Cape Town Garage Punks The Medicine Dolls have teamed up with Ghost Cult today to bring forth their new single and music video, “Danger, Danger, Disco”. The filthy punk track is from their upcoming new album, Filth and Wisdom 2nd October via South Africa’s leading independent label Just Music. The lo-fi, high attitude snarl of the track is infections with twanging Surf-Punk guitars and marching beats, match the vocals perfectly. The lyrics are also a slick bit of wry storytelling and self-awareness. Watch the clip and pre-order the album now!
Formed in September 2016 by Greg Allan (guitar & vocals) and Bex Nicholas (bass). They take their primary influence from the sound of the gritty underground 70’s (think The Velvet Underground meets The New York Dolls in the celebrated CBGB’s bathroom), with lashings of 80’s indie music, post-punk, and a crucial injection of filthy surf rock to emerge as a chemical and exuberant fusion of The Cramps, The Doors, and The 188.8.131.52’s, with more than a healthy nod to The Birthday Party in all their infamous glory.
Just a couple of songs into No More Hollywood Endings (Nuclear Blast), the new album by Finnish Power Metal act Battle Beast, and it’s already becoming evident that something is a little different this time. Not in a bad way; the songs are still hook-laden monsters that will take forever to leave your head, the musicianship is reliably outstanding, and singer Noora Louhimo‘s voice is still as strident and muscular as ever as she turns in one of her best performances to date. Continue reading →
Mystic (Elderoth Entertainment Inc.) is the second album by Canadian Prog project Elderoth. While there is a live line-up, the album is entirely written, played, and produced by Collin McGee. He aims to mix exotic instruments with the Western progressive style.
From the first notes to the last, this music is very in-your-face. There is usually a scale being played by some instrument somewhere, possibly by several at once. At the start this seems like a minor quirk, but as the album progressed I found myself becoming more and more agitated. There is too much of everything.
‘This Shadow By My Side’ has a very busy intro, which sounds all right, and then a total change to the rest of the music. The change at 2:10 is really well done, but a mere 20 seconds later there is another ill-fitting change. Changes in prog are cool, but make them fit the music, rather than just stopping and starting at random every so many bars.
‘My Future’ has a really strange, almost disco-like feel at the start that is weird but not entirely unpleasant. The vocals aren’t necessarily bad, but they often sound constricted. He needs to sing more towards the end to the sentence so that the final word doesn’t just fall into an abyss of mumbling. This song has a very nice symphonic interlude that is really well balanced and is probably my favourite section on the album.
And then there’s ‘Falling Star’. Musically this is far from the worst song on the album, although it would definitely have been better off without the synths in the intro, but this song does feature some of the worst lyrics I have heard all year. Note to any songwriters: if your chorus sounds like you took your rhyme from ‘Twinkle Twinkle’, you’re doing something wrong. It was the most cringeworthy part of the album and I had to skip the rest of the song at some point.
There are a lot of really good elements and that for me is where the problem lies. There are too many different things going on at once for me to be at all comfortable listening to this, and there are too many changes that don’t work well. Perhaps it is less jarring for those who do not suffer from hypersensitivity disorder. I really hope Collin McGee learns the benefits of silence and calm, because I think he could do so much better than this. He has proven that he can write interesting lines with interesting instruments, now he just needs to not use all of them at once.
With a brand new album entitled One Man Army under their belts and a brand new home on the legendary Metal Blade Records, things in the Ensiferum camp are looking the strongest they have ever been. In the second part, vocalist Petri Lindroos discusses the recording process, and how vigorous yet surprisingly relaxed the whole period was.
Another factor that arguably set Ensiferum apart from their peers is the venturing into the use of orchestral parts previously in their back catalogue, but in an overshadowing manner, but more as in a sense of bulking their palette and trying something new. 2009’s From Afar (Spinefarm) set the precedence for this, before 2012’s Unsung Heroes (Spinefarm) reduced the use. Interestingly, newest album One Man Army (Metal Blade) sees the dynamic of orchestration shift again; an overall process that Lindroos explains.
“From Afar was kind of an experiment with the orchestrations for Ensiferum and it’s pretty full of it now, that you listen to it in perspective and it sounded so cool during the recordings but it got a little out of hand, so after that we kind of learned that you don’t have to put it into every single riff part available, but I think we got it nailed on this one. Its pretty much trial and error, live and learn, every time you make a new album you learn and now we are getting the hang of it.”
“Finding a balance with the orchestration is difficult in the sense that heavy metal itself is already very powerful in its own way and adding a full orchestra to that is a little tricky, and making it sound good without eating away at each other is very difficult and pretty much a balance question.”
Of course, no band’s recording story would be complete without tales of arduous and testing experiences, and with the sheer work rate of producer Ansi Kippo and his supposed super human abilities.
“Our producer/recorder/owner of the studio is a man who can work without any sleep, which is crazy and amazing at the same time, but he can do as long as necessary. If you have enough energy to sing until six in the morning he will stay up too, if you’re on a good run you don’t have to give up, if someone is fired up we can keep going all night.”
“We started a little later in the afternoon, there’s no point picking up a guitar at 8 in the morning, everyone knows that’s not going to work so we would start at midday, so obviously its going to go late into the night. I’d been working with Ansi a couple of times before and its been like that from the start, he just can’t stop, he’s a workaholic.”
Despite the long days, Lindroos is very adamant that this was beneficial in the recording process and on the final result, being an absolute necessity: “Without that we couldn’t have finished in time, it would have taken a couple of weeks, cost us more money which wouldn’t have made anyone happy so a big thanks goes to him that we could do it pretty much on time.”
Speaking of recording, it has almost become cliché for bands to speak of sleepless nights, stress, even arguments and other problems that make for a mantra that Ensiferum clearly didn’t get: “There were no big problems, in our point of view the only thing stopping us was when a tube blew up from a guitar amp that took 45 minutes to change, that was the biggest issue. Otherwise it was a case of whoever is ready to record would do so. It was very relaxed and smooth. It was surprising, but I knew before that Ansi was a smooth guy, he makes it all so easy.”
With a brand new album entitled One Man Army under their belts and a brand new home on the legendary Metal Blade Records, things in the Ensiferum camp are looking the strongest they have ever been. Vocalist Petri Lindroos chatted to Ghost Cult about the the band’s sense of fun, experimentation and THAT infamous disco number.
For all the talk and stereotyping regarding metal music as a po-faced, overly serious and even evil and dangerous form of art there are also as countless moments of whimsy and cartoonish silliness and absurdity with a huge focus on that little word ‘fun’. Folk metal especially has a history of the OTT and tomfoolery with an equal measure of the anthemic.
At first glance, Finnish act Ensiferum may appear one of the genre’s more direct and hardened presences; but as vocalist Petri Lindroos explains, this isn’t the case at all: “We also like to have a lot of fun with the music but also do it very seriously. Having a small moment in a particular song, like we have “Stone Cold Metal” which had a western bridge part and we have a lot of fun with that, and it seems the fans also understood it, they didn’t knock us down”
Compared to the likes of the instantly recognisable image and infamous camp covers of Turisas or the alcohol drenched party vibes ala Korpiklaani as examples, Ensiferum may not be as overtly animated, but a little digging reveals a lot of experimentation and forays into the ridiculous. Even so latest album One Man Army (Metal Blade) throws a number of curveballs; most notably the now infamous ‘Two Spades’.
“So we did ‘Two Of Spades’ and it felt it needed a special bridge part and I think someone said out loud without really thinking “hey lets do disco” and we were all like, sure lets do it.” “If he hadn’t said disco, he might have saud funk and we would have a lot more funk on it. I don’t think even god knows what’s going to be on the next one.”
The aforementioned ‘Two Spades’ encapsulates archetypal sides to the folk metal coin; a rather lengthy epic of powerful and empowering metal, with a bridge segment in the centre based on a disco beat and upbeat tone. On the one hand it’s a segment that makes perfect sense but on the other it remains quite a surprise. A surprise that Petri believes the band have pulled off substantially.
Ensiferum, by Susanne A. Maathuis.
“If they see that coming then they have to be some kind of wizard. It all needs that fun aspect and needs to be entertaining yet done seriously and professionally. I think on this we did an excellent job.”
But it isn’t just ‘Two Spades’ that should catch people off guard, as the bonus edition also features a cover of a well known song that is a little unconventional even for folk metal:
The song ‘Rawhide’ came right before the studio, our label and our management wanted a few bonus tracks for different worldwide releases and we started running out of time; and ‘Rawhide’ is an excellent song and as we noticed digging into it, the Blues Brothersversion is a cover, its actually a song from the 50’s, really old and with dozens of versions. But its very catchy, pretty much everyone knows it already, plus its nice and short and we didn’t need that much time to make it sound good.”
Tragedy the Metal tribute to disco act The Bee Gees have posted a new single, a cover of the anthem from the musical film Grease, ‘Your the One That I Want’. See the video below:
The video has over 150,000 hits on YouTube in the first week. The band have also booked a UK tour, kicking off later this week.
Barry Glibb — lead vocals, lead back-up vocals, lead rhythm guitar Mo’Royce Peterson — lead vocals, lead back-up vocals, lead lead guitar Disco Mountain Man — lead vocals, lead back-up vocals, lead keyboards, lead cowbell Andy Gibbous Waning — lead bass, lead vocals, lead back-up vocals The Lord Gibbeth — lead drums