ALBUM REVIEW: Xandria – The Wonders Still Awaiting


 

One thing which the German symphonic metal act Xandria cannot be accused of is staleness. A seemingly constant revolving door of members since day one, there simply isn’t enough time for inertia or sterility. The musical merry-go-round did slow down recently though, as for only the second time the band did actually manage to keep the same line-up for more than one record. However, it all changed once again as guitarist and founder member Marco Heubaum returns not only with an entirely refreshed group of musicians, but a noticeable modification to the band’s sound.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Re-Buried – Repulsive Nature


It hasn’t taken long for the bright and shiny optimism of the new year to be well and truly soiled by what is sure to be one of the filthiest and repugnant releases of 2023. Hailing from the land of grunge, Seattle, Re-Buried were formed in 2018 and feature bassist Clayton Wolff and drummer Alex Bytnar from sludge/doom act Un. With guitarists Ed Bingaman and Paul Richards providing the stomach churning riffs, the line-up is completed by frontman Chris Pinto, although the vocals on this recording are actually performed by his predecessor Mat Chandler.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Beyond The Black – Beyond The Black


Often reserved for debut releases, eponymously titled albums usually tend to herald a band’s emergence into a more public consciousness. A proud declaration of intent that relies solely on a name. However, a title-free album released further down the line can just as easily foreshadow a lack of creativity or imagination. This isn’t always the case, of course, and thankfully, the latest full-length from German symphonic act Beyond the Black stands as one of their strongest records to date. Confident and enthralling, Beyond the Black (Nuclear Blast) sees the Mannheim metallers acting as a quartet for the first time, the band choosing to use session musicians since the departure of bass player Stefan Herkenhoff last year.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Feuerschwanz – Todsünden


 

Exactly a year on from the release of Memento Mori (Napalm Records), German medieval folk metallers Feuerschwanz return with a collection of previously recorded cover versions. Releasing material lifted from bonus discs might seem a little superfluous to anyone without a tendency towards rampant completism but Todsünden is filled with surprising choices and no lack of creativity.

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CONCERT REVIEW: Rivers of Nihil – Fallujah – Allegeaon Live at The Asylum, Birmingham


 

Originally set to feature a very different line-up, the Faces of Death Tour was forced to undergo an almost complete overhaul a few months ago when, for a variety of reasons, Archspire, Black Crown Initiate and To The Grave were all forced to withdraw. With their replacements announced in August, the show was back on with the three new supports eager to prove their worth.

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ALBUM REVIEWS: Black Sabbath Reissues – Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules


Photo credit: Mark Weiss with permission

Photo credit: Mark Weiss with permission

When Ronnie James Dio joined metal legends Black Sabbath in 1980 the former Rainbow frontman’s appointment couldn’t have come at a better time. Sabbath were a sinking ship. A drowning vessel from which enigmatic frontman Ozzy Osbourne had been trying to escape for some time. However, even though it was painfully clear that new blood had to be added to halt the band’s alarming deterioration the hostility that greeted Dio from some corners was quite shocking.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Spiritworld – Deathwestern


Wide-eyed confusion and general bewilderment are the most common reactions after laying eyes upon Las Vegas act Spiritworld for the first time. Slayer in Stetsons is usually the next. Yes, the unlikely looking Nevadans might look like the founder members of a Billy Ray Cyrus and Garth Brooks cosplay fan club but their music is a very different beast indeed.

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CONCERT REVIEW: Nile – Krisiun – In Element – Decrepid Live at HMV Empire, Coventry


The first thing you notice about The Empire is that it’s moved a mile and a half from its old site on Far Gosford Street and into a shopping precinct. The site of a former cinema and sports retail outlet, the new location has allowed an increase in capacity by around 400, enabling it to hold up to around 1300 people. A cavernous space at the top of a flight of stationary escalators, the venue is split into a large merch area, bar and cafe, with a quick walk through to the main live area.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Warkings – Morgana


 

Hail to thee, warriors of the world. Weary of continually polishing your mighty sword or washing your bloodstained loincloth in anticipation of the next slab of homoerotic battle fantasies from a certain band of American warriors? Then saddle your horse, drink your last ale and look no further than costumed European guardians of true metal, Warkings.

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EP REVIEW: Frank Bello – Then I’m Gone


 

For the second time in his career, New York bassist Frank Bello steps into the studio without the help of his Anthrax bandmates to record something a little different. Whereas previous side project Altitudes and Attitude was a collaborative affair with Dave Ellefson of Megadeth and Jeff Friedl of A Perfect Circle, six track EP Then I’m Gone (Rare Bird Recordings) is a much more personal affair with Bello playing almost all of the instruments himself.

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