Black Space Riders – We Have Been Here Before

We Have Been Here Before Album Cover Art

Black Space Riders – We Have Been Here Before
Cargo Records
Release Date: 21/10/22
Running Time: 01:19:09
Review by Dark Juan
10/10

Good afternoon, my lovers of the obscene and abstruse. I am Dark Juan, and I would, if I may, like to take you on a strange journey into some psychedelic hinterlands and just what my subconscious gets up to when it is left unchecked, such as when I was in bed recently as I am suffering the ravages (at the time of writing) of COVID-19 and frankly being a very bad patient. Nevertheless, laid in bed I was gripped by a fantasy of having a chariot made out of scrap metal and bits of Ford Escorts and the like, harnessed to a half-dozen extremely large and bad-tempered black dogs. My weapon of choice for this ensemble (I was clad in a bizarre kind of modern, carbon-fibre armour suit with a helmet that was cybernetically augmented. Bizarre, because carbon-fibre is utterly terrible for armour as it is too brittle) was a sonic cannon that amplified ambient sound and turned it into an energy beam. Clearly, this is all fucking mental, not least because I was supposedly fighting a race of predatory, carnivorous, human-hating and intelligent marmots.

Fucking marmots. Fucking marmots are the best my subconscious can come up with when I can adequately and fulsomely describe any manner of horrors. I am offended. So, I sought to change my way of thinking and started to ruminate about the human condition and came to the conclusion that it’s all more than a bit insane that what we regard as a person (the whole body, face, appearance et cetera) is an out and out fabrication. Considering the fact that we, as entities and thinking beings, are composed of a couple of pounds of specialised grey meat. This grey meat then pilots a bone mech from a sealed and armoured cockpit. For some reason the bone mech is coated in ablative and renewable flesh armour and perceives the world through incredibly complex organic sensors which work through naturally generated electrical signals. And even then, what we are being fed by our sensors isn’t ACTUALLY what’s going on out there, because the grey meat computer that we all really are then fucks about with the input until it can be understood…

I’m not good at being ill. Hence, I have decided to stop my stupid grey meat from thinking about stuff like even my Smellhounds are differently shaped brains piloting differently shaped mechs and instead have plumped to listen to German-based psychedelic pioneers Black Space Riders. Formed in Muenster in 2010, “We Have Been Here Before” represents the seventh offering from these intrepid Germans and to say it’s eclectic is like saying Dark Juan likes Satan, despoiling virgins and absinthe. Different forms of music and style collide, coalesce and reform in inventive new arrangements and forms – a writhing, alive, constantly form-changing and amorphous. You are just as likely to hear the influence of Leonard Cohen, or The Cure, or Talking Heads as you are The Cult or Hawkwind or Wishbone Ash. This album is a long-lasting and extremely progressive trip into the outer musical reaches of mescaline-driven heavy Psychedelia. It’s a fucking big supernova of supergroove too, clocking in at an hour and ten minutes. 

Note, if you please, that I have carefully avoided the use of the word “doom” at any point in this review so far. That’s because Black Space Riders do not play Psychedelic Doom. They play something FAR MORE DELICIOUS. For example, ‘Fear No More’ could be Faith No More playing jeux sans frontieres with Mudvayne, Xmal Deutschland and Genesis with added fuzz and Blues Rock and all the bonzo amplification they could lay their hands on. ‘In Dust’ has an arrangement that would have done justice to any Siouxsie And The Banshees song, but with the added muscularity of Metal guitars used fairly sparingly and to great effect. Deftones-esque walls of noise crash headlong into gentle, swirling passages, underpinned by an incredibly powerful bass guitar.

The influences are diverse indeed. ‘Leaving The Hill’ references Eastern music in the quieter passages and is very progressive indeed with a pretty strong King Crimson vibe, whereas ‘AAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRGGGH’ is a punk-edged, bladed whirling thing of fury that takes no prisoners at all. Even synthwave is referenced in the record’s intro and especially on ‘A Whisper’, where the spartan, simple vibes of vaporwave intermix with an uncomplicated live drum pattern – think a Neue Deutsche Härte drummer playing on one of Pertubator’s quieter tracks. The bass playing throughout the album is magnificent, punching the listener in the guts and being very much a lead instrument in places and referencing the powerful, bass led sound of the early post-punk bands like Joy Division and the Sisters Of Mercy. Every song has delightful little touches, a bit of sequenced guitar creeping around under the vocals or a flourish of drums in an unusual time signature that switches and changes as you listen and try to work out where these mad German bastards are taking you next… Achingly spare arrangements give way to jazz-tinged spasmodic extravaganzas and go off into New Wave and anywhere else the band fancy taking you. However, the music never sounds contrived or forced. It is allowed to breathe, and flex, and morph in a controlled fashion.

Yes indeed, this album has totally fucked up my almost finished Album Of The Year list in annoyingly efficient fashion. My only problem is that the drums could have done with being a bit further forward in the mix. Sometimes they can get a bit lost in the full-on passages, but this is only a minor niggle because the sheer quality of song-writing and arrangement negate any demerits that this currently agog Hellpriest might be thinking about. The whole record is supremely intelligently arranged and performed, and it is a bit of a wonder that the band have managed to combine such disparate and almost exclusive influences into a unique sound that is so rich, full and cohesive sounding that you’d imagine that this strange amalgam of influences had been its own genre for decades. A universal sound that was born between galaxies, with only cold stars witnessing the birth of Black Space Riders as they crawl, fully formed but still covered with cosmic amniotic fluid, from the interior of an oxygen rich, multi-hued nebula, before maturing in the hard radiation emitted from a star as they bask in the Lagrange Point of a binary system, clutching their instruments and making planetfall just near Muenster, Germany, where they immediately set up and start playing incredibly complex, psychedelic space jams to lure in human prey…

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Das patentierte Dark-Juan-Blutspritzer-Bewertungssystem) has no choice but to award this bunch of interstellar psychonauts an utterly cosmic 10/10, man, for a truly expansive record. Nah, in fact it’s not a record, it’s a galaxy-spanning EVENT. It’s absolutely fucking GROOVY.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Crawling In
02. Crawling (DownWithEverything)
03. Trapped In An Endless Loop
04. Almost The Lost
05. This Flow
06. Shine
07. AAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRGGGH
08. We Have Been Here Before
09. Beautiful
10. Fear No More
11. In Dust
12. Leaving The Hill
13. A Whisper
14. Queen Of Light
15. Worlds Collide Dans Ma Tete

LINE-UP:
JE – Lead Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards
SEB – Lead Vocals, Keyboards, Percussion
C. RIP – Drums, Percussion, Digeridoo
SLI – Guitars
MEI – Bass Guitar, Background Vocals

LINKS:

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.

EMQ’s With Geoff Tyson

EMQ’s With Geoff Tyson

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Guitar Maestro Geoff Tyson. Huge thanks to Geoff for taking part!

What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

Geoff Tyson, I played guitar for T-Ride, Snake River Conspiracy, and Stimulator, and have toured the world with Joe Satriani, Ugly Kidd Joe, Tora Tora, Duran Duran, the Go Go’s, Filter, Queens of the Stone Age, Monster Magnet, and A Perfect Circle.

How did you come up with your band name?

Dad and Mom thought of it for me 😉

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

I grew up in Berkeley California. I went to high school with Alex Skolnick, Charlie Hunter, Tim Armstrong, Kevin Cadogan, Dave Edwardson, and I studied guitar with Joe Satriani. The first time I saw Metallica, I was 13 years old and they were playing at a little dive bar called Ruthie’s Inn. I was too young to get in, but the place was so packed that they couldn’t shut the doors, so I watched from outside on the street. The Bay Area is also the home of Exodus, Megadeth, Death, Slayer, Exodus, Possessed, Death Angel, Testament, Suicidal Tendencies, Green Day, Third Eye Blind, and D.R.I. So, I guess you could say it was a pretty cool scene.

What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)

“Drinks With Infinity” is my latest release. It’s my first guitar instrumental album. It was recorded in Prague, Czech Republic during 2019 and it’s now being released on Cargo Records worldwide.

‘Strawberry Napalm’ Video

‘Six Weeks Of Tina’ Video

Who have been your greatest influences?

As a guitarist, Eddie Van Halen, David Gilmore, Alan Holdsworth, Satriani, and Jeff Beck. As a musician and producer, Marvin Gaye, George Clinton, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Duran Duran, Black Sabbath, Motown, Russian classical music, and Om Kalthoum.

What first got you into music?

My mother dragged me to classical piano lessons from 3 years old and I played until I was 12. I learned all the typical pieces you might expect to be presented to a kid. But then when I first heard Eddie Van Halen, I knew that piano wasn’t for me and that guitar was my calling. I was lucky to find Joe Satriani, who at the time was teaching guitar at a small music store in Berkeley, and he took me in as a student for over 2 years. Then when I was 15, I started tracking for the band that would become T-Ride, which was the first production by Eric Valentine. Eric got me deep into recording, engineering, and production as an art form.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?

I’d like to do a mash up with Radiohead, Deadmau5, and Tom Waits, produced by Jack Puig. That would be wild!

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

I’d love to be popular enough to play Glastonbury, but I’d enjoy playing more at the MTV Varna Bulgaria beach festival for the sun, sea, and scantily clad music fans.

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

Chlamydia. Thanks Krista.

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

Drink lots of water, wear a mask, and quit Facebook. Oops, is that three? Hmm somehow they all seem related.

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

Chris Cornell was an inspiration to me as a singer and composer. He left us too soon.

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

I love that every day is different, nothing is predictable, anything can happen, and you get to meet wonderful people from all over the world. By far my least favourite thing is loading the gear after the show. Has anyone ever told you about post-show swamp ass?

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

Most USA major labels, radio stations, venues, and on-line music portals are owned by 3-4 corporations. I feel that it has ruined what was once a thriving music scene that encouraged originality and risk-takers. I’d break up all these companies and open the opportunities up for artists before shareholders. Let musicians compete on quality, rather than shareholder value, and the music fans win.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

“Dark Side of the Moon” is a classic, beautiful collection of intelligent, well performed and produced songs that take you on an emotional journey. It’s a masterpiece.

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

As long as the music is cool, the format is all about context. I love putting on a vinyl at home, but it gets complicated trying to drag the system to the beach, finding a 300-meter extension cord, getting the sand out of the power amp and so on. Mp3’s are cool and convenient and I love the fact that I can delete a shit song.

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

I’ve played a lot of big festivals and big venues. I played at Madison Square Garden with Duran Duran and that was a great life milestone. But my favourite shows are always the small intimate ones. I was offered to play a few songs after a friend’s band in Barcelona once. With just my acoustic guitar, I went up to play a short set from my new album. But the audience was yelling “One more! One more!!” and they wouldn’t let me leave the stage. I ended up playing for 3 hours, and after running out of songs that I knew, improvised ones that I didn’t know. I had to stop because the club was closing, and after I got off stage, I was dragged to the bar for victory beers and it was brilliant.

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

I’d definitely run a porn-star astronaut circus. That seems like an obvious choice.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

I’d invite Dave Chappelle, Angela Merkle, David Bowie, Christopher Hitchens, and Madeleine Albright, and we would drink absinth and do MDMA.

What’s next for the band?

I’m trying to figure that out now. COVID ruined all my summer USA tour plans, and it doesn’t look like things will be stable enough to plan anything outside a small selection of countries for a while. I have some music videos in production and a few offers here and there to compose some movie soundtracks, so I guess I’ll try to stay creative and keep creating content.

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

www.geofftyson.com/
www.facebook.com/thegeofftysonband
www.youtube.com/geofftyson
www.instagram.com/geofftyson
www.geofftyson.bandcamp.com/

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Jaffa Cakes are neither living, nor dead. They occupy a space between light and shadow, wanting only satisfy an endless obsession with power, relentlessly nourishing its pure, concentrated evil, so that, when the time is right, it can rain down sorrow and death upon the world, feasting on our bitter tears. It’s also not bad with coffee, but only evil coffee.

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Yea my new album is great and you should buy it, drag your record player to the beach, and listen to it.

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

Warrior Soul – ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Disease’

Rock _n_ Roll Disease Cover

Warrior Soul – ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Disease’
Livewire/Cargo Records UK
Release Date: 07/06/2019
Running Time: 30:35
Review by ‘Dark Juan’
0/10 (Minus 100,000,000 According to our reviewer)

Rick Here. I have two reviewers who have massively different views on the band Warrior Soul and both wanted to review their latest album, so I thought why not let them both write one. Here is the Anti Warrior Soul review!
Good evening. This is Dark Juan and I have just returned from my nightly invocations. This is why I am still in my Third Invocation Robes (Summer Weight) and looking mighty fine, if I do say so myself. Anyway, our mighty, puissant and apparently indestructible Rick has invited me to share my thoughts in a review of two halves, this time. This should be interesting…
You should be made aware that I reviewed Warrior Soul’s previous (apparently critically acclaimed, according to the blurb I was sent… Not as far as I was concerned, it wasn’t. It was a steaming pile of diseased elephant turds covered in monkey vomit) album and I did not like it very much. To reduce it to specifics, it was fucking awful and I had to purge myself for several months afterwards. With bleach and sharp knives…
Just looking at the title of this album by Warrior Soul is challenging my intelligence. What is a rock and roll disease? Rampant egotism? Alcohol and drug issues? A dose of the clap? A man so far up his own arse he can lick his own tonsils from the bottom end up? What a load of shite, mate. It’s just banging a word after rock and roll. What was wrong with rock and roll turkey? Rock and roll reasonably priced automobile? I can think of many MANY more rock and roll things than disease. Girls, guitars, friends, hellhounds… These are just a few of the words that go after rock and roll and are acceptable and aren’t fucking boneheadedly stupid. Hopefully, the title of the album will not be a reflection of the music within…
Oh, my god. Oh my good fucking god…
It sounds like it was recorded in a submarine several miles from the nearest microphone whilst it was being torpedoed by the entire US Navy. The bass guitar is far too prominent, lending the listening experience the impression of having one’s head placed in a honey filled helmet and playing the record through speakers on the outside. It’s woolly and deeply unpleasant. The drums fade in and out of the mix in an alarming fashion, apart from the snare drum which sounds like someone has made it themselves out of a bin lid, some guitar strings and their leather trousers and then there is Kory motherfucking Clarke’s godawful, cracked voice. He is fucking incapable of hitting the correct notes in the right order and he still sounds like he has flayed his own vocal cords with a cheese grater. I can’t even call it singing. He’s just doing some bizarre howling at the microphone which has no real relationship to the music behind him. He’s also pretty breathless in delivery a lot of the time. It’s especially noticeable because Kory has made sure you know Warrior Soul is his band by pushing his voice so far up in the mix that it just overpowers every other instrument being played. Which is a shame because the rest of the band are good players. And he simply doesn’t have the chops to make it stick and it’s a clear case of ego outstripping talent, once again. So far, so perpetrating all the mistakes of his last travesty of a record. I haven’t even begun on the lyrics yet… I shall allow you to read a selection of some of the lyrical gems on offer here.
Up the dose, coast to coast, I’m pedal to the metal when I’m on the road. (Probably fleeing his drug dealer.)
Like Hitler on E. Oh, what a movie! (Just what? Have you been on another heroin binge, Kory? Drugs are for losers, kids!)
I gotta feel good and feel nice so I can do to you what I please. (Misogyny 101. Unless he is not into ladies… In which case I applaud his sexuality and openness.)
You get the idea. He’s still (and bear in mind this man is now in his fifties at least) swimming in a turgid sea of drug and booze clichés, retarded sexuality and his own overweening, inflated sense of self importance. Kory Clarke offends me on a cellular level. I hate this record so much I want to drown its kittens in a curiously misplaced act of vengeance. I want to use a CD copy of it as a projectile and cut his head off with it so he will fucking well SHUT UP! The only problem being I’d be afraid of what I might catch from the resulting blood spatter.
There isn’t a single fucking song on this record I can find a redeeming quality on. It perpetrates the worst excesses of heavy rock music, when it was a joke and people used to laugh at rockers with poodle hair and spandex. This record is a fucking bad joke even for back then and nowadays is about as relevant as steam technology and middens.
Kory, JUST FUCKING GIVE UP FOR CHRIST’S SAKE! There’s nothing rebellious about singing about drugs and booze and shagging anymore. Also, the word “rock” is not a euphemism for fucking. Dammit. It makes you sound like a clown, man.
Truly, truly awful, third rate rock and roll for old men with receding hair, but still mulleted, denim waistcoats, and massive beer guts chasing young skirt in the same corner of the same bar they have frequented for 40 years and getting pissed off when said young skirt tells them to fuck right off. You know the type, the people in rock bars who think they are royalty because they were around when Iron Maiden released their debut album in 1980…
I’m going to be sick. I have had to turn it off. This record mutilates everything I hold dear about rock and metal and leaves it violated and bleeding on the floor.
The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System does not give a flying fuck about Warrior Soul and awards them a truly magnificent MINUS 100,000,000 out of 10. Zero just does not cut it when you listen to the horrors of this record. I am feeling dirty because of Warrior Soul.
TRACKLISTING:
01. Up The Dose (Of antibiotics because you have been sticking your cock where I wouldn’t put the ferrule of an umbrella, Kory?)
02. Rock N Roll Disease (Just shut up, you spectacular bellend. Rock and roll is life, not a disease.)
03. Off My Face (As I will be on Saturday, in order to forget this travesty.)
04. Melt Down (What I suffered about five tracks in. I need therapy.)
05. Rock On (Aye, lad. Go on. Rock on off over there. Preferably over several seas.)
06. War Ride Children (I hate titles that make no sense and this is just word salad.)
07. Going Mental (Yes, I was! And not in a good way by the time I reached this song. I have been deeply traumatised.)
08. After The Show (Kory gets back into his rock and roll koffin, hooks up the Jack Daniels, cocaine and virgin blood drips and falls into deep unconsciousness until the next show, whereupon he is woken by electric shocks and the promise of hot chicks, all of whom are wise enough to stay out of arm’s reach.)
LINE-UP:
Kory Clarke – Vocals/Drums
Adam Arling – Guitar/Bass/Vocals
John Polachek – Guitar
Dennis “El Guapo” Post – Guitar/Vocals
Christian Kimmett – Bass/Vocals
Ivan Tambac – Drums/Vocals
John Besser – Drums
LINKS:
http://www.warriorsoulofficial.com/
https://www.facebook.com/warriorsoulofficial/
 
Promo Pic
 
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.

Warrior Soul – ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Disease’

Rock _n_ Roll Disease Cover

Warrior Soul – ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Disease’
Livewire/Cargo Records UK
Release Date: 07/06/2019
Running Time: 30:35
Review by Paul Monkhouse
9/10

Rick Here. I have two reviewers who have massively different views on the band Warrior Soul and both wanted to review their latest album, so I thought why not let them both write one. Here is the Pro Warrior Soul review!
Easily hands down, Warrior Soul were one of the outstanding bands at last year’s Stone Free Festival at the O2 and put on a truly ferocious show that was high on power and total devoid of b/s or posturing. Main man Kory Clarke dominated the stage and is a total original who’s only real contemporary is Iggy Pop, his unhinged persona filled with both a true punk spirit and a social conscience that challenges as much as it entertains during their incendiary gigs. The rest of the band are certainly no slouches though and provide the perfect back for their wild leader.
Given the absolute fire and electricity of their live shows it would seem impossible to capture that in the relatively sterile atmosphere of a recording studio but with this release they have done just that and it’s an album that crackles with life, practically tearing out of the speakers and smashing you round the face whilst making you dance like an idiot. Whilst the previous album ‘Back on the Lash’ was superb, this one is another massive step and should be part of the soundtrack to every metalhead and punks Summer.
‘Up the Dose’ is a rip-roaring opener, full on boogie that brings to mind same dirty rock ‘n’ roll as the early Bon Scott years of AC/DC. Clarkes sore-throated vocals are the perfect accompaniment to the rawness of this beast and have an honesty and (say it quietly) class that many try to fake but never achieve. As well as bringing the boogie of the Young brothers to the table there is a real kinship to Motorhead here in its no nonsense delivery and commitment. This really does deserve to be played very loudly.
The title track is next up and continues the mood with a really live feel that places the listener into the confines of a dark and sweaty punk gig or, conversely, in a battered car going on a road trip absolutely anywhere in the world. This is music to make you feel alive and Warrior Soul are unafraid to refuse to bend to trends or outside influences and remain very much their own men. The aptly titled ‘Off My Face’ scorches and the guitar solo absolutely screams, whilst ‘Melt Down’ is a brutal rant against the system and a slap-in-the-face call to arms. These two tracks perfectly illustrate one of Warrior Soul’s greatest strengths with the balance of music for partying with drunk friends and a much more serious, cerebral edge to the band. Time and again it’s down to the listener to get what they want from it and that’s never a bad thing, but the hope is that it’s the lyrics that provide the strongest emotional response.
‘Rock On’ is musically much more in the mould of a goodtime track with its chant along chorus but most certainly isn’t a throw away cut and displays a real ear for melody. The same is true for ‘War Ride Children’, a song that has real elements of a NWOBHM style than has been scuffed up with a filthy sandblaster. Clarke snarls and sarcasm drips like venom as the guitars of Adam Arling, John Polachek and Dennis Post roll and boil behind him. Whilst totally eschewing any sort of ballad, there is much to enjoy in the album and it’s full of musical highs and lows that give the release textures rather than just being a one pace sprint for its duration. But, again, there is an honesty here that is unlike virtually every band you could name that’s on the circuit today and carries on baton from the much missed Lemmy.
Rounding off the album, ‘Going Mental’ and ‘After the Show’ are two more blasts of punky hard rock that bring up a delicious gumbo of AC/DC, Andrew WK and the Stooges, leaving you unsure whether you should just press play and listen to the album straight through again or go for a much needed recuperative lie down.
If you have ever loved AC/DC, Motorhead or just some truly great visceral rock music you need to get this album. If you don’t love it, you should probably check your pulse.
TRACKLISTING:
01. Up The Dose
02. Rock N Roll Disease
03. Off My Face
04. Melt Down
05. Rock On
06. War Ride Children
07. Going Mental
08. After the Show
LINE-UP:
Kory Clarke – Vocals/Drums
Adam Arling – Guitar/Bass/Vocals
John Polachek – Guitar
Dennis “El Guapo” Post – Guitar/Vocals
Christian Kimmett – Bass/Vocals
Ivan Tambac – Drums/Vocals
John Besser – Drums
LINKS:
http://www.warriorsoulofficial.com/
https://www.facebook.com/warriorsoulofficial/
 
Promo Pic
 
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Paul Monkhouse 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.

Letters From The Fire – Worth The Pain

Letters From The Fire – Worth The Pain
Sand Hill Records/Cargo Records
Release Date:  17/03/2017
Running Time: 51:46
Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King
8/10

I asked in another recent review whether women have a place in heavy metal music and the answer then was a resounding YES. Letter From the Fire are another female fronted band and, once more, the answer to my question would be yes!

Female fronted bands are on the increase and the women are showing they are just as much a force to be reckoned with as the men and, despite in the past being accused of jumping on the Nightwish bandwagon, many of the women now have made their own way and created their own sound, with a lot of them forsaking the operatic vocals of Tarja and preferring tough, gritty styles of singing.

Letters from the Fire are a five piece hard rock band hailing from the San Fransisco Bay Area of the USA and was founded by guitarist Mike Keller in 2007 under their previous name of Park Lane. The band had a turbulent origin and after a few line up changes re-introduced themselves to the musical world as Letters From the Fire. They suffered numerous vocalist problems before finding Alexa Kabazie, who nailed it right from the outset.

The band had early success on national tours with bands such as Fuel, Trapt, NonPoint, and Pop Evil and recording with Evanescence guitarist Ben Moody they even scored a few rock radio hits with “Zombies in the Sun” and a cover of “Eleanor Rigby”

“Worth The Pain” is the band’s debut full album and was released in Europe on 17th March 2017 and has really been a labour of love for the band to produce. “These are our stories our trials and tribulations. This is who we are,” says founder member and guitarist Keller and this phrase now serves as both a reminder of the band’s sometimes turbulent origins well as a rallying cry as the band moves forward.

Produced, engineered, mixed and mastered by Kile Odell (Motionless in White, Cursed Sails, Vanisher) the album is a “beguiling mix of melody and heaviness” packed with energy, killer riffs and passion.

The album opens with “Perfect Life”, packed with furious and unrelenting drums and a jaw dropping solo from Keller that would leave even the most skilled guitarists green with envy, and is the perfect opening to the awesome album.

I could go through all the songs one by one but, if you have read any of my reviews before, you would know that’s not really my style. The whole album is fantastic and is a mix of traditional, melodic hard rock and contemporary modern pop and groove along with heavy metal edginess, which results in something that sounds quite different and there really is something for everyone.

If you like the more ballady tracks then “Bruised” and “At War” are songs for you, while the drum heavy opening and intensive lyrics of “Living a Lie” give off a more venomous energy. “Last December” has a strong use of synthesisers and the hard and heavy “One Foot in the Grave” is packed with fast riffs and double bass drumming.

All in all this is a great album and if you like your female fronted bands then don’t give these a miss. This is definitely one to be added to your collection and I think should be up there along with the likes of Nightwish, Epica, Lacuna Coil and Evanescence (and if I’m honest I think its better than all of those!)

But don’t take my word for it. Go check ‘em out and see for yourself!

TRACKLISTING:
1. Perfect Life
2. Mother Misery
3. Give in to Me
4. Bruised
5. Live a Lie
6. My Angel
7. Last December
8. Holy Ghost
9. At War
10. Control
11. Worth the Pain
12. Scars
13. One Foot in the Grave

LINE-UP:
Alexa Kabazie – vocals
Mike Keller – rhythm guitar
Cameron Stucky – lead guitar
Clayton Wages – bass
Ben Anderson – drums

LINKS:

LFTF_Band_Photo

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn ‘The Metal Priestess’ King 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 do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.