Red Mourning, Under Punishment’s Tree, 2018

red mourning - under punishment's treeIt was tempting to repeat what I said when I wrote about their 2014 album Where Stone And Water Meet. But that would not do the band justice. Yes, this album is still a mix of hardcore screams, heavy riffs, beautiful vocal melodies that open up the whole sound, ferocious drumming and all in all a massive amount of energy.

If anything, their vibrant mix of blues, heavy metal, hardcore and groove, seems to have matured even more. Even someone like me, who typically does not like screaming vocals, can fall for the combination at work here. I can understand why a lot of what is going on is still not aimed at the faint of heart, but listeners who enjoy a band that dares to cross boundaries, will find lots to their liking here. For instance, take a listen to Calls Of Pan and you will know immediately what I am talking about. When the vocal melodies and harmonies kick in, this band produces a power that is impossible to resist. And then the screaming serves a purpose too, like dark serves light.

I can only applaud the band for delivering another unique set of songs, where blues harp and slide guitar sit beside hard hitting metal and still make sense.

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Eden Seed, Age Of Creation, 2018

eden seed - age of creationWhen bass player Matheus Manente sent me the new album of this band, I of course wanted to listen. I quite liked his solo album from some time ago. Well, this is something different in a couple of ways….

First the fact that their guitarist is female. Not so special maybe, except that she appears to be the first Muslim metal guitarist that appears only in the traditional clothing, the niqab, leaving only her eyes visible.  Not that it matters to me actually, this blog is about music first and foremost!
Also in the trash metal genre sometimes the singing mostly consists of angry growling. And alas in most of the songs here that is also the case. And even when it takes some getting used to, I cannot say it is done bad. It just a matter of taste.

So now on to the music. Opening track Return shows the type of riffing you’d expect from a trash band. Some nice guitar work in it, so guitarist Gisele Rocha knows what she is doing. The production from Manente is crisp so the overall sound isn’t drowning out anything.  As I said, the singing in the first couple of tracks is not really my thing, but I cannot deny the band are able to create an impact. What is also a good thing is they added electronica to parts of the music. Creates a different feel and it actually contributes rather than distracts.

Combine that to the pretty varied songs (and actual singing in songs like Disturbing The Silence, Peace Be With You or Rocking All Night Long (reminds me a bit of Ozzy music wise, with Lemmy  on vocals) and it becomes clear that the band have potential.  If any of the references interests you, go check them and be your own judge.

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The Stranger, Self Titled, 2018

The Stranger - The StrangerAlas I have not received any info on who the Stranger is. All I know is that he or she (probably he) is from Burbank California and wrote all the melodies and handled the drums and synths on this release. Tim Lawrence added guitars and bass and mixed and mastered the album. Or maybe it is an extended EP, with 8 tracks clocking in at  35 minutes.

Anyway, what we have here is a modern metal album. The modern aspect being that part of the singing is of the aggressive type. A bit metalcore or screamo I think (sorry, you should know by now that genre tagging isn’t my forte). But don’t let that prevent you from listening in, overall this is a melodic metal album with some progressive accents and 2 piano pieces too!
Opening is the track Enough, high energy drumming with keyboards adding light to the dark riffs on guitar. Good introduction! While You Can continues in the same vein. Scarlet Moon is one of the longer tracks (almost 5 minutes) with again a by now familiar synth sound. Track 5 is called The Difference and is just piano and voice. Actually nice to have a break here, after 4 full on songs. The piano sound is rich and full but with the right dynamics to support the emotional vocal delivery. From the last 3 songs the first 2 are again heavy yet melodic and closer Ghost is another piano and voice song.

Overall a nice effort to welcome The Stranger into the world of music. For me a little more variation in synth sounds would be good, and I think the lead voice is good enough to have a little more presence in the mix.

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Weapons Of Anew, The Collision Of Love And Hate, 2017

weapons of anew - collisionOn to something different now. In respect to my previous post that is. Weapons Of Anew are a new modern metal band who have managed to capture 8 songs under the productional and engineering skills of James Murphy. Not bad gents! They are an experienced 5 piece in the classic mould; voice, bass, drums and 2 guitars.

While listening to this I was wondering for a while where the singing (especially when there were harmonies added) reminded me of. Anyone remember Grenouer? Of course this is more guitar heavy (do not think there was a keyboard anywhere near the sessions) but this also has that slight alternative touch to it. And I must say, the songs are powerful and melodic. Even the sometimes brutal screaming did not bother me all as the band managed to keep it functional.
Yes, from first track Killshot to closer Undone, the band deliver an energetic bunch of songs that are filled to the brim with killer riffs, breaks and flashing solos. Seems they were not out to take prisoners as they fire on all cylinders from the go. And the good part is, I never felt overpowered by a wall of sound. The songs still have room to breathe. Part of that I contribute to the singing, which, as I already mentioned, is for the larger part very melodic. The other reason will be that there is enough variation in approach and arrangements.

Since this release is a 34 minute work, I hope it gathers them enough attention and sales to justify a longer album, would not mind hearing more at all. Congrats!

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Zeroscape, Finish Dem, 2017

zeroscape - finish demYou should never judge a book by the cover but I must confess I was having questions when I read the press sheet accompanying this release. Most prominent genres, but not limited to, are reggae, metal and rap. All because this Canadian band, formed in 2001, believes that all music styles could “melt”.

And truth be told, melting a lot of styles they surely do. Does it all work? Mhm, difficult question. I always try to approach every album with an open mind, but these guys really ask a lot. Though in all honesty, that might be because I rarely enjoy reggae or rap, or even metalcore. And when a song like The Funeral borrows heavily from a famous Survivor song, you ain’t helping your case with me.

Yes I applaud the effort and agree that combining style elements from various genres is possible and can lead to exciting music. But I guess you have to like those elements to be able to enjoy the result. So bits and pieces of this work for me, and others just don’t. But don’t let that stop you from giving it a try if you are curious. I do think these guys enjoy what they do and sound convincing doing it.

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Classic: Black Sabbath, Headless Cross, 1989

black sabbath - headless crossWell, I guess some will be frowning and considering how on earth I got this one so wrong. But I really don’t care. Yeah I know that the die hard fans look away from anything Sabbath did without Ozzy. Okay, some may add Dio to that, but the albums they made with Tony Martin are often overlooked. And that is a damn shame as the man has a magnificent voice. And on this album one Cozy Powell is beating the skins, so for me this is an all star line up.

Anyway, starting off with the suspension of instrumental opening The Gates Of Hell, we are soon awakened by the powerful drumming of Powell and the mighty riffs of Iommi as they launch into the title track. And what a monster it is. Makes my day every time I hear it!  Next up is Devil & Daughter, another tasty song, in a more upbeat vein. No one quite writes chord riffs like Iommi, as he so energetically proves here once more.
When Death Calls is next, opening in quiet mode. Keyboards (Geoff Nichols) play a supportive role throughout the album, and really add colour to it. But not for too long, Iommi takes over with more riffage. Very impressive track, as it should be. Kill In The Spirit World is next, and we are back in more upbeat territory. And another song that takes no prisoners, nice Oriental feel to it too! The last 3 songs are also very good, trust me!

So if you are not familiar with this album, track it down and give it a listen, it will not disappoint.

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Ghost, Meliora, 2015

ghost - melioraA lot of mystery is surrounding the band Ghost (B.C.). No one seems to be sure who they really are. Or if the ghouls and the papa emeritus are the same people on all of their releases. But what we are sure off is that this is their third album. And what is certainly not a mystery, is that this is easy their best yet. Yes, I loved the first two, but this little thing puts a big smile on my face every time I listen to it.

And I know they are labelled a metal band, but I would like to encourage everybody to take that with a large pinch of salt as the band goes way beyond that. Also do not be afraid of the occultism they are associated with. The music alone is so damn good and catchy, you will be able to enjoy this without the lyrics. Every song on this album is genius and nests itself in your brain before you know what happened. And all of that with songs that are creative, energetic, spellbinding and just plain addictive. Anybody that listens to Cirice and not gets hooked can be considered a loss for the music community as far as I am concerned, what a brilliant song!
Personally I keep thinking of a modern Blue Oyster Cult. But never mind referencing them, they are a force of their own and one I like better by the day. Absolutely fabulous and a mandatory purchase. In which case you will also be able to admire the stunning artwork in the booklet.

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Vindictiv, World Of Fear, 2015

vindictiv - world of fearStill have a lot of catching up to do with all the Melodic Rock Records releases from 2015, and then it does not help when they get lost in the mail… But Andrew is not one to give up easily, so here we have the latest Vindictiv making the rounds in the player. Vindictiv is the brainchild of guitar player Stefan Lindholm, who must be heavily influenced by one Yngie Malmsteen… Together with aces Mark Boals on vocals, Nalle Pahlson on bass, Marco Minneman on drums and Pontus Larsson on keyboards and some guests, he created this 11 track 55 minute metal attack.

This is one of those albums that, when you start playing it, sounds a bit pale, yet, when you hang in, slowly reveals its true nature. Of course metal of this type will thrive on solos. And they come fast and furious on both guitar and keys. But in the end, for me, it are the songs that must make it worthwhile. And we get a couple of beauties on this CD. Personal favourites being Day, that has a very memorable melody and arrangement, Paralyzed, with it’s half time groove in the verse, and the title track with it’s great melodies from both guitar and the chorus.
No need to worry about performance here, all top notch. And with buying this you will not only support melodicrock.com, as well as give more artists the chance to get their music heard. All worthy of your time and money!

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Empires Of Eden, Architect Of Hope, 2015

empires of eden - architect of hopeOf all the releases on Melodic Rock Records so far, this has to be the most metallic one. Even if that is based entirely on short term memory 🙂 Empires Of Eden is a vehicle for Stu Marshall, who wrote the songs, played most of the guitars and bass and mixed and mastered the album. There is a different singer on every song, and they also wrote their own words most of the time. So we get a bunch of who’s who here; Ralf Scheepers, Jeff Martin, Rick Altzi, Mike Dimeo or Tony Webster to name some of them. The drums were laid down by Jasix and other guests are Glenn Williams and Mike Davis on bass, and amongst others Shane French, Richie Hausberger and Metal Mike Chlasciak with guitar solos.

Which in itself makes quite clear what to expect. Ferocious riffing, double kick drumming, screaming and wailing and flashy solos. Yes this is a metal album from start to finish. And on the cover they even seem to burn down Disneyland. Which makes for a nice contradiction with the album’s title… For every metal maniac this will tick all the boxes and if you are not, well you probably already stopped reading before this sentence.

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Bigelf, Into The Maelstrom, 2014

bigelf - into the maelstrom If you have ever listened to this band before than you will already know what you can expect from this album. Or check a previous post here. This is a dose of The Beatles, mixed with a dash of Black Sabbath and all that coupled with a bunch of vintage keyboards like the mighty mellotron and a tiny little bit of crazy… If you like them like I do, than that is probably all you will need to know.

To those left behind, in my humble opinion you are missing out on a wonderful retro sounding band! Well, take that retro with a pinch of salt, because when these guys turn up the guitars, it gets more heavy than anything out of the seventies. But the combination of styles I mentioned above works just like a charm for me. All their albums are pleasant to say the least and provide hours of listening joy. And I am not the only one, for instance Mike Portnoy is a fan and even joined them on stage.

So we did some name dropping, gave some references and still you do not have a clue? Well, one thing left to do then, go check them out!!

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