October Tide – In Splendor Below

The Swedish Death/Doom Metal group, October Tide originally started out as a side project by Katatonia’s vocalist, Jonas Renkse and their now former guitarist, Fred Norrman nearly 25 years ago. These Scandinavian fellas had some fire behind them but disbanded after they released their second studio album. A decade past and Norrman decided to bring the heat of their Doom Metal goodness back to life. Now OT is ready to release their Sixth studio album, In Splendor Below (Agonia Records) and this band’s melancholy blaze is burning brighter than ever.Continue reading

AVATAR unleash video for Vultures Fly

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Swedish shock-rockers Avatar have set free a new visually impressive video for the third single off their acclaimed album Hail The Apocalypse (eOne), ‘Vultures Fly’.

Following the success of previous videos, ‘Vultures Fly’ sees the band once again put the effort in to produce a stylish accompaniment to the track, this time a chilling animated piece. With the title track and ‘Bloody Angels’, the previous videos, serving to raise the profile of the Goth Metal troupe, the release of the video coincides with confirmation that Avatar will support Five Finger Death Punch in the US in the coming months.

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Avatarium – All I Want EP

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When it comes to going in blind on a release it can be the best or the worst of times for a listener, On the one hand you can discover an absolutely storming new band, or you might come across (as I have many times in the past) discover an album that could be vastly improved by sending the CD case out to the reviewer blank with nothing but an apology note and some chocolates.

All I Want (Nuclear Blast) by Swedish female fronted doom five piece Avatarium luckily falls into the first category. Its sweet yet substantial sound fills your ears with enough melody, crunchy drone and riff to keep even the most melodic rock or gnarly doom fan satisfied. The first two tracks are recorded in the studio, with the latter three recorded live, especially pack the punch all tracks hope to deliver on their first listens, with the album’s title track providing to be the highlight of the release with its soaring vocal line and clearly Sabbath influenced riffs.

It would be easy to make connects to the likes of Sabbath and Blue Oyster Cult as touchstones for the band’s sound, which borrows heavily from the 60’s/ early 70’s early hard rock scene. But the album owes a great debt to the likes of Jefferson Airplane (certainly not Starship) especially in front women’s Jennie Ann Smith’s epic vocal range, she really has a great set of pipes on here and she shows it off throughout the five tracks on offer.

Overall, All I Want is a great EP from the group and shows a lot of promise in what is to come. The sweet mix of the almost Janis Joplin vocals and the low end of the 70s hard rock influenced doom under it makes a great pairing as they effortlessly work against each other, packing just enough low end and bottle to stop it from falling into the weak end of the spectrum.

7.0/10

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DAN O’BRIEN

Amaranthe – Massive Addictive

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I have two.

Guilty pleasures, that is. What else did you think I meant? Penises? Yes, I generally pull the “I don’t have guilty pleasures, I’m proud of everything I like” (both ironically and non-ironically) bullshit we all do. But I do have two. Amaranthe and Five Finger Death Punch are two bands I feel a bit embarrassed about admitting to liking. And I like Manowar. A lot. Unashamedly.

I’ll still profess a liking for the pair, but it does make me feel a bit squidgy in the stomach to do so.

Massive Addictive is the third explosion (all Spinefarm) from the Swedish Pop Metallers arsenal, and within 10 seconds of opener ‘Dynamite’ we’ve had a trademark dose of electro-synth and a chugging beatdown. By the chorus all elements of their trademark Cascada (yep) meets Within Temptation meets post-RerouteIn Flames are out in the open and it’s clear that Amaranthe are running with the sound and style that was so successful on their previous releases. ‘Drop Dead Cynical’ bounces in and we’re off into Dance Metal territory with its euphoric chorus.

The basic premise of an Amaranthe song revolves around their clean male vocalist (Jake E.) trading off with their harsh male vocalist (Henrik Englund) to build up to Euro-Pop chorus delivered by Elize Ryd, or variations of the theme, and Massive Addictive adopts the “if it ain’t broke…” approach. What at first seemed a silly idea actually suits the infectious band.

And it is infectious, and all good fun, but there is no “Oops!” as, unlike Britney, Amaranthe didn’t do it again because Massive Addictive seems to be missing something that its predecessors brought to the table. Maybe it’s the novelty wearing off, maybe it’s that the metalcore has been toned down and there are fewer “colours” as the songs settle into a repeating mid-paced head-nod tempo with regularity, maybe it’s that once you’ve told a story – no matter how great a story, and let’s face it they weren’t orating the Ilyad the first two times around – it becomes less fascinating with each repetition, but the most pressing “maybe” belongs to the fact that the songs aren’t quite as good this time around. There’s no instant classic, like ‘Automatic’ was on the self-titled debut, or the “If Aqua did Metal…” ‘Electroheart’ from The Nexus, though ‘Digital World’ does its best.

Still, all said and done there’s no one out there quite like Amaranthe. I’m still not sure if that’s a good thing or not…

 

6.5/10

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STEVE TOVEY