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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Live review: Exodus, Lost Society at Melkweg, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 25-3-2016

This is the day the old school and new school thrash metal fans collided! March 25th is the battlefield for 2 of the biggest bands in their respective genre. Both playing furious, blistering fast thrash metal. Lost Society is a fairly new band to the scene but has put out 3 albums in the last four years and they do not seem to slow down at some point.

Exodus is one of the founding fathers of the genre. A really established name in the history book of thrash metal. They are returning to Amsterdam with a really energetic Steve “Zetro” Souza. Though not my favorite Exodus vocalist he put on a great show with great energy and he knew how to get the crowd moving.

Starting to talk about the beginning of the evening. The anticipation was enormous for me personally. Lost Society has been one of my favorite bands ever since they competed in a talent show in their home country Finland. I know every single song these guys ever put out. This particular night they were here presenting their 3rd album called “Braindead” which is arguably their best effort to date. I would recommend this album for every metal fan out there, not just thrash metal.

Performing 4 songs of the new album it didn’t seem they could get the old school fans along. My friend and myself were constantly in the pit shouting the words of all songs toward any of the band members and we regularly got looks from Samy (their vocalist/guitarist) like, hey! You know the lyrics! That’s awesome. You could really see the whole band appreciated to be there on the stage opening for Exodus while leaving their own mark on the city of Amsterdam. Don’t even get me started about HOW they played the songs. I have heard Lost Society’s records over and over and especially with the last album I was thinking, wow. How are they going to pull this off live? Well, I can tell you how they did that. Insanely perfect, hitting every note in every solo while moving like braindead, energetic guys. The only thing that bothered the hell out of me were the old guys in the back of the room. The “elite” thrash metal league. They were definitely there to only see exodus play and didn’t seem to bother about Lost Society. That’s just so wrong. Lost Society are keeping thrash metal alive along with some other great bands like Evile and Dust Bolt. Neglecting them because it’s not “okay” to like new school thrash metal bands seems kind of immature.

Now for Exodus! Playing a great show as always. Exodus are very consistent in playing their songs live but I did not expect “Zetro’s” vocals to be that good on this night. He said in between the songs that he had been smoking all day because he was in Amsterdam. Luckily we could not hear that in his voice. He never ran out of breath and completed the show with a good, moving crowd (the old guys who were not interested in Lost Society).

Exodus played a lot of classic songs from their early catalog because of Bonded By Blood that had its anniversary this year. They also played 4 songs of their latest effort called “Blood In, Blood Out” which is a very good comeback record with Steve “Zetro” Souza.

The thing I missed this evening was Gary Holt. The original guitar player for Exodus. As a guitar player myself, Gary Holt is a legend. A hero if you please. In my opinion he has done more amazing riffs than Kirk Hammett, Jeff Hanneman and James Hetfield combined. He is “Mister Exodus”. Even though I have to mention that the other guitarist in his place did a great job.

After the show I went outside with my friend and we hung out with the guys from Lost Society, which I can proudly say they are our friends now. We even got the chance to meet Tom Hunting (Exodus drummer) and Steve “Zetro” Souza. They were great, down too earth guys and surprisingly calm for a band that plays very fast!

Very open for questions and pictures/autographs.

I can proudly say this was one of the best concerts I’ve ever attended.

High class musicians. They know what they’re doing. The one band longer than the other of course but I’m glad that thrash metal is very alive in 2016 and we can expect great things for the future!

Written by Joost van der Leij

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Live review: Suffocation, Cattle Decapitation, Abiotic at Doornroosje, Nijmegen, The Netherlands, 20-3-2016

On March 20th, I went to Doornroosje in Nijmegen to check out Cattle Decapitation. It was my first time going to this venue as well as seeing these 3 bands and I was most definitely not disappointed! The sound was great, throughout the entire show I was able to hear all the instruments equally and clearly, which isn’t always the case, unfortunately. The show wasn’t very crowded at first, so I was able to stand pretty much anywhere and still have some space and enjoy the show.

Abiotic

I got in just after Abiotic had started their show. I had never heard of these guys before, I must say, but my first thought was: WOW! So, these guys are a 5 piece deathcore monster from Miami, Florida and have only been for 6 years and put out 2 full length albums and an EP. I knew what I was in for when going to see Cattle Decapitation and Suffocation, but I wasn’t expecting technical stuff the likes of this. Anyway, back to the live performance. Since I hadn’t listened to these guys beforehand, I was very easily impressed by their show. I immediately concluded that their live shows must be as good as- or even better than on album, and after actually listening to both their albums, I can safely conclude that Abiotic is a MUST SEE for death(core) fans! Everything was just spot on with these guys, Surprisingly, the crowd didn’t go wild during this show, but it was great nonetheless.

Cattle Decapitation

For me, this band is what got me to the show tonight. It was my first time seeing them and after they were done, I was certain it would not be the last time. They opened up with ‘’Manufactured Extinct’’ from their latest album, ‘’The Anthropocene Extinction’’. If you know the song, you know that it has a lot of vocal variety, so I was very eager to hear how that would work out live. HOLY SHIT, that singer is a BEAST! So is the rest of the band, by the way, but seriously, the vocals were amazing. Cattle Decapitation performed damn near perfectly. The sound was facemelting, there was some good moshing action going on, the light show was spectacular and really added that extra something to the show as a whole. I wish it had lasted longer, but they did a bunch of new songs, some old ones, and of course the crowd favorite: ‘’Forced Gender Reassignment’’.

Suffocation

Co-headliner Suffocation was the last band of the night, and they meant serious business. From the moment they took the stage, until the last note of their last song, this show was just pure madness. The band was lined up at the front of the stage; it felt like a wall of angry sounds was coming at me from the front, while being knocked over by people moshing behind me. I hadn’t listened to these guys (much) before, but I have now. Though I have to say, live performances are better than listening to the album with this band, because they’re really good musicians and their shows kinda make that very obvious. I would mind seeing them again, and you shouldn’t either! All in all I would say these bands did a f-ing outstanding job and really kept a great groove going and complemented to eachother’s sounds and styles really well. Check out their music and shows sometime if you haven’t!

Written by Nino Milillo

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Official website Cattle Decapitation
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Review: The Fading - Till Life Do Us Part


Looking for some Gothenburg-style melodic death metal? Then look no further than… Israel, where The Fading are from. “Till life do us part” is their second full-length, and was released on the 29th of December last year.

Starting with a rather mellow, slightly futuristic intro, it’s only the second track “A moment of insight” which unleashes the beast. The track is marked by melodic passages and powerful screams. This can be said for the remainder of 10 songs as well. Great work overall, every song polished up to highest standard due to a great musicianship, but surely also due to an awesome job done mixing and mastering by Jens Borgren (Dark Tranquillity, Amon Amarth, Soilwork). The songs, as said, have the typical Gothenburg-style (in the best sense) - a strong mix between clean vocals and growls as well as very catchy passages. Every song starts off a bit differently, but overall The Fading keep a very consistent style, which reminds and is definitely influenced by the early Omnium Gatherum. The downside of this consistency is the lack of diversity to make it a truly capturing album.

Nevertheless, “Till life do us part” is an easy listen with great passages and melodies. Give it a shot! 8/10.

Written by Julia Obenauer

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Review: Fear Theories - The Predator


Fear Theories is a young band hailing from Norway. This is their 2nd release following the “So it begins” EP that was released in 2013.

Upon listening to the album I could trace influences from classic bands focusing mainly on their early era. Bands like Iron Maiden, Metallica along with some traces from Running Wild, all this mixed with a slight punk attitude that gives their music a slightly more aggressive tone.

Indeed this is apparent in Andreas Tjøsvoll raspy vocal delivery. His singing style varies from Paul Di'Anno punkish approach to Rock 'n' Rolf (Running Wild) now adding some Quorthon (Bathory) aura and you'll get the full picture. The problem is not the voice's limited range but his monotonous singing combined with uninspired vocal lines making the listening of the album a tiresome process.

The typical and full of cliches lyrics don't help either.

Fear Theories' performance is typical without surprises and this is another issue. Repetitive riffing, tempos & solos that unfortunately aren't helped by mediocre production focusing solely on guitars leaving the rest of the instruments in the background (vocals included).

Songs like “Fear Theories” and “The Predator” are somewhat interesting but that's all.

The band shows genuine passion and love for what they do, but this isn't enough.

A good album requires good songwriting to keep things interesting and this is what “The Predator” lacks.

As honest and genuine Fear Theories are they must overcome and correct plenty of stuff in order to create a truly good album. Still in the beginning of their journey and this means that there's plenty of timing to correct things. Let's hope we'll hear from them soon.

Written by Manos Xanthakis

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Review: Goatpsalm - Downstream


Goatpsalm was conjured up when two members wanted to explore what’s far out there and delve into ancient myths and lore. Goatpsalm is the home of music that was deemed too strange for the normal standards.

The record starts with the atmospheric “Grey Rocks” with heavy intro and slow rhythm you could swear it's summoning one of the old gods. Followed by “Flowers of the underworld” that shares some roots with sludge/doom metal but it is a different beast entirely.

However the real high point of the album is “Orphan”. It’s slow, heavy and marching forward to a rhythmic beating that will be stuck in your head.

Another gem is the track with the album's title ”Downstream”. It starts slow but picks up speed with howling, wailing vocals that make it one of the best tracks on this record.

Downstream is a great release from Goatpsalm and it should be on your must have records list of 2016.

Written by Ahmed Winchester

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Friday, March 25, 2016

Live review: Symphony X, Myrath, Melted Space at 013, Tilburg, 20-3-2016

Tilburg’s 013 marked the final leg of Symphony X’s “Underworld Europe Tour”, as for their guests from Myrath and Melted Space, and so it should be another epic evening in Brabant.

The French guys from Melted Space opened the evening with a 30-minute setlist, filled with Opera metal. Already impressive and bombastic to listen to on their records, their live performance was even better, even though it got partly pretty crowded on the Jupiler stage with keyboards, drums, one bassist, one guitarist and 4 (!) singers. Nevertheless, as said, Melted Space was able to convince everyone of their capabilities, performing mainly from their latest record, “The great lie”. Extracts were “No need to fear” and “Terrible fight”, to name just two. Great show, let’s hope we get to see more of these guys in the future!

Next up was Ex-Symphony X tribute band Myrath, coming all the way from Tunesia. Oriental influences can also be heard in their songs and of course in their 7-song performance, kicking off with “Jasmin”, and amongst other followed by “Wide shut” and “Merciless times”. A very powerful performance that was the fundamental, together with Melted Space, for the main event of the evening…

… and after a 30 minute tag break, it was time for progressive metallers Symphony X. The guys from New Jersey really cared about having a great time on this final night of the European tour, and so did the audience. Starting with the “Overture” of their latest record “Underworld”, they proceeded to play the entire album, including “Nevermore” and my personal favorite of the album, “Without you”. Great gestures were the dedication of “Swan song” to the deceased Twisted Sister drummer AJ Pero, and “Legend” to Ronnie James Dio. Next to the brilliant songs of “Underworld”, Symphony X also performed some older songs, such as “Sea of lies” and “Out of the ashes” from the “the divine wings of tragedy”-album. After 1,5 hours and an overall brilliant evening, it was time to say adieu. Let’s hope the guys come back soon!

Setlist Symphony X:
1. Overture (from tape)
2. Nevermore
3. Underworld
4. Kiss of fire
5. Without you
6. Charon
7. To hell and back
8. In my darkest hour
9. Run with the devil
10. Swan song
11. The death of balance
12. Out of the ashes
13. Sea of lies
14. Set the world on fire
15. Legend

Written by Julia Obenauer

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Review: Whelm - A Gaze Blank And Pitiless As The Sun

‘We are with you or against you’, a line from the song Perpetual Blindness, probably fits well as a description of how people will like this album...or not. (I’m imagining parents, neighbours...)

A Gaze Blank and Pitiless as the Sun is a great, heavy, depressive album in a intense doom/sludge style.

In 54 minutes this Danish band takes us down in utter darkness. The album is quite constant in its brutal, yet atmospherical sound, though now and again there are some differences that wake you up from a depressive slumber.

The first two minutes of the album are formed by the only Norwegian (interesting for a Danish band though!) song on the album: Tann Døkka Jørð. It is a dream start of an album. Both clean and growling vocals merge with heavy guitar, but also with a progressive sound. The introduction flows into the second song, The Brazing Bull. In my head the song is marked as ‘The Raging Bull’, because of the overwhelming power of the song. The clean vocals step aside, only to show up again in the last part of the album.
Basically this second song, together with the two songs coming after (From the Trenches of Perception and Perpetual Blindness) form one blanket of music with pained vocals, with no particular change in style, though Perpetual Blindness gives us some short interludes of ‘clean’ electrical guitar sounds. In no way the music is boring, it is just not varying very much.
Delphine la Laurie does give us a nice change, starting with Spanish musical influences. Due to the length of the song, the band can really expand the structure of the song and take time for the build-up, the breaks, and atmospheric pieces. In my opinion this is one of the strongest songs on the album.

Short interlude A Mark of Woe gives an insight in the experiments the band like to take. It fits the atmosphere in a sort of creepy way, yet is in no way a standard ‘ghost house tune’.
The last two songs, spin out the typical doom/sludge sound, in a nice diverse way. Final song Event horizon suddenly brings back the clean vocals, which need some getting used to again. It does fit well at the start of the song though, I was just not used to them anymore. At the end of the song the clean vocals work a bit odd, as if they were forced in, yet eventually it works out well.
All in all this is a great doom/sludge album with progressive elements. The vocals are hauntingly pained, the music is solid, though sometimes it can sound a bit the same. Enough songs though with lengthy and varied musical themes. I am with them!

Written by Martijn Bakker

Review: Reek Of The Unzen Gas Fumes/Konflict - Poisonous Gas Thrower Of Jigoku/Conflict Is Control


To be honest I had no idea what to expect when I chose this split release as my next subject to review. Of course the quite peculiar band name Reek Of The Unzen Gas Fumes is a clear indication this is not exactly a run-of-the-mill type of band, making it fair to assume the same goes for Konflict. So I braced myself for what might be coming my way before I fired it up and that proved to be a good move. The noise both bands manage to produce is only appreciated by a select group of fans, as both bands play what is best described as grindcore at its filthiest mixed with black and death metal influences.

The split kicks off with Japan-hailing Reek Of The Unzen Gas Fumes’ contribution, which consists of eight songs played at an ultra-high speed. Opener ‘Poisonous gas thrower of Jigoku’ leaves little room for interpretation, they put the pedal to the metal almost immediately. The music is at times surprisingly melodic, but the overall feel of the song is predominated by the speed, making it hard to determine the individual instruments. Somehow, though, I get the feeling that is of less importance. The vocals are best described as maniacal, bordering on demonic, as they should be in this extreme corner of the musical spectrum. All in all an impressive wall of sound comes your way, one that gets even bigger when the next couple of songs wreak havoc on your eardrums. The only exception, and a surprising one at that, is the song ‘Doku’. Instead of ultra-high speeds this song has a slow pace, deep growling vocals and almost psychedelic soundscapes. A true stranger among their midst. As if they realize that themselves as well, the rest of the album, as if to make up for the loss of speed, they push the speed limits even more, culminating in the backbreaking ‘Forest of deathcamp’.

Sri Lanka based Konflict has completely different ideas on how to open. 'Control and dominate is what thou wilt do' is a weird instrumental (if that at all) piece of which I have no idea what its meaning or function is. The meaning of Konflict themselves, however, gets clear pretty soon after this when they show their true colors with the devastating ‘Nonquam non paratus’. Like their Japanese counterparts they know what deadly speed is, and especially the drum work is inhumanly fast at times. The vocals are obscure, monstrous, like growls from the deep, adding an eerie vibe to Konflict’s music. Fitting I’d say. Apart from the intro they offer you nine insane songs that will shake the very foundation of your being. No surprises here, just twenty minutes of straightforward grindcore.

Despite the easily audible differences when it comes to execution, both bands can be found in the same distant corner of metal. This split is an evil, filthy, relentless 45-minute grindcore attack on your eardrums and is most definitely not for the faint of hearted. It takes quite some experience to learn to listen to this type of extreme music and even more experience to appreciate the skill needed to produce it and then still there’s not many people who will like this. The limited audience is probably the reason why they only released 66 copies of this split on cassette (!). For those with a taste for the destructive, the obscure and the extreme this is well worth a listen, if you can get your hands on a copy that is, the rest better run while they can.

Written by Henric van Essen

Review: Starblind - Dying Son


Once again proving that the legacy of Iron Maiden is not dead Starblind brings to us the album Dying Son. Iron Maiden influenced a whole bunch of bands in the NWOBHM genre and continues to do that into the 21st century, and this album is a glaring example of that legacy.

The songs are very much Iron Maiden inspired, and if you are familiar with the discography of Maiden you can find a lot of moments inspired by them. Even the vocals resemble those of the legendary Bruce Dickinson, and that is my main complaint to this album. If you are a fan of Iron Maiden you will love this album, or be annoyed by the striking resemblance to the original. The sound overall is of a great quality, the guitars are clean sounding even with distortion, the drums are crisp especially on the snare, the bass is clearly audible and punches its way in the mix and the vocals sore over top of all. But the similarities to the Maiden can turn away people from this album.

As a general impression, I would give this band a 10 in the sound department, but not so high in the originality department.

Written by Nikola Milošević

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Review: When Our Time Comes - When Our Time Comes


When Our Time Comes is a five-piece rock/progressive/metal band from London formed in 2011, which is going to release their debut album on 15 April through Lifeforce Records.

This albums starts of with "Home Truths" calm paced intro. Good riffs that flows into eachother and the vocal that is strong but not overwhelming. "Beyond limits" has a strong instrumental beginning, a female vocalist takes part towards to the end of the song. Then the instrumental flows to the end of this track with faster paced drums. The thirth track "Port to call" is a little more heavy with the drums and guitars. The beginning has a unique high tone to it that makes you start headbanging. That flows through the end that doesnt stop you from listening. "End of era" is also a song with a unique beginning. With the drums and guitars it blasts off for 30 seconds long. After that the vocals come and is just as nice as the tracks before. The last track "following the footsteps" jumps in with the vocals. I think this is a great song for a live performance with nice sing a long parts. The middle parts with the drums keeps you headbanging through this whole song/album.

This is a very good album that flows from song to song. If you like rock/progressive metal this is a band that you should take a look at.

Tracklist:
1. Home truths
2. Beyond limits
3. Port to call
4. Breathe again
5. 50 years from now
6. We're here for a reason
7. The devil you know
8. Interlude
9. Impending
10. End of an era
11. Following the footsteps

Written by Nathasja Voerman

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Review: Defecto - Excluded


Defecto, a progressive band hailing from Copenhagen, Denmark, is just releasing their first full length album; Excluded. Relatively unknown and only in their second release - a self-titled EP preceded this full album - It is hard to believe that this band has been on the metal scene for so short time. The music on Excluded sounds and feels like Defecto has already been doing what they do for years and years. They have a very distinctive sound already, they don’t seem to be searching to find what they are really about. They showcase it, and very well. In fact, they blow your mind with what kind of music they stand for.

That distinctive sound is hard to describe; Defecto taps into a lot of different veins in metal, being reminiscent of Trivium one moment, sporting the choirs, epic and fast solo’s and voice range of power metal, and another moment they come with some metalriffs that are so groovy they belong in the likes of Soilwork and others. The guitars are the brute force behind it all; a very fat, distorted sound gives the whole album a very layered and thick feel, a sturdiness in the sound. The vocals of singer Nicklas Sonne are a perfect addition to this fat sound; a gorgeous raw sounding voice that can grunt and reach pretty great heights, without losing the grittiness. It reminded me a lot of the sound very characteristic of the various singers that have fronted the Dutch band Textures, where the big sound is also very nicely complemented by a very strong and gritty voice.

Defecto, though is very far removed from the modern tendencies to dabble in a djent-y sound, and though they definitely keep it modern and progressive, their sound is diverse and very much rooted in all kinds of genres. They flow smoothly over into one another, so hereby also a nod to the very solid songwriting, wherein there is no dull moment but it never feels too full, too much at once. It is the right amount of intensity at mostly the right moments.

Defecto is a new star at the firmament, and it falls to the immense talent of this band as a unit that the album Excluded is solid as a rock. There must be something more coming from these guys in the future, and I am very enthusiastic to hear what it is.

Written by Frank van Drunen

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Review: Overdoze - Supreme Dosage


As you may have guessed looking at the album cover and the track titles. These guys love to drink. A lot. So much in fact that the first time they went and tried to record something, they just got drunk instead. However, six years and countless hangovers later, they managed to record their debut album. Now I can hear all you sceptics groaning:"Ugh, not another Tankard clone that tries to play of an inherent lack of talent with the excuse that they are hammered all the time". I'm here to hopefully convince you otherwise.

You could argue the band members not being completely sober has resulted in a slightly sloppy album. I don't personally feel this matters though. Overdoze's style of thrash isn't at breakneck speed nor is it overly technical. Instead, it has more of a Hellhammer went drinking with Pantera kinda feel. The type of music that indeed works best when you've had your own share of drinks. So, in the name of science, music and literature I will first down a few beers. Then listen to the tracks again and write the rest of the review.

Ok, so Overdoze's music makes a lot more sense now. One of the things that sort of amazes me at the moment is how the band sounds 'vintage' whilst not yet existing a decade. Note here that I said vintage and definitely not dated. The music sounds fresh whilst harkening back to the days of old when the "tempo of the metal was high". The music switches between slower groovy parts and faster thrashy parts and reminds me of Celtic Frost, Venom's debut album and Swedish band Gehennah. Never does the band reach slayer type speeds but it's still more than enough to have your head banging. The vocals are harsh, the guitars crunchy and the drums pounding and so the record does everything it needs to do. Above all the record is just plain fun. In the same way drinking with your mates is fun. Things don't need to be complicated to be highly enjoyable and Supreme Dosage is just that. Good thrash that is highly enjoyable. Every track is cool with an extra shout out to Asylum of Madness and Night After Tomorrow for being my personal favourites.

In conclusion. Overdoze proves once again that the Finns are one of the leading countries when it comes to cool metal bands. And that they can produce more than warp speed shredding and high pitched vocals. Now if you'll excuse me. I'm blasting the record one more time whilst downing my next six pack. All hail the Way of the North and the Great Northern Alcoholculture.

Score 80/100 but add an extra 2 points for every beer you drink.

1. "Dosed Back to Reality"
2. "Way of the North"
3. "Abyssus"
4. "Asylum of Madness"
5. "The Great Northern Alcoholculture"
6. "Night After Tomorrow"
7. "The Last"
8. "WeakEnd"
9. "And Beer for All"

Written by Doctor Chris

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Monday, March 21, 2016

Live review: Amorphis, Omnium Gatherum, POEM at 013, Tilburg, The Netherlands, 17-3-2016

013 has managed once again to be a tour stop of a great combination of bands, this time the Greeks of POEM and the two Finnish bands Omnium Gatherum and Amorphis.

POEM was completely new to me to be honest, but what a surprise! Their somewhat progressive sound, worked really well live. Melancholic pieces and parts went hand-in-hand with more brutal parts, mixed with some oriental aspects. Tons of emotions and rock straight from the soul, as it should be. Great job guys, will definitely watch out for another concert!

After a short tag break Omnium Gatherum climbed the stage, for their last concert of this tour. Kicking off with “The pit”, taken from their latest album “Grey heavens”, it was a real pleasure from the beginning. Many new songs followed, such as “Skyline”, “Frontiers” and “The great liberation”. Great sound, great atmosphere – you could definitely see that the guys really enjoyed themselves, as did the audience. The 50 minutes therefore passed away way too quickly. “New world shadows” closed off the evening for the guys.

At 21:15 it was time for the headliner of the night, Amorphis. Promoting their latest album “Under the red cloud”, it came as no surprise that many songs were taken from this brilliant record. Kicking off with the title track, it was followed by the first single, “Sacrifice”, and “Bad blood” from the last record. As with the concert supporting Nightwish, the new songs work live really well. Next to these, Amorphis also played some older songs, e.g. from the Elegy (“On rich and poor”) and the Tales from the thousand lakes (“Drowned maid”) albums. Next to these, like in any Amorphis concert, “My kantele” and “House of sleep” cannot be missed. The regular time was closed with “Hopeless days”, before it was time for a three-song encore with “Death of a king”, “Silver bride” and “The smoke”. Overall a great evening with a great atmosphere, and kick-ass shows of all three bands. Until next time!

Setlist Omnium Gatherum:
1. The pit
2. New dynamic
3. Skyline
4. Frontiers
5. The unknown
6. Ego
7. Ophidian sunrise
8. The great liberation
9. New world shadows

Setlist Amorphis:
1. Under the red cloud
2. Sacrifice
3. Bad blood
4. Sky is mine
5. The wanderer
6. On rich and poor
7. Drowned maid
8. Dark path
9. The four wise ones
10. Silent waters
11. My kantele
12. House of sleep
13. Hopeless days
14. Death of a king (Encore)
15. Silver bride (Encore)
16. The smoke (Encore)

Written by Julia Obenauer

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Review: Formless Devotion - Sparks Of Separation

Despite being quite a hotspot for metal activity, the sheer novelty of a band coming from South Africa upon the masses at large makes for appointment listening just for that factor alone. Even rarer is for a quality band to come forth, so this release on Cyclopean Eye Productions of the debut EP from black metallers Formless Devotion is a highly enjoyable release.

Despite appearing for the most part as a rather traditional nature, there’s plenty to enjoy here with this set-up as there’s the usual tremolo riffing, furious brimstone-scented melodies and utterly blasting drumming that creates a veritable swarm of traditional black metal on display in ‘Aeonik Devotion’ or ‘Prana of the Drakon’, serving as a great set-up to the uniquely enjoyable inclusion of localized tribal influences here. Many of the shorter interludes here uses this kind of tribal drumming and industrial noise collages to set up the upcoming track, frequently utilized in ‘Resonance’ and ‘Phosphire’ which comes up every time here to set-up the next track which is a cool idea in principle but wears itself out when the idea of getting in tune with the release is instead shelved due to stopping the momentum in order to get to another set-up track for the song after it. This is a highly disappointing effect with the four true songs on here appearing so enjoyable that it does seem to ruin the energy built up here and really comes off with the idea that it should’ve been just one or two in select places rather than doing it for all the tracks.

Though this one tends to rely quite a bit on the nature of featuring interludes for the main set-up here rather than letting the traditional songs seep through for it’s enjoyment, there’s still more than enough engaging black metal to satisfy fans of the style or those simply curious how it’ll appear when sprung forth from non-conventional arenas. 7.5/10

Written by Don Anelli

Live review: Evil Invaders, Jewel, Silenxce at Scum, Katwijk, The Netherlands, 12-4-2016

Entering the legendary Scum club in Katwijk always brings back memories of metal days long gone. But tonight we have a line-up that suits the club very well: Silenxce (NL), Jewel (NL) and Evil Invaders (BE). Silenxce and Jewel are heroes from the past and still going strong, and Evil Invaders is a very promising new speed/thrash metal band who already played Graspop and Pukkelpop. SILENXCE starts very early so I missed the beginning of the show. I’ve seen Silenxce before in the early ninetees, and except for the hair, they have not changed much. Silenxce has a lot experience and that shows by their solid live playing. On the stage there is not much movement going on, except from the singer (Arno). But the old songs still sound great (Agent Orange, Desire One, Terror Strike!).


Next up is JEWEL; after a reunion in 2013 Jewel is back! Without Rick Ambrose but with a new singer: Nico Perreijn. I know their has a lot been said about the new Jewel, so I am not going into that anymore. New band, new start. Yes they are older, but they still play with the high energy level as they played before, and still solid as a rock. Mr. Perreijn fills up the vocal spot perfectly, and Jewel always tries to make a party. With a set full of Jewel classics (La Morta, Kings of Tomorrow, Road to Katmandu), a Motorhead tribute (Iron Fist) and even a new song (Black Screen) you can’t go wrong! Welcome back boys!


It is time for the main course: EVIL INVADERS! I heard a lot of good things about these young Belgians, and they have set the bars high with their awesome debut album “Pulses of Pleasure.” But can they bring it live? The answer is simple: hell yes!!! They absolutely nailed it from the first till the last minute. What a band, what an energy! The set contains many songs of their debut album (of course) as well as their first EP, completed with two great covers: Fabulous Disaster (Exodus) and Witching Hour (Venom). This was an old school thrash show how it is supposed to be; superb stage performance, quality musicians and lots of headbanging! Remember this band, and check them out if you can!


Written by Remco Kreft, photos made by Lennn Fotografie

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Sunday, March 20, 2016

Review: Maze Of Terror - Ready To Kill


Making it to a debut effort, Peruvian thrashers Maze of Terror features quite a wide amount of work here to give this one of the most impressive and engaging debuts in the genre in a long time. Rife with plenty of fire and engaging work dripping from these molten thrash tracks, this is a band that should go far in the genre in the future.

From the start this one manages to feature the kind of ravenous, swarming thrash that’s built on the revivalist trends of aping the bay-area attacks from the past, leading to utterly stellar riffing dripping with speed, immediately highlighted by tracks like ‘Rotting Force’ and ‘Lycanthropes’ which are just pure speed-mongers of the highest caliber taking the sort of frantic rhythms and pounding drum-work carrying the kind of arrangements expected to be found in that style. There’s a savage series of riffing on display that comes from the swirling, up-tempo patterns here where this one really brings up some imaginative and varied attacks to the table that enables this speed-driven style to stick out even better by being surrounded by the dynamic change-ups offered, with ‘Bringer of Torture’ being more of a mid-tempo effort plodding along with a steady rhythm while the epic ‘Gilles De Rais’ offers explosive proof that an epic can crush and pummel at top speed throughout with plenty of pounding rhythms. It enables a far more intensive effort here with this one creating such an infectious and ultimately appealing when it thrashes away with reckless abandon while still offering the kind of dynamic and varied approaches to the craft that it manages to keep from being a one-trick affair. Though it still manages to keep the same rhythms running throughout here when it is thrashing along lending to some tracks bleeding together it’s such a minor detriment as to be almost completely useless and overdrawn here.

This here is a near-perfect assault of blistering, finely-formed thrash that plays with such conviction and enthusiasm that it can win over any audience out there and perfectly paves the way for the band to set out on their career, leaving this one to obviously settle in so well for revival thrash fanatics or fans of the old-guard looking for the young generation to make an impression. 9.5/10

Written by Don Anelli

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Review: Messenger - Starwolf Pt. II: Novastorm


I got to admit that Messenger was an unknown name to me. It's a shame 'cause these guys have been active since 1990 releasing 5 full length albums, 3 Eps and 1 demo. Surprisingly their press release doesn't make any mention of the 2 albums, 2 Eps and the demo and only mentions their work after 2006!!

In the beginning I was puzzled upon looking their pics accompanying the official press release since visually the looked like a band replicating Lost Horizon's visual imagery. Thankfully this isn't the case and Messenger is one band that takes itself and its music seriously enough(can't say the same for the image though)

Their latest offering is titled “Starwolf pt.II: Novastorm” and as you probably guessed it is based on a concept which is actually the continuation of a story that begun with their previous album “Starwolf pt.I: The Messengers”. This is a sci-fi story born from the collaboration of novelist Victor L. Pax and the band.

I have to confess that upon reading that I was hoping for an in depth lyric approach that unfortunately wasn't there. That was kind of a letdown since “Starwolf pt.II: Novastorm” brought to mind the lyric style of Rhapsody and Gamma Ray's work (from “Somewhere out in space” and later era).

So what music does Messenger play? Well the guys perform a style that can definitely be called power metal. Influences from Gamma Ray, Helloween (“Walls of Jericho” era), early Blind Guardian, Scanner and Running Wild with the latest ones actually defining the band's style. I must mention that singer Francis Blake really brought in mind the singing that could be found in the first 2 albums from Scanner, now add to this healthy doses of Rock 'n' Rolf (Running Wild) and Kai Hansen's (Gamma Ray, -ex Helloween) vocal approach and you can understand what we're talking about. People who don't like this style might find his delivery one dimensional but personally I think he's a perfect fit for Messenger's music.

Messenger's music skills are easily comparable to the bands mentioned earlier ensuring that this is an extremely well played albums from the 1st note to the last without feeling the need of showing off. Same thing can be said about Lasse Lammert's production & mixing giving the album a strong beaffy sound.

Tempos vary from mid to fast throughout the entire album. Songs like Fortress of freedom, Privateer's hymn, Captain's loot and Sword of the stars easily stand out from first listen. Catchy choruses, anthemic vocals and bombastic atmosphere are what this band truly excels at but this is also the Achilles' heel of “Starwolf pt.II” since other parts seem to get less attention from their creators and tend to sound “less” important, meaning that you'll hardly get memorable riffs, verses or leads. It's a shame since Messenger is one talented bunch.

A pleasant surprise to the above is the ballad “Frozen” with its beautiful atmosphere, in depth lyrics and diverse vocal performance that brought to mind the aura from slower parts of Angra's “Angels Cry” album.

Messenger have created a solid and honest album that despite some flaws will certainly appeal to any true fan having his/hers antennas up for exciting new releases.

Written by Manos Xanthakis

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Review: Sacred Seal - Incarnation

I believe that all metal can roughly be categorised in 2 types. The kind that you sit back and listen to, that works best when you really listen and savour all the passages. That takes you somewhere emotionally and that you have to listen to a few times before all the details fall into place. The other kind is the one that makes you want to get up and head bang, air guitar, fall off furniture and party with your friends.

The French band Sacred Seal's debut album Incarnation is a rare breed. At first glance it seems like the party kind of heavy metal but when you dig a little deeper an extra layer unveils itself.

Sacred Seal's music could be described as female fronted heavy metal with influences from occult rock and folk rock. Think of a blend of Judas Priest, Ghost and Blue Oyster Cult without sounding like any of those bands. The albums concept is loosely based upon the struggles man has to endure in order to seek deliverance. Musically this is done by having the songs grow gradually darker as the album progresses. Where the first few tracks are more straight up heavy metal, the later part of the album gets more of an occult rock vibe with slower and moodier songs. This keeps the album diverse and interesting from start to finish. the best part of the album is in the middle where the blend is most noticeable. Standout tracks for me are the songs Me, Myself and I with its fast riffs and catchy chorus and Psychosis with its manic vocal lines by Nicky Daymond.

The beauty of the music is in the details, the clean intro's, the unique and sometimes haunting vocals and the heaviness of the guitar riffs. All the songs are interesting enough to not get stale after a few listens. Nothing extremely new or different is brought but that is not a problem because as mentioned before not everything has to be complicated. When you eat a cheeseburger you know it's not a complicated dish. But it is quite tasty because the few ingredients work together in great fashion. The same holds true for Incarnation. Ultimately Sacred Seal brings a new spin on an old idea and makes it interesting enough to enjoy. I will definitely be spinning this record in the future. As an added tip. Check out Sacred Seals website for the lyrics and a better understanding of what the music is about.

Score 75/100

Tracklist:
1. "Kama"
2. "Venus Star"
3. "The Sphinx Riddle's
4. "Evilution"
5. "Flow of Oblivion"
6. "Me, Myself and I"
7. "Chains of Slavery"
8. "Psychosis"
9. "House of Sin"
10. "Juda's Call"
11. "Over the Abyss"
12. "Holy See"

Written by Doctor Chris

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Review: Anvil - Anvil Is Anvil


Anvil, the Canadian heavy metal band was formed in 1978. This old, old band has put 15 albums already has just released the next one. As most people know Anvil do not take themselves too serious. So it’s really hard for me to treat this album as a normal album.

They start off with a song called Daggers and Rum and the feel and sound just seem nicked of Alestorm. Anvil has been around a lot longer and since I don’t listen to the older Anvil stuff it could be the other way around. Still, it’s a fun song. It’s what you would expect from Anvil. But not much more.

Up, Down, Sideways starts off stronger and is a bit heavier. It seems inspired by the late, great Lemmy Kilmister and this is a song you just need to bang your head to. The bass at points seems almost Cliff Burtonesque. It’s aggressive, it’s fun.

Gun Control is a slower song which starts promising but doesn’t quite deliver. The lyrics are a bit weird, not in the good ol’ Anvil way, and the licks and riffs seem uninspired.

Die for a lie is a bit better. More aggressive again, faster, again with the Kilmister sound in the voice. And damn this song is catchy! The riff has a bit of Mustaine stains and the hook of the song is so damn catchy!

Runaway Train starts with the sound of an oncoming train and after that it all goes classic Anvil. The drums, guitars, voice and lyrics just scream old school Anvil.

Zombie Apocalypse has got to be one of the worst songs on the album. It starts off pretty good but as soon as the singing starts they suddenly play slower trying to sound heavier or more bombastic or something. The lyrics are boring and so is this song. It seems like they tried to go for something new and they failed.

It's your move is more upbeat again and heavier because of the standard pace. It's a fun song and the licks are great. This song also features a fun solo, they don't do that enough in my opinion so this was fun.

Ambushed is more down to earth heavy metal. You can definitely hear the standard and classic anvil in this, especially in the singing and lyrics.

Fire on the highway... This song is a bit in the same category as Zombie Apocalypse. They tried to go for something and missed. It sounds sloppy, boring and I just don't like this song.

Run like hell is a good song again though. The drumming that seemed of in fire on the highway is back on track, the riff is easy to listen to and the it's all pretty decent.

Forgive don't forget starts with a drum bit, after the guitars and bass join in they start singing in a very bombastic way which suits this song. They repeat that process again throughout the song which is pretty okay. The song is fun, not great, but fun none the less.

Never going to stop is a bonus track and the last song on this album. I consider this the best song on the album. It's catchy, fun, very Anvil and it makes me want to bang my head to the stage with cheap beer in my hand.

Now to make a quick summary of the album. It's chaotic, but then again, it's Anvil.
It's fun, but it is sometimes sloppy in both instrumentals and production.
The song range from pretty darn bad to pretty good.

All in all I am giving this album the benefit of the doubt and it gets a 6/10.

Written by Koen Oude Kempers

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Saturday, March 19, 2016

Stream: Embalmer - I Am The Embalmer



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Video: Gloria Morti - Executioner



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Stream: Ashcloud - Children Of The Chainsaw



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Stream: Devildriver - Daybreak




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Album stream: Éohum - Ealdfaeder



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Video: Morte Incandescente - Distúrbio Absoluto



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Video: Ignea - Alga



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Lyric video: Aliases - Smile All You Like




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Stream: Scars Of Grace - Into The Void



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Stream: Diagnosis - Heilen Damonisch



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Stream: VorgoK - Antagonistic Hostility



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Stream: October Tide - Nursed By The Cold



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Stream: Hemotoxin - Forgotten Faces



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Friday, March 18, 2016

Video: The New Roses - What If It Was You



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Album preview: Walls Of Jericho - No One Can Save You From Yourself



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Stream: Zhrine - Utopian Warfare



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Lyric video: Universal Theory - Somewhere Else



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Stream: Drudkh - Fiery Serpent



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Stream: Sig:Ar:Tyr - Crownless

Stream: Gypsy Chief Goliath - Holding Grace



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Stream: Mantar - Schwanenstein



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Lyric video: Desaster - End Of Tyranny




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Video: Lightless Moor - The Unlocked Door To The Other World



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Album stream: Destroyers Of All - Bleak Fragments

Video: Abbath - Winterbane




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Video: InnerWish - Modern Babylon



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Album stream: Chaos Moon - Amissum

Video: Boss Keloid - Lung Mountain



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Video: Crematory - Misunderstood



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Stream: Split Heaven - Battle Axe



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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Video: Demonstealer - When The Hope Withers And Dies



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Video: Red Skies - New Voice



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Lyric video: Oracles - Quandaries Obsolete



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Video: Sinistro - Partida



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Video: Cvinger - Embodied In Incense



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Stream: Cardinals Folly - Her Twins Of Evil



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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Video: Amken - Soul's Crypt



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Lyric video: The Zenith Passage - Deus Deceptor



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Playthrough video: AHTME - Defeat Zeke



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Video: Atala - Levity



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Stream: Wolfpack 44 - To The Devil A Daughter

Album stream: Necronomicon - Advent Of The Human God



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Stream: Zealotry - Yliaster



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Video: Foul Body Autopsy - Perpetuated By Greed



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Video: Crisix - G.M.M. (The Great Metal Motherf*cker)



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Stream: Colors Dead Bleed - Stick With You



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Video: Bailer - The Binding




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Stream: Chains - Fire Walk With Me



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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Stream: Autokrator - Chapter I



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Stream: Booze Control - Vile Temptress



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Stream: Steel Inferno - Flashing Reality



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Live review: Deafheaven, Myrkur, 9 March 2016 at Paradiso, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

This is my first review of a live concert for DutchMetaManiac. After reviewing records, I decided to give it a shot and do a review of a live show. So the chance was given to me, to go see one of my favorite (post-) black metal bands: Deafheaven. With support from Myrkur, they played in one of the nicest venues in Amsterdam. I’m talking of course about the Paradiso. Now, one day after that show, I’m still in a euphoric state of happiness.

I’ve seen Deafheaven before when they were touring to promote their second full-length „Sunbather”. They played in my hometown Tilburg, in the bat cave (013). That show was intimate, because it was such a small concertroom (sadly, the bat cave does not exist anymore). But their show in the Paradiso was slightly different. A part of that had to do with the venue itself. Every time I enter the concerthall in the Paradiso, I’m overwhelmed by the beauty of this venue. It’s a former church and well, what is cooler than seeing a black metal band in an old church? The high windows, the height of the hall, the atmosphere, it all contributed to the experience of the (if I may say so) divine music. I’ve seen bands as Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Beirut there, and all of the balconies as well as the ground floor were packed. That was not the case this evening. The balconies were closed and the show was not sold-out. However, it started to get crowded during the opening act of this evening: Myrkur.

MYRKUR

It was half past seven when Myrkur started to play. That is quite early, so during the show you could clearly see the church getting fuller and fuller. Which was good, because Myrkur definitely deserved a full venue. Myrkur is the one-woman black metal project from Danish musician Amalie Bruun. Apparently, people in the venue were talking about that one of the guitar players from Mayhem was playing with Myrkur. I did some research and I can confirm it was indeed Teloch playing! He also played on Myrkur’s debut album. Anyway, the band was good. They played the songs tight, while front woman Bruun, dressed in white, stood in the middle as a mystical ghost. Her clean vocals reminded me sometimes of the Belgium band BRUTUS. Her screams however, didn’t come out as loud as I had liked. Some people in the audience did enjoy the folky black metal, but it was clear most of the audience was there to see Deafheaven.

DEAFHEAVEN

By the time they started, the concerthall was crowded. People tried to get forward to get near the stage, while the intro tunes from Deafheaven’s newest record „New Bermuda” sounded through the church. They started with „Brought To The Water”, followed by „Luna”. The audience responded enthusiastically, lot’s of people were head banging while blast beats filled the room, or they screamed along with singer George Clarke. Who, by the way, was in shape this evening. His vocals were as sharp as the edge of a knife. And not only that; he was a good showman. He stood there like a conductor. Which, in my pinion, really suited the church. The rest of the band was more in a shoe gaze mood. They didn’t move that much, but it was clear they were enjoying their own show as much as the audience did.

During the more quite parts, the lights were mystical and it didn’t take long for me to get in a trance. The next song was Baby Blue. George Clarke stamped his feet on the stage to accentuate the drumhits. During this hypnotizing song, I noticed that the drummer used a piccolo snaredrum. Just a small and fun detail for the drummers out there of course. I found it quite special to see a drummer drumming blast beats on a snaredrum that most of the times is used by latin and jazz drummers.

After „Come Back” and „Gifts For The Earth” (Deafheaven played „New Bermuda” in total), they went off stage to return for two more songs. Even though an encore was a bit predictable, some people in the audience were clearly surprised as their faces light up. They played „Sunbather” and „Dreamhouse” (both from their second album „Sunbather”), while everyone in the fronthalf of the church were raising their fists. What can I say. I enjoyed every single second of this evening.

Written by Tim van der Zanden

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Saturday, March 12, 2016

Interview: Maggy from Bring On The Bloodshed


On January 30th, Bring On The Bloodshed released their new album Amongst The Ruins. Here you can read the review of it from DutchMetalManiac's Julia Obenauer. Now it was her turn to ask bassist Maggy some questions.

Hey guys, thank you very much for doing this interview! Your new album, titled “Amongst the ruins”, was released on the 30th of January, and you will be throwing a release party on the 6th of February in Haarlem. Excited to present your new stuff live for the first time?

Ow yea! Our releaseshow was on the 6th February. The first time we played the majority of the new songs of our album for a live audience. In Belgium we’ve already tested the new songs live, so we could see what made the crowd move and get wild :) Those were the songs we choose to play live on our release show. The releaseparty took place in the Patronaat , with the metalsensation Dew Scented and also In Time Of Plague from Haarlem and Deem Index. We had a blast! Big crowd, positive reactions and a pleasant ambience. Couldn’t ask for more!

This album has a very unique sound in my opinion, and received many great reviews so far. Proud that the reactions turn out to be very positive so far?

Yes, this was exactly our plan and for us it worked out, glad to hear that you have noticed it too because that is a huge compliment for us. We wanted to incorporate more Scandinavian style metal together with these breakdowns which is a little bit our signature style.

We worked so hard for this, we were very proud of the result. It is an award getting all those positive reviews from magazines/ezines. Honestly, we were very nervous. But now we are super confident in what we do and make more songs like these, we know we are on the right track. Of course what matters most are the reviews of our fans and bands we play with. So far so good :)

How did you approach the writing/ production part of the album?

Basically the guitars players David & Tobi come up with some riffs which are presented to the
rest and the drum kicks in together with the bass. But it can also happen that an idea is coming from
Rogier based on lyrics that he worked on and need a particular sound. In all cases the songs are
mostly been created working together in our rehearsal studio, really the oldfashioned way. We have to be together to create an awesome track.

When writing for ‘Amongst The Ruins’ we wanted to think more out-of-the-box, tried some new things, which was exciting. We wanted a more metalsound, and it turned out so much more mature as our past album. For the recordings we went to our friends of Double Impact Productions, who also recorded ‘Dark Clouds’. They did an amazing job.

You have built quite a fanbase already and toured extensively. Any great stories from the road you feel like sharing?

It seems like our fanbase is still growing, that is great. We’ve seen reviews in ezines outside of the Netherlands, an item bout us on a tv-show in Russia, and then we were asked for a radioshow in the USA… Nothing really crazy so far, think signing boobs with our autograph is the weirdest rockstarthing so far :)

Is there any place you are particularly looking forward to play at? Or any wishes for upcoming concerts?

It sounds really cheesy, but we are always super excited for every gig we do. When it is in a big venue, a festival, or in your hometown. We are excited for Pitfest, the 9th of april. We will share the stage with Sinister, an awesome band. Tattoofest in the Hedon is also a nice one. Getting tattoeed while listen to live metalmusic, great combination!

What’s your view on the current Dutch Metal scene? Any upcoming releases you are particularly excited about?

Bring on the Bloodshed is formed 7 years ago. We’ve seen bands come and go and there is a new generation kids who step up with their bands. Allthough we are not the youngest, we still go to shows and festivals, we read the magazines, we still are interested in new bands, the scene. Seeing all those metalheads on festivals or shows is awesome. The metalscene in Holland is still alive and kicking!

We are excited for the new album of the Dutch metalbands Dew Scented, For I Am King and Izegrim.

Next to the release party, you have two more live gigs planned so far in the Netherlands. Is there any chance to see you live this year, either here in Holland or abroad?

We are still working on shows and festivals this year, we hope the positive reviews on our new album will help when booking shows. We’ve played two shows so far in 2016 and still 5 in the planning, in Drenthe (PITFEST), Overijssel (TATTOOFEST), Brabant, Noord-Holland and also Belgium in October. And we are checking dates to go on tour later this year…not sure if we will do the UK again or maybe East-Europe. If you check our facebookpage frequently you cant really miss it.

Do you like to say anything to our readers?

If you haven’t heard of Bring on the Bloodshed, check Spotify and listen to our new album “Amongst the Ruins” for free. Also give a like on our facebookpage and stay updated for brutal news! Please come see us at our shows and have a chat with us.

We thank you very much for your interest in our band and this interview.

Thank you for doing this interview!

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Live review: Army Of Metal, 5 March 2016 in StudioGonz, Gouda

Last weekend on March 5th I went to see Army of Metal in StudioGonz in Gouda, the Netherlands. I was made aware of the event by a friend of mine who plays in one of the 10 local bands that performed throughout the day, and I must say: I was not disappointed. The venue is quite small, but it’s big enough for an event such as this. The stage looked good and provided enough space for most bands. The event kicked off at 16:00 and ended sometime around midnight. Every band had about half an hour of play time. Eventually, I was able to see 6 bands. I had to miss out on 4 due to being veeeeery hungry and my ride leaving earlier. So to the guys I wasn’t able to see: hopefully there’ll be a next time!

Blind Justice
Metal/Rock
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Opening act of the day was Blind Justice, a 3 piece ‘’metal fueled rock’’ machine that has been around for twenty-something years and has produced several CD’s and EP’s. The show started off very noisy, maybe it was just me, but I could hardly hear any guitars over the sound of the bass and drums, except for some lead riffs here and there. It took some time to get used to the type of vocals these guys use, it’s not something you’d expect from a band this loud and heavy, but eventually I could appreciate it. After a few songs, I noticed the sound got properly adjusted and I was able to hear some more of their axeman. Every song they played was heavier than the one before, and despite the fact that these guys are a few years older than most of the audience, they managed to put down a performance you’d expect from a young punk band. Very energetic, very enthousiastic! Highlight of their show for me was when the singer announced a song we might recognize. It took me until half of the song had passed until I realized they were doing a kickass cover of The Prodigy’s ‘’Breathe’’.

Drive By Suicide
Thrash/Groove/Death/Metalcore
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Drive By Suicide is a 4 piece formation that has been around for over 10 years, but was only fully completed and charged in 2011 with the addition of their new, young bassist. The band is currently in the process of recording their first full length. This was actually the 3d time I got to see them play and probably the best performance I have experienced with these guys. They played a shorter set than most of the other bands, but damn, it was chaotic. The influences these guys have are quite obvious: there’s a lot of Slipknot/Lamb of God (and obviously more) going on in their music, this is especially well portrayed by their crazy ass singer. The crowd wasn’t generally that wild throughout the evening, maybe it was because of the size of the venue, but these guys sure managed to warm us up for the rest of the night. At some point they even invited a fellow musician on stage for some guest vocals. What I like most about these guys is their energy, their band dynamics and the complete randomness of their frontman.

Malignity
Heavy Metal
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3rd band of the day was a 5 headed beast by the name of Malignity, a name I wasn’t unfamiliar with. I saw them for the first time in the summer of ’15 and I remembered being very impressed with them back then. That performance was actually at the same venue and one thing hasn’t changed: these guys need a bigger stage! This was the first band to bring their own stage props, they had this sick, custom built mic stand. Cool stuff! So, about the show: as I said, this stage was just too small to handle 5 people. It’s a shame, because this made their stage presence kind of static, since there is so little space for them to move. However, the bass player in particular managed to go wild, regardless of this. The music was very enjoyable as always, they showed great musicianship, the singer really knows how to interact with the audience and the band as a whole delivered a great show. I learned from a conversation with one of their guitarists that they are all about local myths and folklore in their lyrics and that they want to create an experience rather than just plain performing. Well, they certainly pulled it off!

Disminded
Death/Thrash
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This was definitely the craziest performance of the day. Disminded is a quartet hailing from Germany, formed in 2009. The band combines the relentlessness of death metal with harsh, fast thrash riffs, infused with hints of melody here and there. I had never heard of these guys before, but I’m glad I had the pleasure of enjoying their wildly energetic, highly interactive show. I didn’t know what to expect when they brought in their custom mic stand: a voodoo-like skull with dreads hanging out. They called her Lucy (if I remember correctly). The crowd literally went wild during the show, but the band did too. From the moment they started playing, there were metalheads flying all over the place, hair waving around, circle pits, mosh pits, it was insane. At one point, the singer just jumped in the audience and started the pit himself. There was even some ‘’crowd surfing’’ if you can call it that, because the part of the audience that took part in this was quite small. Near the end of the show, the guitarist took over the mic stand and had his little story, which ended in an EPIC tribute to the late Lemmy Kilmister when they played ‘’Bomber’’. If you have a chance to see these guys, make sure that you do!

Bloid
Death/Thrash/Heavy
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Another pleasant surprise of the night: Bloid, a power trio from the Netherlands. They have been going strong since 2006 and have since released 3 EP’s. The band differentiates itself by its friendly image, rather than the standard badass metal attitude. This was strongly reflected in the way they announced themselves and how they interacted with the audience. The eyecatcher at this show for me was the transparent B.C. Rich guitar, which I didn’t expect to sound anywhere near as brutal as it did. I was blown away by their music, it was very tight, very heavy and there was just the right level of melodic riffing going on here. Again, the guitarist seemed like a very friendly guy, reacted to what the audience was saying in a fun way, and there was just a really great atmosphere. Great musicianship, great showmanship, great show! The pinnacle of their performance when they suddenly started playing a lengthy fragment of Sepultura’s ‘’Roots’’, followed by a full cover of Pantera’s ‘’Strength Beyond Strength’’. Both were executed perfectly. Go see these guys live! Seriously.

Lycaon
Symphonic/Black Metal
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Did I just spot a group of people with corpse paint? Oh hell yes! Finally some black metal representatives! I was kind of unsure what to expect, because black metal is quite diverse (and maybe I was hoping for something satanic), but when I saw a keyboard entering the stage, I knew what I could expect. Lycaon is a 5-piece black metal band, formed by members of the Rotterdam band ‘’Proditor’’. You might not be surprised to learn that their name is inspired by a mythological werewolf. Unfortunately, the performance was different from what I had expected. The sound wasn’t properly mixed at the start, I could hardly hear vocals (the same thing happened later with the backing vocalist), but luckily, this was adjusted soon enough. Their sound is pretty raw and true to the spirit of black metal, and as far as instrumentals are concerned, I was pretty satisfied. However, I found their show to be kind of boring. There was no interaction with the crowd, little band dynamic and also very little stage presence (although the available space might have had something to do with it). Also, the guy behind the keyboard was sort of the odd-one-out, because he hadn’t put as much effort into his appearance as his fellow bandmates. Nevertheless, musically it was quite nice. I just hope they’ll put a little more effort into creating a real show in the future.

Written by Nino Milillo

Review: Ivar Bjornson & Einar Selvik's Skuggsjá - Skuggsjá


Skuggsjá is the name of a collaboration between Enslaved’s Ivar Bjornson and Wardruna’s Einar Selvik, who just released their first, self-titled album yesterday. Let’s see what’s in store for us from Norway!

Admittedly I was very drawn to this record by being a big Enslaved fan, but this record is not a wash-up, but rather a great, whole new, level of Ivar Bjornson’s creativity, together with his partner in crime. “Skuggsjá” is a very original, very ambitious record, mainly marked by a mystic atmosphere, as already created in the opener “Ull kjem”. Heavy guitars a la Enslaved or Wardruna are solemnly to be found… they remain rather in the background, tagging along with the folk-instruments which set the record’s tone. The most related track to the gentlemen’s principal bands is “makta og vanæra (I all tid)”, while another, remarkable song is the more dreamy-meditative “bøn om ending - bøn om byrjing”. The remainder of the songs falls sound-wise somewhere in between.

In conclusion, “Skuggsjá” is a great record which is in my opinion pretty flawless. A great listen is guaranteed of a record which’s style cannot be pinned down precisely, but might be closest characterized as a folk metal album. Luckily though the songs never drift off into cliché. Surely one must-listen this year! 9.5/10.

Written by Julia Obenauer

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