took me by the balls, and I guess that it’s gonna take a few more weeks to get everything back in place and shape. How beautiful can music be!? It must feel good, being a musician, to give a certain mood to other people, to touch strangers emotionally by the things that you are capable off. Well, Starquake is a band that is showing how things should be done and how things should sound. This is original although they go back to the 70ies, but I can’t mention any band that surprised me more over the past 3 years.

The front cover of ‘Times That Matter’ has a back to the future vibe. It’s like Praying Mantis their album ‘Time Tells No Lies’ is released in 2015 instead of 1981. The first song is awesome as there is a cool intro, a very interesting second part followed by a break, some spoken fragments to accelerate again. ‘Close Encounter’ continues with a Uriah Heep vibe where Magnum can be considered as influential as well. The vocals of Mikey Wenzel lift the song again, but also the Hammond of Andi Pernpeintner demand their spot! This is timeless music and 73 minutes is guiding you from highlight to highlight! ‘Rise And Fall’ takes +20 minutes and tells us the story of Charlie, The Karaoke King, who died. This whole track tells the story about his youth, his great voice and promises to get worldwide recognition and success. This ‘Rise And Fall’ is worked out to the smallest detail and except joy, it also brings sadness and grief. Summarized, a story from daily life, with a tear and a smile, but substantiated with wonderful music !

The vocals of remind me of the good old days when lyrics needed to be understandable and the timbre of his voice has a lot in common with Blaze Bayley, although Mikey Wenzel’s throat is much better. He’s limitless and that’s a very good property and quality for a singer. I already mentioned Uriah Heep, Magnum and Praying Mantis, but the structure of the songs is so mythical and fantastical that I even would dare to mention Pink Floyd! http://www.starquake.de/ /https://www.facebook.com/starquakerock

My rating: 91/100 (Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan)


STEVE FOGLIA – STEVE IN WONDERLAND (Atomic Stuff Records)

Review by Officer Nice

The era of Blaze Bayley in Iron Maiden was not my favorite one. I do like his solo albums but Dickinson and Di’Anno made the history of one of the most important bands in the history of Metal. Yet, I really support Bayley because he really owns a good voice. The reason I am mentioning this is because this one starts with a guest appearance of Bayley. Good song and a good start from an album on which the drummer, Steve Foglia, is the brainchild behind this project.

This man had played some less important and unknown ban but seems to be a fan of traditional Hard Rock. The result is a pretty good album with some good tunes. Don’t expect something spectacular and even remind the production isn’t the best thing about it but this one is enjoyable. This record mixes Classic Rock with traditional Hard Rock and even some slices to Glam Metal are made. A bit Rainbow, Van Halen, Steve Vaï, Deep Purple, Sabbath, Yes etc.

The vocals could have been stronger although Johnny Idol’s voice isn’t bad. He fits the music with his vocal sound but I hope he can do this on stage as well, something I doubt. Yet I really like the retro-sounding keyboards by mister Tavanti and the often spectacular played guitars by lads who are listening to the names Minerva and Arieta.

With lots of song I have the feeling it could have been stronger and with a bit more they would have taken us by the throat. Maybe the vocals are responsible for my feeling, difficult to point. Yet I had a pleasure listening this one I can advise “Steve In Wonderland” to people who like the old stuff, with a bit of a Seventies sound. Check http://www.stevefoglia.com

My rating: 78/100


STEEL RAISER – UNSTOPPABLE (Iron Shield Records)

Review by Sloof

Let’s face a conversation when you want to introduce an unknown band to a friend and cognoscente of Metal. Steel Raiser? Totally unknown! From Italy? I bet they will play Power Metal! Vocals will sound a bit lame and with an accent! The best way to convince and rubbing the eyes and ears is to insert the disc and let the music do the talking!

The album opens with a very direct guitar riff that has an awesome old school drive. The vocals of Alfonso Giordano add that vibe as Alfonso has a throat that will bang heads! He will secure that the audience is going wild, and while he’s filling his lungs with air, he’s raising his fist to pressuring the masses. ‘Inexorable’ is a Metal classic track that has all elements to become a masterpiece! Resemblances with old Accept, Grave Digger, Judas Priest and in some parts I hear a young Chuck Billy! The guitars keep on attacking and the pace is just perfect for a test of the neck muscles. Only advisable for trained and experienced Headbangers. ‘Decapitator’ continues this merciless onslaught, and again, the vocals of Alfonso make the difference. He’s really outstanding and while he’s yelling and screaming, he’s capable to add so much force and brutal power in the songs that every track is a feast for the ears!

I can’t say how long it’s been that I’ve enjoyed a Heavy Metal album that much! The speed is increasing but never over the top, the force is present all the time but not exaggerated, the metal is hot and heavy and ready to serve! This is a perfect reflection on how the good old days brought us joy, times where Helloween and Gamma Ray conquered our souls until today! I have the same idea about Steel Raiser. This band is bringing the glory of the good old days in a contemporary outfit and I just love it! The production and mastering of this album just fits like a glove, as it radiates old school with a very good sound.

When ‘Scent Of A Madness’ starts, we have a little time to gasp some air, as the pace of this song is average compared with the previous tracks. The vocal lines in this song are also adapted at the pace of the song and again, it proves that Alfonso Giordano is capable in bringing variety and that’s a very good thing! ‘Unstoppable’ is grinding at full speed again while ‘The Last Tears’ presents this band with an emotional touch as well, although it’s not a ballad at all. Worthy to check it out, as the vocal lines are very special and in duet, but additional info is not present on the infosheet!

There is also a video clip of ‘Decapitator’ on this disc and it’s worth to check out! Every member presents themselves as a true metal warrior and the passion for this kind of music is present all the way! Nice job guys!https://www.facebook.com/SteelRaiserOfficial / https://steelraiser.bandcamp.com/

My rating: 88/100 (Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)


STONEGRIFF – COME TASTE THE BLOOD (Metal On Metal Records)

Review by Stefan

The sophomore album of Swedish Traditional Doom merchants Stonegriff, “Come Taste The Blood”, offers seven new songs where darkness and serenity rule as one! The band’s previous effort, “Prologus Magicus”, got a high note from me, so in my opinion, it would be a difficult task to deliver an even better follow-up. Have they been able to maintain this high level of Doom Metal or not? Read my verdict below…

Stonegriff’s new album “Come Taste The Blood” has been launched on April 24th 2015, on the first day of the almighty Keep It True Festival in Germany. Like its predecessor, this effort was also released via Metal On Metal Records who have ensured that everything looks 100% professional, as usual. The production is very good, really heavy, as befits this type of music. Throughout the seven songs, Stonegriff showcase once again that their Doom Metal is excellent. Dark and gloomy songs come join your soul as they continue to stick for quite a while.

Stonegriff’s new record exudes pure bitterness and affliction translated into music by excellent players. Some time ago, one particular bastard claimed that Doom Metal is nothing but miserable music where no musical skill is required. Of course, this is absolute lunacy of someone who does not know what he’s talking about. I told the crazy man to watch/wash his mouth before speaking rubbish like that. Listening the Stonegriff’s new cut, well there is a whole lotta musical skill present, these guys are real good technically!

“Come Taste The Blood” opens with ‘Valkyrian Quest’, a mind expanding composition where the pace runs very slow in the beginning increasing to a slightly higher tempo a little further. Guitar runs deep and heavy, with a nod to Iommi from very early Black Sabbath era. Stonegriff has something special within its ranks: their singer! He’s a real all-rounder with regards to outstanding vocal delivery. Unique all the way. I have goosebumps, as the man’s vocal use ranges from clear standard to quite sharp and rough, and also the high pitched screams seem no problem for him. We can even speak of a necessary dose of melancholy! The title track comes rumbling through my speakers and the pace is a little more exhilarating. Great vocals once again, and the solo part at the end of the song gets a high score too.

When I’m listening to ‘Brother Cain’ a cold shiver runs down my spine, and again, it’s the frontman Jacob who’s responsible for it. Damn, what a great vocal performance, without a doubt he’s one of the best singers in the contemporary Doom Metal. The rhythm is effectively being reduced to very slow halfway through the song and is growing steadily as the end draws near. I have to mention also the great guitar solo. With the appropriate title like ‘In Doom We Trust’ these Swedish Doom merchants deliver during a running time of nearly 9 minutes a pleasant spectacle as the tempos are kept low and ultra heavy! Last one, ‘SALIGIA’, seduces me completely! Mighty, out of all proportion, superb vocal delivery, hellacious rhythm section, vehement drums and ten-ton hammer bass lines give a good support to the great guitar works, able to impress me through and through… My number one favourite song for sure!

Fans of Traditional Doom Metal on the hunt for musical perfection and good sound quality should have already ordered their copy of Stonegriff’s new album, “Come Taste The Blood”. Highly recommended to fans of Black Sabbath, Sorcerer, Krux and Candlemass mainly. Another highlight on the roster of Metal On Metal Records! Purchase at:

http://metal-on-metal.com/shop/#!/~/search/keywords=%22Come%20Taste%20the%20Blood%22&offset=0&sort=priceAsc . Follow the band on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/STONEGRIFFOFFICIAL

My rating: 85/100 (Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)


STREAM CITY – HOAX (Prime Collective)

Review by Sloof

Experimental Punk Rock? Is Punk meant to be experimental? I guess Sid Vicious and Malcolm McLaren (manager of The Sex Pistols) will need an emesis basin. But 40 years after punk developed in the U.S., U.K. and Australia, we might say it’s time for a revisited version. One of the Danish pioneers that gives an original twist on the initially called Punk genre is Stream City. Having teens at my own house, I know that punk isn’t dead, on the contrary! I dwell places in Belgium together with my teen daughter to check out the hottest newcomers like Of Mice & Men, All Time Low, Beartooth, Climates, Issues and other post-modern punk and emocore acts, but what Stream City achieved with their debut album ‘Hoax’ can be considered as European highlight!

‘Dystopia’ is a short intro, with a bombastic character that will lead us to a musical rollercoaster with a duration or an applicable ride of almost 50 minutes! ‘Poltergeist’ accelerates at maximum speed and spontaneously some bands pop up: Raunchy, Devin Townsend, just to name a few. As expected, the music of Stream City will guide you to all different angles and directions as the songs are heavy, but at the same time commercial, as it’s a Yin and Yang situation.

The title track of this outfit is peppered with melodies in the background, and while the vocals of Dion Lambrecht Finne is shaping the song in the right mood, the violin of Christian Hjort Lauritzen is adding a personal touch on the music of Stream City. The quartet of the band is anxious to spread their music on stages everywhere and I can’t blame them! I’m sure that mosh pits will arise and people will be slamming and banging in circles all around the places! The music of Stream City is energetic, manic, feverish and last but not least: original!

An extra person to mention is Matthias Rasmussen as he mixed all layers into one brilliant album. Every instrument, every detail is defined the best way possible, and believe me, it couldn’t be easy! I’m sure that you will be astonished with this release that combines so many styles and different paths that a whirlwind is just a fart. This is material that Les Claypool of Primus could deliver in his heydays! This is the commercial edge of Ne Obliviscaris, this is beyond every expectation, so there is only way to discover this gem: buy their album or check their teaser and first single release:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGfqvNGdsHA

If these youngsters continue to compose this way, their track ‘Prelude To An End’ will become reality: “Ego sum eternus, Ego sum immortals”, or nimble-witted: I am eternal, I am immortal. https://www.facebook.com/streamcity

My rating: 87/100 (Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)


STUD – RUST ON THE ROSE (Cranksonic / Metal Revelation)

Review by Officer Nice

I doubt many of you have the very first material of this band from out of Finland. It is dated 1986 and the lyrics were…in Finnish. I have never heard of this band that restarted their business in 2012. They reunited with a record that listens to the name “Out Of The Darkness” and now they are here with their follow-up album “Rust On The Rose”.

A nice front cover that made me think about a Progressive Metal band but Stud isn’t. These guys are delivering good melodic guitar oriented Heavy Metal. They remind me of bands like Triumph, (old) Riot, Anvil Chorus and even Oz, although less dark than this band that also headed from Finland. Stud brings old school Heavy Metal and during the entire album you will have that typical “Eighties” feeling although this album has a modern production.

Fans of good old schooled Heavy Metal with tons of awesome leads, good structured tracks and skilled arrangements will surely like this one. Ari Toivanen seems to be a very good singer, because of his vocal sound and his pair of strong lungs. I adore his screams and the way he is able to put that ‘extra’ touch into these tracks. Surely worth out checking are the often spectacular fast gingered guitars. The amazing guitar sound really makes this album jump ‘out of the box’ although you will not hear something new and innovating. Stud stands as a band and it’s rather clear some experienced musicians are at work here. This album is one of the kind you will give a lot of spins because it has that secretly seducing and addictive strength. This is a very good release that certainly deserves your attention. Check http://www.stud.fi.

My rating: 85/100 (Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)


SUNSHADOWS – RED HERRING (Fromtape Records)

Review by Sloof

A very decent Rock band with only little heaviness, so I guess that this band is rather mainstream and belongs on the stages of Rock Werchter and Pukkelpop instead of Graspop or Hellfest. What these lads deliver isn’t bad at all, but a bit too poppy in my opinion. Let’s say that they get a very fair treatment, as I give them the benefit of the doubt.

‘Sunshine’ is rather slow and dragging forward but this is music that enjoys me only a bit after a few spins. I prefer a Heavy guitar, some rolling drums and shredding strings instead of Alternative Rock. This is a band that fits on the national radios and even people who are into a rap style will be amused by songs like ‘Starlight’. I believe that this site isn’t the exact forum to promote this band, although I was average impressed about the final results. Sunshadows is a Rock band that delivers quality and will be cheered at mainly rock oriented stations, but our website focusses on a heavier layer and style.https://www.facebook.com/sunshadows.fr

My rating: 75/100 (Decent but best previewing)


SUICIDE ATTACK – PREPARE FOR ATTACK ! (Clenched Fist Records)

Review by Stefan

Dutch based Suicide Attack was founded by guitarist/vocalist Frans Swaters (ex-Stigma/X-TinXion) in 2014 and determined to take the fans of unadulterated Thrash Metal by surprise. Former Mental Illness/current Bestial Devastation axeman Eelco Klis, ex Motukai/Chaos drummer Jordy Zoethout and onetime X-TinXion/Headhaunter bassist Paul Van Son teamed up as one. The line-up of Suicide Attack was completed and with combined forces they were ready to take the European Thrash Metal scene by storm! It didn’t take long before they set the stage ablaze, first in row The Watergate Metalfest has been able to captivate the audience with full force, Suicide Attack ruled with might ! It was a night that has not gone unnoticed, the band booked more and more gigs and shared the stage with the famous, first Anthrax frontman Neil Turbin (and its Deathstars band) during the Fistful Of Metal Alive Europe Tour. They also played with Dutch Cult Heavy Metal giants Martyr, X-TinXion, Evil Invaders and many more. Conclusion on the band’s live actions so far: vigorous, energetic, furious and explosive… Suicide Attack ensure a solid night of thoroughbred Thrash Metal so don’t hesitate to book these guys whenever you want !

So far, nothing but praise to the address of these Dutch thrashers and there is more good news to come. Check it out, on June 6th. Suicide Attack will unleash their EP called “Prepare For Attack!” through Belgian label Clenched Fist Records. I was privileged to hear the 4 new songs added to the effort and was simply blown out of my socks. I can describe the EP in one single word, awesome !

First song called ‘Suicide Attack’ starts with the words ‘Ladys And Gentlemen, Prepare Yourselves For A Shock’… wise words that reveal the truth as the song really takes off, you’re warned. A strong riff and a lethal shriek in the vein of Tom Araya’s scream on ‘Angel Of Death’ opening the spectacle, what follows is breathtaking and delicate for the cervical spine. High speed velocity Thrash Metal with a nod to the old school US scene and rhythmic sections likewise Death Angel, Hades, Slayer, early Megadeth, Animosity, Whiplash among other. The aggressive vocals in a perfect domineering role, he takes the band in tow and succeeds completely in his plan. Nipping, hard pounding Metal drums and the bass lines keep the musical balance alive and kicking. Last but definitely not least, the guitar solo’s are able to convince me all because of the technical way these are managed. And there is more speed and aggression on its way, buckle up for second ‘assault on the ears’ entitled ‘The Shadow’. Fast and furious rhythms, technically designed riffs and leads, full scale aggressive vocals… just another killer neck wrecking composition ! And the story repeats itself with next track ‘Waste Of Time’ and last one ‘Who’s Laughing Now’. Because of the multifaceted nature, my preference has fallen on both first and last track.

No doubt about, Suicide Attack will leave a lot of dust in the world of the nowadays Thrash Metal movement. I think these guys are ready to get on the road and play some big festivals where Thrash Metal artists gather as one. To promote their new EP “Prepare For Attack!”, the band will climb the stage to open up the Belgian based Metal Over Oostrozebeke Festival on June 13, 2015. Other acts on the bill that day are: At The Front, Guilty As Charged, Downcast Collision and headliner Fireforce. It’ll will be a raging, hot boiling feast on Metal where I, hopefully, can be a part of. The festival is known for its good reputation and pleasant atmosphere year after year so be there facing a.o. Suicide Attack, Holland’s Thrash Metal sensation at the moment. Check ‘em out at: https://nl-nl.facebook.com/SuicideAttackMetal

My rating: 86/100 (Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)


SUNRUNNER – HELIODROMUS (Minotauro Records)

Review by Nathan McLeod

Must say, ‘Sunrunner’ is a really strange combination of ‘prog-metal’, ‘rock ‘n’ roll’, ‘doom & power metal’, ‘jazz’, ‘prog rock’, with some ‘exotic’ twists including their ‘brass & woodwinds’ that you’d typically hear coming from ‘Chicago Transit Authority’ & ‘Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention’. (RIP Terry & Frank)

‘Sunrunner’s’ genre or type of music really is not my ‘preference’. But I take notice of the ‘extreme’ & ‘unlimitless’ talent these ‘Portland, Maine’ natives bring to the table with ‘Heliodromus’. And would suppose if so many ‘genre’s’ of music had not been ‘fuzed’ together, it may have made the listening pleasure a bit more ‘pristine’. Production on ‘Heliodromus’ is off the charts! You lads have ‘excellent’ engineering skills! You also have some VERY ‘brilliant’ CD art!

An older track (I believe) from ‘Sunrunner’, titled ‘Race To Olympus’ can he viewed on YouTube:https://youtu.be/8xtU1XFVpIs

My rating: 82/100 (Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)

‘Sunrunner’ line-up:

*David Joy – Vocals/Acoustic & Electric Bass/Trombone

*Erik Neilson – Acoustic & Electric Guitar/Baritone Ukulele/Vocals

*Joe Martignetti – Electric & Acoustic Guitar/Bouzouki/Backing Vocals

*Ted MacInnes – Drumset/Percussion/Vocals

‘Heliodromus’ track info:

I) Dies Natalis Soli Invicti, II) Keepers Of The Rite, III) Corax, IV) The Horizon Speaks, V) Star Messenger, VI) The Plummet, VII) Technology’s Luster, VIII) Passage, IX) Heliodromus; total run-time 57:37

‘Sunrunner’ contact info:

*ReverbNation: https://www.reverbnation.com/sunrunnermusic

*Website: http://www.minotaurorecords.com/ or http://www.sunrunnermusic.com/

*E-mail: minotauro.usa@gmail.com

*Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sunrunnermusic/timeline


SUNS OF STONE – II (Bad Reputation Records)

Review by Sloof

Guitar riffs inspired by the blues, arrangements where power and rock is present all the time, honest lyrics about everyday life and a vocalist that has a hoarse voice. Let me welcome you to Suns Of Stone, hailing from Canada!

It all started when Jimmy and Alex formed a band prior to Suns Of Stone, and after recruiting vocalist Alan, they teared down the roof with an extraordinary version of Deep Purple’ ‘Space Trucking’. There was magic in the air, there was chemistry born, so they decided to start all over with a new band, that was the time Suns Of Stone was born! The quest for a bass player started and finally Andrew completed the lineup. First goal was to play the smaller pubs and clubs in the Ottawa area (we speak 2012), but quickly the band expanded their ways to nearby cities and larger venues.

A first EP was recorded, followed by a first full length album (we speak 2013). Now it’s time to broaden their horizons with a second album, aiming for the stars and beyond as they want to see the world, and we’re talking about short time limit! Classic Hard Rock is always and will always be the cradle of many different music styles. If you want to compete, you have to be good, very good, and Suns Of Stone are beyond that level! The new album covers 11 tracks and has a playing time of 40 minutes, which is perfect to give you a shot of energy, a Rock’n Roll boost that will keep you going for hours!

‘Had To Let You Go’ opens with furious guitars, where Rock’n Roll is very close to Blues Rock. Some more direct aggression can be found in ‘Black Cat’, while some mystic elements are present in a lesser direct track ‘Head Down’. We go back in time with ‘My Temple’ where the whiskey and pubs are glorified! Some good old Ted Nugent is lurking behind the corner in the song ‘Fool For Ruin’ and we end this album is a modest mode with the song ‘Self Restraint’. Suns Of Stone is a bunch of musicians that have a passion for Rock with a Bluesy twist but with enough power and strength to appeal to a lot of music adepts. The vocals of Alan are really enjoyable and they fit with the arrangement!

Their first album scored 90/100, and I have the idea that the new material is of equal quality. A fair deal and score results in the same rating! Purchase at: http://www.cargo-records.de/en/item/93515/katalog_art.123.html Suns Of Stone Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sunsofstone/

My rating: 90/100 (Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan)


 SYSTEM OVERTHROW – SYSTEM OVERTHROW (Indepenent)

Review by Stefan

What began as a Testament tribute band a couple of years ago culminated in a full-fledged, four piece Metal act which put their mark on good old-fashioned Speed/Thrash Metal ever since. System Overthrow has become the story of three men and one woman coming from both Holland and Belgium, different musical backgrounds who have found each other through their passion for Metal music ! System Overthrow’s first piece of evidence came about with a self- titled, three song promo CD which left a good impression within the underground Metal movement. I have searched the Internet looking for reviews regarding this CD, and indeed, the critics seem very promising.

Being totally unfamiliar with the band, I still looked out for their independent, full length, debut effort that will be available as of August 2015. Packed as a good looking digi-pack and the production comes from their own hands, this self titled album loaded with 8 tracks brings back the good old days of US Speed/Thrash Metal winking to Traditional Heavy/Power Metal. Not taking the nowadays Metal scene into consideration, System Overthrow’s new album is able to bring my ‘five+ decades old neck muscles’ back to life. They bring us Metal which knew heydays during the 80s era, there’s a strong connection with greats like Testament, Metallica, Agent Steel, Helstar, Exodus, Tyrant’s Reign, Hellhound USA, E-X-E and stuff.

This new CD gives me the opportunity to get acquainted with their previous 3-piece demo release, all of the tracks are present and has enchanted me completely. ‘System Overthrow’ is a brief and very energetic old school inspired Speed/Thrash Metal song with chopping guitar lines and outstanding vocals ! The man holding the mic boom firmly in control named Willy Van Der Kaa has the perfect throat fitting this type of Metal music. Willy’s standard vocal lines are strong, pretty raw and powerful but when he reduces his voice to a high-pitched level, my heart rate goes berserk. He comes very close to the level of ‘high-pitched’ grandmasters likewise John Cyriis (ex-Agent Steel), Mike Sanders (Toxik), John Stewart (Slauter Xstroyes), Jon Fagan (ex-Steel Assassin), Justin Fate (ex-Damien Thorne). Fact is that the frontman of System Overthrow seems able to keep a good control between both standard and high pitched vocal lines, great singer anyway !

Second song from the demo called ‘Lycanthropy’ and is manufactured by the same quality of Classic Speed ‘Bay Area’ styled Metal… you won’t hear me grumbling at all because this is the way of Metal I grew up with, a time I will cherish forevermore ! Last song from the demo entitled ‘Fallen Angel’ comes trotting along with less speed but is certainly not an inferior track, on the contrary. Less high speed velocities but more variety come to light and that’s why I like this composition so much. A rationally thrashy one with a strong nod to Heavy/Power Metal we used to know from the good old Texas Metal movement. During the first few minutes of this song, the guitar riff is obviously based on Helstar’s one and only classic entitled ‘Run With The Pack’ ! Being an ardent worshipper of these ‘Gods Of Texas Metal’ myself right from their early days, I can tell that System Overthrow’s ‘Fallen Angel’ got me by the throat from start to finish !

The new songs also blow me away in no time, it’s simple like that. I just like their style of Metal and definitely the frontman’s way of vocal delivery. The overall level of the entire cut reached a high level, all because of their old school, mostly US inspired tactics offered in a decent manner. Fast, hard pounding drums supported by firm bass lines and about the guitar works, I have no reason to complain at all. The riffs are witty, striking, incisively… in short, very thoughtful. With reference to the solo guitar division…well, System Overthrow has a lot in promotion for all of you out there as well !

I just met a band those who took me by complete surprise, it’s their first full-length album but definitely not their last one, I’m pretty sure about that. System Overthrow is an unsigned band at the moment and must get rid of this statute, they need and deserve to be noticed by a proper record label the sooner the better. That’s why I’d like ya’ll to spread the word of System Overthrow, a promising Speed/Thrash Metal outfit which apparently gives a damn about the contemporary Metal movement. A decision that has been made by themselves – a decision I respect with all of my heart, great album anyway ! Order on the double at: https://www.facebook.com/systemoverthrow , check their official ‘lightning-charged Metal’, homepage at: http://www.system-overthrow.com/

My rating: 86/100 (Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)


SWABIA METAL COMPILATION VOL. 1 – BARBAROSSA’S RETURN (Baden Metal Records)

Review by Sloof

After some Baden Metal compilation albums (Flight Of The Griffin, The Griffin Has Landed), it’s time took hook up with another volume. This time, it’s called Swabia Metal Compilation, and Volume 1 gets the title: Barbarossa’s Return. Well, I was glad to receive another overview of that German scene, as the quality of these compilation albums is always top notch, and this time, they surpassed their own high level on every item. Let’s have a look at the bands that are mainly unknown so far.

Circle Of Silence opens this 17 track album with a fantastic track, probably the best start they could hope for, with an outstanding song. ‘Blood Of Enemies’ has a good melody, a modern approach, great vocals by Nick which result in a band that we will keep our eyes on. This is the best way to start a compilation album, and luckily, there are many more bands to follow that have the same ambition! Warcry their track ‘Storming The Gates’ has a more dated sound and a twist to the NWOBHM scene, but all in all, it’s a good continuation with nice pace and awesome guitar solos by The Axeman and The Gravewarrior.

We continue with Strangelet and their ‘The Privilege Of Power’ where heaviness seems to be an important factor. The quality increases with Vanish with a track from their ‘Come To Wither’ album. This one is originally released by Massacre Records and I reviewed this German high class band with a total score of 90/100 points! (check this link to read the whole review: http://metaltoinfinity.be/CDREVIEWS_UVWXYZ/vanish_cometowither.html). Their song ‘Bless The Buried Child’ is one of the highlights on this Swabia Metal Compilation album! TwentyDarkSeven delivers a high Speed Metal song that has resemblances with the U.S. Metal scene. The vocals of Marcus Jurgens interact perfectly with the guitars of Peter Wagner and halfway the track, we get some rock’n roll twists when the chorus appears. There are many great vocalists on this compilation album, for example Astoryas who have some Hammerfall influences in their arrangement, and again, I must mention the chorus line as it lingers on and on in my head afterwards!

Deathiny is the first band that has Gothic/Epica influences and when the vocals of Julia Mann contribute, we get a total different band, compared with the first 6 acts. Their song ‘Descending’ ads a lot of variety and it turns out to be an outstanding arrangement! Some eastern/oriental influences appear in the song Scylla from Mooncry. It’s a combination of Pagan with a very own identity, and the end result is good, but not striking. If I have to mention the most surprising band from this Volume 1, I guess that I will mention Circus Of Fools who contributed with ‘Visions Fade’. Melancholy meets Gothic, female vocals interact with male vocals, and the songs will need a few spins to discover the gem. Sure, it’s something to check out!

We continue with an extreme approach as Crystal Crow delivers a song with grunts and growls but also with outstanding vocals in the second part of the track. For some reason, I had to think on Epysode while listening to ‘Dorian Gray’. Nice job, Crystal Crow! Totengefluster is a Black/Death metal act that likes to bring their metal in the vein of Cradle Of Filth, albeit it lesser extreme. Some bombastic moments are presented by An Act Of Grace that I consider as average. If you want a wall of sound, listen to Thy Final Pain, that succeeded in some Amon Amarth vocals, combined with a musical impression that surprised me! Their track is called ‘Obedience’, and it all sounds very heavy for a trio! Same story goes for the band Crimson Death and their track ‘Once They Tasted Blood’. I told it already a few times, but I definitely have to mention the bandZanthropya Ex and their vocalist Schinder Papst! What a voice! Awesome, once again!

Doom Division is decreasing the quality with their ‘Jesus Chrysler’ and the last band could be described as the band with lesser quality: Unbound… sorry dudes, but this time, last but not least isn’t valid… I’m not convinced about their ‘Race Against Time’, but that’s one of the exceptions on this whole compilation album.

Conclusion on Barbarossa’s Return? Outstanding compilation, that is available at very cheap price and there are really interesting bands on it! Keep up the good work, and I’m already longing for the successor! Available for only 5 Euro, send your order request to: shop@baden-metal.de Visit Baden Metal’s FB page at: https://de-de.facebook.com/BadenMetal/

My rating: 85/100 (Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)