Cult Of The Fox

Cult Of The Fox-By The Styx Review

The three-headed Cerberus is on the front cover of Cult Of The Fox’s album, the band who were formed in 2007, have had an interesting and varied career since then, with highs and lows. By The Styx is their third album and it already promises to be an interesting one.

Siege From The Sky starts things off. It is fast paced, bringing shredding guitars and soaring vocals to the table, a great start to the record. It is followed by the title track By The Styx which follows a similar pattern as Siege, with chanting vocal choruses, and big swelling guitars, creating a meat packing noise factory. Killing The Black Dog is a fast and furious song that enables vocalist Magnus Holtman to show off his vocal chops, venturing from one range to another. Riddle of Steel is an adventure through different times and places, and a song that would fit right in with a Lord of the Rings soundtrack. Blackfriar’s Bridge is an epic song, bringing hooks, melodies and an interesting story to tell as well. Nightmaster is another song that would work well live, with its hooks and riffs.

Bones Alley contains a hint of Sabbath with its driven chords, but also that of Iron Maiden with the progression that the chords and the lyrics take, a truly varied song which is refreshing. A Warrior Reborn is classic metal, a tale of invention and then rediscovery as life continues. Return To The Burning is a fascinating tale and brings to the fore the vocals of Holtman once more. The Damnation of Albert Caneham is an epic story that carries many changes in tempo, pace, and vocal positioning, a fantastic song. Shuttin’ Em Down is fast and a rocker a brilliant way to finish a record.

Cult Of The Fox have got a great album on their hands here, and this is one that all serious metalheads should purchase and listen to. Be sure to get the album when it comes out on April 20th.

 

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Asphodelia

Asphodelia-Welcome To Apocalypse

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Asphodelia is a dark symphonic metal act founded in 2016 in Foggia, Italy, by Samuela “Samah” Fuiani (vocals and keyboards) and Ruggero “Lordian” Doronzo (guitar), and currently including Davide Ricciardi (bass), Giuseppe Centonza (drums) and Gianni Colonna (guitar). The band is named after the asphodel, typical Mediterranean flower connected to the ancient Greek Underworld: in the ancient Greek mythology, the Asphodel Meadows is a place where the indifferent souls, who lived a life of neither good or evil, are sent to live after death.

Welcome Apocalypse has all the makings of a dark symphonic classic, it contains haunting riffs, soaring vocals, and a slow sludge that greats a sense of epicness, this will be an absolute treat to view live. Cassandra is next, and brings slowness to the record, allowing vocalist Samuela Fuiani to truly shine, as she embraces the different ranges to which she can reach. Alive starts with the keys, before moving into riff-driven metal, slowly constructing a tale that makes the music even more enticing.

Blackout brings the keys to the fore, whilst also bringing Samuela’s vocals to the fore as well. An enchanting tale is constructed, as the guitars begin their introduction with sharp driven power chords, the song continues throughout maintaining this pattern teasing the listener. Heroes is next, starting off slowly, melodically, drawing the listener in. The guitars kick in, and from there the story continues, hard edges and sharp contrasts are evident throughout the song, this will be a treat to see performed live. Secret War is an epic, the vocals are perfect throughout, the guitars perfectly complement the vocals, and the rhythm section performs its job brilliantly.  Behind A Smile is another epic, starting off softly before going into overdrive.

Dust starts in the second half of the album, the guitars kick in with a minor melody that creates anticipation for the listener as they wait for what is to come. The song builds on that delivering a slab of pure symphonic metal purity. Mirror Mirror is next, with brilliant guitar riffs and perfect lyrics. Like Water is an anthemic song, and one that deserves a lot of airplay, and live performances. The Show is just that, it shows off the talent of the band be it guitar-wise, or vocal wise. Flowers of Evil covers about everything, soft intonations, heavy riffage, and brilliant vocal performances. With or Without You is a fresh take on a classic song by U2. A brilliant ending to a brilliant album.

Welcome Apocalypse is an adventure that starts with the title track and continues right until the last note of With Or Without You, the band take you on a story filled ride that will serve to make you want this album played live in full. Be sure to buy the album upon its release via Mighty Music on 20th April.

Blackslash, Witchtower

Witchtower/Blackslash- A Tribut To Randy Review

A tribute to Randy, a two-band album containing songs from Spain’s Witchtower and Germany’s Blackslash, promises to be one hell of an album.

When the first song The Beast by Witchtower kicks in, one is met by a deafening crunch of guitars, and soaring vocals that set the tone for the rest of the record. Drunk As Hell is a rocker, a balls to the walls type of song that would get the crowd going when played live. Ride Or Die is a rocker and another song that is set to get crowds moving.

Next up is Blackslash with It’s Got To Be Love, a song that starts with a clean guitar fill, and creates a sense that there is something melancholic that is coming, the song about war and the desolation that comes from it. It moves into a hopeful song, as the guitars turn into overdrive, making the song seem less downtrodden than might have been feared. Night City Street Lights is next, bringing crushing guitar tones and riffs to the fore, the vocals are what keep the song going, rooted in the description and solid tales. Eyes Of A Stranger is a fast paced song that continues where Witchtower left off, bringing melodies, riffs and a tale of what might happen with strangers should they go unchecked.

The album is a good taste of what both these bands are capable of, and as such I would most definitely recommend getting the record when it is released on April 13th via Puresteel Records.

Estate

Estate-Mirrorland Review

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Mirrorland is the second album of this epic metal group Estate, recorded between 2015 and 2017, the album is a step up as far as things go, from their first album, with heightened production and higher quality songs.

Starting off with the title track, Mirrorland has a chunky heavy riff that brings the head banging movement to the fore. The keys and the symphonic elements complement the song nicely, and the vocals are on point. The Ghoul is next and brings classical shreddage to the opening before moving into solid driving metal. Stolen Heart has that epic early 2000s rhythm vibe to it that keeps the listener hooked and as it progresses into progressive metal, things get quite interesting with the different melodies and hooks. Winter Kingdom, starts off with an acoustic intro with a melodic vocal melody, it then picks up the pace and moves into heaviness incarnate with duelling parts with a symphonic arrangement. Storm of the Age starts with a chorus arrangement, before moving into symphonic arrangements that really make the song stand out, bringing a huge sound to the album.

Knight of Hope is the next song on the record, and it starts with an interesting keys arrangement, followed by the drums, which create a sense of anticipation. When the guitars kick in with their exchange, the listener is left delighted and hooked on the song’s melody, a chance for hope in a dark world. Lady Wind is epic, the vocals and the guitars compliment one another very well, and there is a sense that there is something quite emphatic about the song. Silvery Skies starts off with the piano and guitar combination that makes one think that this will be the ballad of the album, and unlike other ballads, this one does not stray into sappy emotional territory but keeps things sane. Matter of Time varies between quickly paced rocker, and slower more thoughtful epic tune, a good combination that keeps things interesting. Springtime starts off with an acoustic arrangement, that eases the listener into things, the song speeds up when the solo starts, making one think of Joe Satriani. It then goes full metal with the verses properly introduced, a brilliant song and closer to the record.

The record contains elements of everything that makes metal good, big vocals, solid guitar performances and an excellent rhythm section. Stand out tracks would be Springtime, Knight of Hope, Mirrorland and The Ghoul. Be sure to pick up the album when it is released on 20th April, via Mighty Music.

Iron Angel

Iron Angel-Hellbound Review

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Iron Angel were formed in the early 1980s off the back of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, that invaded the listening habits of thousands of young people. Formed in Germany, Iron Angel pioneered a style of metal that has since been hailed as one of the genre’s defining moments. After a brief hiatus, the band returned in full fury, and Hellbound is the result of this reinvigoration.

Writings On The Wall is the first song on the record, it starts with a scream and a jagged fast paced riff, a style that continues throughout the song, earning it some plaudits for being an opening song to get the blood pumping. Judgement Day is fast and heavy, bringing epic riffs and epic vocal lines to the fore. Hell and Back provide clarity on what might be an often disturbing time, the music is evenly balanced, the lyrics are filled with energy and a darkness appropriate for the music. Carnivore Flashmob starts off slow, as the drums build the song into a crescendo that quickly shows off the ability of guitarists Didy Mackel and Mitsch Meyer. Blood and Leather serves as a tribute to the days of old where metal reigned supreme, a truly epic song that deserves a fair airing live.

Deliverance In Black starts with solid riffs, a welcoming crescendo starts the speed and from there it is an all-out assault on the senses. Waiting For A Miracle has discordant chords and melodies, as the beginning, before moving into overdrive with a clear and precise solo over the top of some solid riffage. Hellbound is a chugging riff, with some epic vocals from lead singer Dirk Schroder, a tribute to metal. Purist of Sin is a fast paced song that contains the hallmarks of metal greatness, a song to keep an eye out for on the band’s live setlist. Ministry of Metal is the final song on the record and it is epic, such clarity in the riffs, and precision in the vocals make the song an epic closer.

This album has some serious riffage on it, and some seriously quality metal. It is an album that any decent metal fan will be sure to pick up on 4th May, when the album is released.

Marco Mendoza

Marco Mendoza- Viva La Rock Review

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Marco Mendoza is a giant of the rock world, from playing with Journey, Thin Lizzy and Black Star Riders, he’s now entered into the world of the solo artist. Instead of going for something flashy and without merit, he’s gone for the big bombast of Rock and Roll, and boy does he deliver.

The opening song on the record, is the title track, Viva La Rock. Guitars start proceedings off with a catchy riff, then the vocals kick in, with a call to arms, a solid opening track and one that will get people moving when played live. Sue Is On The Run is a mover of a song, bringing echoes of Fox on the Run by The Sweet, it tells a story with the guitars and the vocals taking things to rock n roll heaven. Rocketman starts with sound effects, then moves into slow bluesy riffage, with the current President’s little eccentricities, this song could be viewed as something of a hilarity, but man is it a rocker. Sweetest Emotions is a mover, solid rhythms that allow Marc to shine, with swinging beats and a high get up. Chinatown featuring Mike Tramp is the ultimate tribute to a great band in Thin Lizzy, delivering punch after punch.

Next up is Burned, a song with a fade in, that then moves into a swaggering monster of a rock song, one that is sure to get people moving when played live. Love 2 U, begins with harmonies, and from there moves into a swaggering beast of a song, which allows the bass to have a starring role. Leah is next, it slows the pace down slightly, to bring a more thoughtful and reflective mood to the album. Hey Baby brings bluesy timey wimey tributes to Ted Nugent, a somewhat parody of the rocker himself, the song has balls. Let It Flow is the final song on the record, this is more reflective, slightly slower, but with the attitude that has made up this album throughout.

With Viva La Rock, Marco Mendoza has brought rock into the modern era, there are all the hallmarks of the past, but with the nuances and the references to the present, to make this a record that will appeal to both new and old. Be sure to purchase the record when it comes out on 2nd March.

Leather

Leather-II Review

Leather Leone is a legend in the metal industry, she burst onto the scene in 1985, recording vocals for David T Chastain, she then recorded her own album entitled Shock Waves in 1989, and now twenty-nine years later, she’s back with another quality album in II. With her years in the music industry adding weight to the songs she produces, this album promises to deliver something of a spectacle.

Starting off with the rip-roaring Juggernaut, it is clear from the moment the first note is hit, that Leather and her band mean business, there’s face melting riffs, there are roaring vocals and there are some brilliant melodic lines that really give the listener a kick in the face. The Outsider is next, it follows the face melting pattern of Juggernaut bringing solid sounds and screaming vocals to the party, truly, this is something of a masterpiece. Lost At Midnite could be Judas Priest, the vocals, the riffs, everything screams New Wave of British Heavy Metal, this will be one to watch live. Black Smoke, slower than previous songs, but just as heavy, if not heavier, bringing the stories of old to life, Leather shines here, her voice carrying the song. The One picks up the pace, heavy and accurate to the point of metal domination, a song that deserves air time.

Annabelle is slower, a bit cleaner, but no less heavy, the lyrical content itself could drive you to think this is a heavy metal epic, and you would not be wrong. Leather sings her heart out, and the guitar work is second to none. A great start to the second half of the album. Hidden In The Dark is fast, chromatic riffage, with soaring vocals from Leather, that show off her range, and cause the hair on the back of the listener’s arms to stand up. From there, one moves to Sleep Deep, a slow chugger of a song, invoking images of Down, NOLA and other brilliant doom and sludge acts. Let Me Kneel is fast, Bark at the Moon esque and carries the weight of that title well, the vocals are on fire once more. American Woman is full of swagger and balls, a definitive classic. Give Me Reason is bluesy and fast, a great combination.

This album proves that Leather has the right to be proclaimed a legend. This album is filled with brilliant songs, which deserve a fair airing live. Be sure to get the album on Soulfood on 13th April.

Cherokee

Cherokee-Wakan Tanka Nici Un Review

Hailing from Cologne, Cherokee brings to mind the bluesy based influences of Thin Lizzy, Rainbow, ZZ Top and The Outlaw, following the success of their two-tracks intro in 2015, they are back with more.

Ethelred Hero of Trist, the opening song starts with a clean minor breakdown before the ripping guitar melody kicks in, followed by the vocals. A tale of a hero, or a villain depending on your view, Ethelred brings to mind progressive rock of days gone by and is certainly going to draw comparisons to the hard rock and mixing time signatures of other bands. A brilliant opener. The Yellow King with its harmonised guitars and its tale of yore and gander, brings to mind Thin Lizzy, and warm summer nights spent drinking beer and talking with friends, a great song for the time that the album is coming out in, and the vocals bring echoes of Geddy Lee.

Blood Worth Its Weight In Gold starts with a bass line, and a guitar riff reminiscent of a bluesy showdown from an old western, it continues in that vein, before moving into a more turbulent rhythm, that merely reinforces such a view. The guitar work is simply exquisite in this song as it is with the rest of the album and promises more. Firewater starts with an impressive guitar solo, reminiscent of Eruption from Van Halen’s debut, it then moves into a traditional rocker that is fast, heavy and moving. Sure to get the crowds moving when played live.

With this record, Cherokee shows that they’ve got chops and they are here to stay. This record has got to be one people buy when it is released on 9th April.

 

Axel Rudi Pell

Axel Rudi Pell-Knights Call Review

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Axel Rudi Pell, is an institution, since the release of his first album in 1989, he’s gone from strength to strength exploring themes that no one else would think about. His music has inspired millions of people and gotten them through hard times. Knights Call is his eighteenth solo album, and boy does it bring a lot to the table.

Starting off with The Medieval Overture and its medieval melodies and notes, the listener gets an early indication of what to expect from this album, solid, hair-raising music. This is confirmed with the absolute riffage that is The Wild And The Young with vocalist Johnny Gioeli singing his heart out. We are then greeted with Wildest Dreams, a song that has melody, heart, soul, and pure riffage that would make Deep Purple proud. Long Live Rock is anthemic, a call to arms that would make even the hardest bastard of a biker sing his heart out. The Crusaders of Doom is in one-word epic, the guitars rip through solo after solo and riffage after riff, the vocals are on point to produce an epic sound that really makes the listener want the song to keep going.

Truth and Lies is a swing and groove-laden song that will get heads moving and bodies shaking when played live and has strong echoes of Deep Purple. Beyond The Light is another epic song, allowing Axel to shine through with his melodious guitar leads and the keys of Ferdy Doenberg provide some good accompaniment. Slaves on The Run is fast-paced, a solid rocker that will get people shaking their heads in envy. Follow The Sun is a reflective song, bringing elements of classic rock and metal together, in one song for a solid groove-based approach that truly gets the listener hooked in and ready for more. Tower of Babylon is the longest song on the record at 9:50, and is worth every moment of that time, from the Asian influenced chromatic scales playing in the beginning to the soaring vocals, and the head moving riffs that follow, every inch of it is worth it.

Knights Call has got everything, good riffs, good melodies, excellent vocals, and brilliant lyrical content. Be sure to get the album when it is released on 23rd March, via SPV/Steamhammer.

Blitzkrieg

Blitzkrieg-Judge Not Review

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Blitzkrieg is an institution, part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, they are one of the few bands from the movement that is still going in the modern day, and they have stayed true to their roots. Their new album Judge Not is their first in five years, and so the anticipation is rightly there.

The opening salve is reminiscent of Judas Priest’s Hellion/Electric Eye, and is the aptly titled Heretic/Who Is Blind? both songs contain harmonies and an absolutely brilliant vocal performance by singer Brian Ross, a great way to start the record. The next song Angels or Demons has an extraterrestrial feeling to it and seems to be hinting at life beyond our world as one of the reasons for our development. Reign of Fire is a song about terrorism and that is reflected in the harshness of the music and the lyrics. Forever Is A Long Time is a song about a vampire growing tired of immortality, its crunchy riffs and the Brian Ross’s soaring vocals make it a song that will surely get people moving at the shows.

All Hell Is Breaking Loose, a song about Satan’s plan for revenge against God is as heavy as one would think it would be, a solid bass intro then moves into the storytelling lyrics of Brian Ross, bringing an emphasis of heaviness and headbanging goodness to the music. Loud and Proud is a rocker, a song that will get the crowd going with its call to arms. Without You is a song that handles the subject of a breakup and is suitably melancholic whilst also containing a chance of hope. Wide-Legged and Headless a rocker, with a grim story, Brian Ross really shines on this song, as do guitarists Ken Johnson and Alan Ross, bringing with them a real pinpoint precision that makes the song even more groovy. Falling Into Darkness, a song about Dorian Gray contains some of the heaviest riffs on the record, bringing solid slabs of metal to the table. Judge Not Is heavy and brutal, and is a fitting closer for the album.

Judge Not is a truly awesome record, bringing with it the best of British Heavy Metal. Be sure to get it when it comes out on 27th April. 10/10.