Riviẽre – Heal (Review)

RiviereRiviẽre are a progressive metal band from France and this is their debut album.

This is an intriguing blend of styles that uses progressive metal as a base to launch forays into post-rock, post-hardcore and alternative metal.

As you may be able to ascertain from Continue reading

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Bedowyn – Blood of the Fall (Review)

BedowynThis is the début album from US Metal band Bedowyn.

Bedowyn’s sound is a mix of the contemporary and classic, combining Metal, Stoner, Doom and Alternative Metal into a 49 minute adventure. Corrosion of Conformity meets Mastodon is not too bad of a description, but that’s only a starting point really.

The problem with the majority of bands that get compared to Mastodon in any way is because of the nature of Mastodon, most of these bands just sound derivative and trite; I’m pleased to say that this isn’t the case with Bedowyn, as they may remind of Mastodon in places but there’s more than enough other influences, all infused with the band’s own personality, to make it merely one reference of many.

The band certainly have the songwriting skill to back up these lofty comparisons and Blood of the Fall is rammed full of explosive tunes and outright anthems.

Using lively drums, spirited guitars and even the odd synth, Bedowyn pound through the playing time with enthusiasm and enough depth to make repeat plays mandatory.

The singer has a charismatic and well-used voice that treads just the right line between rough and silken. He clearly knows what he’s doing and adds further layers to music that’s already multi-faceted and rich.

This is a top quality album that shines through with quality songs and catchiness.

Definitely check this one out.

Veil of Deception – Tearing up the Roots (Review)

Veil of DeceptionVeil of Deception are a Metal band from Austria. This is their second album.

This is Groove Metal with a Thrash edge, in the vein of Pantera, Sevendust, Breed 77 and mid-phase Anthrax, mixed with a bit of an Alternative Metal approach.

Heavy riffs and lighter leads form the bedrock of the band’s sound. Their approach is a little different to the average Groove Metal band though, eschewing the more Modern Metal approach and instead incorporating elements of Classic and Heavy Metal into their sound.

The singer is a great example of this – he has a cleaner, more Heavy Metal style than you’d probably expect from a band of this ilk. It adds an authentic edge to the music, as well as a good Rock sensibility on occasion.

Well, this is quite an unexpected turn of events. There I was, expecting Metalcore, (based on the cover, logo and band description), when what I actually got has more in common with 90s Alternative Metal than 00s Metalcore. It’s a welcome change of pace and the band are to be commended for not taking a more obvious route with their style.

This doesn’t mean there aren’t any issues with Tearing up the Roots; overall the songs are enjoyable slabs of Metal, but the songwriting could do with a bit of tightening up in places.

All in all, this is an enjoyable release though; one that makes me feel a bit nostalgic in places too. Not many bands play this kind of thing any more, as it’s too Classic Metal for the Modern Metal crowds and too groove-laden for the Classic Metal crowds. It’s an interesting release and it certainly gets better with repeated spins as the riffs, melodies and vocals work themselves into your brain.

Not bad at all. Check it out.

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Escape Is Not Freedom – The Truants (Review)

Escape Is Not FreedomEscape Is Not Freedom are from the US and play Alternative Metal. This is their début EP.

5 songs, 28 minutes.

I like this band. They’re playing a style that’s a bit harder to pigeon hole than most, and I haven’t really heard much too similar to this for a long time.

The band this reminds me the most of is Fudge Tunnel, only with slightly harsher vocals. If you know Fudge Tunnel at all, then it will give you a good idea of Escape Is Not Freedom’s sound. If not, then think slightly-muted and unusual Alternative Metal, done with a Noise Rock background and a raw, underground Grunge influence, before it became a big thing. Add in a few elements of Therapy? at their more Alt-Rock and a pinch of Helmet, and you have this EP.

The songs are a satisfying listen, taking me back to the 90s in many respects. If you’re looking for a few more modern references though, think a less-Sludge version of Kowloon Walled City mixed with a bit of Russian Circles.

The slightly-muted delivery is an interesting one as it is frequently presented by large riffs and energetic guitars, so how they manage to retain that subtlety and understated-edge that Fudge Tunnel did so well is beyond me. It’s partially down to the production, but also the feel of the songs themselves. It’s a very hard-to-achieve juxtaposition, but when done right, it works.

This won’t be to everyone’s tastes, (which is a silly thing to say in many ways, as you could literally say that about any band), but I have enjoyed it; not only due to the fact that it’s a little different, but also just due to the strength of the songs themselves.

If you’re looking for something a little outside of your normal comfort zone, try Escape Is Not Freedom on for size.

Appollonia – Dull Parade (Review)

AppolloniaThis is the fourth album from Appollonia, a Metal band from France.

This is Modern Metal with a Stoner/Progressive edge, somewhat akin to a mix of Mastodon, Baroness and Deftones.

Dull Parade has a strong production and everything sounds loud and heavy. The band strike a good balance between polished and gritty.

The vocals vary between cleans, semi-cleans and rougher shouts. These are performed well and have an undeniable charisma to them. All three band members contribute vocals to this release, so there’s a decent amount of variety and vocal layering going on. Melodies and harmonies abound, all richly textured and enticing.

The songs can be rawkus and confrontational or more emotive and considered, either way there’s an undercurrent of raw emotional intensity to the tracks, helping to give them longevity and depth.

Dull Parade is a thoroughly enjoyable modern interpretation of Alternative Metal with catchy songs and emotive content. It’s also heavy and uncompromising in its vision for what loud music should be.

Highly recommended.

Ghost Season – Ghosts Like Her (Review)

Ghost SeasonThis is the latest EP from Ghost Season who are from Greece. They play Modern/Alternative Metal.

The band have a strong, professional sound and waste no time in grabbing the attention of the listener.

This is Modern/Alternative Metal with clean vocals and easy harmonies. Imagine a Heavy Metal band that were more influenced by Modern Alternative Metal and the New Wave of American Heavy Metal than anything from the European scenes and you’ll have an idea of where Ghost Season are coming from.

In fact, the only real nod to the European scene is Ghost Season’s inclusion of a good amount of guitar solos, which is something that’s less prevalent in the previously mentioned styles and something that I’m very glad they incorporate into their sound.

Don’t let references to the NWOAHM fool you though, as apart from the occasional backing vocal there’s no real shouting, nor is there any angry pseudo-Hardcore breakdowns here; the singer has a fluidly melodic voice and the music has a good, hearty Modern Rock influence to it.

These songs slip out of the speakers like they wouldn’t harm a fly, but then Ghost Season’s intention isn’t to threaten. The band aim to make music that’s melodic and polished without losing its passion and vibrancy. For the most part it succeeds and Ghosts Like Her is an enjoyable collection of tracks.

The band sometimes remind me of a modern interpretation of 90’s Alternative Rock and even with the thoroughly modern sheen of Ghosts Like Her I can’t help but feel vaguely nostalgic when listening to it.

Give them a listen and see if they hit that right note for you.

Favourite Track: Need.