Posts by Hamirubi:
Tagada Jones! Oh man! I last saw these punkers at the Belgian Durbuy Rock Festival in 2007. It was a killer experience with the finest of French commercial nostalgia. It seems like ages ago, and quite frankly it is! I’m getting older… And so does Tagada Jones. Yet, Tagada Jones has left way younger bands of the 2007 Durbuy billing – such as Pleymo, Unswabbed, MyPollux or Stereotypical Working Class Heroes – far behind. I kind of lost track with this band from the Eastern peninsula part of France. But they still were very active and kicking since. Furthermore, they inspired a vivid hardcore scenery, also far abroad. One should only glimpse at their impressive résumé: Since these Bretons punk hardcore flock together in December 1993 (and professional some five years later), they set up an astonishing account of seven studio albums, some EP’s and a split album, a best-of in 2004 and a concert DVD. They also toured with some friends from the alternative French rock and hardcore scene (think of the ‘Le Bal des Enragés’ collective with among others Lofofora and Black Bomb A). Doing so, they scored more than 1,600 gigs and music concerts in 24 countries! Tagada Jones simply became an ‘established’ trade name (even though this sounds somehow schizophrenic for a anti-elitism hardcore band). For their twentieth aniversary Niko (vocals and guitar), Stef (guitar), Waner (bass guitar) and Job (drums) want to inspire fans from the very beginning and a whole new generation with the peculiar Tagada Jones sound. That’s why they came up – together with the French At(h)ome label – with a double feature ‘20 Ans d’ombre & de lumière’: It is a DVD and audio CD with a sampling of the Tagada Jones best of songs, with a emphasis on the live concert experience. A must hear and must have for European punk-hardcore fans.
The DVD brings a road documentary of director Hervé-Jacques Passard. He portrays the story of Tagada Jones, the authenticity and ‘do it yourself’ attitude, the band’s two decades of playing music and sharing a comradeship, while touring the world. ‘20 Ans d’ombre & de lumière’ stands for twenty years of shadow and light. Yet, the documentary shows more happy punk moments than shady times and line-up changes (for instance the wrangling with guitar player David (1994-1997)). First of all, the DVD lacks English subtitles. That’s a pity. It even doesn’t come with native French subtitles, and would you know: These Bretons really are fast talkers when having fun and drinking some beers. On tour travelling and conversation alternates with narrative parts on the band’s history and archive footage. The director even hands the floor over to ex-band members, like former bass guitar player Pepel (1993-2003) and the very first guitar player Pascal (1993-1994) and drummer Benoit (1993-1995). The documentary shows the changing ambitions and the flourishing of the group, the extending venues, and the musical shift from total eighties punkcore, to a more punk rock style with metal riffing. This story is accompanied by great footage of billing and pictures, and early videos. We get a career view by means of every music album – starting with their first self-released cassette-tape “Mortelle Rebellion” from 1993. As ‘masters of their own thoughts’, they portray their song texts with a distinctive message and a very recognizable Tagada Jones style of music. It illustrates the development of the band and its entourage, with many concert experiences and the collaboration with other French hardcore bands. The road trip movie begins with the preparation of the 2010 Festival des Vieilles Charrues, and the packing and trip to this concert in Brittany (France). It takes a while before we get a peek of the Tagada Jones music, but it’s worth the waiting. From the traditional dragging and pulling of flight cases and travelling with a minivan in the native region, Passard takes us by plane to 2009 Taiwan and Japan – Asian countries with a very different rock tradition, as explained by Niko in the documentary. The Tagada Jones lads suit the experience, while even teaming up with the well-known Japanese metalcore band Maximum the Hormone. But the members also witness the departure announcement of drummer Boiboi/David (1995-2009). A 2003 Canadian intermezzo shows former second vocalist and sampler Gus (2000-2007). Back to France, the story picks up Tagada Jones’s part in the acclaimed French collective ‘Le Bal des Enragés’. A great atmosphere! But we also get to see the charming selfmade spirit and the playing at tiny café concerts. Look behind the scenes of a great French punk hardcore band with a long history, and throughout a journey to different parts of the world. It’s a genuine experience, even though I would love to hear some more live acts and fans going berserk.
The second chapter of the DVD ‘Le Zapping’ has no real added value. It just is a perpetual mix-up of on the road conversations and concert preparation, bits of interview, lots of silliness and a succession of chatter ‘en français’. Very amusing to watch. With funny man Job as a leading actor. The third DVD part is more interesting, with eight live songs – almost every song is a first-quality gig recording. This live feature bundles Tagada Jones’s best songs (‘Combien de temps encore’, ‘Zéro de conduit’, ‘La traque’, ‘Cauchemar’, ‘Descente aux enfers’, ‘Cargo’, ‘W’ & ‘Le feu aux poudres’) and the concert sound really is bad ass. A very welcome warming-up for the added audio CD.
This best-of CD truly honors the Tagada Jones zest. It is a genuine best-of, with great alternative metal and punk acts. All the pieces of music are live, and were recorded recently: Most of them at the 2013 Betizfest. The band members gave their best, no doubt about that: The listener will embrace this punk music with a lot of body, speed and energy. The disc simply forms a great fit, as ‘Un kulte’ proves (track 11): The thundering drums and massive guitar play only is swamped by the power – who will disagree? – of the leading man vocals Niko. These vigorous screamo, powerful punkish guttural sounds really lead to the core of Tagada Jones’s sound. At the very end of this live track, you are only given a short round of applause and bam! No compromises made, you better be ready for the next firm burst of energy ‘Les connards’ (track 12). This summarizes the intensity of the audio CD. The drive of the sixteen track disc always is fast and with a no-nonsense flavour. From the start of the first track ‘Les nerfs à vif’, accompanied by some samples you can also discover on other tracks (such as track 3 ‘Pavillon noir’), the listener faces the Tagada Jones soundwall. The band brings non-stereotypical and no-nonsense live music, and always is generous with its energy. It has an American style hardcore punk, but with themes true to the band’s world view, and with some surprising melodious guitar riffs and drum playing metal hints. The live experiences of course are much to the good. My favorite ‘Cargo’ (track 9), and probably the best known Tagada Jones song, is the sing-a-long track which really captures the concert’s drive. What an awesome sound tuition! But Tagada Jones also regards some newer songs, e.g. track 2 ‘Yec’hed mad’. Other great live pieces of music are ‘Le feu aux poudres’ (track 15) and ‘La traque’ (track 16): Songs with lots of body and echoing enthusiasm. Before you know it, the CD has ended, and you will give it another spin! This brings me to the (only) weak spot of this best-of CD. Over more than one hour of footage, it often struggles to capture the live concert atmosphere. Maybe because the sound recording is just too smooth – I would have liked it to bring a more rough, crunchy and raw sound. With some more bass and stronger drums. OK, we sometimes hear the interaction with the crowd, like on the intro of track five ‘Descente aux enfers’ and the yelling of the fans. Niko’s live screaming does the trick. Yet I also want to hear and feel the mass, the cheering of the audience, the enjoy of the hoards of punk lovers. But I don’t want to cavil at minor details.
Someone can see this double album – DVD and CD – as an anthology of one of the finest French alternative/hardcore punk bands, with a tidy, smart collection of their most inspiring works. And yes, the discs really form a well crafted best of compilation. It also suits for a smart leg up for the next album ‘Dissidents’, in the pipeline for Spring 2014. This double feature ‘20 ans d’ombre & de lumière’ really gives zest to the crème de la crème songs and history of Tagada Jones. So I wouldn’t be surprised if the band is ready for another twenty years!
- ‘Le Film – 20 ans d’Ombre et de Lumière’
- ‘Le Zapping’
- Live songs: Combien de temps encore, Zéro de conduit, La traque, Cauchemar, Descente aux enfers, Cargo, W & Le feu aux poudres
- Les nerfs à vif 4:22
- Yec’hed mad 2:15
- Pavillon noir 3:27
- W 3:18
- Descente aux enfers 3:40
- Zéro de conduite 2:57
- Combien de temps encore 3:02
- Manipulé 3:59
- Cargo 3:06
- SOS 3:12
- Un kulte 4:13
- Les connards 2:33
- Contre courant 3:11
- Ecowar 3:42
- Le feu aux poudres 3:56
- La traque 4:57
+ bonus songs
Aloha… we’re doing great! And how about yourself?
I’m fine, thanks!
Now, what is the “The Evil Pony’s” line-up? Can you give a little presentation of everyone of you?
Well we’re a four piece band in standard rock formation as they call it.
We have Manu Vermeersch on vocals and poetic skills. Willem Depraet plays lead, solo and other guitars, all at the same time! He’s also responsible for most of the musical ideas. Sven Bauwens hides his guitarplaying skills on bass and helps out on music knowledge. And finally we have Steven Mervielde on percussion. He started playing the drums especially for The Evil Pony’s.
It all started with “The Evil Pony’s Bitches”, an odd group name that later became “The Evil Pony’s”.
Can you explain the choice of this band name? What is it suppose to mean?
Ha… We remember it as it happened yesterday! Manu always wanted to start a metalband called “Evil Monastry” and Willem had some kind of connection with a Pony… well, we will not go into details. Bring together Evil and Pony, make it plural and you have The Evil Ponies. But for graphical reasons “Pony’s” is much cooler, so we made up a story about an original bandname which was The Evil Pony’s Bitches… it really is not a writing mistake.
Now, can you describe the peculiar music style of “The Evil Pony’s”? You call it polder rock or Eekloosch metal and Meetjeslandsch metal by extension. It definitely is a crossover genre I rarely if ever heard of, before I met your band.
So you put together four people with different music taste (at least guitars are something we all like) and only a limited knowledge of playing their instruments and what you get is our music style. We try to borrow everything in music that we think is cool and blend it into a groovy, hit sensitive metallish song. As long as we like it, it’s ok!
You seem to have a “je m’en fous”-image and the only thing I can think of (when I see you guys live on stage): “Oh man, these crazy lads are having a tremendous time!” Yet, I somehow have the idea that you find it a great honour and enjoy the fact that you are becoming more widely known. I even heard you on Studio Brussel, the biggest radio transmitter of Belgian youngsters!
Of course it all started as a joke. Starting a band, just to get away from girlfriends and work, it’s every man’s dream. The only reason we play in this band is having fun. And we want the audience also to have fun! We love doing our thing on stage and I think this is something that our fans enjoy.
We never dared dreaming that we would be playing this much live and even getting airtime on the radio. And so it became a challenge to get as far as possible, without losing the fun. You never know what will be next.
Never thought of going a bit further or broader? Like shaping the band’s music to a more earnest genre and atmosphere? You absolutely have the instrument skills – and I would almost forget the sometimes divine grunts of Manu – to form a classical heavy or thrash metal ensemble. Are there actually sideprojects of “The Evil Pony’s” band members?
Hehehe, we do our best to keep The Pony’s… well The Pony’s. We will never make very complex music and we’re just fine with that. That’s just the fun about the band.
If we want to get serious, indeed we have some sideprojects. Steven is the bassplayer of The Difference (great heavy doom band, certainly check it out) and Willem releases his demons with Heidrun (black metal straight from hell or valhalla or wherever these guys dwell in their free time). Sven is a superb guitar player who has a lot of (ex-)projects (Run4H, Dead Hand Draw, Heresy…). Manu has an exclusive contract with The Evil Pony’s. We don’t want to share his competences with anybody else!
What are the greatest influences? Besides the export beer: I’m referring to the music.
Belgian Asociality is for sure a band we look up to. And Johny Turbo remains a hero for us all. But when it really comes to music, there are many bands to refer to. As we all love music, we all will take influences from our daily listening to music.
What is the most beautiful compliment you got for your newest album “Mee Een Muile Gelijk Ons Ist Alle Doagen Keirmesse!”?
The greatest compliment is to hear people singing along with your songs during a gig. Then you know that they actually listened to the album for a couple of times (or that it’s really catchy). And the fact that people say that even the music isn’t that bad at all, tells us that mission is accomplished.
I certainly love the renewing of the song “Schuppe” on this first full-length album. Yet, I miss songs like “Neem mijn lief” or “Krügercomplex”, some of my favourites. The punk influences in the Pony’s style almost guarantee sing-a-long tracks. What is your all time favourite “The Evil Pony’s” track?
Well, for “Neem mijn lief” we have a simple explanation. It is a song protected by Sabam and we refuse to give and money to them (check the No S’Bam logo on the CD). Krügercomplex needed some reworking and it was not strong enough yet but it will return in our playlist! And maybe on the new CD.
What are the perspectives of “The Evil Pony’s”? What do you want to achieve the coming years from now?
The next step is an acoustic session in café De Bakkerei in Eeklo on the 19th of March “The Evil Pony’s Zonder Ellentriek”. That will be quite a challenge so we will put some effort on that.
And in the mean time we are writing new songs so we hope we will be able to offer you a new CD soon! And new t-shirts! And more gigs… so you guys are not rid of us yet.
Thanks a lot for the drop in! Good luck in the near future: Have lots of gigs, chicks and beers!
The pleasure was totally ours! Got any more beers?
The Spanish lads of “The Seed” are balancing on the subtle line between thrash metal and groovemetal. These guys know their people. Technically everything just matches perfectly, and these are no hollow-sounding words! Believe me. When you buy this album “From Nowhere to No One”, you will spontaneously think of post-thrash and classic-inspired metal neck breakers. You can almost feel the energetic heat of “Vulgar Display of Power” (Pantera), “…And They Shall Take Up Serpents” (Byzantine) or “Morbid Visions” (Sepultura). Great!
“To Anyone from Anywhere” is the door knocker of this 12-track disc and it immediately has a divine industrial ambient atmosphere. A perfect opener for a killer song like “Master of Men”. Simply adorable! The song has an Anthrax-like aura and who can be disappointed with such a compliment? Maybe the song is not that iconic as a Prong song, but it has the right dash. It offers a spring tide of rhythm changes and enthusiastic bass patterns. The drumming lines are terrific: the instrument handling has to be perfect for a energetic soundwall as this one is. This is a mammoth start. “From Nowhere to No One” takes you further back in music history, and guarantees some eighties metal sounds. Song number five “The Yellow Path” starts with an almost Metallica-like guitar piece. The blistering and wailing grunts, nurturing guitar and bass lines and crushing drumming makes the sound shattering in an enthusiastic raging howl. This is an album with fierce, technical and passionate music. I simply love the vocals. Song nine “By My Own” even made me think of a purest Lamb of God track. Oh man, this album is more than successful.
The only snag of “From Nowhere to No One” probably is that there are no real peaks to be found among the actually lovely tracks. It even creates a somehow tedious aura, surrounding this hotbed of classic thrash metal sounds. Every song has a nice thrashy colour, and the overall sound is very tasty, but the album doesn’t really contain monumental-5-minute-headbang-instant-classics. But hey, this is a first full length drill (even though it is beyond doubt that this birth is the reward of lots of hard work and the musical ideas definitely are well thought-out). In brief, “From Nowhere to No One” is a solid piece of groovemetal work that will bring the listener to supposed lost thrash nostalgia. I’m gonna spin this CD frequently the coming weeks, that’s for sure!
1. To Anyone from Anywhere
2. Master of Men
3. Antihuman Brigade
4. Dead Seed
5. The Yellow Path
6. All the Dreams Are Torn
9. By My Own
10. The Media Lies
11. Murdering Post
12. Bag of Fools
Now it is time for me to exercise my interpreter skills again. “The Evil Pony’s” are back with the fearsome “Mee Een Muile Gelijk Ons Ist Alle Doagen Keirmesse!”, an album title one would translate as “With a conk like the one we have, every single day is like carnival!”. These Holy Innocents certainly know how to present themselves. Not needless to say that The Evil Pony’s-posse lives in my backyard. These East-Flemish punk metalheads already visited Corazine with their EP “Obsceen, Gemeen En Vies Van Iedereen”. Now they don’t seem to break new grounds, according to the very cartoony CD cover, yet that would do not much harm. This is their long-anticipated first full album, after years of enthusiastic and hilarious gigs and parties, which are a cross between absurd laughter headbanging and heavy metal overload with a dialect touch. Let’s have a listen, shall we?
First of all, the album cover art is amazing. Dutch jack-of-all-trades Roel Smit (f.i. lead singer of the anarcho-punk band “Human Alert”) illustrated a kiosk to ride horseback with some well-known comic book figures in an erotic diorama. Funny as hell, neat and typically for “The Evil Pony’s”. An attractive case cover is a great asset. “Mee Een Muile Gelijk Ons Ist Alle Doagen Keirmesse!” was quite a long time in the pipeline, but finally we could get our hands on this album. And although the pony bitches seem to stay low profile, the already managed to get some national airplay time! There are some very slick sing-a-long hard rock tracks on the album. Song number six for instance, “Cracotten”, which simply is a crossover of groovemetal and southern rock hints. The best way to describe it: Freddy De Vadder (en de bende van Miènde) meets Belgian Asociality, poured over with some trendy punky flavours. You can almost smell the enthusiasm of The Shavers, combined with a lovely technical metal sauce. Just no one can resist the catch phrase “mé préparé, mé préparé!”. The final act of this thirteen-tracked “Mee Een Muile Gelijk Ons Ist Alle Doagen Keirmesse!” definitely is one of the heights. “Schuppe” is an almost indoctrinating, brutal and seldom polished Pony’s song with tasteful guitar riffing, other than the sluggish metal act we are used to. This maybe is the slumbering joy one will notice in the new album sound: An all-famous and expected collection of amusing, crunchy metal smuggling, but with some more attention to music tour de force. “Smurfintro” is a freaky psychedic Vader Abraham prologue to a great “Smurfin” song. In the title track “Mee een muile geluik ons” (song number ten), you can almost hear how front man Manu is “singing”… much more than the usual Lindemann-ish rhythmic rattling off. Yet, the grunting and heavy metal posing in the next act “Ziek in ‘t oofd”, which would stand strong in an underground black metal performance, are a reassuring, great comfort. Flemish and Dutch speaking metalheads, all gather around this classic metal melting pot of “Meetjeslandsch dialect”.
“Mee Een Muile Gelijk Ons Ist Alle Doagen Keirmesse!” simply is unrestrained and crazy as hell. The cartoony atmosphere definitely works and soothes the metallic, heterogenic irregularities. The trouble-stirring “The Evil Pony’s” did it again. And I’m already looking forward to a next release. Oh yeah, this is a great listen ánd laugh!
- Afscheid van een vriend
- De lift
- Mee een muile gelijk ons
- Ziek in ‘t oofd
There’s nothing more pleasant then to look back at 2009, right at the beginning of the new year. It sometimes is a bit confronting to see albums in a different light. For the better, or for the worse… I stumbled upon this German power metal appetizer “Tinnitus Sanctus” of Edguy. It was firewater that fountained at the end of 2008 and that favoured and quenched in the first months of 2009. But how to review it now?
Edguy is an obstinate power metal celebrity. These demigods deliver a melodious heavy metal sound, based on power metal structures, that passes a very broad variety of noises and colour. Edguy is not afraid to step outside its own niche and falls back on many very different influences. That was proven with the release of the previous full length album “Rocket Ride” (2006) (with tons of speed metal, heavy metal and hard rock hints). The Edguy collective – gathering Tobias Sammet, Jens Ludwig, Dirk Sauer, Tobias Exxel and Felix Bohnke – keeps this pace on “Tinnitus Sanctus”. The album is a carpet of bombs with eleven massive heavy metal shells. I’m not that found of crossover heavy and power metal, but between times I love the enjoyable and melodious rhythms. This German quintet rocks! Track three and nine, “The Pride Of Creation” and “Speedhoven” are full of very melodic metal and/or bombastic hints. Singer Tobias Sammet is delivering “Fachwerk”. Sometimes the collection of tracks seems to be a bit unwieldy. Fortunately, you can’t say the musicians take their opus too seriously. This power metal clashes with the noise barrier, with a fierce-humoured approach. Tons of variation and different music styles leave the classic power metal sound. “Tinnitus Sanctus” becomes a firm and steady turret!
Now let me report my conclusion. This disc won’t be a hit number (it nevertheless does not sounds as a massive second-string competitor, that’s for sure). It often lacks some subtlety. The closer “Aren’t You A Little Pervert Too?!” for instance, could have been a lovely and humoristic end, but it misses some fire. “Tinnitus Sanctus” is a must hear, even with these rough edges (without being a lumber shed). Are you ready for some tasteful action?
- Ministry Of Saints
- Sex Fire Religion
- The Pride Of Creation
- Nine Lives
- Wake Up Dreaming Black
- Thorn Without A Rose
- Dead Or Rock
- Aren’t You A Little Pervert Too?!
Early 2008 the “Ed Force One”, with Bruce Dickinson as the man at the helm, sheltered a valuable freight. The Boeing 757 with a picture of band mascot Eddie and official flight number 666 was ready to take off on Stansted Airport (England) on January 28th, 2008 for the biggest challenge for Iron Maiden so far. The aeroplane, with the lead singer in the cockpit, was ready for its “Somewhere Back in Time World Tour”. This killer tour forms a gigantic and swift trip around the world, etapping 23 concerts in 5 continents (in 45 days). This is the documentary film about this huge and massive enterprise. A must for fans of course, because the NWBHM icon Iron Maiden still has a certain mysterious aura surrounding the band. This is a unique portrait, with a pulling up of the heavy metal blinds. The DVD shows the efforts and the music, the logistics and the band strategies! Great! Record label AT(h)OME from Paris granted me this nice surprise, and here is my little review with findings.
The DVD has an easy and sober interface, just like it should be. The preceding production logo’s are a bit interfering, because of their length (just think of the EMI-picture). But the verve of the movie with the preparations of the ambitious adventure compensates this negative point. Ah well. The organization of the “Somewhere Back in Time World Tour” just is incredible: All the material, the crew, the band and documentary makers is stuffed in the Boeing, ready for this big enterprise. It’s nice to get some empathy with the documentary movie makers, when they get introduced at the beginning of the film. But this just is one of the only moments in “Flight 666. The first pit stop lays in Mumbai, India, with a Maiden concert on a wooden podium. A lot of attention is paid to the world outside the picture. A unique Iron Maiden painting; that’s for sure. I must admit that after the concert adrenaline, the movie is a bit swiftly. After seven days with 10,000 miles on the counter, the jetlag really is dripping of the screen. But the chatter of drummer Nicko McBrain simply is very hilarious and catching. The film grants the 666 fan a lot of music intermezzo’s and this is all part of the game. This in contrast with the Metallica documentary “Some Kind of Monster”. It’s very cool to see some unexpected peeks behind the curtain. The documentary makers also pay attention to the days off (with golf courses and tennis matches) and leisure activities. But the atmosphere is clear: This gigantic world tour really is hectic and the jet lag just weighs on the British group. The aspects of “Flights 666” I adore, are the cockpit atmospheric description and the almost colourful surveys of the different kind of Iron Maiden fans all over the world. A bright and splendid puzzle of people.
This “Somewhere Back in Time World Tour” shows a journey that was expected to be impossible for nowadays rock standards. The energy of lead singer Bruce Dickinson is impressive and incredible. The concerts in Middle-America (check the Dickinson-mask!) are fabulous. The fans on the airport really go berserk. The charged and explosive atmosphere in Colombia, with the powerful crowd and lightheaded air, ends in tears of joy. “Run To The Hills” When arrived in Brazil, the Iron Maiden band members feel the enthusiastic thrills of their Rock in Rio history. The many personal touches and interviews transform this disc into a splendid time document. The pace of the documentary is really on the edge; fast and furious. What a perfect evocation of the intense and exhausting world tour, with thousands of miles and thousands of fans. Like you are in the middle of it. To end with a rare and small minus point… the ending of the documentary is a bit abrupt and out of tune. But hey, it simply makes me want to watch it just all over again.
A tour set list accompanies the movie, which is already a superb gadget for the selling price. You will find all the greatest and finest Iron Maiden songs on this bonus DVD-disc. My favourites are the Churchill’s Speech, Aces High and Powerslave. What a lovely energy and intensity. This is Steve Harris and his crew at its best! The guitar solos and vigorous sound effects alter with the typically British heavy metal vocals of Dickinson. Perfect. The tremendous drum work of McBrain and the metallic pace of these longhaired oldies just are marvellous. The many concert environments and diverse crowds turn this little masterpiece into a dashing and fascinating party (the standard tour décor sometimes is slightly repetitive, but the Maiden crew excels in appealing musical acrobacy). A must see, must hear, must buy!
- Churchill’s Speech (India) – February 1, 2008
- Aces High (India) – February 1, 2008
- 2 Minutes To Midnight (Australia) – February 7, 2008
- Revelations (Australia) – February 9, 2008
- The Trooper (Japan) – February 16, 2008
- Wasted Years (Mexico) – February 22, 2008
- The Number Of The Beast (USA) – February 19, 2008
- Can I Play With Madness (Mexico) – February 24, 2008
- Rime Of The Ancient Mariner (USA) – March 14, 2008
- Powerslave (Costa Rica) – February 26, 2008
- Heaven Can Wait (Brazil) – March 2, 2008
- Run To The Hills (Colombia) – February 28, 2008
- Fear Of The Dark (Argentina) – March 7, 2008
- Iron Maiden (Chile) – March 9, 2008
- Moonchild (Puerto Rico) – March 12, 2008
- The Clairvoyant (Brazil) - March 4, 2008
- Hallowed Be Thy Name (Canada) – March 16, 2008
I’m not a huge fan of epic fantasy metal, but this Finnish interpretation of Tolkien’s wonderful world is just a must hear. Battlelore is a world known epic metal formation, enforced with a huge fan base. The group excels with turbulent music with a lot of lovely chosen crossover influences. Battlelore began its journey with a first full length album “… Where The Shadows Lie” in 2002 (after some much acclaimed and mouthwatering demo cd’s). Now Napalm Records is proud to present the newest production The Last Alliance. If all goes well, just another bull’s eye! Time to have a closer look at the already fifth full length release of Battlelore.
Battlelore brings to life a very well known emotive feeling, we all know from our book shelves. The lads from Finland go back to the Middle Earth landscape of Tolkien. The first glances show an adornment of battle metal, but with a somehow mid-tempo feeling. The epic gothic structures can fight out a matter with the top epic metal music. On the artistic and heavenly beautiful cover we see Sauron (with ring), one of the grand actors of the War of the Last Alliance. This is the remembrance of the glorious time and the great pact, just before Isildur got corrupt. The first song “Third Immortal” definitely sets tone. The heavy metal instruments build up the epic pace, the vocals just are wonderfully epic. It’s a twisty combination of brutal grunts and sweet female vocal sounds: A superb intro! The synth song structure manages to create two different tempo lines within the track, the drumming work fastens the melody. This immediately is a killer song of high quality. The third song “The Great Gathering” creates an even more interesting spirit. It has a splendid and distinctive atmosphere; a guide through Tolkien’s Middle-earth. The musical juggler extend a more grim and epic radiation. It is more overwhelming and daring, and I like it. Great. At the middle of the album, the epic fantasy soul is a bit sagged out, and that’s a pity. Song number six for example “Daughter Of The Sun” seems a bit uninspiring. But this little minor doesn’t harm the atmospheric soundscape. The energy and rhythm of the next song for example, the track with title “Green Dragon”, is a jewel. The female vocalist parts are tender en gentile, the hoarse masculine expressions are moved to the background, but do guide the aggressive pounding beats. Catchy and very well-considered.
Get ready to embark on an excellent journey to the epic Tolkien universe. Battlelore leads us to very diverse guitar riffs and keyboard mastery, combined with the most sweetest and daring vocals. This is the best fantasy metal experience!
- Third Immortal
- Exile the Daystar
- The Great Gathering
- Voice of the Fallen
- Daughter of the Sun
- Green Dragon
- Epic Dreams
- The Star of High Hope
It has been a while. Despairation returns to the melodical goth rock scene with a fifth album, entitled: A Requiem In Winter’s Hue. The previous release Music For The Night (/articles/d/despairation/reviews/music-for-the-night.aspx) proved to be a rather convincing, but above all very interesting album with tons of melancholic sounds. Despairation seems to embroider on this theme and has finished this latest disc, under the approval of record label My Kingdom Music. The tracklisting counts eleven tracks, and the no-nonsense cover shows a winter scene with a bare tree. Bright, mature and sharp. But what about the music?
The first song “Kiss Of Ashes” is surprisingly expressive and worked up. The piano tunes express a poetic approach and feed this organic whole. The warm vocals of Sascha Blach create a delicate atmosphere, but it is the converging play that steals the show. The sound is pretty much unique. It even is guided by a pop song sound. Despairation goes this well-considered musical road. Next track on the menu is a song for the lovelorn generation, the cunning “A Lovelorn Requiem”. This farewell song certainly is one of the trump cards of this full length album. Great instruments! Very cathy, too, the music often even owns you. The mild noises of “The One Who Ceased To Breathe”, yet another story about departure, are very appealing. The aura of the song is pretty distracting. Blach’s vocalist work and the guitar sounds have a distinctive affinity. This third track on A Requiem In Winter’s Hue is very emotive and delicate. The sixth one, “The Shallow Sea”, has an even bigger effect; It certainly is more refined. A top song! Track nine “Humanity As A Child” is very direct, yet not that accessible (on further notice). The melodic silence is incredible and creates a thoughtful atmosphere. I must admit that I like this conscious album more than the previous Despairation release.
The Despairation quartet (Blach, Jungkunz, Beyer and Reinhold) brings a collection of different music styles. Melancholic noises are housed in precious melodic rock, enforced with a gothic dash and a decisive intelligent song structures. A Requiem In Winter’s Hue just is a pretty and solid album.
- Kiss Of Ashes
- A Lovelorn Requiem
- The One Who Ceased To Breathe
- Musique De La Decadence
- Farewell In Blue
- The Shallow Sea
- Letters From A Coffin
- Cathartic Revelation
- Humanity As A Child
- Lucid Lullaby
- Inner Peace
Mogul is the band I knew from the “Stubru Demopoll” award list. This young Belgian band won this pretty prestigious music award up to three times; a decisive reference! Record label Buzzville Records welcomes a terrific stoner rock blend of southern riffs. Mogul raises an iron fist with this Build Me A Hunchback, a nicely styled album with eleven stirring, rousing and shrewd songs. Let us prepare for an exciting stoner rock experience, all the way from Belgium.
Mogul knows who they are dealing with. Decent stoner rock and metal just is straightforward music and without beating about the bush. The sound on Build Me A Huchback has a go-getter and no-nonsense spirit, with strong riffing, pounding beat and mature singing. The Southern atmosphere, as we can taste in song number two “Return The Blues” or track seven “Hold On” is above all refreshing and convincing. The noise is elaborated with strong vivacious sweets. Song five “Low Tide” has a great arrangement. The downtuned refrain has a high rank. Very enjoyable and catchy as hell. One of my beloved tracks on this album. The softer guitar snaring and plays are excellent and precious. Mogul treats to a cunning, well-considered and mature piece of pure power stoner music. The ninth song is considered to be the dislocated intro for the apotheosis of this masterpiece. It guarantees a lovely opener for the tenth one, “All Of My Bleeding”, which is pretty nice. It contains a grand rock spirit with a slower and more emotive and seasoned dash. The outro, track number eleven, concludes the stoner session.
Build Me A Hunchback is a very enjoyable article of faith, with tons of influences from the stoner rock tradition. The disc is an example of a fresh interpretation of decent reciprocal Southern rhythms. The desert rawness is evocated perfectly in this release. Sharp!
- Sick & Tired
- Return The Blues
- Narrow Shoes
- Genie 18
- Low Tide
- Hold On
- Side Kick
- All Of My Bleeding
Are you ready for some uncompromising stoner metal revelry? The Belgian Solenoid guarantees the fierce power of “you can brush your teeth with my fist”-music. Buzzville Records introduces a sweet-smelling, yet stone crushing pellet of rhythmic guitar riff sounds. Get ready to headbang and enjoy the show.
“Out In The Cold” just makes me think of that superb Probot song “Shake Your Blood”, with the domination of Lemmy Kilmister’s aura. This first track on Solenoid has the right vibe, an excellent groove. The stoner guitar riffs and the swift pace just taste lovely. With a clever instrument’s handling and mastery, the Solenoid team goes for a stoner strike. Sometimes a bit superficial, but certainly a whole lot of fun! These guys really don’t obediently do all they are told by imperious stoner traditionalists. “Her Peace”, the third song on the eponymous album, is a perfect mix between stoner metal and stoner ‘n roll music. The bass guitar delivers an awesome job. The beat is divine, that’s for sure. Song number six “Short But Swell” is one of my favourites. With a downtuned appearance, the four Solenoid members incite the audience easily. Even with a certain level of indolence. Maybe I can formulate a small point of critique: It just doesn’t need to be so innocent. The stoner sound could be a bit more imperious, thundering and more harsh. The song structures would benefit from that. Because there is a song like “Slayin’”, the ninth on this disc, the guys from Belgium manage to lift up the sincere manly fierceness.
Take in these twelve very amusing stoner metal tracks. The five Belgian lads of Solenoid certainly know how to party! This is stoner rock at a high level.
- Out In The Cold
- Down The Dream
- Her Peace
- One Armed Man
- Short But Swell