Friday, April 11, 2014

BRAINSTORM - Firesoul

Brainstorm strike back with their latest opus, their tenth so far, and an album that will please all their fans. First of all let me admit that the vocals of Andy B. Franck is one of my favorite singers of the genre. Sure he is dominating the whole album, but he is doing it in a way that no one will complain, since this guy has one of the most distinctive and gifted vocals in the scene. Following their previous journey the band is playing music that sounds closer to their early 00 era, but in a more modern approach. Once again the vocals are superb, fitting perfectly with the mood of the music, and have a way to transform according to the tempo. The way he performs sometimes leaves you speechless, and is one of the big plus of the work of Brainstorm in general. The guitar duo is also excellent, giving some great riffs and grooves, but also plenty of melodies that stick in your mind. The music is the typical Brainstorm guitar-driven Power Metal, with crunchy riffs, groovy melodies and plenty of parts to sing along. The drums are also very good, groovy enough, creating the tempo and giving the extra boost for the songs to stick into your mind. His work behind the skins is remarkable and flawless, and often enough the listener is focused on his work. Well performed and catchy, with enough nice ideas, songs that move high above the average, although I would appreciate a bit more variety in the songs, but that doesn't spoil the fun in any way. From start to finish, there's no less good moment, or a song that doesn't tempt you to sing along the refrain or move along with the rhythm. It seems that the band is back with a recipe for success, and with a an album with good groovy Heavy Metal, the kind that moves the fans. If you are a fan of the Teutonic Power Metal school or simply fancy groovy and catchy stuff, this is a must have.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

MAYAN - Antagonize

Having creating some havoc with their debut release back in 2011, the Dutch Death Metal crew is back with an album that will try to raise the standards of their music to a new level. The band continues the same high quality mixture of Death Metal and Symphonic Power Metal orchestrations, with some improvements and additions. First of all, the music is moving on the same top class level, complex and intriguing, constantly changing forms and shapes, but always interesting and groovy. Songs are well written, and have no less good moments, and although sharing some common elements, each one has it's own form and entity. There are moments where things are getting more aggressive, others that the band is moving on more Power Metal or Orchestral forms, with the growling vocals dominating the whole album, and adding a touch of roughness when the music needs to, or enhancing the brutality even more. What makes this album different from their previous is the addition of a soprano singer, whose voice is so eerie and fitting with the music, that sometimes makes you wanna hear the same part over and over. Musicwise the band is moving very close to perfection as well. With a diversity in arrangements as in this album, there's plenty of opportunities for each musician to give his trademark in the music. There are tons of brilliant guitar riffs, moments where the blastbeats show the performing skills of the drummer, or moments like the closing 8 minute opus where the keyboards add a magnificent atmosphere. Add to all these the perfect contradiction between clear and grunt singing and you get the picture. Another interesting point is the concept of the album, which deals with the current situation where values of our society are under attack in the name of Freedom and Democracy. Not an easy album although it has it's catchy moments. It needs cautious listening, mostly because there's more than meets the eye. And this is the beauty of it.  



Friday, March 28, 2014

SHRAPNEL - The Virus Conspires

Shrapnel is a band that comes from UK, and made it's presence back in 2009 with the release of an EP and this is their first full length album so far. Right from the first note, the band shows it's intentions, which are no other that playing Thrash the way it was introduced back in the 80's. Blending all the good elements from both US and European scene, the band presents an album that is an absolute must have for every fan of the genre. The album starts with a blast and leaves no room for breathing till the end, providing an endless assault of intelligent riff works combined with some super technical drum performance. The vocals are very good, aggressive, mostly high pitched with few Death-like moments, but always fitting with the style. The influences of the band are more than obvious, but the musicians have the skills and the talent to support their ambitious vision. Excellent work in guitars, from the expected fast Thrashy riffs, to the slower banging parts, with everything being carefully worked to the last detail. And then comes the rhythm section, with the drummer giving the tempo, most of the times fast and sometimes in a frenzy groove, but the rest of the band always performing with the same quality and skill. The arrangements are very good, with some less good moments, but what really impresses here is that they are never sound like copycats. While the music often sounds familiar there is no single moment where a "I know this" comes in mind, and this works in favor of them. As the album finishes you want to spin it over and over, with the good tracks being instant favorites, while the few less good moments need some more time to grow. For a debut album, it definitely is a hit. But I am sure that more will come from the in the future. For the moment, grab some cold beers, and prepare for some serious headbanging time.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

SPELLBLAST - Nineteen

This album was a stream of fresh air coming out from our speakers! Power Symphonic Metal from Italy ...mature, technical and catchy compositions and influences unprecedented for the genre: Spaghetti Western touches reminiscent of Ennio Morricone and Luis Bacalov color the whole thing with originality.  
Without musical chatter and mostly without fillers, full of pleasant surprises and twists "Nineteen" is an album that will keep your interest from the first to the last second.

Rating: 5/5