Starting out in 2008 as a neoclassical power metal act, Finnish band Amberian Dawn have continued to evolve and refine their sound over the years. Now, with their ninth full-length release, Looking For You (Napalm Records), the band have decided to fully embrace their already less than hidden inner Abba, even recording in Benny Andersson’s own studio and using some of the legendary Swedish pop band’s original equipment. Continue reading
There’s a wonderfully surreal moment in The Simpsons when Abe Simpson inexplicably proclaims, “the Swedish are coming! The Swedish are coming!”. Well, tonight in frosty Birmingham, that’s exactly what’s happening. Hailing from the land of Abba, Ikea, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, three of the finest exponents of melodic death metal have landed in Blighty to bang heads and kick bottom. Continue reading
Unashamedly 1980’s in their approach to Metal, Enforcer were formed in Sweden in 2004 but it could just as easily have been LA in 1982. All leather, spandex, studded belts and dodgy haircuts, the Scandinavian four-piece tend to unfairly get lumped in with novelty acts such as Steel Panther, but are easily one of the better exponents of the retro Metal movement.
For those of a certain age, the news that twenty-five years have passed since the death of Kurt Donald Cobain will scarcely be believable. But it is 25 years and yes, you do now feel old. You probably still feel sad and melancholy. Time has a terrible way of playing tricks with your memory but the passing of Nirvana’s frontman still resonates as if it were yesterday. The past remains, undoubtedly, a foreign country but I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing. I was in laundrette in Bristol, England doing a weekend load of washing (this is what students did then). I was listening to the BBC on my five-year-old Sony radio walkman- remember those?- when the terrible, heart-stopping news came through on that grey, terrible slate grey April day.
Since the release of their debut album in 2010, Swedish act Ghost has divided the Metal community like no other band has for years. Frequently berated for a seemingly endless list of equally meaningless reasons, you just know the band are laughing themselves stupid underneath their masks each time the latest horde of terminally outraged cynics appear, summoned to their keyboards, as if by magic, whenever the word “Ghost” is mentioned on the internet, to inform the world using block capitals that “they’re just ripping off Blue Öyster Cult and Mercyful Fate”, “they’re not metal”, or “they’re only a gimmick anyway” etc. etc.
Yawn. Continue reading
Famous for his series of amazing YouTube video series 10 Second Songs, metal musician Anthony Vincent is back with another set of parody tracks. Hear him take on pop hits such as Britney Spears ‘Hit Me One More Time’, ABBA‘s ‘Dancing Queen,’ and Taylor Swift‘s ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ and recreate them in the style of Metallica. For this video Anthony recruited his friend and guitarist Eric (EROCK) Calderone. Continue reading
The Ghost Cult album round-up is back in town, for your vulgar delectation… Continue reading
When Battle Beast guitarist and co-founder Anton Kabanen left the band in 2015 shortly after their third album Unholy Savior (Nuclear Blast) had topped the charts in their native Finland, it left the remaining members somewhat unsure of their future. Continue reading
Despite a typical rainy evening in Manchester, the rock and roll spirit of tonight’s crowd cannot be dampened as a night of rousing heavy metal is to follow. Tonight’s headliners Fozzy have continually brought their high energy show to England, acquiring a credible reputation for their unforgettable performances. Still reveling in the success of their 2014 opus Do You Wanna Start A War (Century Media) they are back and ready to ignite the ardent crowd that awaits them.
Sumo Cyco, Canadian rocking punkers, kicked things off to a reasonable response, before Nonpoint take to the stage and despite my unfamiliarity with their material, they leave a lasting impression. Their upbeat, passionate delivery makes them an ideal support, front man Elias Soriano in particular shines with strong vocals and enthralling stage presence. A cover of Phil Collins ‘In The Air Tonight’ is unexpected but oddly works and provokes a big reaction from the crowd. Track ‘Bullet With A Name’ emerges as a fan favorite, bursting with nu-metal nostalgia, it’s undeniably catchy.
Much to the crowds delight, Fozzy burst on stage with vigor, kicking straight into ‘Do You Wanna Start A War’. Frontman Chris Jericho lights up the room (literally) with his signature glowing jacket. Energy is instilled from the get go, as Jericho electrifies the crowd with his dazzling stage presence, executed with ease and confidence. What is so commendable about Fozzy, is the passion in their performance, despite playing a small-ish venue in Manchester they bring their all as if they’re performing at Wembley Arena. The crowd is grateful, demonstrated by the chants of “Fozzy Fozzy Fozzy” between every song. Popular hits such as ‘God Pounds His Nails’ and ‘Enemy’ go down inevitably well, but it’s the sleazy anthem ‘She’s My Addiction’ that I personally favor. Clearly the night of bizarre cover versions as Fozzy put their own spin on ABBA’s ‘S.O.S’.
Concluding proceedings with M. Shadows from Avenged Sevenfold collaboration ‘Sandpaper’ and Krokus cover ‘Eat The Rich’, the crowd look disappointed that tonight’s festivities have come to a close. Aside from Chris Jericho’s individual prominence as a wrestler, Fozzy as a band once again prove why their live performances are immensely popular.
WORDS BY HEATHER BLEWETT
PHOTOS BY RICH PRICE
It seems that being in one band just isn’t enough for some musicians these days. Especially within the European Power and Symphonic Metal scenes. Quite possibly two of the most (musically) incestuous genres of all, there seems to be an unwritten law that every band has to release an album featuring a bare minimum of one special guest, or contain at least two members who have performed, produced or written material for no fewer than three other bands. So it comes as no surprise to find that the first release from Phantasma, a collective effort from Charlotte Wessels (Delain), Georg Neuhauser (Serenity) and Oliver Philipps (Everon), contains performances from no less than six guest musicians. As enticing as that prospect may be to fans of the acts involved, it’s all too common for collaborations like this to end with mixed or disappointing results, and The Deviant Hearts (Napalm) is no exception.
Opening with a nice, but rather twee sounding duet from Wessels and Neuhauser, the piano played ‘Incomplete’ sounds like it would have been more at home at the end of the record rather than the beginning. Evergrey vocalist Tom Englund lends his voice to the powerful title track, and things continue in good form with ‘Runaway Gray’. Easily the best track on the album, it features a superb performance by Wessels, with more than a hint of James Bond theme song about the verses, and even a touch of Rush during the middle section.
Things take a hefty downward turn, however, with ‘Try’. A horribly overwrought ballad featuring Trans-Siberian Orchestra singer Chloe Lowery, who although clearly capable of belting out high notes with ease, seems unable to sing softly without her voice cracking on almost every line. ‘Enter Dreamscape’ is a substantial improvement on the previous track, but it’s still just standard fare which sounds like it could have been written for any band within the genre.
‘Miserable Me’ begins by slowing down and reworking the tune to ‘Money, Money, Money’ by Abba before plodding off to nowhere interesting. Duet ‘The Lotus and the Willow’ is an attempt at recreating the Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue classic ‘Where The Wild Roses Grow’ but falls miles short of the mark. An insipid and forgettable tune, the song only lifts off momentarily during its Top Gun-esque guitar solo. ‘Crimson Course’ is another nondescript song that sounds like it could have been written for anyone, and the only memorable thing about ‘Carry Me Home’ is the return of that Top Gun style guitar solo.
By now, everything has started to sound like music from movies and other bands, and ‘The Sound of Fear’ does nothing to change that by appearing to be several old songs at once. The upbeat ‘Novaturient’ rescues things a little until it tries to be Meat Loaf, and ‘Let It Die’ closes proceedings as best it can, but it’s essentially just another song with nothing more to offer than a reasonably strong chorus.
At its best, The Deviant Hearts is a good, listenable album with two or three memorable songs, a handful of strong choruses, and some excellent vocal performances by Wessels and Neuhauser. But for the most part, it’s just a collection of songs not strong enough to make it onto the albums of any of the bands involved.