Avatarium – Hurricanes and Halos (Review)

AvatariumAvatarium are a doom rock band from Sweden and this is their third album.

Featuring current and ex members of bands such as Candlemass, The Doomsday Kingdom, Jupiter Society, Tiamat, and Evergrey, you know a lot of experience and talent is going to be present on this album before you even listen to it. Continue reading

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Hark – Machinations (Review)

HarkHark are a stoner/hard rock band from the UK and this is their second album.

Featuring rocking tunes, sludgy Southern vibes and progressive sensibilities, Machinations should easily appeal to fans of Baroness, Mastodon, Red Fang, Corrosion of Conformity and High on Fire. Continue reading

Brimstone Coven – Black Magic (Review)

Brimstone CovenBrimstone Coven are a Hard Rock band from the US. This is their second album.

Brimstone Coven worship at the smoky altar of all things 60s and 70s. Black Sabbath, Pentagram and Led Zeppelin may be obvious reference points, but there’s more going on here than you might expect and Black Magic is a well-rounded release that is greater than the sum of its influences.

This album has a pleasingly authentic sound, both in the recording and the vibes that seem to come off the music in heady waves.

The main vocalist’s voice suits the music well and there’s lots of catchy singing going on here, which works well with the equally catchy music. The band also employ multi-singer harmonies and put these to good use.

The music is instantly familiar and it’s easy to get into this and feel a pleasant buzz emanating from it. The songs contain so many good riffs and warm melodies that every song has something pretty damn special to offer.

Black Magic gives us 55 minutes of music to entrance and captivate. If you’re in the mood for this kind of thing then it really is up there with the best of them. With top-drawer songwriting and a decent amount of variety and moods to explore, this is a very enjoyable release.

I’m not always a huge fan of music that takes its inspiration from this era, (although bands such as Witchcraft, Agusa, Ecstatic Vision and Greenleaf have been known to frequent my playlist from time to time…), but when it’s done well and with enthusiasm and passion as it clearly is on Black Magic, the result is infectious and hard to ignore.

Highly recommended.

Shotgun Justice – State of Desolation (Review)

Shotgun JusticeShotgun Justice are a German Heavy Metal band and this is their début album.

Shotgun Justice play a personable brand of Heavy Metal that incorporates elements of both Hard Rock and Thrash Metal into its upbeat delivery.

Despite a logo and album cover that might lead you to believe that the band play some form of contemporary Metal, this is music that’s resolutely Old-School and couldn’t care less. The songs reflect this, as does the low-key production.

Shotgun Justice have the feeling and attitude of the early-Metal era firmly nailed down, managing to reproduce the essence of the time quite faithfully. Although this can be slightly deceptive, as the Old-School swagger and production sometimes masks the more interesting and sophisticated elements of their sound, such as added female vocals and some nice moments of introspection, (such as The Scales of Justice), as well as some almost Progressive Metal influences, especially on the latter part of the album.

The male vocals have some presence and do their job nicely. On occasion these are joined by the aforementioned, and very impressive, female vocals, adding a different facet to the band; it’s a really nice touch.

If you’re in the mood for what is, (largely), a throwback to simpler times with some rocking good tunes then you could do a lot worse than this. Check them out and see if they hit the spot for you.

Christian Mistress – To Your Death (Review)

Christian MistressChristian Mistress are a Heavy Metal band from the US. This is their third album.

Taking influence from Traditional Heavy Metal and 80s NWOBHM, Christian Mistress play easy-listening, Hard-Rocking Classic Metal.

The singer has a smooth, charismatic voice that slips effortlessly out of the earthy music. Her voice carries feeling and depth without lacking in force and power where necessary.

In some ways this album really is like stepping back in time. Quite simply, they don’t make this kind of music any more. Or more precisely, they do, but only rarely as it’s just so hard to pull off in any form of meaningful, authentic way. The fact that Christian Mistress manage to do this well and have good songs at the same time is somewhat of a miracle in this day and age.

The warm, analogue sound, the duelling harmonies, the vibrant, galloping bass, the satisfying-yet-slightly-understated drums, liquid solos…it all speaks volumes for this kind of music, one that sounds both dated and timeless at the same time.

This is a strong collection of eight honest songs that just want to Rock out and unleash the primal Metal soul in the listener. Well, it works, and I’m certainly feeling the need to bang my head and raise my fists.

Recommended.