north american

Laser Flames on the Great Big News – self titled album

laser_flames_cover

To review this album, I have decided this should be interactive with audience participation. Here’s what you need to do:

Fetch pen, paper and ruler. Draw a grid 5 x 5 leaving you squares big enough to write in.

Now fill the 25 boxes with a variety of your favourite rock, pop and metal acts. Purchase the album Laser Flames on the Big News by the Tennessee band of the same name which was out on Wood and Stone Productions on June 30th, 2017, and cross off the bands in your grid as and when you hear them on this record.

Press play and join John Judkins of Rwake and Stephanie Bailey as they play vocal blows off each other whilst the band scot around a number of genres, sub-genres and classic standards.
Continue reading

Gravespawn – Inexorable Grimness cassette release

Gravespawn Bandcamp Cover

 

Cassette collectors and tape heads rejoice!! Folkvangr Records is releasing of the cassette version of Inexorable Grimness by USBM band Gravespawn on August 25th 2017 as a limited edition solid black cassette with white ink and hand-numbered, plus double sided 4-panel sleeve in a crystal clear case.
Although this album was released late 2016, it is seeing a cassette release this August, and it is my first time listening in. Opening with a Mortiis style depressing dungeon dirge, the rest of the band soon kick in with fierce and fast black metal and gargling with gravel vocals.
Continue reading

Void Ritual -Heretical Wisdom

Void Ritual cover

I am pleasantly surprised by how much I like this. I think Void Ritual are a one-man outfit producing black metal, and there are many of these kinda outfits out there, and sometimes I listen and feel it doesn’t work, however on ‘Heretical Wisdom’ I hear a maturity and musicianship that is worthy of your time and money. ‘The Flood’ starts us off in an expected frenetic way, yet it is ‘Breathing Ice’ that really piques my attention as it slows down its rhythm to that beautiful Bathory-esque momentum and my head cannot but worship with a meditative nod.

This is the first full album release by Dan and his Void Ritual moniker who probably don’t need much of an introduction in these pages. After an EP and a split EP this album is seeing a full CD release on Throats Productions and cassette via Tridroid Records in August 2017, so proper backing and exposure! The instruments are all equally used and balanced throughout, so the drums get a bit of an expose on ‘Heretical Wisdom’ title track bringing them forward from purely a beat keeper, ‘Frozen Altar’ includes a very slight keyboard presence, but handled in a subtle way as to not overpower the track.
Continue reading

Suicide forest – Descend into Despair

Suicide Forest Bandcamp Cover

Slow black metal – an oxymoron? Well not in Suicide Forest’s case. Depressive, leaving that hollow yearning feeling, US black metallers Suicide Forest, which are another one-man band outfit, have created a beautiful piece of dark melancholy. Spread across 8 tracks the listener is reminded of how futile life is, track 4 sums it up with ‘A Sobering Reflection’ ..good grief, and this is being released in July 2017, when the northern hemisphere is enjoying summer, and I’ll be hanging ten on my board, evenings spent chillaxing round a campfire on the beach…. No wait… I think I shall close the curtains and indulge in DSBM and await the end of the world.

Dungeon sounds, lasting, lilting slow guitar riffs, seething vocal noises and gentle piano pieces and keyboard interludes are used to create this menacing, gloomy atmosphere. And to cement this dark feeling the album is released on black cassette, ‘non more black’ as Spinal Tap might say, limited to 100 hand numbered with carefully assembled 3 panel sleeve.
Continue reading

Baroness release “Shock Me” video; North American Tour kicks off in May

Baroness, who kick off a five-week North American tour later this month, have released a video for “Shock Me.”

Filmed in rural Pennsylvania, the video brings to life a number of elements from the incredible artwork Baroness albums are known for. The clip was directed by Don Tyler and John Baizley with art direction by Karen Jerzyk.

Continue reading

Frank’s Guide to Power Metal, Part II: North American

Iced Earth
Iced Earth

Welcome back, brave warriors! I hope you enjoyed Part I. Because of the European style being the most recognizable for Power Metal I considered it a warm-up for Parts II – V. Power Metal has grown and evolved to reflect many different sounds and incorporate the influences of other genres. The sound becomes similar, yet different.

Confused? No worries. Let the journey continue…

Continue reading