Τρίτη, 30 Ιουνίου 2015

NOMANS LAND - Last Crusade review

NOMANS LAND - Last Crusade
Massacre Records
I think that everyone that is into heavy metal knows that the Vikings were and still are a big inspiration for our sound. These northern warriors who were something like pirates and yet explorers had some beliefs that fit to the heavy metal attitude and these are no others than living free and taking your chances (amongst others). NOMANS LAND is a Russian band who is inspired by the Vikings and they have one more reason than the above mentioned ones. This reason is that the Vikings played an influential role in the Russian history.
THE COVER: The cover is really beautiful and somehow has a comic book feeling. It shows a Norseman upon his horse holding his axe and moving in a misty field surrounded by a forest. I think it works as an appetizer for the kind of music that you will listen to here.
MUSICAL STYLE: I presented in the past previous works of NOMANS LAND who might not be as known as other bands of the Viking metal genre, but they sure have quality and are worth to be noticed by the fans of the genre. This is their fifth studio album and finds them in their new label, Massacre Records. The band has not changed musically since their sound combines folk melodies, a lot of heavy metal elements and of course mainly some harsh and a few clear vocals.
COMPOSITIONS: Here you will find 8 new compositions which have all the elements of melodic Viking metal. I mean that the band doesn’t have a lot of death or black metal influences as most of the bands of this sound, but they move more into the fields of heavy/power metal mixed with folk tunes and melodies. I think that they are closer to such bands like TYR, FALCONER and MITHOTYN.
CONCLUSION: NOMANS LAND is a typical Viking metal band and that is not necessarily bad. On the contrary the band has nice melodies and heavy riffs and in the 40 minutes and more that is the duration of this album they have managed to capture my imagination and travel me back to medieval times. I think that the fans of the Viking metal sound will love them.
Nick “Verkaim” Parastatidis

SHOOTING ANGELS - Deal with the Devil EP review

SHOOTING ANGELS - Deal with the Devil EP
It was in June 2014 in Switzerland that some guys saw the signs of the upcoming Armageddon. They saw that the angels will descent to take over the earth and so they have decided to go hunt them since the hunting period for angels was open. The only thing that troubled them was that they didn’t have the right music to go angel hunting. The problem was solved by creating SHOOTING ANGELS and releasing this 4 track EP.
THE COVER: The cover is in a way the virtual representation of the band’s name. It shows a female angel dirty and wounded on the winds (probably by gun shots) and on the background you can notice a place in flames.
MUSICAL STYLE: This is a hard task for me. SHOOTING ANGELS although a new band has a musical style that didn’t remind me of something in specific. They have of course influences, but they filter them through their personal style. Musically they balance between the hard rock and heavy metal sound and they of course draw inspiration from the 80’s, but at the same time they have a lot of modern elements. 
COMPOSITIONS: The EP as I mentioned includes 4 songs which move musically between the heavy metal and hard rock sound. The band is melodic and yet has heavy grooves and riffs. Also they have a female singer whose voice gives further personality to their sound. I think that amongst their influences there are groups like BLACK SABBATH, IRON MAIDEN, MOTORHEAD and BLACK LABEL SOCIETY.
CONCLUSION: The beginning of SHOOTING ANGEL as it is reflected on this EP proves to be very promising. It is a band with talent, imagination and above all enthusiasm for the kind of sound they play. I think it is worth the trouble to check them out and recommend them to your friends too. 
Nick “Verkaim” Parastatidis

Σάββατο, 27 Ιουνίου 2015

SACRED BLOOD – Argonautica review

 SACRED BLOOD – Argonautica
Pitch Black Records
Greek people from the ancient times had a special relation with the sea. We were explorers and sailors and because of that we managed to create a civilization that has influenced everyone around the world. I think in our modern times too, the Greeks carry inside them, at least most of them, the spirit of Odysseus and the Argonauts. SACRED BLOOD draw inspiration from the legend of the Argonauts and have created their third studio full length album which once again is a concept.
THE COVER: It is a beautiful and epic painting that depicts Jason achieving his legendary task.  It shows Jason stealing the Golden Fleece from the sleeping dragon who guards it. You can also see a woman who is no other than Medea who pours a magic potion to the dragon in order to put him to sleep. I think that it is an image full of details and it made me remember one of my beloved ancient Greek myths.  
MUSICAL STYLE: We often like to talk about how a band has progressed or not and even set the question what progress actually is. In my own terminology progress means to enrich your sound without though losing your identity. I had the opportunity to follow the band’s career from the start and I mean from the era that they were called simply SACRED and they released the great demo entitled “Clash of the Titans” (2003). The band back then was playing heavy metal with lots of epic metal elements and they still do in their new album. The comparison though you can make from their start up to know makes it obvious that the band has enriched its sound and added elements that make their music even more narrative and epic. It makes you feel like you are watching an epic history film.
COMPOSITIONS: “Argonautica” includes 11 compositions that musically move on what we call epic heavy/power metal. The band obviously is influenced both by the U.S. and the European metal scene. I think that in their influences there are bands like MANOWAR and BLIND GUARDIAN amongst other, but they have managed to transform all these influences into their own personal style. Besides that, the band also uses folk melodies and keyboards that have a soundtrack feeling. There are moments when they also use female vocals and narrations.  All these elements give to the album a dramatic character and help you to follow the story with even more interest. As I mentioned above the whole album gives you the feeling you get when you watch a great epic movie. This doesn’t mean that you won’t get plenty of time to bang your head.
CONCLUSION: It is ordinary for bands to claim that their latest album is their best, but if SACRED BLOOD say that, then they probably will be right since they have created an epic metal album that combines creativity, imagination, enthusiasm and maturity. The fans of epic metal owe it to themselves to listen to this album.

Nick “Verkaim” Parastatidis

ROBERTO TIRANTI – Sapere Aspettare review

ROBERTO TIRANTI – Sapere Aspettare
Old Mill Records
The name Roberto Tiranti might not tell you something, but this is the same guy under the name Rob Tyrant. As Rob Tyrant he was the singer of the well known Italian band LABYRINTH; a band that is considered amongst the most important for the modern Italian scene and of course it’s a band that has achieved recognition amongst all the heavy metal fans around the world. So, this is the solo work of the singer of LABYRINTH.
THE COVER: It is actually a picture of the musician who is sitting on a chair in a garden and he has a classical guitar (or Spanish Guitar) on his feet. It is quite an eloquent and suggestive cover. It suggests that here Roberto moves on more melodic and non metal paths.
MUSICAL STYLE: Well, I mentioned above that here Roberto tries to express himself through different musical paths away from the heavy metal sound that he has got us used to. The sound that you will listen to here is definitely inspired by the pop/rock and AOR sound. In my opinion the whole album has a nostalgic 80’s essence without though losing its touch with the contemporary sound of these genres.
COMPOSITIONS: The album includes 11 compositions that move on the melodic paths of pop/rock and AOR sound. In my opinion the influences of Roberto come from singers like Bryan Adams, his compatriot Eros Ramazzotti, but you can also find references here to the sound of the latest BON JOVI. It is an album based on melodies and its intention is to relax the listener and create to him some optimistic and even nostalgic feelings. You must also know that the biggest part of the lyrics is written in the Italian language.
CONCLUSION: It is really nice to see musicians express themselves from time to time through different musical styles. Somehow, this renovates them and gives them inspiration to move on. So, this is what Roberto does here and he does it well. He knows the pop/rock sound well and the album, without me being an expert on this sound, has quality and nice catchy melodies. I don’t know how many of you that read this webzine like this kind of sound, but I have to be sincere and tell you that it is a good album for the genre that it serves.
Nick “Verkaim” Parastatidis

Σάββατο, 20 Ιουνίου 2015

STORY OF JADE - Loony Bin review

Black Tears
Everyone enjoys a good horror story and I think the Italians had the talent to create good horror stories. If you are not aware of the Italian horror cinema, then you don’t know what you are missing. STORY OF JADE seems to be inspired by the horror genre and through the music they try to tell us their own stories and give us some chills. “Loony Bin” is their sophomore release and comes 4 years after their debut album entitled “The Damned Next Door”.
THE COVER: It is a picture of a female person that wears a straitjacket. Obviously madness and horror stories go hand in hand. It might not be something original, but yet it fits to the musical personality of the band and the album.
MUSICAL STYLE: The band names its musical style as horror metal and this is a genre that has included many bands and artists that range from ALICE COOPER, KING DIAMOND, LORDI, HALLOWEEN, DEATH SS to CRADLE OF FILTH and ROB ZOMBIE. The basis though of STORY OF JADE is traditional heavy metal and sometimes they use some keyboards in order to create a gothic atmosphere. When the band becomes more aggressive then they also use thrash metal riffs. So it is obvious that STORY OF JADE musically moves in the heavy/thrash metal sound.
COMPOSITIONS: Their new album includes 11 compositions in which you can find a guest appearance of Gerre from TANKARD on the song “Blood Hangover”. The band moves between heavy and thrash metal and they have managed to create a recognizable sound. Also impressive are their lead and solo parts which are quite technical and imaginative. In my opinion in their sound there are some references to bands like KING DIAMOND and when they become more gothic and aggressive I have discovered a reference to CRADLE OF FILTH. The sure thing is that there is a lot of variety here.
CONCLUSION: I can easily imagine the music of STORY OF JADE being the score for a horror movie and this is a success since the band claims to play horror metal. So, if you are into heavy/thrash metal and you like horror stories too, then you will enjoy them too.
Nick “Verkaim” Parastatidis