Album Review – Thundermother / Black and Gold (2022)

You better watch out as these Swedish girls are the light in the sky that turns black into gold in their new album, always loud and free in the name of Rock N’ Roll.

Two years after their highly acclaimed album Heat Wave, the unstoppable Stockholm, Sweden-based Hard Rock brigade Thundermother is back with a fantastic new album titled Black and Gold, a roar for all it’s worth. Not only musically rough and loud, but also controversial and honest, the band currently formed of the ass-kicking Guernica Mancini on vocals, Filippa Nässil on the guitar, newcomer Mona “Demona” Lindgren on bass, and Emlee Johansson on drums sounds beyond sharp and flammable throughout their entire new album, proving why they’ve become one of the most admired and respected bands of the current Hard Rock scene and, therefore, attracting the attention of diehard fans of renowned acts the likes of AC/DC, Airbourne and Rose Tattoo, among others.

Just hit play and be stunned by The Light In The Sky, a Rock N’ Roll anthem perfect to be played at the biggest stadiums in the world where Guernica is simply flawless on vocals while Emlee dictates the pace with her pounding beats; whereas the title-track Black And Gold is just as electrifying and vibrant, with Filippa delivering her usual rockin’ riffs and, therefore, resulting in another hymn for hitting the road. Raise Your Hands is a more rhythmic, headbanging tune by Thundermother paying a tribute to our beloved rock music, with some Jazz-ish influences showcasing the classy kitchen by Mona and Emlee, and after three breathtaking songs the quartet slows things down and offer us the Blues-infused ballad Hot Mess, with Guernica melting the hearts of her fans with her beautiful vocals. Getting back to a more incendiary mode it’s time for Wasted, a beer-drinking extravaganza where those four rockers are in absolute sync until the very last second, with Filippa kicking some serious ass with her riffs and solos, followed by Watch Out, where Guernica sends a fun message through the lyrics (“I’m beautiful with looks that kill / You better watch your words / You run around and talking shit /At least that’s what I heard”) while her bandmates smash their instruments in the name of Rock N’ Roll.

I Don’t Know You offers to our avid ears more of their classic lyrics (“I met you, a rainy day / In June, I met you / With a backstage pass / Like a fool / Drinking all our booze / With the crew / But who the fuck are you”) spiced up by an AC/DC-like sound and vibe, while All Looks No Hooks brings forward their usual fusion of Hard Rock and Rock N’ Roll where Filippa and Mona deliver pure melody and groove from their stringed axes. Then it’s time for an AC/DC and Airbourne-inspired hurricane titled Loud And Free, one of the most exciting of all tracks with Guernica and Filippa kicking us hard in the head with their superb performances; and it’s pedal to the metal as those Swedish girls won’t stop rockin’ our world in Try With Love, where Emlee once again speeds things up with her incendiary beats. Stratosphere keeps the album at a high level of adrenaline, with Guernica leading her bandmates with her undisputed soaring vocals, whereas the closing song Borrowed Time is a ballad that feels more like a bonus track. It’s not bad at all, but they could have ended the album in a much more exciting way with the previous song.

Thundermother Black and Gold Limited Boxset

When Black and Gold was released just a week before I was going to see Thundermother live for the first time ever in Montreal, I already knew their concert was going to be fantastic (and, of course, they lived up to the hype). All of the songs from Black and Gold, which is by the way available for a full listen on Spotify, are pure gold, with the girls always playing loud and free wherever they go. Hence, don’t forget to give them a shout on Facebook and on Instagram, to subscribe to their YouTube channel, and above all that, to purchase Black and Gold from their official webstore or by clicking HERE, and if you consider yourself a true servant of rock music you should definitely go for the limited boxset (limited to a thousand units) packaged in a backpack, containing a digipak CD, a 100x150cm flag, a pair of socks, a DIN A5 fake tattoo, a sweat band, an autograph and a certificate of authenticity. Thundermother are the light in the sky of rock music, and their new album will undoubtedly help them strike fast and hard all four corner of the earth for our total delight.

Best moments of the album: The Light In The Sky, Black And Gold, Watch Out and Loud And Free.

Worst moments of the album: Borrowed Time.

Released in 2022 AFM Records

Track listing
1. The Light In The Sky 3:34
2. Black And Gold 3:19
3. Raise Your Hands 3:40
4. Hot Mess 4:25
5. Wasted 3:24
6. Watch Out 3:11
7. I Don’t Know You 3:35
8. All Looks No Hooks 3:41
9. Loud And Free 2:50
10. Try With Love 3:29
11. Stratosphere 3:21
12. Borrowed Time 4:08

Band members
Guernica Mancini – vocals
Filippa Nässil – guitar
Mona “Demona” Lindgren – bass
Emlee Johansson – drums

Album Review – Lordi / Lordiversity (2021)

Over four hours of Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Thrash Metal, Progressive Rock, Disco, Industrial Rock and so on, masterfully brought into being by the most beloved horde of monsters in the world of music.

Four hours and 43 minutes of music. That’s what you’re going to get in Lordiversity, the brand new (and awesome) boxset by Finnish Heavy Metal and Hard Rock monsters Lordi, containing the band’s eleventh to seventeenth studio albums, those being Skelectric Dinosaur, SuperFlyTrap, The Masterbeast from the Moon, Abusement Park, Humanimals, Abracadaver and Spooky Sextravaganza Spectacular. Recorded right after the COVID-19 pandemic hit as the band had to postpone their tour in support of Killection, Mr. Lordi and his crew decided to use the extra time to start working on more material to release a week after the postponement, and the final result in Lordiversity is simply monumental.

Lordi Lordiversity Limited 7 CD Boxset

Mr. Lordi stated that “It was clear that it is the time to start planning the new album, even though Killection was released not even two months before. I was thinking that the most boring thing we could do after Killection, is to do another basic Lordi album. And I was very much enjoying the different styles of song writing, recording and production on Killection, but another boring idea would have been to do a part two.” With the release years of 1975, 1979, 1981, 1984, 1989, 1991 and 1995 from the fictional eras in the Killection timeline, and with each album presenting its own style and its own killer album art, Lordiversity is a fantastic musical voyage led by Mr. Lordi on vocals and his loyal bandmates Amen on the guitars, Hiisi on bass, Hella on keyboards, and Mana on drums, being not only one of the boldest releases in the history of rock and metal music, but setting the bar absurdly high for the band itself with all of their upcoming albums.

Disc 1 – Skelectric Dinosaur

For Skelectric Dinosaur, the band used the influences of early Kiss and Alice Cooper. The first album offers us all old school Rock N’ Roll and Hard Rock flowing majestically form start to finish. For instance, the very first song Day Off Of The Devil is pure Kiss from their early days as already mentioned. There’s not a single second of boredom; quite the contraty, it’s a rockin’ feast for admirers of rock and metal music from the 70’s, with songs like Carnivore inspiring you to dance in the name of Rock N’ Roll. Amen steals the spotlight in pretty much all songs with his classic riffage, supported of course by the rhythmic beats by Mana.

Best moments of the album: Starsign Spitfire, Carnivore and Phantom Lady.

Worst moments of the album: The King On The Head Staker’s Mountain.

Track listing
1. SCG Minus 7: The Arrival 1:09
2. Day Off Of The Devil 3:33
3. Starsign Spitfire 3:03
4. Maximum-O-Lovin’ 2:23
5. The King On The Head Staker’s Mountain 5:21
6. Carnivore 3:30
7. Phantom Lady 3:16
8. The Tragedy Of Annie Mae 3:45
9. Blow My Fuse 3:35
10. …And Beyond The Isle Was Mary 2:15

Disc 2 – SuperFlyTrap

It’s time to hit the dance floor together with Lordi and his crew in SuperFlyTrap, inspired by the bands Earth, Wind & Fire, Boney M. and Bee Gees. As expected, it’s Hella who shines in each and every song of the album thanks obviously to her stunning keys, as for example in the melodic and fun Believe Me. In addition, the female vocals add a touch of finesse to the overall results, with catchy tunes like Macho Freak and Spooky Jive paying a beautiful and exciting tribute to the Disco years. Put differently, I bet you’ll start doing that classic move with your arm and finger up and down during the entire album without even noticing.

Best moments of the album: Macho Freak, Spooky Jive and City Of The Broken Hearted.

Worst moments of the album: Cinder Ghost Choir.

Track listing
1. SCG Minus 6: Delightful Pop-Ins 1:08
2. Macho Freak 3:42
3. Believe Me 4:27
4. Spooky Jive 3:55
5. City Of The Broken Hearted 4:02
6. Bella From Hell 3:26
7. Cast Out From Heaven 3:51
8. Gonna Do It (Or Do It And Cry) 2:51
9. Zombimbo 4:52
10. Cinder Ghost Choir 6:06

Disc 3 – The Masterbeast from the Moon

      

On The Masterbeast from the Moon, the band was influenced by Rush and Pink Floyd, which is why you can expect long and sinister passages, endless progressiveness, and Hella’s phantasmagorical keys. Songs like Celestial Serpents and Church Of Succubus have a very pleasant pace and vibe, while others such as Moonbeast and Bells Of The Netherworld lack an extra kick and make the album drag for a little longer than it should. If Progressive Rock is your cup of tea you’ll have a very good time listening to the entire album; otherwise, you can take one listen at it just because it’s part of the boxset and then go for the heavier albums.

Best moments of the album: Celestial Serpents and Church Of Succubus.

Worst moments of the album: Moonbeast and Bells Of The Netherworld.

Track listing
1. SCG Minus 5: Transmission Request 1:35
2. Moonbeast 6:29
3. Celestial Serpents 6:07
4. Hurricane Of The Slain 3:00
5. Spear Of The Romans 5:46
6. Bells Of The Netherworld 3:01
7. Transmission Reply 0:20
8. Church Of Succubus 11:58
9. Soliloquy 1:51
10. Robots Alive! 4:09
11. Yoh-Haee-Von 1:17
12. Transmission On Repeat 1:04

Disc 4 – Abusement Park

Set on a fictional timeline of 1983 and 1984, Abusement Park has a classic Heavy Metal sound influenced by W.A.S.P., Twisted Sister, Kiss and Scorpions, and includes a Christmas-themed single, entitled Merry Blah Blah Blah. The band wastes no time and begin slashing their sonic weapons already in the title-track Abusement Park, with Mr. Lordi kicking ass on vocals. And that’s the formula followed throughout the album, with Amen delivering his trademark solos nonstop in a lecture in 80’s classic Heavy Metal. In other words, if they had launched only this album, that would have already been awesome.

Best moments of the album: Abusement Park, House Of Mirrors, Pinball Machine and Rollercoaster.

Worst moments of the album: Ghost Train.

Track listing
1. SCG Minus 4: The Carnival Barker 0:54
2. Abusement Park 3:33
3. Grrr! 3:48
4. Ghost Train 3:18
5. Carousel 4:24
6. House Of Mirrors 3:51
7. Pinball Machine 3:34
8. Nasty, Wild & Naughty 3:10
9. Rollercoaster 4:45
10. Up To No Good 4:02
11. Merry Blah Blah Blah 4:05

Disc 5 – Humanimals     

The AOR influenced sound in Humanimals is influenced by Bon Jovi, Desmond Child and Alice Cooper, and Mr. Lordi and his band of monsters make sure that’s crystal clear in all of the songs form the album, such as in Borderline. Mana and Hiisi are the stars here always generating an upbeat vibe with their respective beats and bass lines, turning songs like Heart Of A Lion and Like A Bee To The Honey into dancing feasts, always spiced up by Hella’s whimsical keys.

Best moments of the album: Borderline, Heart Of A Lion and Like A Bee To The Honey.

Worst moments of the album: Humanimal.

Track listing
1. SCG Minus 3: Scarctic Circle Telethon 1:20
2. Borderline 4:12
3. Victims Of The Romance 3:47
4. Heart Of A Lion 4:33
5. The Bullet Bites Back 4:07
6. Be My Maniac 3:40
7. Rucking Up The Party 4:07
8. Girl In A Suitcase 4:07
9. Supernatural 3:49
10. Like A Bee To The Honey 4:15
11. Humanimal 3:53

Disc 6 – Abracadaver     

Now this is the real deal. Set on a fictional timeline for 1991, Abracadaver is inspired by Anthrax, Metallica and Pantera, which makes it by far the heaviest, fastest and most demonic of all seven albums. It’s impossible to stand still to the sonic devastation blasted by the most awesome monsters hailing from Scandinavia, with the title-track Abracadaver sounding not only heavy and piercing, but also spooky, which is always a good thing. You’ll bang your head, raise your horns and scream together with Mr. Lordi in songs like Rejected, Raging At Tomorrow and Beast Of Both Worlds, just the way we all like it in heavy-as-hell music.

Best moments of the album: Devilium, Abracadaver, Beast Of Both Worlds and Bent Outta Shape.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Track listing
1. SCG Minus 2: Horricone 1:18
2. Devilium 3:46
3. Abracadaver 3:41
4. Rejected 3:44
5. Acid Bleeding Eyes 3:28
6. Raging At Tomorrow 5:01
7. Beast Of Both Worlds 4:59
8. I’m Sorry I’m Not Sorry 3:34
9. Bent Outta Shape 5:05
10. Evil 4:35
11. Vulture Of Fire 3:47
12. Beastwood 0:56

Disc 7 – Spooky Sextravaganza Spectacular       

The last record, from 1995, is a machine-made beast titled Spooky Sextravaganza Spectacular. That means the band added electronic elements to their music, flirting with Industrial Metal and Rock the likes of Ministry and Nine Inch Nails. It’s quite impressive how a Hard Rock band like Lordi was capable of sounding so industrial in all songs of the album, with Demon Supreme, Skull And Bones (The Danger Zone) and Shake The Baby Silent being strong candidates to spice up any Rock N’ Roll party, including yours. Needless to say, Mana’s classic beats and Hella’s electrifying keys are the main ingredients throughout the album, adding a welcome industrialized touch of insanity to the overall result.

Best moments of the album: Demon Supreme, Skull And Bones (The Danger Zone) and Shake The Baby Silent.

Worst moments of the album: Goliath.

Track listing
1. SCG Minus 1: The Ruiz Ranch Massacre 3:26
2. Demon Supreme 3:31
3. Re-Animate 4:13
4. Lizzard Of Oz 4:08
5. Killusion 3:09
6. Skull And Bones (The Danger Zone) 3:16
7. Goliath 4:41
8. Drekavac 3:28
9. Terror Extra-Terrestrial 4:30
10. Shake The Baby Silent 3:36
11. If It Ain’t Broken (Must Break It) 3:24
12. Anticlimax 0:18

After listening to each and every track from the seven albums from Lordiversity, I personally found it truly impressive how Lordi managed to keep the whole project fresh and exciting from start to finish, avoiding repeating themselves or sounding basic or bland depending on the style chosen. That, my friends, undoubtedly required a lot of creativity, hard work and passion for what they do, and if you want to show your admiration for those unstoppable Finnish monsters you can give them a shout on Facebook and on Instagram, subscribe to their YouTube channel, stream more of their amazing creations on Spotify, and of course purchase the ass-kicking Lordiversity from several locations such as Napalm Records, AFM Records and Record Shop X. And as soon as you put your hands on Lordiversity, simply block your agenda for the rest of the day (or even the entire week or month) because a massive, breathtaking Rock N’ Roll party is about to start and has no time to end.

Released in 2021 AFM Records

Band members
Mr. Lordi – lead and backing vocals, guitars, programming, whistle, orchestration
Amen – guitars
Hiisi – bass guitar
Hella – keyboards, backing vocals
Mana – drums, backing vocals, programming

Guest musicians
Ralph Ruiz – vocals
Dylan Broda – vocals
Tracy Lipp – vocals, backing vocals
Michael Monroe – saxophone on “Like a Bee to the Honey”
Annariina Rautanen – flute on “Moonbeast” and “Yoh-Haee-Von”
Tony Kakko – backing vocals on “Rollercoaster”
Joonas Suotamo – Chewbacca voice on “Grrr!”
Kari A. Kilgast – vocals on “Like a Bee to the Honey”
Hulk the Bulldog – voice on “Beastwood”
Maki Kolehmainen – cowbell, backing vocals
John Bartolome – vocals
Lara Anastasia Mertanen – intro lead on “Drekavac”
Jessica Love, Maria Jyrkäs, Kaarle Westlie, Ville Virtanen, Olli Virtanen, Isabella Larsson, Noora Kosmina, Katja Auvinen, Riitta Hyyppä, Josefin Silén, Minna Virtanen, Antton Ruusunen, Niki Westerback, Marja Kortelainen, Tom Roine, Netta Laurenne – backing vocals
Lumen Broda, Leia Broda, Lili Wasenius, Aviana Westerback, Roxana Westerback – children vocals

Album Review – Motorjesus / Hellbreaker (2021)

Let’s drive through the fires of hell together with one of the best bands from the German rock and metal scene to the sound of their fantastic newborn album.

4.5rating

motorjesus-hellbreaker-2021Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to rev up your engines once again to the sound of the first-class, undisputed fusion of Heavy Metal and Hard Rock brought forth by Mönchengladbach, Germany-based rockers Motorjesus, who have just unleashed upon us all their brand new studio album, beautifully titled Hellbreaker. Following up on the success of their 2014 album Electric Revelation and their most recent opus Race to Resurrection, released in 2018, the band comprised of Chris “Howling” Birx on vocals, Andreas “Andy” Peters on lead guitars and Oliver Beck on drums, supported by their buddies Patrick Wassenberg on rhythm guitars and  Dominik Kwasny on bass, truly stepped up their game in Hellbreaker, offering fans of heavy music the perfect soundtrack for crossing the fires of the underworld in the best rockin’ style together with the band.

A cinematic start is quickly joined by the scorching riffs by Andreas and Patrick in the electrifying feast Drive Through Fire, before Chris comes ripping with his trademark, soaring vocals, inviting us all to hit the road in the name of Rock N’ Roll, and if you think that was awesome wait until you listen to the Motörhead-infused hymn Battlezone, with Oliver smashing his drums in great fashion accompanied by the rumbling bass by Dominik. Put differently, this song will sound beyond perfect if played live, and Motorjesus keep driving way over the speed limit in the superb Hellbreaker, where Chris beautifully sings the song’s rockin’ lyrics (“This is the meltdown / Generation of the steel / When the worlds collide, together / Between the angels and the hell machine”) while his bandmates not only kick some ass with their sonic weapons but also with their spot-on backing vocals. Then it’s time for a Southern Rock and Metal party together with the boys in Beyond the Grave, a neck-breaking tune showcasing the dirty, furious riffage by Andreas and Patrick supported by Dominik and his classic bass jabs, whereas putting the pedal to the metal once again the saviors of Rock N’ Roll will put us to dance in Dead Rising, where all band members are in absolute sync while Chris takes the lead with his visceral vocal lines.

You better have some inner fuel left as the band’s rockin’ energy keeps flowing nonstop in Car Wars, another amazing tune by those German rockers where the riffs and solos by the band’s guitar duo are absolutely thrilling, also presenting hints of our good old Rockabilly; and the thunderous bass by Dominik kicks off the Heavy Metal mid-tempo extravaganza Firebreather, as melodic and groovy as it can be, being therefore perfect for some headbanging, beer drinking and horns raising, not to mention its stylish lyrics (“Got no place to call my own / Another journey starts now / As we’re marching on / On the path that leads, / but it’s too soon / You’re on the crossroads to your doom”). More of their trademark Hard Rock is presented to us in the form of Lawgiver, keeping the album at a high level of adrenaline with Andreas and Patrick once again stealing the spotlight with their refined axes, while Black Hole Overload is a heavier and denser creation by Motorjesus where the band’s stringed trio has all the support they need from Oliver’s pounding drums to shine with their Stoner Metal sounds. They still have enough stamina for another round of their frantic Rock N’ Roll in Back to the Bullet, once again inspired by the furious music by Motörhead, with Chris sounding truly enraged form start to fish for our total delight, flowing into the acoustic and smooth outro The Outrun, soothing our souls after such avalanche of incendiary heavy music.

motorjesus-2021I guess I don’t need to say that Hellbreaker, which is by the way available in full on Spotify, is a mandatory addition to your rock and metal collection, right? It’s undoubtedly one of the best albums of the year, and it will surely inspire you to bang your head and sing along with the band every time you hit the highway. Hence, don’t forget to give the guys from Motorjesus a shout on Facebook and on Instagram, to stream more of their gasoline-infused creations on Spotify, and above all that, to buy or stream your favorite version of Hellbreaker by clicking HERE or HERE. The one and only “Motorjesus”, perhaps the coolest guy you’ll ever find out there, is ready to break through the fires of hell armed with his undisputed Rock N’ Roll. Having said that, what are you waiting for to join him in his awesome adventure? Simply hit play, raise your horns, and enjoy the ride.

Best moments of the album: Battlezone, Hellbreaker, Dead Rising, Car Wars and Back to the Bullet.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 AFM Records

Track listing  
1. Drive Through Fire 5:52
2. Battlezone 3:36
3. Hellbreaker 4:07
4. Beyond the Grave 3:40
5. Dead Rising 3:47
6. Car Wars 3:35
7. Firebreather 4:28
8. Lawgiver 5:05
9. Black Hole Overload 4:35
10. Back to the Bullet 3:51
11. The Outrun 1:55

Band members
Chris “Howling” Birx – vocals
Andreas “Andy” Peters – lead guitars
Oliver Beck – drums

Guest musicians
Patrick Wassenberg – rhythm guitars (live/session)
Dominik Kwasny – bass (live/session)

Album Review – Thundermother / Heat Wave (2020)

Let’s turn up the heat to the sound of the brand new album by a Swedish band that doesn’t just play Rock N’ Roll. They are Rock N’ Roll.

Founded by guitarist Filippa Nässil in 2009 in Växjö, a town in southern Sweden’s Kronoberg County, but currently based in the Swedish capital Stockholm, Hard Rock/Rock N’ Roll all-female squad Thundermother is back in action with a brand new album entitled Heat Wave, their fourth full-length opus and the follow-up to their 2018 self-titled release, offering the listeners another round of their fantastic fusion of Rock N’ Roll, Hard Rock, Blues, Punk Rock and Heavy Metal. Even groovier than its predecessors, Heat Wave presents 13 catchy compositions showcasing all the skills and passion for heavy music by Filippa and her bandmates Guernica Mancini on vocals, Majsan Lindberg on bass and Emlee Johansson on drums, with the fine tuning being provided at Medley Studios in Copenhagen, Denmark by Hard Rock hitmaker Søren Andersen, an experienced producer and gifted guitarist who has already worked with Glenn Hughes, Dave Mustaine and Tommy Aldrige, to name a few,  resulting in a sophisticated version of an “AC/DC meet Motörhead” sound with fresh modern rock elements and a rich 70’s groove.

An Airbourne-like vibe permeates the air in the electrifying opening tune Loud and Alive, with Emlee pounding her drums in great fashion while Guernica inspires us all to rock like there’s no tomorrow with her piercing vocals, all spiced up by Filippa’s slashing riffs and solos. Then rockin’ guitar lines are accompanied by the rumbling bass by Majsan in the Hard Rock extravaganza titled Dog from Hell, an ode to classic Rock N’ Roll highly recommended for hitting the road or enjoying a cold beer, followed by Back In ’76, another song perfect for a live concert inspiring us all to raise our fists to Thundermother’s undisputed rock music where Filippa and Majsan are once again on absolute fire with their stringed axes, offering Guernica all she needs to mesmerize us all with her amazing vocal performance. And it’s time for the girls to put the pedal to the metal and kick us all in the face with the frantic, breathtaking tune Into the Mud, with Emlee obviously dictating the pace with her unstoppable beats, therefore generating a fantastic ambience while Filippa’s shredding and Majsan’s metallic bass bring sheer thunder to the overall result.

The title-track Heat Wave is an AC/DC-inspired feast of classic riffs and beats, keeping the album at a high level of adrenaline (and heat, of course), and I would love to listen to this old school rock song played on any radio station worldwide, whereas despite Sleep might not be a bad composition, we must admit the girls sound a lot more cohesive and exciting when playing faster songs. I mean, it works well as a ballad, in special Guernica’s passionate vocals, but perhaps this was something asked by their record label as it feels a little out of place among the other songs from the album. Back to a more visceral and unrelenting mode, Filippa brings to our avid ears an Iron Maiden’s “Two Minutes to Midnight”-ish riff, setting fire to the excellent Driving In Style, supported by the heavy kitchen by Majsan and Emlee. Put differently, I dare you to stand still to such insane Rock N’ Roll hymn, and it looks like Thundermother never get tired of embellishing the airwaves with their vibrant Hard Rock as we can all witness in Free Ourselves, one more tune tailored for admirers of the music by AC/DC and Airbourne where Guernica and Emlee make a truly dynamic duo with their combination of soulful vocals and classic drums.

Venturing through the realms of Southern Rock mixed with tequila and endless electricity, the girls fire the riding tune Mexico, spearheaded by the groovy bass by Majsan and the always pounding beats by Emlee, definitely inspiring us all to rock in Mexican soil; and blending the groove by Lenny Kravitz with classic rock form the 70’s they offer us the radio-friendly Purple Sky, showcasing another spot-on performance by Filippa with her always strident and hypnotizing riffs and solos. Let’s keep clapping our hands and raising our glasses to the Rock N’ Roll by Thundermother in Ghosts, a straightforward and extremely catchy tune that could have easily been played on a TV show like Sons of Anarchy. Needless to say, Guernica has another flawless performance on vocals, and speeding things up once again they bring forward the high-octane, thrilling Somebody Love Me, one of those songs I bet Emlee loves to play due to its pace. Moreover, how can we not heed Guernica’s call to love her? The whole song presents a sensational job done by this talented Swedish quartet, no doubt about that, whereas Majsan’s rumbling bass sets the tone in the closing tune Bad Habits, where Thundermother yet again smash our senses with their hybrid of Hard Rock and Rock N’ Roll, ending the extremely fun ride that is Heat Wave on a high note.

As the band itself likes to say, Thundermother don’t just play Rock N’ Roll. Thundermother are Rock N’ Roll, and Heat Wave is undoubtedly the perfect depiction of all their love for the genre, their undeniable talent and all the hard work they put on crafting each and every song of the album. Hence, don’t forget to give the girls a shout on Facebook and on Instagram, and to purchase your desired version of Heat Wave, which is also available for a full listen on Spotify, by clicking HERE (or HERE if you’re a Swedish customer). After all is said and done, why don’t we just forget about our problems and get back into the mud together with Guernica, Filippa, Majsan and Emlee, turning up the heat and enjoying the fantastic music blasted by four girls who put the word “thunder” in our good old, dirty and rebellious Rock N’ Roll?

Best moments of the album: Loud and Alive, Into the Mud, Driving In Style and Somebody Love Me.

Worst moments of the album: Sleep.

Released in 2020 AFM Records

Track listing
1. Loud and Alive 3:56
2. Dog from Hell 3:37
3. Back In ’76 3:34
4. Into the Mud 3:15
5. Heat Wave 3:56
6. Sleep 3:57
7. Driving In Style 3:43
8. Free Ourselves 3:52
9. Mexico 3:38
10. Purple Sky 4:48
11. Ghosts 3:45
12. Somebody Love Me 3:43
13. Bad Habits 3:35

Band members
Guernica Mancini – vocals
Filippa Nässil – guitar
Majsan Lindberg – bass
Emlee Johansson – drums

Album Review – Onslaught / Generation Antichrist (2020)

These Bristol, UK-based veterans are ready to set the world on fire once again with one of the most ferocious Thrash Metal albums of the year.

Synonymous with the brilliance and endurance of today’s Thrash Metal movement, Bristol, UK-based veterans Onslaught are ready to set the world on fire once again with one of the most ferocious Thrash Metal albums of the year, the excellent Generation Antichrist. Their long-awaited new album was recorded at Dugout Productions in Uppsala, Sweden, with Grammy Award winner Daniel Bergstrand (Behemoth, In Flames, Meshuggah) at the helm, capturing Onslaught’s classic sound with a pristine modern production. Not only that, Generation Antichrist is the first album to feature new vocalist David Garnett, replacing longtime frontman Sy Keeler, delivering a vocal performance on par with the brutal musical attack crafted by guitarists Nige Rockett and Wayne Dorman, bassist Jeff Williams and drummer James Perry. Influenced by second-generation Hardcore Punk bands and inspired by a world full of hatred, megalomaniacs and political madness, Onslaught are eager to unleash the new beast that is Generation Antichrist, one of their best efforts since their inception in the distant year of 1983.

Tune in to an old school Thrash Metal intro titled Rise to Power, starting in a visceral and heavy-as-hell way with James demolishing his drums while newcomer David showcases his growling abilities, setting the tone for Strike Fast Strike Hard, bringing forward modern thrash the likes of Exodus during their Rob Dukes-era that’s more than perfect for slamming into the mosh pit like a maniac, with Nige and Wayne being unstoppable with their shredding and wicked solos, making the song’s electricity and aggressiveness go through the roof. And they keep hammering our heads without a single drop of mercy in Bow Down to the Clowns, with Jeff firing sheer thunder from his bass while James’ drums dictate the song’s headbanging rhythm. In addition, the song’s backing vocals provide an amazing support to David’s sick screams in great Thrash Metal fashion.

The title-track Generation Antichrist couldn’t have sounded darker and more austere than this, a brutal and high-octane extravaganza tailored for diehard fans of Thrash Metal showcasing a fantastic job done by both Nige and Wayne with their axes while James continues to pound his drums manically, and get ready to crush your skull into the pit together with Onslaught in the modern-day thrashing tune titled All Seeing Eye, where David’s vocals match perfectly with the message from the song’s lyrics and the band’s vicious sounds, proving why he was the chosen to be Onslaught’s new frontman. Following such devastating tune we have Addicted to the Smell of Death, a great title for a frantic display of Thrash Metal led by James’ machine gun-like beats accompanied by a demented riffage, also bringing to our avid ears classic backing vocals and endless stamina, with David once again going berserk on vocals.

Then it’s time to break your neck headbanging to the sound of Empires Fall, again presenting elements form the current thrash blasted by Exodus, Testament and Death Angel, proving why Thrash Metal doesn’t need to be played at the speed of light to sound infernal, whereas the demolishing hurricane titled Religiousuicide is an ode to 80’s and 90’s Thrash Metal that will make your blood boil without a shadow of a doubt, all spiced up by its acid, blasphemous lyrics (“Sacrament or Sacrifice / Holier than thou / Anti cult or Antichrist / Messiah take a bow / Hanging on the Holy Cross / Judicious parasite / Religion takes it up the ass / Is Jesus Fucking Christ”) barked by David while Nige and Wayne are on fire with their strident solos from start to finish. And last but not least, the band offers a new version of A Perfect Day to Die, originally released in 2019 as a single still with Sy Keeler on vocals, sounding just as incendiary and visceral, with Jeff and James making sure Onslaught’s kitchen remains rumbling and metallic.

In summary, the reinvigorated old school Thrash Metal platoon known as Onslaught are simply kicking some serious ass throughout the entire Generation Antichrist, with newcomer David bringing a huge dosage of adrenaline to the band with his raspy vocals and, therefore, pointing to a bright future in their already awesome career. You can find more details about Onslaught, their music and their tour dates (whenever this COVID-19 madness is over, of course) on their official Facebook page and on Instagram, listen to more of their crushing thrash on Spotify, and purchase your copy of Generation Antichrist from the AFM Records webstore or by clicking HERE. I’m sure all fans of classic and modern thrash like myself are going to be truly impressed with the high quality of the music found in Onslaught’s new effort, urging us all to slam into the circle pit even if we have to do it by ourselves while isolated in our homes.

Best moments of the album: Strike Fast Strike Hard, Generation Antichrist and Religiousuicide.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 AFM Records

Track listing
1. Rise to Power 2:05
2. Strike Fast Strike Hard 4:38
3. Bow Down to the Clowns 4:50
4. Generation Antichrist 5:43
5. All Seeing Eye 3:50
6. Addicted to the Smell of Death 3:55
7. Empires Fall 5:34
8. Religiousuicide 3:29
9. A Perfect Day to Die (2020 version) 3:50

Band members
David Garnett – vocals
Nige Rockett – guitar
Wayne Dorman – guitar
Jeff Williams – bass
James Perry – drums

Album Review – Lordi / Sexorcism (2018)

Are you feeling tired and bored in life? Perhaps you need to be “sexorcised” by the most beloved mosters of Rock N’ Roll to the sound of their brand new (and somewhat controversial) album.

The most beloved creatures from the land of ice and snow, collectively known as Heavy Metal/Hard Rock horde Lordi, are back with another Rock N’ Roll party titled Sexorcism, the ninth studio album in their peculiar and fun career, and possibly their most controversial record to date, or as the band itself would say, a “full-on and uncensored shot of Lordi brand hard rock and roll”, and that controversy in the album is not open to interpretations. Quite the contrary, everything is pretty straightforward, starting with its cover art, unless you’re a diehard Steel Panther fan and got so used to all their profanity to the point you don’t think “Romeo Ate Juliet” and “The Beast Is Yet to Cum” can be offensive to the average listener.

Anyway, if there’s one thing that you’ll notice in Sexorcism from the very first second is how in sync and balanced the entire band is, and the reason for that is also fairly simple. Lordi have had the same lineup since their 2013 album To Beast or Not to Beast, followed by Scare Force One, released in 2014, and the excellent Monstereophonic (Theaterror vs. Demonarchy), from 2016. In other words, for the past 6 years, when you think of Lordi as a band you automatically think of the iconic Mr. Lordi on vocals, the competent Amen on the guitar, the bulldozer OX on bass, the stunning Hella on keyboards, and the precise Mana on drums, and a solid lineup is already a huge step towards quality, consistency and harmony for any band.

In the opening track Sexorcism we’re already treated to one of those eerie, cinematic intros only Lordi can offer us, exploding into the band’s classic Hard Rock with the keyboards by Hella bringing a touch of eccentricity to the music. Furthermore, the lyrics are indeed quite explicit, almost Steel Panther-ish as mentioned, but that’s what makes the song more fun in the end. Then in Your Tongue’s Got the Cat we have a smooth pace led by the always tuneful riffs by Amen and the keys by Hella, with Mr. Lordi adding passion to the musicality through his vocals (nothing truly outstanding, but it’s a good song anyway); followed by Romeo Ate Juliet, featuring a wordplay in the song’s name that’s just as good as it’s rhythm, pace and electricity, with highlights to the “poet of depravity and darkness” known as Mr. Lordi and the rumbling kitchen delivered by OX and Mana. And in Naked in My Cellar, once again we face lyrics that are kind of controversial (“You give my tummy butterflies / You make my heart go wild / Oh, you’re such a lovely sight / All mine, and locked up tight / Naked in my cellar!”). Musically speaking, it’s top-notch Lordi just the way we like it, with Amen and Hella being in absolute synchronicity, which means it should work really well when played live.

In The Beast Is Yet to Cum (and yes, that’s the name of the song) the band delivers a straightforward Rock N’ Roll tune where its creepy keys and Udo-inspired high-pitched vocals make the final result extremely entertaining, being also impressive how they’re capable of blending the sounds of guitars and keys so smoothly; whereas Polterchrist is a headbanging tune where Amen fires heavy, cutting riffs while Mr. Lordi tells the fun story of a girl possessed by a demon called “Polterchrist”, sounding very melodic and harmonious but obviously as heavy as Hard Rock can be at the same time. Then here comes Father Ruiz (remember that name from their previous album?) in the bridge SCG9: The Documented Phenomenon, talking to a possessed girl named “Anna” in an exorcism that builds the stage for Slashion Model Girls, an 80’s-inspired extravaganza where the keys by Hella spread sheer delicacy in the air, and of course get ready to bang you head with Lordi in a feast of heavy riffs, classic beats and spot-on backing vocals. After such dancing tune, it’s time to “get heavy” as Mr. Lordi would say with an electrified Rock N’ Roll party titled Rimskin Assassin, with his raspy voice sounding as captivating as usual and with Amen and OX kicking some serious ass with their strings (in special Amen with his fiery solo), not to mention the always stunning keyboard notes by Hella.

Hell Has Room is another atmospheric and hard-as-a-rock creation by Lordi, with Amen slashing his axe furiously while Mana pounds his drums in a very melodic manner, flowing smoothly from start to finish, before the also vibrant Hot & Satanned showcases those those distorted, phantasmagoric and creepy keys by Hella we love so much amidst a classic Hard Rock sonority with the beats by Mana and the low-tuned bass by OX matching the vocal lines flawlessly. Then a beyond eerie, spine-tingling intro evolves into old school Heavy Metal in Sodomesticated Animal, with Mr. Lordi effectively declaiming the song’s witty lyrics (“You look cold and hungry / And in need of stroking / I can catch trays with tasers / Take ’em home for pokin’ / Hey kitty, kitty / You’re smooth as silk / I want to hear you purr / You wanna licky and I got milk / Gonna shave of all your fur”), all boosted by another flammable guitar solo by Amen. And the strident keys by Hella dictate the rhythm in the closing tune, titled Haunting Season, a straightforward, classic Lordi composition also bringing some excellent backing vocals, supporting Mr. Lordi’s trademark roars until the music fades to the sound of tolling bells.

In the end, Sexorcism (which by the way is on sale from several different locations as you can see HERE) doesn’t look as controversial as some people are saying, and if you don’t take the album’s sexist and controversial parts too seriously (and let’s be honest, the music by Lordi is supposed to bring you joy and to be fun, and never not to be taken seriously), there’s plenty to enjoy in another good album by those Finnish monsters of metal and rock. And, who knows, maybe being part of a “sexorcism” to cure all the boredom and laziness in your life is not that bad at all, especially if the soundtrack to that is the electrifying fusion of Heavy Metal, Rock N’ Roll and Hard Rock played by Mr. Lordi and his talented crew.

Best moments of the album: Sexorcism, Naked in My Cellar and Rimskin Assassin.

Worst moments of the album: Your Tongue’s Got the Cat.

Released in 2018 AFM Records

Track listing
1. Sexorcism 6:52
2. Your Tongue’s Got the Cat 4:45
3. Romeo Ate Juliet 4:21
4. Naked in My Cellar 4:45
5. The Beast Is Yet to Cum 4:50
6. Polterchrist 5:23
7. SCG9: The Documented Phenomenon 1:14
8. Slashion Model Girls 5:25
9. Rimskin Assassin 4:50
10. Hell Has Room 5:04
11. Hot & Satanned 4:33
12. Sodomesticated Animal 4:23
13. Haunting Season 6:15

Band members
Mr. Lordi – vocals
Amen – guitars
OX – bass
Hella – keyboards
Mana – drums

Album Review – Lordi / Monstereophonic (Theaterror vs. Demonarchy) (2016)

This Halloween let’s all eat, drink, be scary and listen to another kick-ass Rock N’ Roll party brought forth by the most awesome horde of hair-raising monsters in the universe.

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lordi-monstereophonicOnce again it’s Halloween, or All Hallows’ Evening as many people prefer, a day dedicated to remembering the dead and to many distinct activities such as trick-or-treating, attending costume parties and carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns, and there’s nothing better to set fire to that amazing celebration than the top-notch Hard Rock and Heavy Metal played by the most awesome horde of scary monsters in the universe, Finnish icons Lordi. With that said, put on your most spine-chilling costume, grab some chocolate (or beer) and head to the nearest Halloween party blowing your speakers to the music by Mr. Lordi and his (were)wolfpack, who are back with another excellent release entitled Monstereophonic (Theaterror vs. Demonarchy), the eighth studio album in their solid career.

And let me tell you that Monstereophonic (Theaterror vs. Demonarchy) is different from everything these guys have done since their inception back in 1992, with the album being divided in two distinct parts. While the first half of the album (Theaterror) showcases their classic Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, the second half of the album (Demonarchy) is conceptual and includes 6 or more minute songs that sound a lot heavier than what we’re used to, talking about the unholy gathering of The Undead Son, The Bloodsucking Count, The She-Wolf and The Witch, and their story with a little girl named Lizzy. The band also announced that their new costumes would be split in half, representing the two sides of the album. The overall production of the album is outstanding as usual, enhancing the experience of listening to our beloved monstrosities transforming the fusion of fear, love and electricity into old school heavy music.

In THEATERROR, we’re treated to one of those wicked intros by Lordi, entitled SCG8: One Message Waiting, this time with a freak named Ruiz threatening a woman from right outside her house, before the band kicks off Let’s Go Slaughter He-Man (I Wanna Be the Beast-Man in the Masters of the Universe), showcasing that great Hard Rock from the 80’s with the crisp keyboards by Hella adding an extra touch of nostalgia to the song. Moreover, as cheesy as the song and its lyrics might sound, it ends up working extremely well, being fun and energetic in its entirety. Besides, who doesn’t want to see He-Man dead, right? Anyway, Hug You Hardcore is another mid-tempo classic composition displaying a fantastic main riff by Mr. Lordi’s right-hand man Amen (just don’t ask me to talk about the lyrics), whereas Down with the Devil can be considered a newborn Hard Rock hymn, from its hellish riffs and keyboards to its spooky lyrics (“They say the devil dressed me / They hear him speak when I speak / They say I’m lost and damned / But I know damn well just where I am”). It’s a mandatory choice for the soundtrack to the most awesome Halloween party you can think of (and the best song of the album in my opinion), with its catchier-than-hell chorus getting even more awesome due to the song’s classy backing vocals.

Slowing down and getting more obscure, Mary Is Dead tells the sad story of how the death of a woman was kept a secret by her lover (who was also her killer, by the way), with Hella kicking ass with her melancholic notes while Mana delivers his precise doomed beats; followed by Sick Flick, another old school Lordi chant offered to the listener.  The band makes a statement that the Rock N’ Roll party is just starting through the song’s upbeat rhythm and the excellent riffs and solos blasted by Amen. Once again we face cheesy lyrics inspired by classic Hard Rock from the 80’s with a horror movie twist, and once again that works perfectly. And the end of Theaterror couldn’t sound more Lordi than None for One, bringing forward all the elements we expect in their music. Furthermore, Lordi’s kitchen architects Ox, Mana and Hella craft such an inspiring ambience with their instruments it’s impossible to stand still to the beat of the song.

lordi-2016An eerie intro named SCG VIII: Opening Scene informs the listener the second part of the album, the conceptual DEMONARCHY, is about to begin, and it’s time for some brutal Heavy Metal with Demonarchy, with Mana pounding his drums while Amen is on fire with his riffs. This is by far the most aggressive composition of the whole album, a sensational display of what Mr. Lordi and his crew can do when they get truly heavy with the creepy keyboards by the sexy doll Hella embellishing the overall result even more. A lot more melodious, the slow-paced The Unholy Gathering continues from where the previous song stopped in the storyline, and when they speed up the musicality it becomes a heavy music extravaganza with highlights to the potent vocals by Mr. Lordi and the spooky notes by Hella. And it looks like the second half of the album is indeed dedicated to much heavier and darker material based on what the band delivers in Heaven Sent Hell on Earth, one of those headbanging badass compositions with a gripping story in the background and a chorus that is yet again a beautiful option to sing along with the band.

The final triumvirate of Hard Rock blasted by Lordi is pure awesomeness, starting with And the Zombie Says, a first-class Heavy Metal tune with brilliant guitar lines and keyboards, not to mention the thunderous drums by Mana and the song’s beautiful chorus. It’s a nonstop action-packed song that transpires adrenaline until its very last second, with Mr. Lordi providing an amazing performance on vocals as usual.  In the neck-breaking chant Break of Dawn, another song to scream the chorus together with Mr. Lordi and a song also played to perfection by all band members, Amen kicks some serious ass with his sharp riffs. And last but not least, The Night the Monsters Died is the perfect climatic ending to the story being told and to the whole album, full of breaks and soulful passages and solos, and having as its main element a more-than-addictive chorus (“It’s the morning after the night / The night the monsters died / Don’t have to be afraid / Cause we’re already dead / It’s the morning after the night / The night the monsters died / We’ll never say goodbye / For the final time”). Put differently, this is a full-bodied composition that will put a smile on the face of everyone that listens to it, no matter how angry or sad that person might be.

There’s that Halloween quote by an unknown author that says we should all “eat, drink and be scary”, but after listening to such an entertaining album of kick-ass melodic old school Hard Rock and Heavy Metal I guess we need to change the saying to something like “eat, drink, be scary and listen to Lordi”. It’s insanely hard for a band to top a once-in-a-lifetime masterpiece like The Arockalypse, but Mr. Lordi and his living-dead crew have been on a roll since their 2013 release To Beast or Not to Beast, constantly producing high-end material for the undead masses. Could it be the charming spell Hella put on Lordi when she joined the band back in 2012? Or has Mr. Lordi found a special full moon that fully recharges his monster power endlessly? Either way, it looks like it will need a lot more than just garlic, silver bullets, sunlight and any other known weapon to kill the music by this iconic herd of rockin’ monsters from Finland.

Best moments of the album: Down with the Devil, Demonarchy, And the Zombie Says and The Night the Monsters Died.

Worst moments of the album: The Unholy Gathering.

Released in 2016 AFM Records

Track listing
1. SCG8: One Message Waiting 1:10
2. Let’s Go Slaughter He-Man (I Wanna Be the Beast-Man in the Masters of the Universe) 4:30
3. Hug You Hardcore 3:40
4. Down with the Devil 4:29
5. Mary Is Dead 4:37
6. Sick Flick 4:00
7. None for One 4:15
8. SCG VIII: Opening Scene 1:22
9. Demonarchy 6:01
10. The Unholy Gathering 5:09
11. Heaven Sent Hell on Earth 5:43
12. And the Zombie Says 6:23
13. Break of Dawn 5:47
14. The Night the Monsters Died 7:13

Band members
Mr. Lordi – vocals
Amen – guitars
OX – bass
Hella – keyboards
Mana – drums

Album Review – Iron Savior / Titancraft (2016)

One of the most underrated bands from the heavy music scene in Germany returns with another solid lesson in Power Metal, perfect for banging our heads nonstop and raising our fists in the air.

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CoverMeine Damen und Herren, it’s my pleasure to inform you German Power Metal warriors Iron Savior have just released a brand new album, entitled Titancraft, the ninth in their underrated career and another extremely well-crafted collection of old school Heavy Metal hymns. Spearheaded by the skillful Piet Sielck on vocals and guitar, Iron Savior have managed to maintain the same lineup from their 2011 album The Landing and their 2014 kick-ass album Rise of the Hero, and we all know how good and productive it is to music whenever a band doesn’t suffer too many changes in regards to its members.

Instead of changes in their lineup, Iron Savior invested into increasing the reach of their music by simply adding the abilities of several guest musicians to the album. In Titancraft, fans will be able to enjoy the contributions by guitarist Jan Bertram (Paragon), singer Frank Beck (Gamma Ray), keyboardist and pianist Daniel “Danny Danger” Galmarini (Mercury Falling), and Philippa “Pippa” Sielck  on backing vocals. Add to that the once again classic cover art by Colombian musician and illustrator Felipe Machado Franco, the same artist responsible for the artwork in The Landing and Rise of the Hero, and there you have an album that transpires Heavy Metal in all possible senses.

Rumbling bass lines, electronic effects and an eerie voice constitute the futuristic intro Under Siege, setting the tone for the title-track, Titancraft, an explosion of the purest form of Power Metal similar to what their countrymen from Gamma Ray usually do. I love when a band like Iron Savior can craft honest and exciting music even after so many years on the road, and although the vocals by Piet sound less aggressive than in their previous albums, that doesn’t mean they’re not awesome. After that solid start, we have the even more powerful Way of the Blade, a superb composition that lives up to the history of true Power Metal showcasing piercing guitar lines by Piet and Joachim “Piesel” Küstner and the thunderous bass by Jan-Sören Eckert, as well as Piet getting back to his beastly mode on vocals.

Seize the Day sounds happier than usual, which doesn’t mean the music is soft or bland despite being slightly below the rest of the album in terms of quality (let’s say that excessive happiness is also a bit tiring after a while); whereas Gunsmoke, with its lyrics inspired by the dangerous lives of gunmen in the Wild West (“And when all hope was gone / Judgement came to town / Seven guns / To shoot the outlaws down / Shoot ‘em down”), has that headbanging rhythm perfect for some air guitar. Furthermore, Thomas Nack is not only a fast drummer, but in this song he also shows his skills in a groovier form closer to classic Hard Rock. And in Beyond the Horizon, a classic Power Metal composition where backing vocals help Piet sound more powerful and epic, Danny Danger embellishes the musicality with his keyboard notes, working really well together with all guitar solos by Piet and Piesel.

BandThe fantastic The Sun Won’t Rise in Hell is an ode to Heavy and Power Metal, blending the best elements from Gamma Ray, Manowar, Judas Priest and so on, with Piet and his crew delivering a potent and metallic hymn where all guitar riffs and solos sound cutting, which is always a good thing in heavy music; and if you love high-octane Power Metal, Strike Down the Tyranny is perfect for you. It’s quite similar to many old classics by Iron Savior, with highlights to the always competent Thomas behind his drums.

Although the average Brother in Arms brings the adrenaline down a bit due to its not-so-exciting rhythm, despite its decent lyrics (“Alone on the journey / Like so often before / My circuits are gleaming / In overload / And now I’m coming ashore”) and good guitar solo, everything gets back on track in I Surrender, an outstanding power ballad where you’ll start singing its catchy lyrics instantly, all enhanced by a beautiful guitar solo and the passionate vocal performance by Piet, making the overall result even more touching. In other words, this is an amazing example of how a band can sound mighty even when not playing at full speed. Finally, if you were born to be rebellious, you’ll have a good time listening to the straightforward Power Metal tune Rebellious and its electrified guitar passages and classic beats.

In summary, Iron Savior never disappoint, always displaying their profound passion for Power Metal through their classic tunes, and it couldn’t be different in Titancraft. By the way, If you’re a diehard fan of the band, you certainly need to purchase the limited edition of the album, containing a stamped tinplate (20×30 cm) with cover artwork, an Iron Savior metalpin, a personal sketch and notes from Piet Sielck himself, a handsigned autograph card and a certificate of authenticity. As you already know, this is true Power Metal crafted by another brilliant band from Germany, a country that has metal music running through its veins, and that’s all we need to bang our heads and raise our fists with a huge smile on our faces.

Best moments of the album: Titancraft, Way of the Blade, The Sun Won’t Rise in Hell and I Surrender.

Worst moments of the album: Seize the Day and Brother in Arms.

Released in 2016 AFM Records

Track listing
1. Under Siege (Intro) 0:58
2. Titancraft 5:21
3. Way of the Blade 3:57
4. Seize the Day 4:57
5. Gunsmoke 5:07
6. Beyond the Horizon 5:58
7. The Sun Won’t Rise in Hell 5:02
8. Strike Down the Tyranny 5:10
9. Brother in Arms 5:23
11. I Surrender 4:04
12. Rebellious 4:49

Limited/Japanese Edition bonus tracks
10. R&R Addiction 5:10
13. Protector 2016 4:36

Japanese Edition bonus track
14. Assailant 2016 4:20

Band members
Piet Sielck – vocals, guitar
Joachim “Piesel” Küstner – guitar
Jan-Sören Eckert – bass guitar
Thomas Nack – drums

Guest musicians
Jan Bertram – lead guitars on “R&R Addiction”
Philippa “Pippa” Sielck – backing vocals
Frank Beck – backing vocals, additional lead vocals on “Assailant 2016”
Daniel “Danny Danger” Galmarini – keyboards on “Beyond The Horizon”, “I Surrender” and “Brother In Arms”, piano on “I Surrender”

Album Review – Ektomorf / Aggressor (2015)

When you listen to this awesome album by one of the best Hungarian metal acts of all time, you’ll definitely become an aggressor.

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ektomorf_aggressorLast year, when I reviewed the excellent album Retribution, by Hungarian metallers Ektomorf, I said they were a promising band who were undoubtedly going to grow a lot in the following years due to the passion and energy they always invest into their furious mix of Groove and Thrash Metal. Well, it actually took a lot less than expect for them to reach a whole new level of savagery and become a pleasant reality in the world of heavy music, because the 46 minutes of groove and brutality found in their brand new album, entitled Aggressor, kick fuckin’ ass beyond dispute.

In addition, if you listen to Retribution and Aggressor in a row (a highly recommended activity if you’re at the gym, by the way), you’ll easily notice their evolution as musicians, in special frontman Zoltán “Zoli” Farkas who improved his hostile vocals considerably, therefore providing additional layers of fury to his band’s musicality. Not only that, their lyrics continue to be as violent as hell, totally no holds barred, which together with a more complex songwriting offer the listener one of the best Groove Metal albums of the year in my opinion.

The ominous and primeval Intro sets the tone for the massacre straightforwardly entitled I, where you can clearly see how they stepped up their aggressiveness, cohesiveness and technique if compared to most of their old songs. This is one of those tunes that will make your blood boil in a good way, pumping you up for whatever task you’re about to take on. And the title-track Aggressor is even better, making it hard not to break your fuckin’ neck to those insanely heavy riffs. Can you imagine the level of craziness this tune will cause during their live performances? Besides, the groovy bass lines by Szabolcs “Szabi” Murvai are what give the song its balance and punch, enhancing the overall quality of this great composition. In the dark Holocaust, composed “in the memory of the 6 million victims”, Ektomorf raise the flag of “never forgive, never forget” in Auschwitz, inspired by the music by Sepultura and the horrors his people suffered. If you don’t know, Zoli has European Roma/Gypsy roots, who were also massacred by the Nazi, perfectly depicted by this brutal Groove Metal tune with puncturing guitar lines and solos.

Move On gets closer to what they did in Retribution, delivering American Alternative Metal with extra doses of violence. It’s one of those songs drummer Róbert Jaksa might love playing, pounding his drums violently while the rest of the band extracts the fiercest sounds from their instruments, especially guitarist Tamás “Tomi” Schrottner; while Evil By Nature, featuring the iconic George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher, is a flawless mix of the Groove/Thrash Metal by Ektomorf with the unparalleled Death Metal by Cannibal Corpse. Everyone knows I love the growls by Corpsegrinder, and I have to say they matched perfectly with Ektomorf’s musicality. In other words, this is an amazing vocal duo, like two beasts screaming against the rest of the world, with the lyrics being spot-on showing what the human being truly is (“Hate runs through your veins / Insanity in the unspoken words / Deaf from the screams of the devil / Hungry for blood / Hungry for death”). Furthermore, take a read at Zoli’s comments on how the vocals by Corpsegrinder were recorded, giving the song an even more visceral vibe: “We are friends with the Cannibal Corpse guys since a long time. Last year in November I spoke to George (Fisher) about doing a song together. The recent Budapest show of Cannibal Corpse then was the perfect opportunity to meet and record his parts. So I took small home recording studio gear with me and recorded vocals with George in the dressing room before their show. It was fun and turned out killer! The song’s title is “Evil By Nature” and you can be sure that it will smash your face!”

ektomorf 2015Getting back to a more traditional approach, in You Can’t Get More they keep thriving with their unique Eastern European metallic groove. At this point of the album it’s undeniable how Zoli has grown as a singer and a musician, showing you don’t need to stop screaming to evolve in your career, don’t you agree? And I’m not sure if you’ve noticed this already but all songs in Aggressor are connected, enhancing the album’s flow and effectiveness, which is the case in Emotionless World, where they add elements of Melodic Death Metal to the music in a sinister ambience crafted by its sick guitar riffs, and despite its chorus not being purely screamed it ends up working pretty well. Eastside showcases an acoustic intro before it gets as belligerent as possible, with its chorus being fueled by hints of Slipknot. It’s yet another awesome composition inspired by the most obscure periods of the Hungarian history, with Zoli and Tomi doing an amazing job firing sheer darkness through their guitars.

Scars is perhaps the most generic of all songs, lacking more creativity to get to the same level of awesomeness as the other songs, whereas Damned Nation is a beautiful display of how modern Groove Metal should be. Moreover, Zoli bursts his lungs out vociferating the song’s name during the chorus of this boisterous chant made for banging our heads nonstop. The next tune, You Lost, sounds extracted from their previous album Retribution, containing lots of similar elements such as groovy bass lines, rhythmic beats and a solid shift from guttural to clean vocals and vice-versa, followed by the simple but effective You’re Not For Me, which focuses on the screams by Zoli and of course the band’s traditional heaviness. Fans of the band will love this nice blend of a fast sounding and a more rhythmic and aggressive chorus that goes on until the song darkly fades away, being replaced by the purely acoustic track Memento, a melancholic tribute to their roots and to their culture, and maybe a smoother version of the “never forgive, never forget” message as you can see by the name of the song.

In summary, what are you waiting for to connect to Ektomorf on Facebook and to purchase Aggressor at the official AFM Recods webstore (I would personally go for the superb Limited Fanbox edition) or on iTunes? If there’s one lesson Ektomorf can teach all of us, it’s for sure the fact that whenever we listen to their primitive and robust metal music, we become true aggressors.

Best moments of the album: I, Aggressor, Evil By Nature and Eastside.

Worst moments of the album: Scars.

Released in 2015 AFM Records

Track listing
1. Intro 0:45
2. I 3:49
3. Aggressor 2:35
4. Holocaust 3:56
5. Move On 3:04
6. Evil By Nature (feat. George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher) 4:23
7. You Can’t Get More 3:22
8. Emotionless World 3:26
9. Eastside 4:17
10. Scars 3:42
11. Damned Nation 2:39
12. You Lost 2:56
13. You’re Not For Me 4:50
14. Memento 3:03

Band members
Zoltán “Zoli” Farkas – vocals, guitar
Tamás “Tomi” Schrottner – guitar
Szabolcs “Szabi” Murvai – bass
Róbert Jaksa – drums

Guest musician
George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher – additional vocals on “Evil By Nature”

Album Review – U.D.O. / Decadent (2015)

“Decadent” is a word that definitely doesn’t fit for the German Tank Udo Dirkschneider when it comes down to Heavy Metal.

Rating5

UDO-DecadentAfter over 40 years on the road, either with his former band Accept, his solo career with U.D.O. or lending his one-of-a-kind voice as a special guest to bands like Lordi and Raven, one thing must be said about the iconic Udo Dirkschneider: the German Tank is indeed an unstoppable Heavy Metal machine. And now with Decadent, the fifteenth studio album by his solo band, despite the endless feeling of “been there, done that” found in the entire album, he proves once again that he’s far from being a decadent artist.

And how has this Teutonic metaller managed to stay relevant in the world of heavy music until today? Well, you might not be a fan of his raspy and screechy voice or the way he looks, but you have to admit he surely knows how to craft good metal music no matter what, just like other veterans such as Motörhead and AC/DC, always loyal to his roots and beliefs. Decadent might not be a masterpiece or something that will be an essential part of your playlist in a not so distant future, but it’s a decent display of old school Heavy Metal and, especially if you’re a diehard fan of his solo career, an album that will keep your faith in the German Tank.

However, it’s when Udo and his crew get down to business that everything makes a lot more sense, starting with the opening track, Speeder, a more-than-pure traditional Heavy Metal tune with no shenanigans, nothing new, just good old straightforward heavy music. Udo’s voice might not be as potent as before and the lyrics are as “generic metal” as possible (“It’s faster than the light / You better step aside / The speeder of the night”), but the song is very enjoyable anyway and one of the top moments of the album. The title-track, Decadent, talks about old issues that are still among us like greed, politics and violence (which by the way are themes many bands sadly forgot they existed, or simply ignored them in their most recent albums), and its extremely catchy riff and rhythm will please all fans of both U.D.O. and Accept.

Udo_PainThe following track, House Of Fake, has a very promising start with fast and thrilling riffs, and its chorus is a lot fun. Unfortunately, the rest of the song doesn’t vary much from that, which hampers it from being a lot more interesting. Then we have what’s probably going to be the worst metal song of 2015 in my opinion, a horrible attempt of sounding “different” entitled Mystery: despite being a heavy track, it’s annoying as hell, with its bridge, chorus and everything else being such a joke it makes me wonder what Udo and the rest of the band really wanted to do in this song. They failed miserably, unless of course they purposely wanted it to sound so bad, and I dare you can listen to this song more than once like I had to. At least the excellent Pain erases that nasty impression left in the air with a journey back to the 80’s, where inspired by old school metal music each element found in this song works extremely well. Besides, Udo smoothly declaiming the beautiful words “Try eating some of your own shit – for once / Cos’ I’m not taking it – anymore” is one of the top moments of the song for sure, deserving to become one of those memes with famous quotes from celebrities. Well, why not doing that myself as a tribute to Mr. Dirkschneider?

A ballad with Udo on vocals is always a mystery, with the final result being either amazing or a more-than-epic disaster. Luckily, Secrets In Paradise doesn’t fail to deliver, mainly due to its decent solos and a chorus that suits Udo’s raspy vocals pretty well. The band speeds up things again in Meaning Of Life, which is nothing more than an average metal song that is far from being memorable, but that doesn’t do any harm to the album either; and in Breathless, which despite not being very creative, it’s a very good metal song, with highlights to the nice work on drums by Francesco Jovino, the adequate blend of Udo’s voice and the guitar riffs in the background, and its sing-along chorus (“We are so breathless all the time / So breathless / Cos’ we are restless in the mind”). The digipak version of the album has two bonus tracks inserted randomly amidst the other tracks, with the first one being Let Me Out, and let me tell you this song is a lot better than almost everything in the entire album. It’s a song for hitting the road with your bike, with those basic drumming, lyrics and riffs that together sound powerful and exciting.

UDOAnother great moment in Decadent is Under Your Skin, where the music flows nicely and enhances the overall quality of the album. It should be one of the chosen songs for live performances, especially due to its “Fast as a Shark” accelerated rhythm. Regrettably, the rest of the album is a collection of uninspired songs, starting with the tasteless Untouchable, which is so generic it could have had any other name and lyrics and it would have sounded exactly the same still, and the other bonus track, Shadow Eyes, completely opposite to “Let Me Out” so boring it is. Rebels Of The Night, despite its fast rhythm, is another average song where even Udo doesn’t have a good performance, and lastly we have Words In Flame, a huge “orchestral” failure that will make you beg for it to be over just a few seconds after it actually starts. Why such a tiring and shallow song had to go over 7 minutes is beyond my comprehension.

Anyway, as previously mentioned, do not expect the birth of a new metal classic with Decadent, but do not expect to be disappointed with it either. U.D.O. are still good in what they do, of course led by the one and only Udo Dirkschneider, and while they release decent and honest material like in Decadent, we can rest assured old school Heavy Metal will keep pleasantly piercing through our ears for many years to come.

Best moments of the album: Speeder, Under Your Skin and Let Me Out.

Worst moments of the album: Mystery, Shadow Eyes and Words In Flame.

Released in 2015 AFM Records

Track listing
1. Speeder 3:45
2. Decadent 4:49
3. House Of Fake 4:26
4. Mystery 4:36
5. Pain 5:10
6. Secrets In Paradise 5:00
7. Meaning Of Life 4:34
8. Breathless 5:21
10. Under Your Skin 4:22
11. Untouchable 5:09
13. Rebels Of The Night 4:41
14. Words In Flame 7:36

Limited edition digipak bonus tracks
9. Let Me Out 3:56
12. Shadow Eyes 4:21

Band members
Udo Dirkschneider – vocals
Andrey Smirnov – guitar
Kasperi Heikkinen – guitar
Fitty Wienhold – bass
Francesco Jovino – drums