A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
If you read the in-depth DAMIEN THORNE interview in our issue #6 you know their history (if you did not already) and their US Metal jewel "The Sign Of The Jackal", released in 1986. Now they come up with a four track cd after so many years of nothing. From the original line-up only singer Justin Fate is in the band. And his rough, powerful voice gives the music the special approach which makes it highly enjoyable. Who cares that the prodution could be better as it is low-budget, though all instruments can be heard well and the guitars are okay, but you get the thing. METAL CHURCH in their mid-phase comes to my mind when hearing the opener "Stranger Amongst The Living", the mid-tempo riffer "Exit Jekyll, Enter Hyde", the groover "Enter The Nightmare" and the fast "Former Life". Rough US Metal with Justin's unique voice - with such an offering it should be possible to start a second try and sign a label deal soon - powerful Metal is needed in times of happy Metal overkill. DAMIEN THORNE are back. Contact: Ken Mandat, 7830 s Rutherford #1 N, Burbank, IL. 60459, USA.
Many of the early 90's commercial Metal and Hard Rock leaders failed with their latest disappointing, in-creative albums - MEGADETH (defined their territory to anti-Metal area), QUEENSRYCHE (still sounding too alternative), METALLICA (no comment necessary), SCORPIONS (hearing their last one was a good laugh), JUDAS PRIEST (not counting the live album), IRON MAIDEN (at least there's serious hope for the last two) and..... DANZIG. Distorted vocals, depressive moods, industrial parts, strange songs that get on my nerves after two minutes.... no, I am not willing to waste my time and our magazine's space for such anti-music, forget this band, forget Glen Danzig (if you do not already have).
Everybody into brutal Thrashing material has that particular record in his collection because this is the kind of album that truly deserve the cult status. There's not much to say about that album, except it blows away their first effort "We Have Arrived" without any difficulties, songwritingwise and playingwise also mainly due to the godly drumming of the one and only Gene Hoglan. Even if there's a few riffs that doesn't do much to me here and there, there's only classic stuff on this album. When it was released back in 1986, it was one of the most devastating albums along with SLAYER "Reign In Blood", SACRIFICE "Torment In Fire", POSSESSED "Beyond The Gates", DESTRUCTION "Eternal Devastation" and a few others. The production wasn't particulary clean or professional but it was quite perfect for DARK ANGEL. All seven tracks are typical DARK ANGEL songs with brutally heavy riffing, aggre ssive vocals and lots of power! Check out the booklet once again which has some cool photos and cool flyers from that period, great packaging. Also they have included three live tracks taken from from "Ultimate Revenge 2" compilation with Ron Rinehart on vocals and unlike the A. STEEL live track, those ones sounds great (even if I really prefer Doty's killer vocals!) and I think that's where D.A. were at their best, in a live situation! Too bad that they cut "Darkness Descends" for some unknown reasons. They could have put a whole live set from them after the album, but it's better than nothing. A must!
(Iron Glory Records)
At last another hopeful Metal band hailing from Germany that releases a fresh sounding album. After the last recommendable DESTILLERY album, the second promising signing of Iron Glory opens their disc with the amazing "Within The Light", crossing the best ingredients of RUNNING WILD with MAIDENish harmonies and, most important, a killer melody line. Already this tune makes it worthwhile to give DARK AT DAWN a serious listen. What makes the band peculiar is the original rough voice of Buddy Kohlrausch, a cross between Rock'n'Rolf and Nick Holmes, and the dark mood of their Power Metal music. Mainly on the second half of the disc many Gothic parts (for instance on "Thorn Of A Rose") supported by nice female vocals offer a different, darker side and there the PARADISE LOST guitar harmonies (in their okay "Icon" times) are evident. From my point of view it would have been better to choose the traditional Metal sound through all thirteen songs without using the Gothic parts, and I am not sure if the band has found their own style yet. Nevertheless, real Metal tunes as the aforementioned opener, "Baneful Skies", "The Throne Of Thenebra", "Legends" or the good cover of "Don't Pay The Ferryman" deliver outstanding German Metal, no doubt about that.
One of my personal favorites! After the mini-cd "Oceans Of Time" and the promising and good debut "Baneful Skies", "Crimson Frost" became a true gem. First of all, Andy Classen and Achim Köhler worked out a fabulous production, sounding extremely powerful and wide. Then their music matured - the old PARADISE LOST guitar sequences are still there as a strong trademark, with the increased traditional Metal factor and the deep but emotional voice from Thorsten Kohlrausch "Crimson Frost" can be called an essential album if you like original, dark traditional Metal. They covered the GARY MOORE classic "Out In The Fields" in a well-done manner and some highlights such as "The Frozen Tear", the insane groover "Isle Of Smile" or "In A Watery Red" are among the most captivating songs I've heard from a German band for a long time. The wonderful looking booklet gives DARK AT DAWN the extra kick to be labelled as number three of the new German Power Metal movement behind RAWHEAD REXX and PARAGON.
Power Metal hailing from Brazil. Fortunately no ANGRA influences, DARK AVENGER play more Metal based music, somewhat JUDAS PRIEST-ish and even if the singer has a strong Kiske touch, his voice comes out more powerful in the mid-ranges and sometimes it's even reminding me of Rob Halford in his heydays (hear "Morgana"). Hey, that's a BIG compliment in these days though he's shouting too much and should sing more in the mid-ranges than pushing his voice to the limit, another example that less is more sometimes. Nevertheless these hopefuls offer an immense potential with tracks like "Armageddon", "Die Mermaid", "Green Blood" or "Call Of Fight". Though the models as the aforementioned JADAS PRIEST and older HELLOWEEN are shining through their music a bit too much, the red lion on the cover marks the power-symbol of their crunching, fresh pumping Heavy Metal. One of the best releases from Brazil since VIPER's debut.
Tribal Initiation Ceremony
Germany's metal bands have always had a high emphasis on great guitar playing and the creativity to at least attempt something outside of normality- so enter DARKBREED. My initial thought on this 9 song CD (plus intro) is the band love to mix up progressive arrangements with twin/ harmonized riffing and a flair for the classical while not coming off pretentious or crystalline in presentation. Vocalist JJ has a solid mid-range, but needs to improve the caliber of his screams as he screeches a little too evidently on "Control". The production could use tweaking on the snare drum, as Carsten Schmerer can't be happy with his tin can edged sound that penetrates this CD. DARKBREED aren't content with staying in one tempo for too long per song- the doomier "Mirrors" turns up the afterburners by the song's midsection with some thrashy drumming and speedy guitar lines. I also enjoy the melodic but no less darker "Beyond Nowhere"- the quick piano intro submerges into some heavier passages and lyrics that delve into sel f preservation and mankind's skeptical nature towards life/death complements the proceedings. A good start and I'd be curious to see DARKBREED's development on their next CD. Contact: Darkbreed/ c/o Markus Briehle/ SchloBackerstr. 46B/ 34130 Kassel/ GERMANY. Email: Ddarkbreed@aol.com
After releasing several records with the Danish symphonic-rocker ROYAL HUNT, vocalist D.C Cooper now comes along with his self-titled debut as solo artist. Except the incredible voice of Mr. Cooper, this album does not have that much in common with the more symphonic sound of his former band. All musicians which perform along with DC really speak for themselves and can be regarded as a synonym for high quality in Hard-Rock and Heavy Metal music. Beside Tore Ostby on guitars (CONCEPTION) and Günther Werno on keyboards (VANDEN PLAS), all other guys which play in PINK CREAM 69 are involved in this album - so it is no surprise that most songs on this record could have been part of a brilliant never released PINK CREAM 69-album. Tracks like "Dream", "Until The End" (reminds me a bit of QUEENSRYCHE) or the more progressive "The Union" should convince everybody who loves Hard-Rocking music somewhere in th e range of the mentioned bands and the straighter and Heavier stuff of ROYAL HUNT. Heavy guitars, smooth melodies, great hooklines and great songwriting - all these little elements do their best to let DC COOPER become one the best albums of the Melodic Metal genre for years. Simply a must!
When King asked me during the last few months why DECEASED wasn't featured in Snakepit as they were supposed to play real strong Metal like the acts featured in the mags, I was kinda sceptical as I remembered their early works having discovered the band back in '86 but had ceased to follow them for about as long but once I started listening to this last effort, I knew he was right. The album starts with "The Premonition", a greatly penned aggressive heavy track with riffs that stick in your mind right away. I can't help but thinking of Nick Holmes from P. LOST circa "Icon" or "Shades Of God"- in other words before they turned sadly their back on Metal with "Draconian...", listening to King Fowley's vocals at times. "Dark Chilling Heartbeat" starts with a strong riff which soon goes into a quite fast tempo but kind of loses some of its initial super heavy approach, I would label this a filler track but fortunately the mid paced break in the middle with the calm part saves it from biting totally. "A Very Familiar Stranger" fortunately is better, having its own identity with another strong main riff all the way, very good. "Frozen Screams" sounds quite similar to the first track, same tempo, same vibe and same vocal delivery, strong powerful Metal very reminiscent of the last OCTOBER 31 album. The lead work on this album while being far from shredding is correct and well thought but what really stands out are the catchy riffs that they deliver on most of the songs. "The Doll With The Hideous Spirit" follows in the same path, going from mid paced parts to faster ones, really catchy and definitely one of the highlight of the album. "The Hanging Soldier" is another extremely intense(guess that it is the word that describe the best the vibe of this release) catchy track. "Chambers Of The Waiting Blind" starts in a slow melodic way before going to a faster pace without having any real identity until it goes much faster and finally a dominating riff appears, what sounded at first like a filler song finally become another fine Metal tune. The album ends with "Elly's Dementia" an eight minute kind of epic track, slow and mid paced grinding Metal tune where the similarities with Holmes are more than present. All in all, a very good album- produced by Simon Effemey, my only complaint is the fact that almost all the songs are constructed in the same manner so it can be monotonous after a while, but that said, this is a strong effort. I'm glad they turned their back on the average Death Metal stuff they offered before and finally came up with something which really kicks ass, but still I don't see so much difference between this and OCTOBER 31? So my question is, is it necessary to have two bands which deliver almost the same type of Power/ Heavy Metal- DECEASED being maybe a bit more on the Thrash side.
They Came Over The High Pass
Another new traditional Metal band coming out of the nowhere? No, Philip Von Segebaden who founded the solo project DEFENDER played before with AFFLICTED and CRANIUM that should be well-known in the Black/Death Metal scene. As plenty others he recognized that real Metal music has been played by MANOWAR or IRON MAIDEN and the roots of Metal can not be denied when playing Black or Death Metal. Hence the sound of DEFENDER reminds of MAIDEN ("Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son" era) and MANOWAR ("Hail To England" album) with adding some SKYCLADish folklore parts, even the singer Michael Van De Graaf (ex-AFFLICTED as well) could be the little brother of SKYCLAD's Martin Walkyier. The seven tunes (plus intro) are enjoyable stuff with interesting song-writing, performed by skilled musicians. An interesting debut.
The title reflects the 3 plus years put in to this 9 song CD, mainly delayed due to the shifting lineup of new vocalist Scott Andrews and bassist Rob McGrath entering this Iowa quintet. Their 3rd recording blends a potent fury of power and progressive metal, with modest attention paid to melodic arrangements and a bevy of twin guitar harmony lines/ solos from Marcus Peterson and Brent Scott. The opening songs like "Turn to Yesterday" and "Shadows in My Mind" recall "Parallels" era FATES WARNING, featuring smooth mid-range vocals and occasional acoustic guitars to the metallic proceedings. I prefer the heavier power overtones within "From The Sky" and "Unturned Stone"- as DEFYANCE has a biting edge that fans of IRON MAIDEN or newer acts like ION VEIN would definitely make beam with pleasure. Adventurous in terms of melding 6-8 different riffs into each song, but not overly technical in terms of showcasing virtuous Malmsteen-like prowess- DEFYANCE deserve praise for making a talented CD every listener can appre ciate. Only qualms- the cliched hourglass cover and the lower drum sounds within the mix. Don't let this deter you from purchasing another hopeful in the melodic power metal scene- DEFYANCE delivers!! Contact: Defyance/ c/o Marcus Peterson/ 1495 Park St./ Knoxville,IA/ 50138/ USA. web: http://www.defyance.com
Having always been a DESTRUCTION devotee (from the first demo until "Eternal Devastation" ), I still wasn't impressed at all with the comeback release of last year, "All Hell..." being just a poor to average attempt at recapturing the glorious years of the band and when this new album came out recently, I just expected more of the same, alternating between average "old" sounding material to modern kind of Thrash. What a huge surprise it happened to be when I started listening to it as I immediately detected that there was more than the aforementioned description. And in fact it took me a dozen of repeated listenings to really came to the conclusion that "The Antichrist" is DEFINITELY the best album DESTRUCTION have recorded since their last killer record, "Eternal..."! Songs like opener "Thrash Til Death", "Nailed To The Cross" (two fast thrashing tunes) , "Dictators Of Cruelty" (now that track has a main riff that I call a DESTRUCTION riff!), "Meet Your Destiny" (a slow grinding super heavy cruncher before it's getting faster- too bad there's a quite crappy break in the middle) shows that the band still have something to offer with good old Mike coming with some riffs that made DESTRUCTION so much superior than any other German outfit back then. Schmier still delivers some hot vocals- but still not as enjoyable as in the old days, but despite all these strong points it's still clear in my mind that this new album is STILL miles away from the absolutely ass kicking/ mind blowing days of "Infernal Overkill" especially- and it's even more clearer considering that there's a bunch of filler forgottable songs on this album such as "Strangulated Pride", "Creators Of The Underworld", "The Heretic" etc. I bet they will never be able to really come up with an album full of songs that will have us banging our heads til our brain can look like a pancake. This said, I'm glad the Germans are back with what I consider as their real comeback release and just like it was in the past, it's way superior than the recent releases from KREATOR (which surprised me somewhat as they came up with at least an enjoyable tune on "Violent..", something which had not happened since the "Pleasure.." days- honest!) and SODOM (definitely a lost cause).
Paul Di Anno the ex IRON MAIDEN vocalist is back in business. His new album "Nomad" is a true killer. It contains eleven new tracks including one intro. Besides the voice of Paul, you'll also hear his new backing band which exists of four unknown but well talented musicians. Paulo Turin on guitars, Chico Dehira on guitars, Felipe Andreoli on bass and Aquiles Priester on drums. For me Paul has always been the ultimate IRON MAIDEN frontman. "Iron Maiden" and "Killers" have always been my favorite albums. Well this album sure is a killer too. Listen to the great, long guitarsolos in "Mad Man In The Attic" and in the title track "Nomad" and you'll go crazy. During "War Machine" and "Cold World", Paul sounds like the other returned Metalgod Rob Halford. And "S.A.T.A.N." reminded me a bit of ARMORED SAINT's "Can U Deliver". "The Living Dead" is the compulsory ballad on this forty-five minute monster. Paul has also released a new live CD called "The Beast Live 2000" under the name of PAUL DI ANNO's KILLERS. Don't miss both albums and don't miss the man at Wacken Open Air. Nomads come and nomads go, but this nomad is back again that's for sure!! Great CD artwork by the way.
Toine van Poorten
Scream For Me Brazil
The old and new IRON MAIDEN singer ends his solo career with a live album. 12 tracks captured an amazing live atmosphere and both his vocal performance and the band's play stand for real Metal of high quality, no doubt about that. But does it make sense to take eight (!) songs of "The Chemical Wedding", only three ones of the "Accident Of Birth" release and the dramatic "Tears Of A Dragon" as a bonus? The "Alive In Studio A" double disc may be his excuse not to feature more old songs of his previous solo works (of course, without tracks of the alternative "Skunkworks") but then he would have been marvellous to surprise his fans with one or two SAMSON tracks instead.... Don't misunderstand me, it's a helluva, fine produced live disc but when you already own the last two albums, there's no real need to buy this one, too. Besides you call yourself a die-hard BRUCE DICKINSON/IRON MAIDEN fan or you love live discs in general.
A little lighter than Snakepit's normal metal standards- this Belgian act have released a 5 song demo that reflects a confused sound. At times the clean portions seem tailored towards an AOR/RUSH crowd while the distorted riffing and rougher vocals make me think of a gothic/doomier group like CREMATORY. While THE DIFFERENCE gain my interest in the faster sections they lose me when the songs plod along at a snail's pace where the rhythm section seems uninspired and the vocals clearly lose their melodic impact. I wouldn't recommend this group for a label deal until they decide which direction they prefer- either heavy for the underground or cleaner riffing for the mainstream. Better luck in the future- as THE DIFFERENCE haven't produced the songs that will thrill most listeners. Contact: The Difference/ c/o Dirk De Kesel/ Eeksken 17/ 9920 Lovendegem/ BELGIUM
I probably always tend to have too high expectations whenever a band is supposed to go back to their roots with a new release. And even more when the line-up consists of musicians that already were responsible for all-time classics in the past... The same happened to me with the new DIO album. After having released a bunch of completely unnecessary studio albums over the past couple of years, Ronnie James Dio finally managed to regain my interest with the fantastic live double album "Dio's Inferno - The Last In Live" and shortly after even re-united with Craig Goldy on guitar and Jimmy Bain on bass. Through the grapevine you could hear that the new studio album was supposed to be in the style of Ronnie's early stuff, which I was (quite obviously) pretty excited about. Well, the time for wild speculations is over, cause the result is here and as usual - I got disappointed... But wait a minute - this time it was only my first impression! The more I listened to "Magica", the more I began to like it. This is undo ubtedly typical DIO stuff, it's just that I miss a couple of uptempo tunes like ,Stand Up And Shout' or ,We Rock' which would've made the album sound a bit more balanced. In the first place I was also a bit disappointed about the fact that original drummer Vinnie Appice got replaced by Simon Wright. But after having experienced the incredible heavy sounding drum production on "Magica I couldn't care less. Not all of the album is totally convincing, but tracks like ,Eriel' , ,Fever Dreams', ,Turn To Stone' and ,Challis' will probably end up becoming new standards in DIO's liveset in the near future. Ronnie's on the right way again and the coverart really compliments his best record ever since 1985's "Sacred Heart".
England and rising Metal bands? Besides MARSHALL LAW (and they are not a really new band but definitely rising) - the deepest wilderness. So, it's good to hear that DIRTY DEEDS are still in the ring, too. The strong debut "Danger Of Infection" has been a cool NWoBHM sounding cocktail, unfortunately the band didn't get much attention though they got the chance to tour with IRON MAIDEN. The band changed her musical face a bit on album number 2. Firstly, the production comes very raw and uncluttered, secondly they added lots of powerful Hard Rock elements and thirdly the riffing has a light MOTÖRHEAD meets AC/DC touch. The ten tunes are all packed with plenty of energy and anger but without forgetting the melody factor, pumping forward all the time. An un-compromising traditional Hard Rock record. Cool stuff.
Ascencion To Eternity
The second release of this American Power Metal quintet. If you have never heard of them, they sound like an U.S. Metal version of heavier IRON MAIDEN meets JAG PANZER, though the singer Scott Stewart has a unique voice, not comparable to anyone else, high pitched but with a natural tone and aggressive in the same way - this voice is, along with the twin guitars of Matt Crooks and Mike Blevins, THE trademark of DIVISION. Especially the first three songs, "Children Of The Stone", "Departed" and "Risen", made my day, great Metal riffing between old school Thrash and classy 80's stuff and extraordinary melody lines. The fourth song, the SABBATH cover "Heaven And Hell", isn't really necessary and weaker for instance than the one from SOLITUDE AETURNUS on their latest al bum "Adagio". After two mediocre tracks, "Common Bonds" and "Articles Of Faith", the two killer tunes "Remembrance" and "Veiled" mark the next highlights of the album. Again outstanding U.S. Metal with an formidable vocal performance. All in all, the thirteen tunes deliver above average traditional Metal with a production that could be more balanced. The vocals are mixed a little too loud and could me more integrated, but all instruments can be heard well and the power of the band is captured. A pure Metal output which should be heard by real Metal lovers who want to discover the new generation of American Metal.
Dragonlord (Tales Of The Noble Steel)
Yeah, Metal surprises from time to time. Their debut "Champion Eternal" lacked both in proper vocal lines and in an adequate production, though the IRON MAIDENish music was a serious start for the Italian five-piece. This time "Dragonlord" offers two standouts from the mass of average records: Morby's tremendous vocal performance, a highly talented singer crossing Midnight, Dickinson and Kiske with enough power in his soul to shout as a real Metal singer. Secondly: the improved songwriting, the MAIDEN parts are nearly gone now you can name DOMINE as a band playing their own style - of course influenced by their 80's heroes like DIO, old HELLOWEEN, MANOWAR and CRIMSON GLORY. The blasting opener "Thunderstorm" - a real Metal song of highest quality, the DIOesque title track or the MANOWARish "Blood Brother's Fight" or the extraordinary riff in "The Ship Of The Last Souls", any song has its strong points. Each Metal freak will freak out when hearing this crunching Metal album - for me DOMINE is, along with EVERG REY, the most promising Metal band of the European scene at the beginning of the second millenium. Heavy Metal lives in albums like "Dragonlord".
Have It Your Way
(Thirteen 772 Music)
Unfortunately I'm completely lacking in information about these guys. So, all I can tell you is that the UK-based three piece DOUBLE ECLIPSE is musically strongly rooted in the Hardrock of the late 70's / early 80's, with several hints of the AOR genre as well. And man, they definitely know to impress! All ten featured songs on "Have It Your Way" are traditional to the bone, with no stupid modern influences at all and most important of all - convincing from start to finish! The entire material is straight forward composed, with a basic but strong production and a very good feel for melodies. The vocalist has got a clear, but very emotional voice and partly even reminds me on Paul Stanley (KISS), while the music comes across in a very energetic, yet old-fashioned vein (which is meant in a positive sense, of course). DOUBLE ECLIPSE must've played the records of the American Hardrock acts of the past decade to death as they quite obviously seem to draw the majority of their influences from there. I like that - g ood stuff. Contact: Thirteen 772 Music, c/o Mandii Parton, P.O. Box 137, Rotherham, South Yorks, S66 0GW, United Kingdom, Fax: +44 (0) 1709 530195, e-mail: email@example.com
My Own Revolution
There is a serious crisis looming the French Metal scene, KILLERS, the excellent OVERSTEP, the quite average DREAM CHILD and ..... nothing. Maybe the newcomers DYSLESIA, also hailing from France, are able to change this bad situation a bit to the better side, ANGRA influenced music floods the speaker, only being more progressive and complex. The top notch musicianship is beyond any critic and the songwriting offers a lot of talent, for instance the fine arranged "Never More" or "Lights And Dreams". To become a real recommendable act in the Progressive Metal genre, the too high pitched vocals of Thierry Lebourg are the main problem, he always sings with his full vocal-spectrum and there's no room left, less is more in this case. People who like the Japanese proggies VIGILANTE and their kind of singing in the highest tones, will easily dig into the sound of DYSLESIA. For me, the band's a promise for the future, but they have improve the vocal side a lot......