Grande Fox – Empty Nest

Empty Nest Album Cover Art

Grande Fox – Empty Nest
Release date: 19/02/2023
Running time: 41:00
Review by: Alun Jones

Thessaloniki, Greece: the home of Grande Fox, a psychedelic heavy stoner rock band who have presented us with this, their fourth released project “Empty Nest”. The band have been in existence for ten years, though they’re a new find for this listener. I was intrigued to see what sort of feast these Titans would bring to the table.

Yes, the music on offer here is essentially stoner rock, as evidenced best by the Kyuss meets Clutch thunder of ‘Backstab’ and ‘Route 99’.  There’s some swirly psychedelia on display in the calmer moments of ‘Brutal Colors’, whilst final track ‘Birth of an Embryo’ has a doomy, Pantera feel. The highlight of the album is ‘Hangman’, which features a folky blues element – the description might not entice readers, but believe me – it’s magnificent in its Dionysian glory.

So, there’s plenty of experimentation in this album, which for the most part works very well. The only exceptions being vocals that move close to rap on ‘Rottenness of Youth’ and the riff of ‘Golden Ratio’ resembling Audioslave’s ‘Cochise’ too closely. Now I love me some Rage Against the Machine, but sometimes these explorations veer too near Nu-metal for my tastes. 

Running at around 41 minutes, the only promo copy I had of the album was a YouTube video, which made it difficult to keep track of which song was which. However, despite my minor criticisms, I found “Empty Nest” to be an enjoyable and intricately crafted album. Grande Fox are certainly ones to keep an eye on: they impress with their heroics enough here that one day they could be sitting on top of Mount Olympus themselves. Yamas!       

01. Backstab
02. Rottenness of Youth
03. Hangman
04. Golden Ratio
05. Deathblow
06. Overdose
07. Brainstorm
08. Brutal Colors
09. Route 99
10. Manganite
11. Birth of an Embryo 

Nikos Berzamanis –  Frontman
Lefteris Zaoskoufis – Guitars
Dimitris Loukas – Drums
George Chaikas – Bass


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Alun Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Leprethere – Tarnished Passion

Tarnished Passion Album Cover Art

Leprethere – Tarnished Passion
Release Date: 24/03/24
Running Time: 32:40
Review by Dark Juan

Having been mocked unmercifully by Rory Bentley in the staff Facebook chat about my preambles not being at all relevant to the bands I listen to, I have decided to cock a snook at him and continue to campaign for him to receive the triple CD Symphonic Power Metal epic we have on our review books, that NO-ONE WANTS TO TOUCH. I would have done it, but haven’t, and this is because Dark Juan feels that he really would not have the vocabulary to adequately describe the singular brilliance of such a release. Rory does and Rory really, REALLY loves Power Metal in all its forms and Dark Juan is of the opinion that Rory should have it and it will be a labour of love for him and the review will end up being a fine and transformative piece of descriptive writing, of considerable interest to the reader and absolutely informative, seeing as Rory is ENTIRELY professional and would not AT ALL compromise the excellent standards of journalistic integrity we have at There would be absolutely no jokes about dragons and heroes with bulging thews and sticking their battleaxe where I wouldn’t put the ferrule of an umbrella. Oh no. Not from Rory.

Today’s spinning brain-masher on Dark Juan’s Platter of Splatter™ is from Minsk, in Belarus, from two chaps called Anton and they play a rather explosive blend of Math Metal and Progressive Death Metal with a bit of dissonance chucked in for good measure. It makes for a most interesting listen indeed. 

Regular readers of the nonsense I put out and foolishly publishes will know that Dark Juan is extremely turned on by any form of Progressive or Technical Death Metal because the combination of velocity, heaviness and sheer technical ability of the musicians (‘Worthless’ more than adequately demonstrates this, having four distinct movements in a song that lasts a mere two minutes and forty-five seconds, yet is cohesive and well written. Having an opening line of “SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!” is also a massive bonus) hits every pleasure centre in the lump of grey meat that serves as the brain of your favourite faux-Satanist and reduces him to a twitching, orgasmic mess in very short order. Mrs Dark Juan is very grateful for this because it means she doesn’t have to and she can get on with work. Work at this point is a fabric sculpture of a hare that she has taken a chunk out of and made it look like a geode on the inside. She asked whether she should give it a ribcage. I ran and hid.

Yes, Leprethere appear to have charmed your ersatz Metal hack somewhat. They effortlessly meld the brutality of Death Metal and the complexity of Prog and Math Metal. Think Necrophagist and Protosequence getting jiggy with Meshuggah and early Mudvayne. Now wonder what the resultant offspring would look like. I’ll wait…

Leprethere are very much a band of light and shade – for every full-on turbo nutter bastard of a song like ‘Consecration’, there’s a “slow” song in the vein of ‘Shining II‘. I really enjoyed the full bore enthusiasm of the performances on the album – it has that je ne sais quoi that lifts a record from merely competent to a labour of love. Guitar Anton flails the living fuck out of his guitar at all times, with his fractured, tortured, complex riffing forming a perfect counterpoint to the demented howling, screaming and lung-burstingly aggressive roaring from Vocal Anton, and the compositions of the songs show a worrying and complete disregard for the usual rules of tempo, rhyme and meter, such is the complexity of the songwriting. Tempo and key changes abound, the loud/quiet/ FUCKING LOUD dynamic is used to surprisingly sparing and effective… effect. Yes, I know. If you don’t tell anyone, I won’t.

Album opener ‘Shining I’ is a furious statement of intent rather than a song. It says that Leprethere are going to cudgel your brains with song structures that you need to be a member of MENSA to understand properly (there’s more than one sequence written in 13/8 time, for fuck’s sake) and simultaneously gut you with raw power. ‘Shining II’ is actually really quite reminiscent of the fucking amazing Earthtone9 and considering Dark Juan is a rabid fan of that mob of worthy British Math Metal manglers, this can be described only as a Very Good Thing. Vocal Anton’s performance also sounds not unlike the throat desecration of Karl Middleton at his finest. 

It’s safe to state that Dark Juan is a bit of a fan of Leprethere’s music then. There’s not much negative shit to report on, really, because any demerits are outweighed by the sheer good humour and enthusiasm of the two Antons and their… alarmingly vigorous performances. The sequenced drums and bass, while not annoyingly so, are very obvious and the drums are especially artificial sounding, but to be fair, there are points on this album where I am not sure a physical drummer’s meat computer would be able to cope. However, Dark Juan is a fan of drum machines in music simply because they can take you into realms of musical insanity that human drummers can’t. See Godflesh and the Sisters Of Mercy and Necrophagist. Leprethere take Death Metal to new levels of hypertechnical ecstasy and then sustain it, seemingly with ease. The production of the record is actually pretty decent for a self-released album. The vocals are not overpowered by the spasmodic St. Vitus Dance of the music and the guitar(s) are decently produced and the overall sound of the album has a warm quality that hints threateningly at further dangers within – like the gates of Hell. My only complaint is that the cymbals are too low in the mix and they are frequently overpowered by rapid-fire thumping from the floor tom. The guitars are well mixed though and flit around the mix in a predatory fashion, moving from ear to ear and then smacking you right in the centre of the forehead before slinking away to lurk menacingly around the edges of the sound.

One can only hope that we hear much more from Leprethere in the future.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Запатэнтаваная сістэма ацэнкі пырскаў крыві Dark Juan для ўсіх нашых беларускіх сяброў) awards Leprethere 9/10 for an excellent record with jaw-dropping complexity and more than adequate firepower.

01. Shining I
02. Shining II
03. Shining III
04. Aftermath
05. Worthless
06. Collapse
07. Adoration
08. Consecration
09. Tarnished Passion

Anton Berezovskiy – Guitar
Anton Bandarenka – Vocal


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dark Juan and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Morass of Molasses – End of All We Know

End of All We Know Album Cover Art

Morass of Molasses – End of All We Know
Ripple Music
Release Date: 24/03/23
Running Time: 37:00
Review by Paul Hutchings

If you’ve ever seen Morass of Molasses live, you’ll know that it’s an intoxicating experience. The heavy blues riffs that the band purvey with such ease are mesmerising. Their laidback style disguises an underlying quality which here, on their third full-length album, is laid bare for all to see and hear. It’s no surprise to find that this 37-minute trip is another journey into space and time, a pleasing excursion that ebbs and flows with thick riffs contrasting with gentler passages and melancholic reflection. 

There’s a confidence that oozes through Bones Huse, Phil Williams and Raj Puni. Tours with Orange Goblin, Crowbar and Elephant Tree as well as appearances at Bloodstock and HRH Doom vs Stoner have honed the band’s technical approach, and their ability to make genuine, heart-felt music is evident here. With the use of flute on the likes of Terra Nova, the band have expanded their soundscape, providing a sonic sweep that embraces all aspects of their heavy stoner and swamp music. Not bad for a band from Reading. 

“End of All We Know” opens with the heavy groove of ‘The Origin of the North’. It’s a swaying intoxication which draws on a real seventies’ vibe, the retro feels given full head. Close your eyes and sway as the music envelopes, drawing you deep before all power is temporarily cut for a gentle interlude, before the chaos intensifies. 

Whilst Morass of Molasses stick to a relatively similar style in terms of delivery, with Bones Huse’s vocal style very much following a pattern, it’s the content of what they do that works best. The heavy riffs dominate, whilst Huse is most comfortable with his frantic, rage-filled roars that erupt in the most unlikely moments. The dual guitar work is delicate at times, whilst letting loose on others to explode in a crazed, kaleidoscopic carnival of aural colours. 

Songs like ‘Sinkhole’, the jagged edge of ‘Naysayer’ with its compelling hook and psychedelic leanings and the trippy explorative ‘Terra Nova’ with added flute all add to the overall experience. Closing track ‘Wings of Reverie’ shows the band’s calmer side, although you are left anticipating the crunching riff which inevitably crashes back in. It’s a bit of a curved ball, a melodic trip that ebbs and flows, with Williams delivering some beautiful lead guitar work. It’s a fine finale to another solidly good album by one of the UK’s underrated bands. Crushing doom, raging metal, psychedelic and trippy, it’s all here, wrapped up with a huge sludgy sound that compliments the avalanche of riffs that fall.  

“End of All We Know” builds on the discography that Morass of Molasses have created and stands comfortably alongside debut album “These Paths We Tread” and sophomore release “The Ties That Bind”. The sweeping dynamic that they create is substantial, unique, and absorbing. I fully recommend you dive in deep… And enjoy the journey. 

01. The Origin of North
02. Hellfayre
03. Sinkhole
04. Naysayer 
05. Slingshot Around the Sun 
06.Terra Nova
07. Prima Materia
08. Wings of Reverie

Bones Huse – Vocals & Baritone Guitar
Phil Williams – Lead Guitar 
Raj Puni – Drums & Vocals 


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Paul Hutchings and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Infernal Tyrant – Winter EP

Winter EP Cover Art

Infernal Tyrant – Winter EP
Release Date: 13/03/23
Running Time: 13:00
Review by Paul Hutchings

In a world where contemporary music has increased in quality, the occasional bit of rough gets through the filter. Finding out a bit about new bands is always helpful, so when an EPK is almost non-existent, the temptation is to sling it in the bin and move on to the next one. Apparently, this EP is the first of four that Infernal Tyrant are threatening to inflict on us in 2023. Jesus H Christ! That’s the worst threat I’ve had since a run in with a local dealer who threatened to burn down my house a few months ago. 

I know truly little about Infernal Tyrant. Their Facebook page describes them as a two-man desktop power thrash project. That is it. Assuming that this is a DIY outfit home producing gives them a couple of points for effort, but that’s about all. The production damages the sound to the extent that it’s almost unlistenable. The opening song, ‘Project Chaos’ is sloppy, ragged, and struggles from start to finish. It’s routine in the extreme, with the vocals struggling in the mix. In fact, I had to clean my ears to check I wasn’t suffering hearing loss, such is the muffled sound. Some decent guitar work is buried deep within the track, but overall, it’s uninspiring. 

If you thought the opener was a struggle, the tin pots drum sound of ‘Path of Peace’ which follows makes ‘Project Chaos’ sound like ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. Where to start with this one? Vocally it’s a strain to listen to, mainly because the singing just isn’t good. The production obviously hasn’t improved; if anything, it’s deteriorated, and you realise that the joy of the first song is that it was half the length of this one. For there is nothing to inspire. The song is all over the place, the time changes don’t flow, and it sounds like a garage band where each member is playing a different song. 

I struggled to get to the final track but hit play with some trepidation. This is a re-recorded version of ‘Call from Beyond’, so one can only imagine what the original was like. It’s clunky, amateurish and brings nothing new to the table. If you can get through it without laughing, then you are a better person than me. Let us be honest, it is dreadful. 

I am loath to write scathing reviews. Few bands deserve such a mauling. Infernal Tyrant are no doubt genuine musicians and for that I applaud them. It’s just that this music is not very good. And I’m here to point out that just as much as I am to eulogise about perfectly crafted albums. If this band come back to haunt me in a couple of years, I’m ready for it. I wish them all the best, but “Winter” did absolutely nothing for me. 

01. Project Chaos
02. Path of Peace
03. Call From Beyond

Billy Lynn – Vocals
Metal Thrashing Mike – Guitar?
Mathias Skov Samsø Jepsen – vocals & Drums


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Paul Hutchings and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

The H​ÿ​ss – H​ÿ​ss III: The H​ÿ​ssening EP

H​ÿ​ss III The H​ÿ​ssening Album Cover Art

The H​ÿ​ss – H​ÿ​ss III: The H​ÿ​ssening EP
Release Date: 18/02/23
Running Time: 21:06
Review by Dark Juan

I have worked over 96 hours in the past five days and 120-plus over the week. My sense of reality is warped as fuck. I am not sure if I am even human anymore. Which way is up and which way is down? Is that large truck actually there or is it an audio-visual hallucination brought on by lack of sleep? Why is the amphetamine not working anymore? Could it be that fatigue has shagged my nervous system to the point where spaghetti would be of more use for transmitting signals from brain to leaden limb? I have consumed so much caffeine that sleep is now a distant and almost-forgotten memory. Joyful repose is a thing of the past, a bed a luxury only fleetingly glimpsed as I go past it to complete another task. My existence has become machine-like and I have suppressed my emotions and my desires in order to complete the work. The never-ending work. My colleagues (who are working just as hard as me) are breaking down in tears and recrimination around me as the stress builds and builds with no sign of respite yet I can’t. I have to be an inspiration to these people and keep them going and so I will lead by example, a man who externally displays no emotion apart from withering sarcasm, a wholly inappropriate sense of humour, professionalism and the will to carry on despite the physical and emotional cost to myself and to Mrs Dark Juan and I do this for about two thirds of what a nurse gets paid.

I am not a nurse. I am one of the forgotten – I care for vulnerable children and I work in kids’ homes. There are no people who notice the plight of the utterly dedicated workforce of which I am a part – no politician to support us to gain political mileage because we are a horrible secret to be swept under the carpet mainly because there are over 80,000 kids in care and a problem ignored is a problem you don’t have to deal with and a whole fucking underclass of poor, abused fuckers who haven’t been picked up by Social Services, because Social Services is an underfunded fucking mess and social workers are as overworked as us care staff are, with no union that directly represents us and because we rarely have any children die on us, no media spotlight unless there has been some shocking abuse perpetrated on a child. And before anyone tells me to go and get a better job – if I don’t do it, who the FUCK will? We are so short-staffed because there is no-one who WANTS to do it and therefore the pressure increases exponentially upon those of us who choose to do this work. Don’t you EVER moan to me about your shitty 37.5 hour a week office job with all the tawdry little affairs between you and Julie in accounts and shit. I would love to go home every night.

Apologies. I am a bit tired. Maybe some music might wake me up a bit. Let’s have a bit of a rummage in the review list and see what I come up with… Ah, splendid. Let’s have another one of Simon “You Have Never Fucking Heard Of Brevity, Have You?” Black’s wild card reviews. Hang on while I sling this 5-track EP from Chicago’s The H​ÿ​ss upon the Platter of Splatter ™…

The band open their account with ‘Are You Listening to the Hÿssening?’ which is a Stoner based song with a real shitty middle finger punk attitude in the gravelly, snot-nosed vocal. The guitar work has a strong Grunge element in it and it’s a pretty cool sounding thing, although I think The Hÿss suffer a bit from not really knowing where they are going next, musically. While the song is good and the vocals brilliant and the chorus killer, it all feels a bit unfocused.

Witness ‘Silvio’. It’s a great song and it really appears to reference Tool-style guitar dynamics and the arrangements of Deftones but with a Stoner and Classic Rock edge in the guitar sound, all Marlboro Reds hanging out of the gob of the guitarist as he peels riffs and licks out of a classic 1959 Les Paul through his valve-driven Marshalls. It’s this disconnect I am having trouble with. ‘Science Mountain’ does it to my poor abused brain again, being a speedy, straight-ahead rocker which grips you by the throat and doesn’t stop shaking you about, yet somehow incorporates a Grungy aesthetic in the guitar work.

I’m not understanding this at all.

‘Angle Of Repose’ does yet more genre-bending and twists Grunge, Nu-Metal and Stoner into tortured new shapes and even has a breakdown. I don’t know why, but it works somehow. Album closer ‘Gnome Ken Bone’ throws yet more musical curveballs and has really idiosyncratic guitar sounds more suited to classic Rock and Metal playing music that starts off really grungy and then breaks out the church organ, stamps on the Metal pedal and kicks your poor, abused correspondent in his poorly abused head.

Good points – fucking amazing bass sound. The bass makes you want to shake your ass like a room full of cloned Nicki Minaj-es all twerking simultaneously. If it doesn’t collapse first. The bass is thunderous. The guitar work is also fucking great. The band use unusual sound textures and combinations in their songwriting to lend the band’s sound an uncomfortable, febrile quality, not unlike the experience when you spill a drink on a large and muscular man who could break you in half simply with his erection and you have that second of time when you don’t know whether he is a reasonable man who will accept an apology and a replacement drink or an absolute fucking psychopath who is going to tear off your arms and beat you to death with the wet ends. The gruff, gritty, Punky vocal performance is also pretty good too. And at last we have a resonant bass drum that doesn’t sound like someone twatting a mic’ed up lettuce with the back end of a kitchen knife.

Bad points – I feel that The Hÿss are very much an acquired taste and that I just don’t get them. Like Volbeat. Their sound is too idiosyncratic for me but this could be because I am fucking exhausted right now but I am not sure about them…

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System awards The Hÿss 6/10 for a record that is sure to find an audience but that Dark Juan doesn’t want to be a part of, yet is perfectly competent and probably sounds fucking brilliant if you’re pissed or not exhausted.

01. Are You Listening to the Hÿssening?
02. Silvio
03. Science Mountain
04. Angle of Repose
05. Gnome Ken Bone

Bill Sullivan – Bass 
Mike Scales – Drums 
Pat Kennedy – Guitars, vocals 
Dave Fitzgerald – Guitars, vocals
Matt McDonald – Vocals 


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dark Juan and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Höllentor – Divergency

Divergency Album Cover Art

Höllentor – Divergency
Release Date: 17/02/23
Running Time: 33:00
Review by Rory Bentley

Another week, another wildcard release. Simon Black has quickly realised that he can assign releases to us lowly Metal scribes out of pure spite, pairing us with records that we’re likely to detest and give a needlessly vicious review to. Mainly myself and Dark Juan as we both have a proclivity to take things too far. Thus I found myself with something Power Metal adjacent in my inbox, fuse lit and ready to explode and piss off more of the Metal community. Luckily for me this ruse has backfired as this is actually a decent little release!

With a few notable exceptions this Trad/Power Metal style is never going to be my vibe. I’m a skinhead kid from the midlands who likes his Metal with a large dose of Hardcore, but I can appreciate a well-crafted, lean record like this. In fact I’ve actually just bumped up the original score as I’m writing this with the album in the background for one last listen!

The 33 minute runtime was a sight for sore eyes before I’d even pushed play – “At least it’ll be over quickly,” I thought somewhat melodramatically, but the fact that everything here ranges from solid to occasionally excellent had me doing cartwheels. I mean not really, I’m too fat for cartwheels but you get the idea!

‘Behind The Wall’ kicks things off in solid fashion, wasting no time with ornate intros and slapping you round the noggin with a big slab of beefy riffage. The raspier vocal style was a welcome relief as well, possessing just the right balance of dramatic gravitas and down to earth grit. This bulkier approach continues in the title track which has a strong chorus and a satisfying mid paced chug.

Even more encouragingly the album actually gets better as it ticks along. ‘Lotus Eater’ stomps on your face like the best moments of that other American Power Metal band we don’t talk about anymore, maintaining a level of momentum that ensures nothing feels plodding. ‘Seize The Day’ is rousing blue collar Trad Metal that fans of Visigoth would raise a beer to and ‘Vikings Pride’ is pure silly fun.

By the time the stirring ‘We Are Chosen’ has reached its climax in a flurry of ear splitting shrieks from ex-Priest man Tim ‘Ripper’ Iwens and roaring feedback, I’m left very satisfied with a thoroughly entertaining listen that doesn’t overstay its welcome. You could do a lot worse than this for your Denim and Leather fix and it comes with the added bonus that Simon’s cruel little trick didn’t work. Result!

‘Divergency’ Official Video

01. Behind The Wall
02. Divergency
03. Find The Light
04. Judgement Day
05. Kraken Awakens
06. Lotus Eater
07. Seize The Day
08. Vikings Pride
09. We Are Chosen

Glen Poland and some famous Metal lads


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rory Bentley and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Attercopus – Last Utterance

Last Utterance Album Cover Art

Attercopus – Last Utterance
Release Date: 17/02/23
Running Time: 60:14
Review by Dark Juan

It is well known that Dark Juan is a fan of extremity in all its forms, be it musically, sexually or just how much drugs and booze I can cram into the massive gap where my soul should be but it is not quite so well known that Dark Juan also has an expansive and broad musical taste that encompasses everything from baroque Classical to the fastest, most aggressive Metal there is. It is also fairly unknown that I am more than partial to a bit of Progressive Rock. Yes, Dark Juan likes men in breeches spinning round playing flutes and extended jams where the music goes exploring dimly lit hinterlands full of psychedelic swirling patterns and scantily-clad elf women, beckoning Dark Juan to come forward and taste the pleasures of their flesh and drink from their potions of desire, with Dark Juan immediately forging a path through the undergrowth to their fairy glen where there are promises of fleshly pleasures hitherto untasted by mortal men…

Sorry. I really shouldn’t use my imagination when I am writing a (supposedly) record review. This missive is another of the mighty and puissant Simon “Do It, Or Taste My Steel Tipped Cat O’ Nine Tails, Ratboy” Black’s wild card reviews, whereupon the wrangler of everyone else’s writing assigns an underground or British band to us at random to get the writers out of their comfort zones and to get some newer or do-it-yourself bands some proper recognition. Hence, today’s spinning disc of doom upon the Platter of Splatter ™ is “Last Utterance” by South Wales-based bards Attercopus.

Opening with ‘Caravan’ and a gentle, flute-led intro and Eastern sounding wah and phaser-soaked guitar, Attercopus take their time building up a head of steam before unleashing a riff of such Sabbathian majesty Tony Iommi was running screaming for the phone to call his lawyer but this is where the Sabbath influence ends and the Space Rock takes over. And the Prog… Rob Harrison tootling his flute like his life depends on it in the central part of the song as well as doubling up with some expansive guitar work – imagine, if you will Black Sabbath kidnapping Hawkwind and them forcing Gentle Giant and Jethro Tull to fight in a pit to the death, clad only in sheer loincloths, their oiled torsos gleaming and rippling in the shaft of sunlight illuminating the pit from a giant skylight as they attack and clasp each other as they wrestle for dominance and dominion over the other… 

Good grief. What the fuck is wrong with me today?

‘Chemical Pigs’ sees Rob breaking out the squawky sex horn which adds a serious Hawkwind vibe to the proceedings on this spiky, razor-edged song which successfully moulds Prog, Sludge and Space Rock together in a wholly satisfying fashion – exemplary musicianship from the whole band on this song (Lloyd Stratford on bass and Martin Jones on drums) as they take us on an elongated exploration of the universe on the middle eight (more like a middle sixty-four on this song) that never dips into self-indulgent noodling and manages to remain purposeful and tense. ‘LV-246’ (not sure whether that’s supposed to be LV-426, Alien xenomorph fans!) has an almost Jazzy section but is generally one of the beefier songs on the record – think the Garage Rock feel of ‘Night Of The Hawks’ by Hawkwind and Sabbath’s ‘Fairies Wear Boots’, amalgamated and sent shambling into the ether. The guitar and bass interplay on this song is pretty fucking special and the soloing is tasty as fuck throughout. Rob’s voice is engaging and likeable if not particularly memorable and it fits the music well, but this is a minor criticism considering the annoyingly talented bastard can toot his flute (cheeky!) like the incomparable Alia O’ Brien, can drop panties at a hundred yards with the squawky sex horn and plays the guitar as well, thereby taking care of all the panties in a half-mile radius. He’s nearly as bad as Lisa Mann for awesome musician-ness. Arsehole. I hate him. And there are key and tempo changes all over the fucking place and it’s awesome because it all has about four hundred key riffs in the song and must have been a right bastard to write and remember… even if it has one of the longest drawn out endings ever, not unlike one of Dark Juan’s orgasms…

‘Space Garden’ starts off with a super-stoned Prog bent, absolutely decides it is staying exactly where it is and having all the snacks and really references the influence of Gentle Giant and the more hippy-dippy moments of Hawkwind, all mad phaser and wah-wah on the guitar, whizzy and whooshing electronics and the sax (I will never stop calling it the squawky sex horn so don’t even test me) being the lead instrument and being all beguiling and shit, like it is beckoning you into the title of the song. Lloyd Stratford goes absolutely fucking barmy on his bass on this one, playing almost like it is a lead guitar and flitting up and down the fretboard flaying his fingers like a man possessed. All this underpins a languid and almost liquid vocal, honeyed and charming, and it is a fucking long, relaxed jam lasting 12 minutes or so – again, it doesn’t overstay its welcome and keeps the listener charmed throughout. This is a measure of high-quality songwriting and really fucking terrific musicianship. Oh, and the intro on ‘Astral Projection’ had me thinking I was listening to ‘Silver Machine’ until the monstrous central riff kicked in and there’s another riff in the bridge that reminded me briefly of fucking Swedish Rap-Metal rapscallions Clawfinger (Remember them? ‘Warfair’ being the song) at one point. Now THAT is an esoteric fucking influence for a Space Rock combo and no mistake…

Criticisms, for I am a critic – The record has a curiously artificial-sounding production that takes some of the warmth from the music and makes it almost sound like parts of it are sequenced rather than played. Dark Juan feels that this record should have had a more organic sound to better fit the music. I also have issues with the sound of the drums – again, there is clarity and everything is easily listenable, but they sound like poor Martin Jones is using Tupperware for a snare drum and there is no resonance at all on the bass drum, which means there is an unpalatable lack of richness that their music undeniably deserves. But that’s it for criticism – I’m not sure whether the sound of the album was a conscious choice or just the limitations of equipment… Otherwise this is a fucking masterclass in LSD-fuelled psychedelic madness from opening flute to closing reverberation. The musicianship of the band is absolutely breathtaking, their compositions and songwriting flawless and their execution brilliant. It’s just the production job I have a problem with. Da iawn, boyos! Da iawn…

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (System Sgorio Gwaed Splatter Juan Tywyll Patent – I’m not convinced by your skill at Welsh, Google Translate) awards Attercopus 8/10 for a flawed gem of an album marred only by the lifeless sound of the production which robs the album of some of its considerable charm.

01. Caravan
02. Chemical Pigs
03. LV-246 (I am not sure whether this is a typo on my EPK because the planet that Hadley’s Hope colony was on is LV-426 – Science Fiction Editor/ Spod. Yeah, it’s me…)
04. Space Garden
05. Astral Projection
06. Chrysalis
07. Wasteland

Rob Harrison – Guitar, vocals, flute and sax
Lloyd Stratford – Bass
Martin Jones – Drums


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dark Juan and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Floor Jansen – Paragon

Paragon Album Cover Art

Floor Jansen – Paragon
Crash Records
Release Date: 24/03/23
Running Time: 34:39
Review by Simon Black

Like many people I only really came across the highly impressive Ms. Jansen after she had joined Nightwish in 2013, but the building blocks of this album date back to her days in fellow Symphonic pioneers After Forever. Although highly respected, the band petered out after a decade or so, but this highly anticipated solo album has thematic content dating back from those days, as well as being lynch-pinned around the highly talented multi-instrumentalist Gordon Groothedde. Groothedde had producer duties back in the After Forever days, but he is a hugely talented musician and songwriter in his own right and plays a huge amount of the instrumental content on this album as well as contributing to the song-writing.

She may have been the voice of two fundamental Symphonic Metal acts, but that’s not what “Paragon” is about. Stylistically this is a soaring piece of very mainstream Pop-Rock that just happens to have one of the best Metal vocalists on the planet behind it, which is why it really straddles the two seemingly incompatible audiences very well. At the end of the day, it’s that astounding vocal range, power and charismatic performance that is going to bring people to this album, and Jansen absolutely hits the spot here.

Her vocal performance doesn’t pull any punches at all, so don’t expect a watered-down version of her normal self – it’s just the music is more way less loud and heavy but has lost none of the complexity and technicality behind the arrangements. Whereas in Nightwish, she’s sharing a busy stage with a shed load of talented players bouncing off each other, this record is all about her, and consequently steps back to let her shine. That said the arrangements are far from simplistic, with progressions that allow her to show her enormous range and build presence as the songs unfold. They are also all quite short, all under four minutes and focussed on telling a story, many of which take on a different light when viewed through the prism of her recent battle with cancer (‘Hope’ and ‘Invincible’ in particular). 

If you want soaring huge metal epics, then her day job band is where you probably should head, but if you want an insight into what makes Floor tick then yes, you are going to be pleasantly surprised. 

‘Me Without You’ Official Video

01. My Paragon
02. Daydream
03. Invincible
04. Hope
05. Come Full Circle
06. Storm
07. Me Without You
08. The Calm
09. Armoured Wings
10. Fire


Floor Jansen – Vocals
Gordon Groothedde – Bass, Guitars, Drums, Piano & Keys, Strings & Brass, Midi,
Backing Vocals
Ivo Maarhuis – Drums
Ton Dijkman – Drums
Wouter Hardy – Piano & Keys, Midi, Strings & Brass, Midi


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Hatesphere – Hatred Reborn

Hatred Reborn Album Cover Art

Hatesphere – Hatred Reborn
Scarlet Records
Release Date: 31/03/23
Running Time: 49:28
Review by Paul Hutchings

I described Hatesphere’s tenth album “Reduced to Flesh” as capable of starting a fight in an empty room, such was the anger and venom that surged through it. Over four years since that release, the Danes are back with album 11, and as the title indicates, they aren’t here for tea and sandwiches. 

It’s a riotous ride, stretched over close to 50 minutes and welcomes vocalist Mathias Udall to the fold. He’s the band’s fifth vocalist in their 20+ year history, with only guitarist Peter Lyse Karmark remaining from the original line up that formed in 2000. Udall brings a ferocious delivery to the band’s blend of thrash and death metal, which is underpinned by a driving groove. 

At this stage in their career, Hatesphere don’t need to prove a thing, and they provide a crunching album crammed full of vicious riffs, dynamic, spiralling guitar work and razor-sharp lead guitar. It’s cohesive, delivered with full force and balanced with subtle changes of tempo and melody that enhance each song. 

Lyrically, “Hatred Reborn” is based on man’s fascination with evil. It’s a topic that many bands have approached in the past, and Hatesphere’s punishing delivery brings extra spice to a time-honoured topic in the metal world. There’s plenty of savagery here, as the band push through the boundaries of darkness. From the opening intro ‘The Awakening’, the pummelling and explosive ‘Gravedigger’, and ‘The Truest Form of Pain’, this is a robust and solid release. There’s enough variation contained within the album to retain interest throughout, with the changes of style noticeable without detracting. ‘Gravedigger’ for example, switches between full-on thrash to more deathcore breakdowns before returning to full throttle aggression. An ambitious cover of the Scorpions ‘Another Piece of Meat’ is certainly unique, with a blindingly heavy vibe that makes the song hardly recognisable at times. It’s a raw version of a classic song from back in the day. The digipack provides a bonus live song in ‘The Fallen Shall Rise in a River of Blood’ which provides a glimpse into the band in their real environment. 

With a strong production thanks to Tue Madsen and some inspired cover art by Stefan Skjoedt, Hatesphere’s 11th release demonstrates that the band are still a hungry, gnarly outfit, with plenty of miles left in the tank. Well recommended if you like your metal snarling, angry, and totally in your face. 

‘Hatred Reborn’ Official Play Through

01. The Awakening
02. Hatred Reborn
03. Cutthroat 
04. Gravedigger 
05. 918  
06. Darkspawn 
07. The Truest Form of Pain 
08. Brand of Sacrifice
09. A Violent Compulsion
10. Spitting Teeth
11. Another Piece of Meat (Scorpions cover)
12. The Fallen Shall Rise in a River of Blood

Mathias Uldall – Vocals
Peter Lyse Karmark – Guitar
Kasper Kirkegaard – Guitar
Jimmy Nedergaard – Bass
Mike Park Nielsen – Drums


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Paul Hutchings and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Demons Down – I Stand

I Stand Album Cover Art

Demons Down – I Stand
Frontiers Music srl
Release Date: 10/03/2023
Running Time: 51:29 
Review by: Chris Galea

For fans of House Of Lords, the moniker Demons Down will sound familiar….it was in fact the title of HOL’s 3rd album of 1992. This is no co-incidence since Demons Down was formed by guitarist Jimi Bell (House Of Lords, Autograph), bassist Chuck Wright (House Of Lords, Quiet Riot) and workaholic drummer Ken Mary (House Of Lords, Chastain, Flotsam & Jetsam, Alice Cooper, Fifth Angel, etc, etc). Chilean singer James Robledo and Italian guitarist Francesco Savino complete the line-up.

Unsurprisingly the music of Demons Down is reminiscent of House Of Lords but…and here’s the interesting thing…the music of Demons Down can stand on its own two feet even without the House Of Lords name to prop it up. Maybe that’s why the album is called “I Stand”!

One of the things I liked in this album is how the keyboards know when to create an atmosphere by itself and when to work with the guitars and vocals. Then there are the agile guitar licks which nudge the songs away from the mainstream Hard Rock sound (check out ‘Stranded In The Middle Of Nowhere’, which sounds like a forgotten Tesla song). ‘Book Of Love’ is a good epitomy of the album with its lush vocal harmonies and inescapable hooks.

Yes there are a couple of songs that feel like fillers, but by and large the album’s music has groove, interesting melodies, drama and great songwriting…all of which make “I Stand” a very strong debut album.

‘I Stand’ Official video:

01. I Stand
02. Disappear
03. Down In A Hole
04. On My Way To You
05. Where Will Our Tears Fall?
06. Book Of Love
07. Stranded In The Middle Of Nowhere
08. Follow Me
09. To The Edge Of The World
10. Search Over The Horizon
11. Only The Brave

James Robledo – Vocals
Jimi Bell – Guitars
Francesco Savino – Guitars
Chuck Wright – Bass
Ken Mary – Drums
Additional Musicians:
Alessandro Del Vecchio – Keyboards, Guitars, Backing Vocals


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.