Arriving at Le Poisson Rouge early in the for the combined Soulfly / Unearth / Evergrey team up tour date, we were pumped to see such an intimate venue host such a diverse night of music. We hung out early, interviewed a bunch of bands on the bill and generally got psyched for a night of different kinds of metal under one banner.
Here in the UK, a power metal tour of any capacity is a cause for mass celebration due to their relative infrequency. Generally speaking, a power metal act will make a sporadic appearance in London alone, and possibly a major summer festival here and there, meaning that unlucky Richards like yours truly in the north or the Midlands will miss out on the action. However, if you happen to live in Mainland Europe, the possibilities and combinations of acts are endless. Continue reading
2019 may only be two weeks old, but as shown by our Underground Albums Roundup, the great and the not-so-good of our world are determined to start the year with a bang. Or at the very least, to bury us in a deluge of albums. Seeing as the mean and the nasty had been given a platform, we thought it only fair to shine the light on some of January’s releases beholden of a more melodic or traditional Metal bent to their finery…
Long-running Swedish metal band Evergrey has shared the first video and second track from their upcoming new album, The Atlantic. The album releases on January 25th via AFM Records. Check out the video for “Weightless” now! Continue reading
This year’s Rockharz Open Air is sold-out, faster than ever before. As preparations begin to host the 25th edition of the festival, it will take place from July 4th to July 7th, 2018 in Ballenstedt. The fest is headlined by In Flames, Powerwolf, Kreator, Hammerfall, Eisbrecher, Paradise Lost, Amorphis, Knorkator, Schandmaul, Cannibal Corpse, Alestorm, Ensiferum, Exodus, Sodom, Equilibrium, Die Apokalyptischen Reiter, Finntroll, Battle Beast, Amaranthe, Bannkreis, Gloryhammer and many more. You can see the final poster below. Continue reading
Much darker in tone than its ethereal predecessor (both Century Media), The Banished Heart is no less beautiful in its execution. Where Winter would often soar, this record looks inward and deals much more heavily with personal, introspective feelings of heartbreak and loss. Continue reading
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.
The Gothenberg Sound Festival is set at Tradgarn in Gothenberg, Sweden on January 2-3, 2015. The confirmed acts to perform include:
The Order Of Israfel
There will also be a musical clinic held and the confirmed speakers are:
Björn Englén (Yngwie Malmsteen, Dio Disciples, Quiet Riot)
Johan Niemann (Evergrey, Tiamat)
Snowy Shaw (King Diamond, Dream Evil)
Sayit Dölen (Yngwie Malmsteen, Enrique Iglesias etc.)
How Swedes Evergrey are not recognized more by metal’s mainstream media is criminal. Hailing from the city of Gothenburg which has arguably contributed the biggest impact to modern metal than any other geographical location, Evergrey are masters of the contemporary melodic nature of their local peers. Combine this with the pipes of one Tom Englund who eschews the typical growl approach for truly powerful sung vocals pouring with feeling and humanity, and you have a band surely tailor made for widespread appraisal.
New album Hymns For The Broken (AFM) doesn’t deviate from this formula but seems to see the band kicking their song writing into an even higher gear. The opening barrage of ‘King Of Errors’ and ‘A New Dawn’ see the band at their most anthemic, being heavy yet melodious and instantly memorable. Alongside this ilk are the tender, softer moments from the likes of ‘Wake A Change’ and the tear-inducing closing ballad ‘The Aftermath’.
Englund proves the real the star of the event with a phenomenal vocal performance not just in technique but in the genuine sincerity and emotion behind the voice. Lyrically, Evergrey have always touched upon dark subjects and depression is not a new theme for them but not from such a personal place as here. Full of anguish throughout, the album offers a vibe of being pained but with undertones of hope and inspiration; of possible escape from the torment expressed.
Very few bands can convey such deep emotional grief that is commonplace to so many in such a touching and convincing manner as Evergrey have achieved yet again on Hymns For The Broken. Combined with possibly the band’s strongest songs to date, and you have an album that is screaming to be heard in arenas across the globe.
With Zero Hour on extended hiatus the virtuoso Tipton twins, consisting of Jasun on guitars and Troy on bass, expanded their musical horizons with some other projects, including Abnormal Thought Patterns and Cynthesis. With the latter they have just released a second album, entitled ReEvolution. Let’s see what it has to offer. Continue reading