Thursday, 26 May 2011

Iconoclast - Symphony X (2011)

ALBUM REVIEW
It's been four years since Paradise Lost and the fans were craving for more! It is finally here! I can't tell you how excited I got when I got to hear the album for the first time. Iconoclast is the title of the new Symphony X album due to be released on the 17 of June via Nuclear Blast. This album is great! Classic Symphony X at its best. The songs are really good, filled with all the magic that only Symphony X can produce along with some majestic vocals from Russell Allen and blistering guitar solos/riffs from the great Michael Romeo. The album includes everything you love about Symphony X while at the same time introduces some new features that could shape the future sound of the band. Lyrically the album concentrates on machines and robots taking over the earth and destroying us all. Pretty nice isn't it? This of course, led in to having some musically dark passages as seen on Paradise Lost and I'm sure that if you loved Paradise Lost you will love Iconoclast. If by any chance you've never heard of Symphony X, well let me tell you this: If you don't like long instrumental parts then this album is not for you...Now that I come to think about it, if you didn't like long instrumental parts then you probably wouldn't be reading a Symphony X album review! Anyhow, this is a great album which will kick ass live since some of the songs are really aggressive and powerful!
It is very hard to chose a favourite track out of this album since there are three songs that really caught my attention. First of all the single, already released on the band's Facebook page, Dehumanized. This is a track which really kicks ass with Russell really going at it and dragging you from the ears to listen to it and headbang. The next song is Children of a Faceless God which is a track which, from the first note, has attitude. From the intro riff, through the chorus, to the last note, this song is just pure power(I don't mean power metal) and prog! It is worth noticing the amazing solos of Michael Romeo on this track and in general, on the entire album, Michael is just amazing! Lastly, but not least the concluding track of the ablum: When All is Lost which, as you can see from the title, is a song about the end of life as we know it. This song starts with a nice piano intro and then just goes through the Symphony X machine and becomes a fantastic example of prog metal! I think you know what I mean.

Iconoclast: 8/10

Posted by Nick


Rush - 25 May 2011 (O2 Arena)


I was really looking forward for this gig since I've been listening to Rush since I was 15 or 16 and had since only seen them live through the Rush in Rio DVD. Rush has been on tour since 2010 with the Time Machine tour which features their 8th studio album Moving Pictures. The gig kicked of with an amusing little video with some nice arrangements of The Spirit of Radio in various different musical genres. The band came on with great energy, just as expected, and the fans really went for it! I have to mention that for this gig I was not on the floor area of the arena but on Level 4 which is the highest point of the arena where the view on the crowd is amazing! For the first set of the show Rush went through a variety of songs from a selection of their albums as well as a couple of songs from their new album said to be released by the end of the year! The second set was all about Moving Pictures. With legendary songs like Tom Sawyer and YYZ it was an absolute delight to hear this album live! Following Moving Pictures, Neil Peart(Drums) showcased and re-affirmed that he is one of the best drummers out there with an amazing drum solo! Not only his is technically great, he also has a musicality within him that really makes him stand out from any other drummer on earth. Then came what is probably my favourite Rush song: 2112!!Naturally the whole 20 minutes song wasn't performed but we still got to witness Part I and Part II which is good enough to me! For the encore the band performed the brilliant La Villa Strangiato and Working Man which were just perfect to end the show! In general the show was great! Lots of lights, nice video effects and a few pyros were just what was needed. However I was slightly disappointed with the gig. The sound, up where I was, was not as good as it should had been. When Geddy Lee(Keys, Bass, Vocals) played keys and used the bass from the synth, it was just too loud and was covering the whole band and this unfortunately spoiled a few great songs such as Tom Sawyer. Also the ambience on the top floor was not very warm and I was expecting more sing-along parts but it just didn't happen. To conclude, yes I am slightly disappointed from the Rush gig but nevertheless it was a great show and I will give them another shot when they cross the Atlantic again!

Rush: 18.5/20
Sound: 4/5
Ambience: 4.5/5
Presentation: 5/5
Performance: 5/5

Posted by Nick

 

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Pagan's Mind - 20 May 2011 (Underworld)



It was only four years ago when, while I was going through my local CD shop in Paris, I came across God's Equation by Pagan's Mind. While I have to admit that I only bought the CD because of the artwork, I was pleasantly surprised and satisfied when I heard the music. And now, four years later, here they are, performing at the Underworld for the second time in their career. Supporting them: progressive power metalers Neonfly. With the news of, them signing a record deal with Rising Records being still fresh, Neonfly performed an amazing set containing songs from their first album due to be released on the 29th of August. Willy Norton(Vocals) proved once again that he is a perfect fit for Neonfly, with his powerful vocals and stage presence. Despite some technical difficulties affecting the wireless system of Freferick Thunder(Guitar) half way through the set, the band still delivered a great show full of energy and power. Neonfly are now tighter than ever and the album should be anticipated by all! Pagan's Mind kept the same pace and delivered a very powerful and energetic set. The Norwegian made it clear that they are back to rock the UK and they definitely rocked London! The crowd, although not huge in numbers, was completely into it and everybody seemed to have a great time, which created a superb atmosphere. Pagan's Mind are one of the few bands that actually enjoy being on stage and you can clearly see it! The always impressive Jørn Viggo Lofstad(Guitar) along with the amazing vocals of Nils K. Rue(Vocals), who performed with a broken hip, along with the rest of the band really created a great feeling and left the best impressions to the London crowd. Their new album named Heavenly Ecstasy is out now via SPV Steamhammer. And if you missed the show for any reason, make sure not to miss it the next time this boys will be around!

Pagan's Mind: 19/20
Sound: 5/5
Ambience: 5/5
Presentation: 4/5
Performance: 5/5

Neonfly: 18/20
Sound: 4/5
Ambience: 5/5
Presentation: 5/5
Performance: 4/5

Posted by Nick

 

Friday, 20 May 2011

Roger Waters - 17 May 2011 (O2 Arena)


What an amazing gig! When I first saw Roger Waters, back in 2007, it was for the Dark Side of the Moon tour during the Paris gig, and back then I genuinely thought that: this gig is probably the best gig I have ever witnessed. Since then I've seen a hell lot of other gigs and there were some of them which matched that gig and some which didn't even come close to it. However this time was different. The show was absolutely amazing. Lights, sounds, performance, atmosphere were all perfect. In particular I loved the sound, which was surrounding the venue and you could hear all the voices, small sounds and sound effects coming from the back of your head to the front. Just amazing! As mentioned, when the tour was announced, the show followed the original format that was used for the original The Wall tour in 1980, but with today's technology, which consisted of a wall being built slowly, slowly between the audience and the band, while the band was going through the first part of the show. With some amazing songs such as Mother, where Roger sang along with a recording from the last UK performance of The Wall 29 years ago, and of course Another Brick in the Wall part 2 which, as you can imagine, was sang by the whole audience along with a choir of kids that came on stage for the song, part one was just full of energy and passion. Part two of the show started with an amazing display of video effects, projected on the completed wall, which mesmerized every single person present that night with the help of songs like Hey You and Bring the Boys Back Home. This, of course, led to Comfortably Numb which came on and just putted the whole audience into a trance during the solo which was perfectly executed by Dave Kilminster(Guitar). Eventually the wall came down with the use of the amazing video effects that the team had and really gave to every one of us an amazing trip of lights and sound. During Run Like Hell the wall was projecting words in the iFormat, that Apple uses with almost all of their products, along with great images to represent the world today and how everything has become, which I thought was great (see video below). In general the gig was just amazing and all of those who had the chance to witness one of the gigs (six London gigs in total) will probably remember it for a very long time!

Roger Waters: 20/20
Sound: 5/5
Ambience:5/5
Presentation: 5/5
Performance: 5/5

Posted by Nick



Saturday, 14 May 2011

Infected - Hammerfall (2011)


ALBUM REVIEW
Infected is the new album from Swedish metal legends Hammerfall, due to come out on the 20th of May via Nuclear Blast. Infected is a good effort from Hammerfall which includes some nice heavy riffs and great vocals from Joacim Cans(Vocals). The first time I listened to the album it really felt that until the 6th track it wasn't a good album at all. However with more and more listens, it started to get under my skin and I've caught myself singing melodies from the album which is always a good sign. In general the album is not extremely impressive or different since it stays true to the sound that Hammerfall has presented us in their past works. There are some catchy melodies but sometimes it feels as if they were imposed to the songs to make them that way, which is something I don't particularly like. The interchanges between calm and heavy parts are nicely done and the heavy metal ballad Send me a Sign is quite delightful. The guitars of Oscar Dronjak(Guitar) and Pontus Norgren(Guitar) sound really good and there are some nice solos throughout the whole album.
Our favourite track from the album is Dia de Los Muertos which is a powerful and fast song with some great vocals and good drumming. The chorus is really nice with some heavy guitar riffs and a great solo following the 2nd chorus.

Infected: 7/10

Posted by Nick

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Anterior - Subversion - 9 May 2011 (Barfly)


After the review for the new Subversion album, I was highly anticipating this gig since I was very curious to see if these guys could re-create what they did on the album, live. Not disappointed at all! This guys were great! Subversion really brought out everything they had and it resulted in a great set which was slightly spoiled by the sound. Subversion is definitely a band to keep an eye on since I do believe that this guys have the ability do something really good in the future and really climb up to become a well known established band. The set consisted of songs from their album which were executed really well and created a very nice energy and atmosphere. Headlining the gig were Welsh metalers Anterior which finished the gig in a great way. They came on stage with an amazing energy and power and really gave a great show for everybody. Anterior is really a band which I believe hasn't managed to attract the amount of fans it should. They are a very good band with good songs and a great stage presence. I'm very interested in seeing what are the plans that these guys have for the future since this is also a band I would like to see getting bigger. A new album is expected to be released later this year so we just have to wait for that I guess. In general, a good gig but unfortunately poorly attended.

Anterior: 18/20
Sound: 4/5
Ambience:4/5
Presentation: 5/5
Performance: 5/5

Subversion: 16/20
Sound: 3/5
Ambience:4/5
Presentation: 5/5
Performance: 4/5

Posted by Nick

Sunday, 8 May 2011

You Only Live Twice - Pain (2011)


ALBUM REVIEW
When I heard the single out of the new Pain album Dirty Woman I thought: “Cool! A nice rock n' roll feel”. However, when I listened to the whole album I understood that it was just this song that went down the rock n' roll road. The new Pain album You Only Live Twice composed and executed (apart from the drums) by Hypocrisy front man Peter Tägtgren is an album that stays loyal to the Swedish metal sound and fans of the bands that emerged from that scene will definitely feel comfortable while listening to it. In general the album presents an interesting choice of sounds and styles. The tracks alternate themselves throughout many different styles of metal which can remind of AC/DC with Dirty Woman while some riffs can remind of Slipknot, notably the verse riff on Monster which has a Corey Taylor kind of vibe. If you've never heard of Pain, or Hypocrisy as a matter of fact, then think of this album as a mix of the major Gothenburg scene bands, such as In Flames, Soilwork etc. but with a very dark and evil twist in it. In general however there is nothing that creates major excitement about this album. It all falls against the whole sound that Tägtgren has created over the years and it feels as if there are no real surprises which is a bit of a disappointment. Of course there are many electronic sounds incorporated within the album and some of them are quite interesting to hear but apart from that nothing else managed to grasp my attention.
There are a few songs which stand out from this album and in general almost every song has a part which we thought was cool, but as complete works our favourite will have to be either Dirty Woman with the whole feel and vibe that it releases or Season of the Ripper which is a heavy dark piece with a very nice outro and interesting sounds.
The album is out on the 3rd of June via Nuclear Blast.

You Only Live Twice: 6.5/10

Posted by Nick

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Slipknot: All hope is gone?


Note: This is an article that Nick Azinas wrote in January 2011 for a webzine and we just wanted to share it with you guys and it now also includes a May update on the situation from Nick. This is not the type of article we generally publish but we would like to create a discussion on the matter and see what you guys think about this subject. Just leave a comment at the bottom and let us know your opinion!

January 2011
Spring 2010 has been one of the worst periods for heavy metal around the world. Not because of bad sales or anything like that but because three of the pioneers of heavy metal unfortunately passed away. First to pass away was the emblematic front man of Type O Negative Peter Steele followed by the legend that is Ronnie James Dio and to complete this unholy triad, Slipknot's bass player Paul Gray. This of course triggered many memorial shows, feelings, talks but also questions, with one of the biggest questions being triggered being about the future of Slipknot. We all saw the remaining Slipknot members being devastated during the press conference about Gray's death and many believed that this could be the end of it. Then a few months later we received the first signs of life from the band when Joy Jordison (Drums) stated that Slipknot was absolutely continuing. At the same time Shawn Crahan (Percussions) gave a full two-page interview to Metal Hammer UK stating the exact same thing. However very short after, Corey Taylor came out and said, what would soon become his catch phrase:”It's too soon” to take decisions. When we caught up with Corey just before the Stone Sour gig in London in October, Corey was still holding his grounds firmly. “It's too soon to say” Corey explained to us. He also pointed out that until that time there hasn’t really been any discussions about that matter with the other band members and he seemed a bit annoyed from the statements that the other guys had done. Following that, Corey kept on this position for a while saying that right now it doesn’t make any sense to continue. All the sudden in December the web was filled with news that Slipknot had started writing a new album and everybody really approved and embraced the news apart from one: Corey! Using his twitter account Corey stated that he had “ NO PLANS to make a new Slipknot album any time soon”. And when this started to look like some kind of Mexican soap opera the big news came: Slipknot is to headline the Sonisphere festivals in the UK and France while adding some other dates and festivals during the summer. What does Corey have to say about that? “like I've said: shows? Yes. Album? No”. So this is really turning out to be quite an interesting story. Slipknot are for the first time(at least from what I remember) openly disagreeing about their future. Now this could result to two things from my point of view: either they recruit a new bassist, Corey gives in and they continue making some heavy, loud metal or there is a split. So far the last idea has been hidden in the darkest thoughts of everyone's mind just like Stewie's Griffin love for the male body, but would this be possible? Well lets take a look at the possibilities. If we take a look at Corey's career so far, he is actually doing really well since Stone Sour is now starting to be quite important and big in the metal/rock scene. Along with the release of their 3rd album, Audio Secrecy, that sold 46,000 copies in the US alone on the first week of its release and debuted at number 6 on the Billboard 200, Stone Sour was also part of a sold out tour with Avenged Sevenfold and Hellyeah that ravaged Europe and the US. Also lets not forget the festive song that Corey introduced to the play-list of everybody who likes to get drunk on Christmas day: X-M@$. X-M@$ reached number 37 in the UK and the US and proved that Corey can really get away with anything he creates! So would a split with Slipknot affect Corey? I don't think so. Would it affect Slipknot? Yes! Corey is an amazing front man and a very social person that will make you love him as soon as he starts talking to you and this is what has helped Slipknot on the social part of the band. Having a front man like Corey is what every band should dream of and if Slipknot loses him they will have trouble recovering from it. Of course I could be wrong, but I'm not. Now pay attention Slipknot fans. I'm not suggesting that there will be a split or that it is even considered by Corey or anyone else. I am just stating that this possibility exists just like there is a possibility that Lady Gaga is actually a dude. The only way to actually find out if this is ever going to happen is to wait and bleed.

However until then you still have the chance to see Slipknot live at the Sonisphere festival in July along with some other HUGE metal names such as some kids called Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer! Rock on maggots!

May 2011 Update
So it seems that things are moving towards that way. When the article was originally written in January 2011 it was merely a gamble and an assumption but as the months passed by and the protagonists of this story did more and more interviews it seems that this assumption might become a reality. Recent facts such as the Joey Jordison interview saying that we will continue “with or without” Corey and the Corey Taylor interview saying that “If this tour doesn't work, this band might be over “ things are definitely in the thoughts of all the Slipknot members. Also Corey has shown that he is ready to move on and do other things and the recent dismissed rumours of Corey being the new Velvet Revolver singer, despite the fact that VR and Corey admitted that he did try out for it, proves that he is definitely moving forward and might be leaving Slipknot behind. Only one way to find out. Just wait for history to take the turn!

Posted by Nick

Lux Mundi - Samael (2011)


ALBUM REVIEW
When you talk to an average person about Switzerland, in general, he might think of clocks, chocolate, cheese and loads of mountains. However, when you talk about Switzerland to a metalhead he is probably thinking: Samael! Lux Mundi is the new album from the “Swiss metal experimentalists” released on the 29th of April through Nuclear Blast records. This album is quite different from previous Samael albums with the vocals having a very different feel and in general the sound being completely different than the very early albums from Samael and in comparison with Above, which was released in 2009, we have a very different, more symphonic and melodic album. Sometimes it has some hints of Rotting Christ in the melodies and the the way they approached some of the songs, notably Let My People Be which feels a lot like Athanati Este (Sanctus Diavolos – Rotting Christ, 2004). This could very possibly be related to the Latin album title and perhaps Samael wanted to give a different, more like “Roman catacomb” feel to their new work. Lux Mundi, which translates into Light of the World, is definitely an album filled with epic sounds and riffs which will definitely attract fans of symphonic death and black metal, but it's again a very drastic turn into a different kind of metal from Samael. Personally, I think that this is great but it might drive some fans who preferred the raw, black metal sound of Samael, which was somehow revived with Above, away. In general the album flows really nicely and you don't get bored of it easily which is definitely a good thing, however the power of attraction is not big on this album and some people might have a hard time to attach themselves to it.
Our favourite track is probably The Shadow of the Sword which has a very nice melodic and powerful feel with great vocals from Vorphalack.

Lux Mundi: 7.5/10 

Posted by Nick