SCARLET ANGER - "Dark Reign"
Release Date: 2012 - Dust on the Tracks
Metal from Luxembourg ? I am wondering if I ever knew a band from this small country. The only that comes in mind is Clean State, a modern thrash, death metal band.
But here we have another one....Scarlet Anger. Founded in 2007 this band is playing thrash metal and the first full time album, called „Dark Reign“ is out now. The album was mastered by Annihilatior's Jeff Waters, not the worst adress in metal music.
The creature that has a look on you on the album cover with it's devilish eyes promises not to find happiness on the album at all.....
„Dark Reign“ is separated in two chapters. Chapter 1: Kill the King and Chapter 2: ....the King is Dead, long live the King.
First song“New God Rising“ is in the tradition of older european thrash bands like Sodom or Kreator. Slower parts change with speed thrash lines. Shouter Joe Block performs aggressive and hard enough, sometimes blurred, sometimes high.
A well known riff opens „My Battlefield“. Straight thrash guitars and a refrain that contains battlefield shouts are the trademarks of this song. Short Metallica solo rounds it up.
„From Fool to King“ next starts stamping and with marching guitars. The vocals work again more and more with echoes to underline the battle image. Typical thrash lightnings arranged by guitarists
Fred Molitor and Jeff Buchette. Nothing really new. A fast played guitar solo and some elements that remember a little to Testament ends it. Best song for me so far.
More US Style trash in „Game Over“. Overkill comes in mind. Really fast and brutal. Joe Block shouts his lung out and the guitars working furious. Cool smasher !!
Same with „Face of Evil“. Heavy riffing, sometimes weird. The refrain this time offers some kind of aggressive harmonies. As reference point maybe we can tell the last Heathen album.
Chapter 2 begins withtThe title track next....a highspeed blast with some slower elements when the band hits the brake.
Curious screams of Joe that seems he is puking makes it a little funny. More various in sound is „Follow the Order“, partly hard, partly slowing down, high screams.
Nothing more to say new about the next song. Only „Tenfold“ is breaking out of the row. This song owns nearly an epic touch. Heavy, doomy...then getting faster. I would say this is an epic thrash song. Interesting and well played.
The battle ends with „My Empire coming down“. It seems that Scarlet Anger also listened to Metallica's Master of Puppets a lot. The epic touch continues. A battle field thrash hymn. Harmonies changes with shreds. Good song to kicks you out the album.
Well....Scarlet Anger don't invent the thrash wheel new. The battlefield image offers a little charm. But there is nothing really new that we never heard before. The band quotes to the whole thrash scene and all the famous bands of europe or the states. Overkill, Sodom, Destruction, Testament, Metallica....to name a few.
The missing originality prevents a higher assessment in this review...but now we know that also luxembourg can thrash. Good album for sure...maybe next time with more own colours.
Points: 7 / 10
Review by Kerbinator
WINTER CRESCENT - "Battle of Egos"
Release Date: 2009 - self-released
“Technique made in Psiloritis”
My happiness for this demo cannot be hidden. Firstly it is really hard to believe that I have to do with a demo and not with a full – length. This because its production is so perfect, all the instruments sound so clear, that nothing seems to be a drawback in this material. Especially this majestic drumming is from the best I have heard the last years. I am sure that none of may know these guys and I do not blame you for that. Winter Crescent come from Crete, the biggest island in Greece.
Now, what this demo may offer to you? If you are a progster trust that this material hardly will get out of your mind. They are playing progressive metal, but not on a ususal way. I am not saying that they are doing something new, but their way is not so common as what you are listening to the last months. Behind and inside their songs the technical art of Death exists, shouts, but it is not complaining for immitation. On the contrary, their deep inspiration make them create something personal that owns exclusivelly to them.
What if their lyrics are talking about spiritual fights of the human being. Yes, they are not the first who did that. As I have mentioned and in other texts; it does not matter what you write or present, but how you do it. Especially in the “Battle of Egos 2″ the lyrics could not have a better marrige with those sick – fats guitar parts. The progressive holocaust is being completed by the vocals of Nikos Spiridakis. He may not be the best singer, but his deep contribution and his emotional sync gives another tone to the music. Sometimes he reminds me of the way that Warrel Dane used to sing in Nevermore.
I hope this demo will be just the beginning of a great musical travel for Winter Crescent. I am saying that because some bands are used to releasing great demos or EPs, but their continuity with their albums is not commensurate to what the first did. So can not wait for their first full – length and guys out there check this demo without any doubt!
Review by Dr. Feelgood
ARJEN LUCASSEN - "Lost in the New Real"
23 April 2012 - InsideOut Music
The maestro Arjen Anthony Lucassen offers his third solo album „Lost in the New Real“. Most of you know him from his first class rock operas Ayreon and Star One. This concept album shows what can happen if you let yourself conserving in liquid nitrogen short before dying and been reawaken 100 years later. In a time, that is complete different to the time you know and where the borders between reality and fiction are not defined clearly. For don’t getting mad with this a physiological consultant called Dr. Voight-Kampff helps him. Spoken from Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner)….a good choice. It is a question of censorship, birth control, religion and other actual themes in our times. All is done with a bit of humor cause this is a music album and not a political roundtable.
It starts with the song „The new Real“. A more quiet sound that remembers to the 70′s. What I like in Arjen songs are the well made tempo and style changes. The songs in between are interrupted from Dr. Voight-Kampff that brings you down a little bit to be prepared for the next songs.
Those who are awaiting a prog rock album in the tradition of Ayreon of Star One are wrong here. This is the most unusual album of Arjen. Not only that he hasn’t this time an amount of high quality guest singers….also the different musical facettes like rock, metal, pop, folk, industrial are changing all the time in unusual ways. Wilmer Waarbroek as background singer should be named here again.
This unusual album will not satisfy everyone with the first listening….but the more you do the more you will get hooked on it. So…attention !! This album has addictive quality…you should be warned !
It is produced in Arjen’s familiar high musical quality and will enthuse every fan. Those who didn’t know Arjen Lucassen so far (are there really some ?) should better listen to Ayreon or Star One first.
Summary: This album shouldn’t be missed out, even if it is flashing with the second listen. The only thing to criticize is that the songs have not the usual lengths like ever…for me they are much too short.
Review by Angel
WARDRUM - "Desolation!
25 April 2012 – Steel Gallery Records
“This is what we call professionalism”
For many years the Greek metal scene has been a place of underground music only for some people from Greece, but right now things have changed to the better side of this. New bands full of will, honor and seriousness tend to bring Greece once and for all in the center of the world metal map. One of those bands is Wardrum, who the last year released their debut “Spadework” and this year will offer their second album “Desolation”.
The fact that without losing time and after a year they record their second album means two things. Firstly, they prove that they are not a random band empty of efforts and dreams and secondly, they improve their more than obvious love for US power/prog. If you like Symphony X, Lethal, Jag Panzer and many more bands of this kind, then you will be satisfied. They are careful and they do not compose songs, which could be characterized as an imitation, but the use clues from the above bands as their mediums for the achievement of their goal.
The songs whether they are technical like “Common Ground” and “Urban Storm” or catchy like “Parental” and “About In Nothing”, can stay in mind at once. This mostly because of their powerful sound, which is neither tired nor overloaded and the absence of keyboards is the extra key to the success. Actually this absence works more as an advantage for the band. Also there are and the fast songs like “Unforgiving” and “No Retreat” in which when it is the time for its solo you think that you hear Andy LaRocque in the place of Kostas Vretos. Kostas is so creative, that you will await for the solos to come.
I really want to mention the contribution of Kostas Kourou on drums. This guy plays everything you cannot imagine. If you expect to hear something simple, you will hear a technical part and if you are ready for difficult parts you will hear the simplicity on his playing. All these are called personal identity, a necessary clue for an upcoming band as I have mentioned many times in other texts.
Albums like “Desolation” in the past, especially in Greece, were difficult to be found or to be maintained against time. The productions then did not have the comforts and the abilities of nowadays and there was not too a man who apart from his participation as a great bass player would be and the producer. Do you know what else we miss from the past days? The authenticity of the singer. Yannis Papadopoulos is just himself, he is not trying to reach the levels of any other famous singer and this makes my day!
The guys in the song “F.A.I.T.H.” have a verse which says “Tell me you‘re truth and I’ll believe you”. Well Wardrum show that they are truth and I believe them and this is what you have to do too if this material grabs you.
Review by Dr. Feelgood
KREATOR - "Phantom Antichrist"
Release Date: 01. June 2012 - Nuclear Blast
“Thrash of human truth”
Humanity divided in two or more pieces, total hate everywhere and kindness nowhere. Plastic flowers for salvation and love into bottles covered with an expiration date. Power of politicians against the freedom of people. Adulterated religion and the only God is some colorful currency and an ideological democracy. All the above words, phrases and meanings are represented mysically and artistically by Kreator. There is not any of their albums that indiffernet for all those happening in a society.
That’s exactly happening and in the very good “Phantom Antichrist”, in which every song is an absolute truth. Honestly the part of lyrics has affected me a lot and its weight is similar to that of the music part. Even if you get carried away by the thrashy riffs, the unstoppable drumming and those great solos, I don’t think there will be a moment that you won’t think of the lyrics. But the whole weight of the album is not only based on lyrics. Its freshness makes the difference and this is something that bands like Kreator should search for in every new album. Because this will make understand that they are not reccurents with theirselves.
Mille is exactlly the one that must be in the album and expresses deeply what he has written. He doesn’t shout meaningless “we are legions united in hate”, he really wants to say something through this at the end of “United in Hate”. Also the rest of the members couldn’t be better. But I want to mention mostly the contribution of Sami. He is for fourth album in the band and by his playing he confirms why he is the second guitarist. The evidences are in “From Flood into Fire” (my favorite song), “The Few, The Proud, The Broken” and “Victory Will Come”. He concludes and covers in the same time Mille and there are also some moments where Mille is right behind him. All the guitar parts are being played according to the German technique and don’t get wondered if you listen to a little bit Blind Guardian in “Until Our Path Cross Again”. This is the experimental way that Kreator are used to following the last years and also keep in mind that Blind Guardian used to have some thrashy elements in their early beginnings.
There is much melodie in the album, just like in “Enemy of God”, but this isn’t bad. On the other hand that kind of melody is compromised with ther social concerns. Listen carefully to the lyrics and feel them. Of course, that doesn’t mean that Kreator have changed dramatically and suddenly they became sweet. Never think of it or else you forget what you are listening to. That’s thrash metal form Kreator in nowadays and you just can choose whether you like it or not.
Review by Dr. Feelgood
ETERNAL FLIGHT - "Dimished Reality, Elegies and Mysteries (d.r.e.a.m.s.)"
Release Date: 04 November - YesterRock
Latest album of french prog/power metallers Eternal Flight. This third one is called „‘Dimished Reality, Elegies and Mysteries (d.r.e.a.m.s.)“ and should be, if we can trust the band's info, their most variable album so far. Founded back in 2001 by vocalist Gerard Fois, who played in the band Dream Child before, Eternal Flight was standing for finest prog metal in the line of Symphony X, Nevermore and similar. Is this the next step to climb the progressive throne ?
After a one minute Intro „Release the Unreal“ starts as a highly powerful smasher. Complex sounds and vocals sometimes dark, sometimes high let it feel like Judas Priest going progressive. The knowledge of the musicians is present from the first second . Hard power metal track with progressive elements.
Piano/keys together with guitar riffs open „Firedancer“. Based on dark grounds the song is more held in midtempo. Gerard Fois performs partly with old school metal vocals, partly with really high screams. Lots of harmonies in the refrain and some guitar solos before the song quietly fades out.
Kansas comes in mind as „Fantasea“ starts. Mighty drums build the main wall of this pure prog metal track. Mystic sounds everywhere. Sometimes playful, sometimes combined with hard riffs. Interrupted by a spoken word part, mysterious and fearful. A song that will not disappoint any prog metal fan. This one has all a song of this style needs. Great arrangements, variable vocals, lots of breaks. Big one !!
More speedful again we find „Freedom is our race“. Double bass drums, galopping riffs, some keys in the back. Remembers a little to straighter Symphony X tracks. Not bad but a bit suitable.
Acoustical guitars open „Nightmare King“. Hard riffing to follow. Like Nevermore at it's best. Also the vocals remembers a lot to Warrel Dane. Great guitar work of Julien Bouvier and Chris Gojon. Complex structures, twin vocals, punching drums....this one owns all a Nevermore song needs. Faster parts change with slower ones. Progressive metal in perfection. Powerful and intelligent. Great song !!
„Black Sun“ shines with acoustic guitars and balladesque vocals. Dreamful and mysterious. Big melodies, big feelings. This one could stand also on newer Marillion albums.
...and the acoustic guitar continues first on „The Meeting“. But it seems we are heading to the east. Oriental sounds up now...before the song becomes another harder played progmetal song. For me a little boring in the vocal lines but with great music arrangements. Like I said...a bit oriental orientated. Breaks, slower parts, riffings, slower parts, riffings, breaks....this song is challenging you. Not very easy to listen. Paradise for prog metal gourmets.
Back on the harder streets with „The Tower“. Fast and hard song with background keys. More a power metal smasher again. Straight forward with higher vocals. Great guitar duel rounds up a dynamic song nearly without breaks. Good contrast to the song before.
Not the last song, but it is called „Goodbye“. Starts as a ballad with extreme slow vocals and piano. After three minutes string players appear and the song moves to another prog metal epic. Remembers me a bit to Eternity X (does anyone still knows this band?). Melodic, full of harmonies. Also Shadow Gallery can be named as a big influence here. Wonderful guitar lines, monumental arrangements. This song shows perfect what excellent musicians are at work. The song fades out in elegian way with piano and guitars. What a great song !!
„Night People“ kicks you out of this album. One of the hardest songs at last. Some kind of Priest's Jawbreaker. But it is a Dio cover. Pumping bass, power drums and really heavy guitars hit your face in a strong way. The ideal punch to throw you out of this album.
Eternal Flight show with their third album again how it works to combine complex progmetal epics in the line of Nevermore, Symphony X or Dream Theater with power heavy songs in the tradition of Judas Priest, Sabbath or even Iron Maiden.
There is no reason to discus about the qualities of the musicians. Lots of experience and knowledge is showing up. Gerard Fois voice can stand in the line of heroes like Warrel Dane, Russel Allen or Rob Halford without problems.
Sure...the wheel is not be explored new, but cause of the great song arrangements and the mix of longer prog metal epics and shorter power metal smashers there is no reason to classify this album in higher ranks. A must have for fans of the above named bands and all who like intelligent hard played music.
Points: 8,5 / 10
Review by Kerbinator
GRENOUER - "Computer Crime"
Released: 2011 - Copro Records
Russian band Grenouer is a band that had to fight in the past years with several line up changes, different music styles and label split up's. Their debut album lies back in 1996 and with five full length albums the band can look back to a long way with lots of experience. What was pure death metal first changed to core with industrial elements, modern metal and progressive sounds.
The newest output is a 5-track-release called „Computer Crime“ that was produced an mixed by Anssi Kippo who also worked with bands like TO/DIE/FOR, Omnium Gathererum or Malpractice.
Current Line up:
Ind – Vocals
Motor – Guitars/Bass
Arbue – Guitars
Coroner – Drums
The opening track “Last Stop” appears with modern layed guitars , clean vocals and progressive sounds. In the refrain the band works with echoes. The guitars are played a little distracted like we know it from industrial bands. The vocals of Ind are warm and clear in higher spheres. Catchy and sometimes complex. Good song for modern metal dance floors.
“Rejected” opens with a strong bass orientated part combined with deep timed guitars. Sometimes for me the vocals sound to friendly, more power behind would be a nice thing. No guitar solos, no wall of power, typical for modern metal. But the band points with their progressive vibes that we can find in some breaks.
Atmospheric, relaxing start in “See no Sun”. Acoustical, dreamful guitar and the warm vocals are the base here. Progressive Rock track inspired by bands like Porcupine Tree. In the middle a harder and crazy break appears. A riff combined with grunts. Only to continue then with the journey to happiness.
Back on more metal track we are with “Fix your life”. Guitars as we know it from bands like Green Day, Soilwork or sometimes newer Sepultura. But over all there are the clean vocals sounds that takes away brutality and aggression. Modern Metal as we know it.
Interesting percussion part at the beginning of “Golden Years”. Again a more relaxing, swinging song. Far away from any metal sounds. Friends of alternative progressive sounds will like it. Smashing Pumpkins could be named here as influence. Doesn't hurt anyone....only the strange snippet in the end.
Grenouer changed their kind of music a lot in their career. Now they stopped at alternative, modern metal and progressive music. This mini album can be spread in two parts. The more heavy, alternative metal dancefloor parts and the relaxing progressive parts. Not bad, but not new at all.
I am curious about their next full length album.
Points: 6,5 / 10
Review by Kerbinator
ADRAMELCH - "Lights from Oblivion"
Release Date: 27 April 2012 – Pure Prog Records
I am sure that Adramelch have many fans not only in Italy, but all over the world. This because of their style or to set it much better, as they used to play, on progressive metal way. Right now things have changed somehow. No they did not change their style, they keep playing progressive, but progressive rock. I suppose that this may make some of their fans feel strange.
So, let us get deeper in the album. The first image that my mind created after some listenings was that Adramelch want to play on a way that Jethro Tull first showed. Do not get confussed, they are not playing like Jethro Tull, but when you are going to hear the songs you will get to the point of what I am talking about. All the songs are really interesting and if you want to get warm before listen to the new Rush album then “Islands Of Madness”, “We March We Fall” and “Beyond A Lifetime” will be you best company. All the acoustic parts are being compined greatly with all the electric moments.
Also it is obvius that you wikk find many affects within the songs whether the band have thought of them or not. Listen to “King (Of The Rain Of Tomorrow)” and make sure that Opeth are in here. This song could easily be in the tracklist of “Damnation” and Adramelch prove for thirs time that they can synthsize inspired songs. The whole atmosphere is clearly progressive rock, but you can find out the Iron Maiden rhythm sections on guitars. The most obvious moment for my previous statement is the instrumental one “Chiaroscuro”; melodic and cathcy too.
What makes me have a not so good thought of the album is the way of the production. It is clear, but I do not understand why Vittorio Ballerio sounds only from the one side and from the other you listen only to guitars and the rest of the instruments. This is only a small moment in a whole beautiful album.
Anyway, Adramelch live from 1986 and till today they are alive. Some of the old fans may not like, where some new progsters may like it more than they could expect. Personally I really enjoy it and I keep enjoying it. It is up to you, but give it a chance and do not hang yourselves by my words.
Points: 7 / 10
Review by Dr. Feelgood
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