Savage Messiah – Hands of Fate (Review)

Savage MessiahThis is the fourth album from UK metal band Savage Messiah.

Savage Messiah specialise in modern melodic metal, while combining elements of both old and new into their sound. Hands of Fate contains over 45 minutes of this anthemic, personable metal. Continue reading

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Ghost Season – Like Stars in a Neon Sky (Review)

Ghost SeasonGhost Season are a modern metal band from Greece. This is their debut album.

I enjoyed their 2014 EP Ghosts Like Her, so it’s good to see the band putting out their first full-length release.

However, a lineup change, including a new singer, mean that the Ghost Season of 2017 is a different beast to that of their first EP. Continue reading

Stillnes – Sin Destino (Review)

StillnesThis is the second album from Spanish Thrash Metallers Stillnes.

Wow. Now that’s an album cover. GIANT MONSTER ALERT!

Thrash Metal is a funny beast these days, with most bands seeming to opt for either an ultra-modern approach or an Old-School Retro one. Stillnes are one of the odd ones out as they opt for something in the middle.

This has elements of the Old-School but it’s not some puerile Retro nonsense. Theirs is a more balanced approach that has a modern sheen but not overly so; they come across as a nice mix of old and new that would fit nicely in many different Thrash eras. Ultimately they belong to themselves and this is what I like about them.

The band have a straightforward approach to their Thrash and play largely mid-paced with a good energy and plenty of melody. They are perfectly capable of unleashing a more aggressive attack when they need to, but for the most part it’s choppy riffs and good rhythms that lead the way.

The singer has a decent voice and there are plenty of solos and leads peppered around the release.

Somewhat of a cross between Trivium and Metallica; there’s not a lot to dislike on Sin Destino and it’s an enjoyable listen.

Check them out.

Sigh – Graveward (Review)

SighThis is the tenth Sigh album. If you’ve never encountered them before, they’re from Japan and they play Black Metal. At least, that’s what they started out as and they’ve just kind of evolved from there. Avant-Garde Black Metal/Extreme Metal is probably closest to the mark these days, if you have to label it at all.

Sigh are one of the few bands in existence that come even close to being able to be called unique. They definitely have their own sound and identity, even if this has changed quite a bit through the years.

So on to Graveward. This is dense and complex music that features a lot of different parts to the songs. Clearly a lot of work has gone into these compositions.

The Black Metal base is present and correct, as well as the Avant-Garde tendencies. Add to this is a psychedelic influence, powerful cinematic qualities as well as a strong theatrical component and you have an album that’s born to stand out from the pack.

The theatrical nature of the release belies the horror-themed core of the album, but ultimately serves to reinforce it.

As you might think, each track has a lot going on and it’s a lot to take in on first listen. Subsequent spins reveal all kinds of nuances and little things that you didn’t necessarily consciously pick up on first time around.

Choirs and orchestration rub shoulders with Thrash riffs and Blackened croaks. Psychedelic keyboards and operatic vocals join horns and saxophones in backing the distorted guitars. It’s a true melting pot of influences that probably shouldn’t work but it really, really does.

Befitting music that has a lot of different components to it, Graveward features a wealth of guest appearances from well-known members of bands such as Trivium, Dragonforce, Shining, Rotting Christ and The Meads of Asphodel, among others.

Somewhat of a cross between Emperor, Therion, Arcturus and some form of crazy Progressive Jazz, Sigh can always be relied upon to liven things up with their presence and Graveward is no exception.

This is a truly exceptional release that many will probably find overwhelming with its multicoloured assault on the senses. Those who endure, however, are rewarded tenfold for their perseverance.

Essential listening.