Like Status Quo did with their unexpectedly good Aquostic I and II albums in 2014 and 2016, British Folk Rock band TheLevellers are remodelling hits from their back catalogue for their latest self-released album Together All The Way. This is a spiritual sequel to their 2018 album We The Collective, but instead of acoustic versions, they have stripped everything back to a more traditional folk sound.
Whenever an established act loses its frontman, especially one as talismanic as Max Cavalera, fans are usually left choosing sides. Do you go with the musician striking out on their own or do your allegiances remain with the band? Largely dependent on the situation, an amicable split can leave listeners happily following both parties down separate paths to the promise of glory but when open hostility is at the heart of the separation, loyalties are often put to the test.Continue reading →
Tenebra – Moongazer (New Heavy Sounds / Seeing Red)
There is something evocative about the retro / occult rock of Italian quartet Tenebra that is encapsulated in a most vigorous way on the third track of Moongazer, ‘Black Lace’. A steady, spacious build from jangled, careful chords that takes its time gives room for the powerful smoke-and-whiskey vocals of Silvia to take centre stage, before a Zeppelin-esque vocal-led coda closes things out. It is not the only, nor possibly even the best, song to do this, but as a drawing together of the best elements of the Tenebra sound perhaps serves as their best showpiece. Continue reading →
It is always refreshing when metalheads are not afraid to show their appreciation for genres other than Metal – especially if it means expanding their songwriting chops into entirely new territories. Formed by Kvelertak guitarist and bassist Vidar Landa and Marvin Nygaard, Norwegian Power Pop and Indie band Beachheads are more than meets the ear with their sophomore album, Beachheads II (Fysisk Format).
Not content to just let the sludgy boi/spooky girl pairings have all the fun with multi-artist collaborations in Doom, A Story Of Darkness And Light (Stickman Records)features the coming together of Elder and Kadavar as Eldovar (I don’t know where that ‘o’ comes from either). The two groups certainly make for interesting bedfellows; while both are arguably rooted in Seventies Rock traditions, Elder has evolved to Heavy Prog splendor while Kadavar largely subsists on off-the-cuff Stoner Blues. However, their shared interest in various genre experiments as well as established track records of high quality material gives plenty of fertile ground for such a union.
It’s been over thirty years since Liverpudlian grindcore bastards Carcass left people gagging to the gloriously gory cover of debut album Reek of Putrefaction (Earache) and reeling to the twenty-two charmingly immature blasts of vomitous noise dripping inside. Symphonies of Sickness delivered improved musicianship and longer songs, Necroticism – Descanting the Insalubrious and its divisive follow up, Heartwork, continued that trend but the run ended in 1996 with the rather lacklustre Swansong. Rebooted and reinvigorated (but sadly minus drummer Ken Owen due to health issues), Carcass returned with a bang in 2013 with Surgical Steel (Nuclear Blast Records) and now, after a gap of eight years, they’re back. Again.
With no less than twenty-two studio albums behind them, NWOBHM legends Saxon are back again but with something a little different this time. Instead of just rummaging around in the attic for an old live recording, or throwing together a contractually obliged “Best Of…”, Barnsley’s finest have taken their time during lockdown to produce something a little more imaginative. Looking to the past, the band has recorded Inspirations (Silver Lining Music/Militia Guard), a collection of songs by artists who made an impact on them at the start of their musical journey. Continue reading →
Corey Taylor is celebrating his 47th birthday today with the release of a new animated lyric video for his single, “Everybody Dies On My Birthday.” The title refers to the deaths of John Lennon of The Beatles and Dimebag Darrell of Pantera who both died on this day. Corey has also shared a new coffee and limited edition merch drop! Corey’s solo album CMFT is out now via Roadrunner Records.
When I first heard Four Stroke Baron, I had no idea they were going to be one of my favorite finds of the year. “What kind of a name is that?” I thought, bracing for the worst. Man, was I floored by what I found. A pummeling barrage of progressive metal with crushing riffs and a blazing 1980’s synth crescendos that just don’t quit, yet really lit my fire was the vocals. Bucking the metal cliche of trying to come off as heavy and bröötal as possible, vocalist Kirk Witt delivers powerful lyrics in a meek and almost anxious style that puts you on edge and adds a sense of forlorn urgency to many of the tracks.
Mike Portnoy (Sons of Apollo, Neal Morse Band, Flying Circus, ex Dream Theater) has been a busy guy during the coronavirus quarantine. He just shared his contribution to an as-yet to be unreleased acapella cover of The Beatles classic “Because” from Abby Road. The final track will include his Sons of Apolla bandmates Jeff Scott Soto, and Bumblefoot!