May 28, 2012

REVIEW: BLOOD CEREMONY




Blood Ceremony – Blood Ceremony


Blood Ceremony’s infused tinge of sophistication meets Hippie rock, comes alive on their 2008 release modestly entitled “Blood Ceremony” reissued by Rise Above records.  Fuelled with a passionate influence of Black Sabbath and words of the occult – this album makes me want to handle the music with a glass of Red and tap along with my bare feet.

Track by track the reissued Blood Ceremony album grows on me; with its various elements of strong and well-played guitars, polished flute additions and vocalizations of Temptress, Alia O’ Brien.  The rough and smooth instruments contrast on “Blood Ceremony” to perfection, venerating the esoteric and almost creating a celestial atmosphere. The unforgiving nature of Black Sabbath bleeds through the album – and I being an avid Sabbath fan could notice the reigning power. The most stand-out feature on the album aside from the flute nuances is the old school production feel. It has an almost smoky achievement best described as a gathering of Witches and Wizards around a ritual bonfire.

The album’s opening track “Master of Confusion” sets the tone of what can be expected from Blood Ceremony. The unusual execution of the flute can be associated with folk metal but Blood Ceremony is far from it. The stretching riffs and retrograde metal elements are purely enthralling and it is rare to have to hear such ‘fleshed out’ tracks. The most favoured track of mine is “Children of the Future” with its beautiful guitar riffage and spooky correlations of Tony Iommi techniques. The labyrinth of complex rhythms are implemented skilfully and one could get lost in thought when listening to such dexterity. When the transition of stylistic variation takes place – I barely noticed it due to the fluidity and neatness on the album. Alia O’ Brien compliments the “Blood Ceremony” album with her amazingly luscious vocals.

On initial listen to Blood Ceremony’s self-entitled release, I was acutely aware of the most feel-good Sabbath moments and I took like a bee to honey, growing accustomed to Alia O’ Brien and the band of retro-rock awesome. The genre is not centred to retro-rock or metal but it deserves a merry recommendation to any alternative fan. Furthermore, it would be a sin not to hear Blood Ceremony at its finest.



This was one of my first reviews posted in Alternative Matter [now merged to Thisisnotascene.com]


May 23, 2012

REVIEW: BEYOND THE BRIDGE






Beyond The Bridge – The Old Man and The Spirit


Concept albums always seem to come from a naked part of the Artist – profound and full of allegory. With that mentioned, the same can be said for Beyond The Bridge’s long anticipated release “The Old Man and The Spirit”. The lyrical based album comes across as a large musical with your imagination as the theatrical director and you as the only spectator.

Herbie Langhans and Dilenya Mar are responsible for the alluring duet of the “Old Man” and “The Spirit”. As far as the conception of the album is concerned, the “Old Man” refers to the human experiences while the “The Spirit” refers to the lady of wisdom. Throughout the album, there is a touching dialogue between the two embodiments and thus a connection is forged. It took a pulsating five years to complete the “The Old Man and The Spirit” and thus the album was ready for release with Frontier Records late January 2012.

Not being much of a progressive rock listener, it took a great deal of effort to hit play on the album though once started – I did not stop. The beginning of “The Old man and The Spirit” is absolutely smooth, fluid moving and sounds like the start of a high-end musical production. One can expect extravagant appearances from the orchestra as well as good use of the choral group and voice samplings. The piano and guitars deserve a special mention as they are both played to superior perfection – not surprising as most of the musicians on the album are trained professionals. The tinkle of bells can be experienced all over the release and one can catch the sprinkle of Arabian influence. If it is heavy that you are after, there is one stand out track that matches the speedy riffage with lyrics entitled “Doorway to Salvation”. There is a heavy rustic chug which complements the coarse vocals and do expect an enduring memorable bridge. However, don’t expect any brutal or slamming sounds rather nip in for some headphone time and ease into the jazz metal infused vocals. Become familiar with the crafted techniques of instruments and of course take pleasure in the musical production designed solely by the listener.

The concept release by Beyond The Bridge is quality and deservingly impressive. Normally not my cup of tea but “The Old Man and The Spirit” is a brilliant exception. With its classical attributes, silky vocals and a hint of metal – it goes down in my book as a worthy recommendation. 



 This review was originally posted by Alternative Matter [now merged to ThisIsNotAScene]


May 22, 2012

REVIEW: KARNAK SETI




Karnak Seti - In Harmonic Entropy


Karnak Seti’s, In Harmonic Entropy burns slow like the midnight oil. It is powerful at the beginning yet not sustainable till the end.  It is harmonious metal yet generic death metal.

On the other hand, the self-released album earns a fantastic mention for its riffs of great calibre as well as its fluid moving track list. The Portugal based band spent a great amount of time crafting nine intense tracks of which two are re-releases from prior recordings. In Harmonic Entropy does arouse the listener into an atmosphere of organized chaos with biting licks and plenty of clean lines.

The biting riffs are best enjoyed on the track “Loss” with its distorted alternating of furious and slow tempos. It is here that the drums become the most prominent feature as well as a heavy and neat bass line. The vocals are fairly melodic and at times clean so do not expect any pig-squealing or unnecessary grunts that is often illustrated in the death metal genre. Though do expect a brusque force in the vocals and a slight bit of raw in the track which stands out, entitled “Only Red Mists” in which a superb use of grinds are expressed. The stylistic variations in the album change from death metal to melodic metal and even possess a lucid In Flames quality. 

Nevertheless, Karnak Seti has been playing for a subsequent number of years and their skills are relatively refined so in terms of musicianship, the band is not lacking. The main problem with In Harmonic Entropy is the closet recording which slightly stifles the sound quality. The drums become suppressed on most of the tracks while the guitar gets pushed to the background thus implicating the overall potential of the album.
In terms of listenership, Karnak Seti racks up a good chance with the audience especially with the In Flames fans. Although In Harmonic Entropy might not be on the ‘must have’ list – it falls under the ‘definitely worth dexterity’ category. 


Review originally posted on Alternative Matter [now merged to ThisIsNotAScene.com]




May 11, 2012

BAND HORN: KILLED THE FIXTION




NEW JERSEY HAS TALENT!

A howling breath of fresh air! That is one way to describe Killed The Fixtion’s latest single release called Moonlite Blue.

Killed the Fixtion is a tempo tight band with really clean vocals and a mash-up of extorted influences. As the band members of KTF put it lightly, “Music is an element or tool and the way we reflect it through our music is simply just by feeling the combination of heavy rhythms mixed with harmony and melody. In the end, we play what we feel and what is in our hearts.”



Moonlite Blue has a twist of harmony, some sexy blues, and tight rhythm. It is neatly recorded and the track quality is pretty darn good! Howlin' Wolf (Chester Arthur Burnett) is a major inspiration for the KTF single and righteously the band has been able to recreate the smoky guitar edge.  
Don’t believe me? Click on the Video to hear for yourself! If you like what you hear, then stimulate your eyes with Killed The Fixtion's  prior interview  on Air Guitar and support the New Jersey band on their social cyber sites; Facebook and Twitter.







May 07, 2012

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH BATTLECROSS




BATTLECROSS


BATTLECROSS reign supreme with a wicked thrash metal release entitled "Pursuit of Honor". It's stripped down heavy metal with grating guitar work, roaring drums and vocals of true steel. None of that watered down nonsense is expected because BATTLECROSS bring it to the fans!

Tony Asta of BATTLECROSS tells Air Guitar about band dedication, Don Slater being the most badass bassist and the crazy but awesome number of current and upcoming tours!   

Hello Battlecross!

Hey Lav this is Tony Asta, guitarist of BATTLECROSS, thank you for the interview opportunity.

Thank you for agreeing to do this interview with Air Guitar (South Africa)!

Of course, my pleasure!

Battlecross struggled to find a dedicated and reliable line-up since 2007; has the band settled at this point?

We are the strongest we have ever been. I trust my band mates, they are very driven and talented and continue to prove their dedication every day. I am very confident in this band.

There is a complete disarray of incredible influences and styles in Battlecross. How does this work and why?

We all like to have our input and the writing process can be pretty painstaking, but we enjoy what we do especially when it pays off. Having multiple influences shapes a band into its own sound. If we all liked exactly the same bands then chances are we would end up sounding exactly like them. Having a variety of influences brings out the flavor.


By being signed to Metal Blade records, the band has something to live up to. Does this make it more difficult for you?

The real work starts here. We have always been a hard working band but it is true being signed and the touring lifestyle has its own set of demands. Everything is at a larger scale, including the work load.

Let’s talk about some of the songs on “Pursuit of Honor”, starting with the re-mastered, “Push, Pull, Destroy”.

“Push Pull Destroy” was our first single released from our debut Metal Blade album. The song has been featured on Sirius XM Liquid Metal, been on the top twelve of the Devils Dozen countdown for several months and number one for five weeks in a row. Check out the official music video for “Push Pull Destroy” on our website www.battlecrossmetal.com or on Youtube.



How about “Breaking You”?

“Breaking You” is the second single released and is actually one of the first songs legit we ever wrote, back in early 2007.

There is a little bit of truth in the bass player being the ‘forgotten’ band member. In Battlecross, the bass reigns prominent especially on the track “Man of Stone”.

Don Slater is the most badass bassist I’ve ever had the privilege of jamming with. He includes a couple awesome bass-solos in “Man of Stone” and I recommend all modern metal bassists check out this song in particular. The bass player will never be the “forgotten” member and I think Don proves that.

Ozzy Osbourne once said, “We don’t all want to sound like the rock ‘n’ roll version of Albert Einstein.” As a band, what is your take on that?

I imagine what he’s trying to say is “we just want to rock, ingenious or not”. And if that is what he’s trying to say than I completely share his opinion. Not everybody wants to razzle dazzle the audience with sweeps and ultra progressive structure or unusual time signatures. Some of us just want to kick some ass. Without limiting ourselves, we absolutely came to kick some ass.

Tour season is kicking in for Battlecross, what can the fans and new audiences expect for 2012? I read the live acts are raw and superb and the recordings don’t do justice.

Right now we are on the Occupation Domination tour with Origin, Cattle Decapitation, Decrepit Birth, Aborted, and Rings of Saturn. This July/August we will be the opening slot for the Trespass America tour with Five Finger Death Punch, Killswitch Engage, Trivium, God Forbid, Emmure, and Pop Evil. And this December we will be joining the Mayhem Cruise with Lamb of God, Hatebreed, Anthrax, and Machine Head. But to comment on our live show, we are generally modest, basic, and stripped down. We don’t care about theatrics so much, but we do our best to deliver a raw, energetic, in-your -face performance. The music and the connection with our fans is the most important thing at our shows.


Battlecross has a very hard-line work ethic; always persevering and believing in what you do. What can other bands learn from that?

Never give up and believe in yourself. Follow your passion and the things that make you happy. Enjoy life and shoot for the stars. Surround yourself with Positive people. Don’t be lazy and never “expect” anything from anyone.

Would Battlecross like to spill on any blueprints for future releases?

The next album is about half complete. I have no comment on when or where we will be recording or when it will be released. I can say for sure we are taking the next album to a new level.

Does Battlecross have any last words, especially to the South African audience?

I am blown away people on the other side of the world listen to the music we create and I am very grateful someone actually likes us in the first place. Thank you all for your interest in BATTLECROSS and I can’t wait for the day to come to South Africa and bang heads with you all! \m/

We look forward to a BATTLECROSS visit when time allows.
Cheers Tony Asta for a good interview and thank you to Metal Blade Records and Fayz Media Group for organizing it.

Catch more BATTLECROSS at the Official webpage, Facebook, Twitter and Metal Blade Records.