Τρίτη 26 Μαΐου 2015

DIATHRA – Fascinating Impulses review

 DIATHRA – Fascinating Impulses
Stygian Crypt Productions
DIATHRA from Belarus is a band that was formed for the first time back in 1995. They released their debut album entitled “Wistful Autumn Dance” in 2002 and in 2008 their sophomore entitled “My Endless Sorrow”.  This is their third full length studio release and it came out in 2014. As you can see here there is a pattern since DIATHRA release an album every 6 years. The reasons for this long time between the albums are the usual ones, the band underwent line – up changes.      
 THE COVER: The cover shows an old fashioned balcony which has a view to a sea or a lake and you can see dead trees inside this lake or sea. Also in front of this you can see a red flower (maybe an orchid? I can’t say). The cover has intense and dark colors and I think it represents visually the music of the band.
MUSICAL STYLE: I am not an expert for the kind of sound that DIATHRA play, but as their bio sheet says they play atmospheric gothic doom metal. I think that this description is quite accurate. The band tries to create a dark and nostalgic atmosphere by using melancholic melodies and mid – tempo speeds. Also the band has a theatrical approach and this is expressed by the use of female melodic vocals and dark male vocals.
COMPOSITIONS: The new album of DIATHRA has 7 new compositions most of which have duration of over 5 minutes. These compositions have as a common element the fact that they try to create to the listener nostalgic and sad emotions. I can’t say that the band reminded me of something in specific, but they surely have similarities to bands like THEATER OF TRAGEDY, MY DYING BRIDE and HAGGARD.
CONCLUSION: DIATHRA play the kind of sound that is not my cup of tea, but I have to be objective and say that these guys know this style well and create songs that can move the listener. I think that the fans of atmospheric metal music will enjoy this new DIATHRA album.
Nick “Verkaim” Parastatidis

VALOR - The Crown and the King 7” vinyl review

 VALOR - The Crown and the King 7” vinyl
Pitch Black Records
VALOR are the Greek epic power metallers who were formed back in 2002 and up to now have released one EP and 2 full length studio albums. This single is their new release and will be out on March 5th, during the Up the Hammers Festival warm-up show in Athens, Greece to coincide with the band’s appearance at this year’s festival.
THE COVER: It is impressive with dark and yet intense colors and of course underlines the epic character of the band. It shows a knight or an ancient warrior holding his sword.
MUSICAL STYLE: VALOR through the years have achieved to create a sound that characterizes them and it is recognizable. They, of course, have influences from bands like MANOWAR, VIRGIN STEELE and WARLORD, but they give their own interpretation to their influences.
COMPOSITIONS: The single includes 2 songs from which the “The Crown of Evermore” is an original composition and carries the epic character of their sound which owes a lot to the above mentioned bands. The other song is a cover to ACCEPT’s classic “The King”. This is an interesting cover since the band gave their own touch to this classic and somehow the way they covered it reminded me of good old EDGUY.
CONCLUSION: VALOR once again stay true to their sound and the new song that is included here will make their fans happy and can even bring some new too. The band through the years has evolved and still offers quality works in the epic power metal genre.
Nick “Verkaim” Parastatidis

Παρασκευή 22 Μαΐου 2015

NIGHT – Soldiers of Time review

NIGHT – Soldiers of Time
Gaphals Records
I can usually understand when a new band tries to play old school heavy metal and when we deal with a band from that era. This time, though, I had a hard time with NIGHT, because they made me believe that is a lost release coming straight back from the 80’s. The fact is, however, that NIGHT were formed in 2011 and “Soldiers of Time” is their sophomore album.
THE COVER: Lately I have seen some original and very beautiful covers of heavy metal albums and the cover on the NIGHT CD is among them. It shows an Indian shaman with his hands glowing and above him the head of an owl. On the background you can also see an ancient Aztec city (probably).
MUSICAL STYLE: The band states in the info sheet that accompanies this release that they wanted to explore the heavy metal sound of the early 80’s and believe me they are quite accurate on what they say. The band’s sound draws influences from such bands like early RIOT, DIO, RAINBOW, JUDAS PRIEST, MERCYFUL FATE and also they brought to my mind bands of their own country (Sweden) such as PARASITE, ZONE ZERO and HEAVY LOAD. All these influences are filtered though through the personality of the musicians that participates in NIGHT.
COMPOSITIONS: “Soldiers of Times” includes 11 compositions that as I mentioned above sound like they come straight back from the 80’s, but they also are fresh and in a way innovative. The leads and the melodies, but also the solos are all rooted in the 80’s and in such an original way that make NIGHT stand out from other bands that play old school metal.
CONCLUSION: When a contemporary band makes me believe that it comes from the straight 80’s… When the compositions don’t sound like cheap imitations of the 80’s, but have originality and are full of inspiration, then we talk about a great release, that every fan of 80’s metal should have in his/her disk collection. I am sure that this release will create a great sensation amongst the heavy metal fans.
Nick “Verkaim” Parastatidis

DRAKKAR – Run with the Wolf review

 DRAKKAR – Run with the Wolf
My Kingdom Music
DRAKKAR belong to the bands that have put the Italian metal scene in the heavy metal charts in the late 90’s. They might not be as famous as DOMINE, DOOMSWORD or RHAPSODY, but believe me they have earned a cult status in the underground scene, especially with their debut album entitled “Quest for Glory”. I admit that I am fan of the band and I have all of their studios albums so far and once again I am happy to see that they are about to release a new album.
THE COVER: It is really impressive because it looks like an oil painting and mainly uses the black and white colors. It is minimalistic you might say, but yet it is very impressive. It shows a Viking running with a wolf and it is obvious it depicts the title of DRAKKAR’s new album.
MUSICAL STYLE: If I want to be quick about it then I would say that DRAKKAR play epic power metal and this is true. The fact, though, is that the band combines many different influences in its sound that come both from traditional heavy metal and European power metal. Also in their latest releases they have surprised me pleasantly because they use keyboards that have a 70’s sound and bring to my mind bands like URIAH HEEP and DEEP PURPLE. The fact, however, is that DRAKKAR have a sound that is distinguishable and quite original.
COMPOSITIONS: The new release comes as a two CD set with the first CD having 10 new compositions and the second one 5 tracks that come from the band’s past and are re-recorded with the new line-up. Once again DRAKKAR stay faithful to their history and offer us traditional heavy/power metal with a strong epic feeling. I think that they can be compared with such bands like HEIMDALL, RUNNING WILD, IRON MAIDEN, BLIND GUARDIAN and HELLOWEEN. They also use the 70’s sounding keyboards that give a hard rock touch to their songs and this spices up a bit more the whole release. As for the re-recorded songs, they sound nice, but I prefer the original ones.
CONCLUSION: DRAKKAR play the kind of music that I enjoy to listen to as a fan and because of that they won’t disappoint their fans. Being a fan of the band I have to say that I have enjoyed the album and it might not be as great as their first 2 releases, but yet it is good and I think that every fan of epic heavy/power metal will enjoy it.
Nick “Verkaim” Parastatidis

Τρίτη 19 Μαΐου 2015

MASTERS OF DISGUISE - The Savage and the Grace review

 MASTERS OF DISGUISE - The Savage and the Grace
Limb Music
It is pretty much clear to everyone that we live in an era, musically speaking, when bands and musicians pop out and try to imitate or bring back the 80’s sound. Just look out there how many N.W.O.B.H.M. bands exist. It is not rare, though, to see also bands that try to imitate other known 80’s bands like BLAZON STONE for example who play like RUNNING WILD and MASTERS OF DISGUISE who sound like SAVAGE GRACE. I think it is a strange way to pay your tribute to these great bands, but instead of making covers, you create new songs and this is at least creative.
THE COVER: MASTERS OF DISGUISE are very influenced by SAVAGE GRACE and make that obvious on the cover of their album too. The photo shows the cop who was also portrayed on the debut album of SAVAGE GRACE (“Master Of Disguise”) once again trying to scare an innocent and yet beautiful lady. The sure thing is that this cover will wake up memories.
MUSICAL STYLE: As I mentioned above MASTERS OF DISGUISE are heavily influenced by SAVAGE GRACE and this means that they play heavy/speed metal that consists of melodies and heavy riffs. Actually they manage to sound rough and yet melodic and this is an element that characterizes this band. If I want to be just with them, then I have to say that they also have influences from bands like JUDAS PRIEST, IRON MAIDEN and since they are Germans, they also have some references to the power/speed metal scene of their country.
COMPOSITIONS: The new album of MASTERS OF DISGUISE includes 11 tracks out of which two are covers of SAVAGE GRACE’s “Sins of the Damned” and FLOTSAM AND JETSAM’s “Hammerhead”. Having listened to their previous album which was their debut release I have to say that this one is not as good as their first. They have kept the same musical style, but this time they emphasize on the speed element of their sound without having the memorable melodies that made me like their debut album. The songs in this release don’t differ so much one from the other.
CONCLUSION: Two years might have passed since their debut album, but somehow I thing that MASTERS OF DISGUISE have rushed things up a bit in order to release their new album. The compositions that are included here might not be bad or boring, on the contrary they are decent, but that’s all they are. If you want to listen to something from this band, then with certainty I would recommend to you their debut album entitled “Back with a Vengeance”.
Nick “Verkaim” Parastatidis