Dio – Donington ’83 / Donington ’87 (Re-Release)

Dio – Donington ’83 / Donington ’87 (Re-Release)
Niji Entertainment & BMG
Release Date: 23/09/22
Running Time: 45:44/48:43
Review by Simon Black
8/10

Originally released very shortly after Ronnie’s death in 2010, this revamped version of these two classic live shows from the defunct, but much missed Monsters of Rock festivals of the 1980’s are a real snapshot of Dio captured in amber at the peak of his solo career. This time out there’s some fancy packaging to entice the collector on both these limited-edition vinyl and CD versions, with 3D  Lenticular art print on the covers and an exclusive etching on one side of the vinyl version. It’s almost as if there’s a Dio movie on the horizon to cash in on…

Compared to the older version on streaming platforms, this definitely feels like a bit of much needed cleaning up has taken place to the recordings, even if there’s no way of remixing the source tapes. Sadly, this does nothing to fix the lack of gapless playbacks between tracks on the 1983 disk, which means you sometime get the ridiculous situation of a fade out at the end of one song, with the opening bar of the next song clearly heard, which then promptly restarts on the next track after the gap! This sounds really messy when you get to the end of the disk when what should have been a clever medley of Rainbow classics ‘The Man On The Silver Mountain’ and ‘Starstruck’ stops and starts so messily. That said, both of these recordings are really surprisingly solid in terms of recording sound quality, which is a bit of a miracle considering what a ropey process this could be in the 1980’s, never mind at a big festival this with six acts sharing the limited facilities available. 

Given that for 1983 Dio was only the second act on, a forty-five-minute set list seems generous by modern standards. But these were the days when there was only one stage, when the changeovers were less slick and the audience wasn’t going anywhere else, so Dio has some real enthusiasm to feed off. His solo career had only just got off the starting blocks in 1983, so with only the “Holy Diver” album to draw from inevitable means a liberal peppering of material from his Rainbow and Sabbath days, but that’s what that crowd would have wanted to hear at this point in his career, and the roars that great the historical entries prove the point.

By the time you get to 1987, the Dio band are a major draw in their own right, so he’s in the support slot at this point, and this time the limiting factor may be space on the disk, so we don’t get to hear the performances of ‘Sunset Superman’ or ‘We Rock’ – plus the play order is jumbled up for no readily apparent reason. However, he absolutely has the crowd in the palm of his hand this time out. To be honest I think I would have preferred to hear these two missing items from the set list, rather than some of the track duplications we do get, although to be fair only three songs crop up twice, and when they do, you can hear immediately how much better a guitar player Vivian Campbell is than Craig Goldy (despite Cambell clearly struggling with a guitar that doesn’t want to stay in tune on the first disk).

These are minor quibbles though, because what we’re here for is the fantastic vocal performances of this much missed Heavy Metal hero that war Ronnie James Dio, and in both shows he’s absolutely on top form. I was expecting to be a bit bitchy about these releases, given that they were originally rushed out to cash in when he died, and again given there’s a lot of buzz about the forthcoming movie, but to be honest I loved listening to both of them and it reminds me just how much I miss this fabulous frontman. 

TRACKLISTING:

Donington ‘83
01. Stand Up and Shout
02. Straight Through the Heart
03. Children of the Sea
04. Rainbow in the Dark
04. Holy Diver
06. Drum Solo
07. Stargazer
08. Guitar Solo
09. Heaven and Hell
10. Man on the Silver Mountain
11. Starstruck
12. Man on the Silver Mountain (Reprise)

Donington ‘87
01. Dream Evil
02. Neon Knights
03. Naked in the Rain
04. Rock and Roll Children
05. Long Live Rock and Roil
06. The Last in Line
07. Children of the Sea
08. Holy Diver
09. Heaven and Hell
10. Man on the Silver Mountain
11. All the Fools Sailed Away
12. The Last in Line (Reprise)
13. Rainbow in the Dark

LINE-UP:
Ronnie James Dio – Vocals 
Vivian Campbell – Guitar (Donnington ’83)
Craig Goldy – Guitar (Donnington ’87)
Jimmy Bain – Bass
Vinny Appice – Drums 
Claude Schnell – Keyboards

LINKS:

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.

Alcatrazz – Official Bootleg Box Set Vol 2 (1983-1984)

Official Bootleg Box Set Vol 2 (1983-1984) Album Cover Art

Alcatrazz – Official Bootleg Box Set Vol 2 (1983-1984)
Cherry Red Records
Release Date: 26.08.22
Running Time: 05:26:00
Review by Dark Juan
10/10

Greetings. Dark Juan here, and this review might be quite a lengthy one. I’m just warning you now. I’m out of booze, you see, and I have been drinking rather a lot of coffee and I am severely over-caffeinated. Mrs Dark Juan finds this either tremendously amusing (once, when we were resident in Newcastle Emlyn, she dumped a double espresso into a mocha I had bought without me knowing, “for a laugh”. She wasn’t laughing when I was still babbling absolute bullshit at a mile a minute an hour later and twitching while my eyes blinked independently of each other) or REALLY FUCKING ANNOYING which is when she launches stuff at my poor unprotected head and tells me that she’s leaving me and I won’t have visitation with Hodgson Biological-Warfare and the Dread Lord, Igor Egbert Bryan Clown-Shoe Cleavage-Hoover [these are Dark Juan’s dogs, for those not tripping their tits off on caffeine – ED]. However, I don’t believe her but having gibbered at her for a good forty minutes of time about the specifications of the USS Enterprise-D (bear in mind this is a starship that is entirely fictional. To be fair, my old boss at Foel Farm where I used to work recently admitted to me that they used to double up the coffee in my cup at work because it was apparently endlessly amusing to the whole team to listen to me pontificate) she has told me to fuck off and retired to her craft eyrie and I have decided to put the trembling and hyperspeed thought to good use and write about some music. It is a struggle to not run off at tangents right now…

In a staggering display of “go big or go home” I have seated myself in front of the Doom Pooter and am listening to a FIVE CD box set of bootleg live recordings from Alcatrazz, lovingly re-mastered and brought to us by Cherry Red Records. Recorded (it sounds like) from the audience’s perspective because they are bootlegs, the sound quality of these compact discs ranges from the actually reasonably good to the frankly downright shitty, for obvious reasons. Not many folk are going to get away with arriving at a venue and security not noticing the portable 16-track and tapes you have brought with you. So, if you’re expecting perfect sound, forget it. You won’t be getting it. What you do get is a set of warts-and-all recordings from a time when two massively large egos appeared in the same band and magic happened until it all inevitably imploded in a very messy fashion…

In case you are not aware, dear reader, Graham Bonnet was the singer for Alcatrazz. My admiration and adoration of Metal’s most famous accountant’s haircut and impenetrable sunglasses should be well known by now considering the amount of frothing I do about him, and Dark Juan considers him the consummate Metal frontman, without all the pseudo-macho posturing that comes with it normally. Graham Bonnet is one of the greatest singers of all time and worthy of a spot in the canon of Metal greatness equal to or superior to RJD, Dickinson, Halford and the like. And if you don’t agree you’re fucking wrong and we will be having a good old-fashioned straightener on the cobbles outside. 

To fill you in briefly – Alcatrazz released the seminal debut album “No Parole From Rock N Roll” in 1983, featuring Yngwie Malmsteen on guitar and during the tour in 1983-1984 to support this, tensions arose between Bonnet and Malmsteen – who eventually quit after an altercation on stage. Malmsteen claimed this was because Bonnet had grown fed up with his guitar playing overshadowing the vocal performance of Bonnet. Malmsteen was replaced by an even more virtuoso, less classically influenced guitar player in Steve Vai, his coming into the band supposedly firmly resisted by Bonnet. Anyway, the band imploded in 1987 when Vai left after receiving an offer he couldn’t refuse to join David Lee Roth’s band.

Disc one records the gig performed in Huntington Beach, California at the Golden Bear in December 1983 and it’s a spectacularly messy affair. The rest of the band appear to have decided they are going to terrorise the singer by playing at warp speed and the man himself sometimes struggles to keep up. This could be due to the influence of a previously unknown young Swedish guitarist named Yngwie Malmsteen being in the band and being something of a virtuoso player. The band all seem in good form, but the voice of Graham Bonnet is rough as a bird’s arse for the first few songs until it warms up. However, the trademark soloing of Malmsteen is already on display and rather a lot of the songs feature Malmsteen flailing wildly away from the basic structure of the songs. ‘Evil Eye’ (being a Malmsteen composition for the guitar) is followed by the Swedish string-slinger indulging in six minutes of soloing, to the delight of the crowd and to my fatigue. 

As impressive a player as he is, there are only so many arpeggios you can hear before you get bored. The sound quality of this recording is dodgy at best, especially with the bastard who keeps shouting “S.O.S” in my right ear, but it nevertheless has considerable charm, and hearing little snippets of conversation in the crowd during the gaps between songs (“Graham Bonnet’s back, baby”) makes it an intimate listen and there are a number of Rainbow songs to keep the faithful interested (‘Since You Been Gone’, ‘All Night Long’ and ‘Lost In Hollywood’) as well as a cover of MSG’s ‘Desert Song’. On ‘All Night Long’ there’s a fun little segment with Malmsteen and Bonnet trading licks with voice and guitar before a bit of audience participation knackers the throats of the masses and reminds us just how engaging a frontman Bonnet is. Did I mention how much I love Graham Bonnet?

CD 2 is a recording of Alcatrazz when they hit Osaka in Japan in January 1984. Alcatrazz became massive in Japan after ‘Hiroshima Mon Amour’ became a big hit there for the band. Preceding the actual appearance of the band is a whacked out Japanese-language intro of ‘Night Games’ before Alcatrazz crash into ‘Incubus’, with its glorious wailing guitar line, and very polite applause and clapping along from the Japanese audience. One imagines the crowd banter will be rather less entertaining than CD1 because Dark Juan can’t fucking understand a single word of Japanese. The sound quality of this CD is extremely echoey with lots of dropping out on the left-hand side, but it’s eminently listenable and surprisingly rich for a bootleg recording. 

The first obvious thing to notice with this show is that Graham Bonnet has calmed down a bit and isn’t forcing his performance as much as he was on the first CD at Huntington Beach and Malmsteen’s guitar work has been lubricated with further fluidity, as he has become increasingly familiar with the material he’s playing. It appears that keyboardist Jimmy Waldo had been at the amphetamine, such is the speed and focus of his performance during this gig. The Japanese crowd are incredibly respectful of the band and this makes for an unusual listening experience as they bloody well shut up during the songs, and ‘Hiroshima Mon Amour’ is particularly well received. I enjoyed it particularly because no-one was shouting “S.O.S” every fifteen fucking seconds in my right ear this time. 

‘Night Games’ from Bonnet’s solo offerings is played here, with a really martial Metal arrangement which sounds significantly different from the original, with the crowd dutifully singing back at Graham, who speeds through the song before returning to the Alcatrazz- written ‘Big Foot’. The band as a whole (composed of Bonnet and Malmsteen, with Jimmy Waldo on the keyboards, Iron Butterfly’s Jan Uvena playing drums and Gary Shea on bass) sound composed, professional and focused on CD2, whereas on CD1 they were messy and appeared more interested in having fun. Highlights of this Japanese performance were ‘Kree Nakoorie’, ‘Island In The Sun’ and Yngwie tearing his Strat a new arsehole during his solo spot. The main downside to this performance being that Bonnet clearly has no interest in singing ‘Since You Been Gone’ this time even though it’s a crowd pleaser and phones his performance in in a big way, electing to just bark the song out even though the rest of the band seem quite committed to it.

It just occurred to me that the main melody to ‘Dark All Day’ by Gunship is heavily influenced by the keyboard melody of ‘Kree Nakoorie’. Just shows you what an influence old-school Metal can still have, I guess. 

The third CD in this extensive live retrospective was recorded at Graham Central Station in Albuquerque in New Mexico on 19th February 1984. Opening this time with ‘Too Young To Die… Too Drunk To Live’ the band sound tighter than an entire armada of ducks’ arses and Graham Bonnet is  absolutely on point vocally. This recording is also much easier to listen to due to the fact that it was recorded on something that didn’t sound like it had been created in an emergency out of magnets, chewing gum and light bulbs, and powered by a potato. The bass of Gary Shea is particularly forward on this performance, which is a good thing as he is a fine player and it’s nice to not have him overpowered by Malmsteen widdling all over the fucking place. There’s still the odd drop out but again we are reminded that these are a collection of bootleg recordings. 

The entire vibe is a much more fluid affair than the previous two performances I have listened to, with the whole band appearing to relax into their performance and add a fun-loving, chilled vibe to the whole thing – ‘Island In The Sun’ is a particularly fine live version of the song at this gig in Albuquerque with the backing vocals also standing out in a kind of Beach Boysy way. Even the version of ‘Suffer Me’, which is a terrible power ballad even on the studio recording (this is simply because Dark Juan hates power ballads more than Jacob Rees-Mogg and rampant capitalism combined, although his sister Annunziata is a bit of all right) is clean and listenable. Malmsteen appears to have forgotten he’s in a band at this point and goes fucking insane with the soloing on several songs yet somehow manages to not detract from the flow and groove of the arrangements. There’s also a pretty stonking version of Malmsteen’s instrumental (emphasis on the mental) piece ‘Evil Eye’ (based on Johann Krieger’s ‘Bourree’, dontcha know, classical fans? And subsequently released on his “Rising Force” album. Wink wink) that’s just spectacular to hear in a live setting and makes this jaded old fucker wish he had been there to witness the famously frequently furious fleet-fingered Scandinavian frenetically flay the fretboard with his flashing fingertips (of doom). God, I love alliteration. Bonus points are awarded for an off-the-cuff performance of Eddie Cochran’s ‘Something Else’, which I can imagine Yngwie fucking hating to play. He still managed to get a mixolydian scale in the solo though. Easily the best of the three gigs preserved for posterity so far in this collection.

CD 4 is next up, and this was recorded at the famous Agora Ballroom in Cleveland, Ohio on 23rd May 1984. Whatever this was recorded on and by who indicates that they enjoyed percussion and bottom end more than guitar work or vocals, as it is a super-soupy sound with all the bass there has ever been and a bit more for good measure, yet surprisingly you can hear the cymbals and drums extremely clearly throughout and this does give us the opportunity to enjoy the excellent tubthumping of Jan Uvena. The same goes for Jimmy Waldo’s keyboards – they are very far forward in the sound and it makes it very difficult to hear Yngwie Malmsteen guitar work. Graham Bonnet’s delivery in these old recordings shows just how far he has come and how accomplished he is as a frontman and live performer these days as he comes across as a bit screechy on ‘Jet To Jet’ here.

When ‘Night Games’ comes around, it’s apparent that we have moved to another person in the crowd recording on a device they have put together themselves from random bits from Maplins and Radio Shack and the local greengrocers, as Graham Bonnet’s vocals hide behind ridiculous amounts of echo and reverb and occasionally peek out before vanishing entirely behind the backing vocals. It’s a shame because it’s a really rousing rendition of Dark Juan’s favourite Graham Bonnet song and Mrs Dark Juan gave me the Paddington Hard Stare because I had started singing and dancing in the lounge and upset the sleeping dogs. So I sat down again. Our recordist also appears to be standing an inch away from Jimmy Waldo as well as I can hear every single keyboard flourish. It makes ‘Island In The Sun’ sound like it should be the title track for a TV series about some kind of customised combat vehicle crewed by soldiers of fortune, complete with explosions and hidden ramps for dramatic stunt jumps, circa 1986.

There’s also a fucking annoying master of ceremonies or presenter who insists on talking at stages throughout the performance. He needs to piss right off back into the hole he came out of. The man clearly knows fuck all about Metal or Alcatrazz and Dark Juan pictures a prick in a suit mugging desperately at some camera crew who are equally out of their depth. Arsehole.

Curiously, the Radio Shack enthusiast who recorded his bootleg an inch away from Jimmy Waldo managed to do something extraordinary and somehow enhance the MSG tune ‘Desert Song’ by standing where he did and inadvertently give the song a more gothic and mysterious feel than normal, because the keyboards lead the song instead of the guitar. This was a complete surprise. After a stonking version of ‘Kree Nakoorie’, Malmsteen gets let off his leash and proceeds to delight all the shredheads in the audience with an instrumental solo entitled ‘Coming Bach’ which is unsurprisingly based on the compositions of a little-known composer called Johann Sebastian Bach. And, equally unsurprisingly, it’s rather good indeed if you like egregiously talented Neoclassical guitarists.

The last CD in this extensive archive of historically important and rare tracks was recorded on 8th June 1984 at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey which sounds like it was held outside, and our amateur recordist hid his equipment down a fucking Pringles tube and then concealed that item down his trousers, scaring any woman within a four-hundred-yard radius and not a few of the gentlemen there also. 

‘Night Games’ has a curiously curtailed performance by Graham on it, not soaring with his usual effortless grace – perhaps a slightly dodgy throat as he does sound curiously raw at this concert. The rest of the band are totally on point though, playing with precision to a man. Yngwie gets to have a massive guitar wanking session this time as well and proceeds to show the generally agog crowd just how many orgasmic arpeggios you can fit into a few minutes. Even with a bunch of Neanderthals shouting “Yngwie!” at him as if he would be paying attention to them mid-arpeggio. Many of the crowd went home and just binned their guitars that day, thinking it was now a pointless endeavour. Dark Juan would have. This is why Dark Juan now favours desecrating religious altars and the religious and alcoholism as hobbies. 

This short seven song set ends with the Rainbow classic ‘Since You Been Gone’ after a few moments of increasingly desperate filling as someone’s equipment fucks itself viciously up the arse. As bonus items on this last CD there is an interview which was originally released as a B-side on the original 12-inch vinyl promo release of ‘Island In The Sun’ and three instrumental demos. The interview is interesting and engaging but also very much a product of its time with some rather stilted questioning from the interviewer, but it gives the band a human quality that some interviews just don’t have. There’s also a little vignette recorded by Graham Bonnet as a PSA about the dangers of drink driving.

So, after many hours of writing and listening, I have come to the end of this review and hopefully you are still here with me because it has been going on for quite some time and Mrs Dark Juan and the dogs have all left me for pastures new because I have not been giving them any attention and I have literally spent an entire day on this review for your edification, dear friends.

It has to be said, however, that this box set will only ever be of interest to niche markets – live music aficionados and Alcatrazz / Yngwie / Graham Bonnet completists. That said, I’ve enjoyed the fuck out of every gig recorded in here, so…

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System awards this 5-CD box set from Cherry Red Records the full 10/10 for the following reasons:

1. Graham fucking Bonnet. My own personal Heavy Metal hierophant.

2. Yngwie fucking Malmsteen.

3. Five live performances never before put together plus other rarities.

4. GRAHAM FUCKING BONNET!

5. Classic songs from a classic band.

6. Sheer value for money. It’s a fucking humungous package for your wonga. Kind of like me 😉

7. It’s Alcatrazz.

Thank you. I’m going to lie down in a darkened room before I attempt the 14-CD Van Der Graaf Generator box set upcoming on my review list. Good night. God, I wish I had a beer.

TRACKLISTING:

Disc One – Huntington Beach, California: 21st December 1983 (Running time – 62:28)
01. Incubus
02. Too Young To Die…Too Drunk To Live
03. Hiroshima Mon Amour
04. Desert Song
05. Kree Nakoorie
06. Island In The Sun
07. Big Foot
08. Evil Eye
09. Guitar Solo
10. Since You Been Gone
11. Jet To Jet
12. All Night Long
13. Lost In Hollywood

Disc Two – Osaka, Japan: 24th January 1984 (Running time – 69:44)
01. Night Games Intro
02. Incubus
03. Too Young To Die…To Drunk To Live
04. Hiroshima Mon Amour
05. Desert Song
06. Night Games
07. Big Foot
08. Island In The Sun
09. Kree Nakoorie
10. Guitar Solo
11. Since You Been Gone
12. Suffer Me
13. Jet To Jet
14. Evil Eye
15. Lost In Hollywood
16. All Night Long

Disc Three – Albuquerque, New Mexico: 19th February 1984 (Running time – 64:55)
01. Too Young To Die… Too Drunk To Live
02. Hiroshima Mon Amour
03. Big Foot
04. Island In The Sun
05. Kree Nakoorie
06. Since You Been Gone
07. Suffer Me
08. Desert Song
09. Jet To Jet
10. Evil Eye
11. All Night Long
12. Lost In Hollywood
13. Something Else

Disc Four – Agora Ballroom, Cleveland, Ohio: 23rd May 1984 (Running time – 55:04)
01. Intro
02. Too Young To Die…Too Drunk To Live
03. Jet To Jet
04. Night Games
05. Island In The Sun
06. Desert Song
07. Kree Nakoorie
08. Guitar Solo: Coming Bach
09. Band Introduction
10. Since You Been Gone
11. Black Star Intro-Suffer Me
12. Hiroshima Mon Amour
13. Lost In Hollywood

Disc Five – Jackson, New Jersey: 8th June 1984 (Running time – 64:29)
01. Too Drunk To Live…Too Young To Die
02. Island In The Sun
03. Hiroshima Mon Amour
04. Night Games
05. Kree Nakoorie
06. Guitar Solo
07. Since You Been Gone
08. Interview 1983 (B-Side Of ‘Island In The Sun’ Promo 12inch)
09. PSA – Against Drunk Driving
10. Instrumental 1 (Take 1 Jimmy And Danny Demo)
11. Instrumental 1 (Take 2 Jimmy And Danny Demo)
12. Instrumental 2 (Jimmy And Danny Demo)

LINE-UP:
Graham Bonnet – Vocals
Yngwie J. Malmsteen – Guitars
Jan Uvena – Drums
Gary Shea – Bass
Jimmy Waldo – Keyboards

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.

Bulletproöf – Dynamite EP

Dynamite EP Cover Art

Bulletproöf – Dynamite EP
Ossuary Records (European edition)
 
Release Date: (Europe) 01/11/2021
Running Time: 20:11
Review by Emma Torkington 
6.5/10

Bulletproöf are here with their brand new EP, “Dynamite”! This 4-piece band takes inspiration from the likes of Judas Priest, Grave Digger, and Attack and with these absolute 80/90’s heavy metal legends feeding their music, I was excited to listen and see what they can bring. So, let’s jump in and see what these guys are all about! 

This being an EP means there are only 5 songs available, but they are a great selection of tracks, so you get to know this band very quickly! The start of the EP is hard hitting with those influences straight out of the gate, getting you right in the mindset for 80s heavy rock. ‘Fist Pounding’ has to be my favourite track on the EP. You start nodding along, and feeling that heavy rock vibe immediately. Some may call it cheesy, but you can’t help smile at it! The last track, ‘Feel The Heat’, has a totally different air about it – it reminds me of the band Lordi (not a bad thing at all, Lordi are one of the best known acts from Eurovision, after all!). 

The EP overall is good, and I can definitely hear the Judas Priest influence, but I can also see a huge connection with Manowar! Again, this is not a bad thing at all in my eyes! The music itself is very tight – a good cohesive band. My only criticism is the vocal harmonies, which to me personally, don’t have that same tightness as the rest of it had. Though individually the voices are really good! This is a great building block for more EPs/albums in the future. 

TRACKLISTING:
01. Banners High!
02. Dynamite
03. Flag of Freedom
04. Fist pounding 
05. Feel The Heat


LINE-UP:
Poli Serafini – Lead vocal / Guitar
Matías Pena – Drums
Martín De Bonis – Bass guitar / Vocals
Ariel García – Lead Guitar / Vocals

LINKS:

Bulletproöf Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Emma Torkington 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.


Alcatrazz – V

V Album Cover Art

Alcatrazz – V
Silver Lining Music
Release Date: 15/10/2021
Running Time: 62:32
Review by Chris Galea
10/10

A very quick recap of the rundown to this album…after an absence of almost 25 years Alcatrazz had returned in grand style in 2020 with the album “Born Innocent”. However, the buzz created by that album risked being wasted when founding member and lead singer Graham Bonnet (Rainbow, Michael Schenker) left to pursue a solo career. Alcatrazz quickly recruited Doogie White (Rainbow, Yngwie Malmsteen, Michael Schenker). On paper he was the ideal replacement for Bonnet but, as history sometimes tells us, the potential of a line-up doesn’t always give the expected results. Is that the case with this new Alcatrazz album?

Well, worry not…if “Born Innocent” was one of the best albums of 2020, then “V” manages to surpass it. The songwriting is impeccable and the music’s execution sharp and dramatic. Indeed for those, who like me, have a soft spot for neo-classical pomp, “V” should be a pure joy to listen to.

Several full-throttle moments enkindle the album…’Guardian Angel’ and ‘Turn Of The Wheel’ spring to mind. But like a Caravaggio masterpiece, there are various shades to the album. For instance, ‘Return To Nevermore’ is dominated by a Doomy riff and ‘Dark Day For My Soul’, one of my favourite tracks, is a sort of epic ballad with some amazing singing from Doogie. On the other hand, ‘House of Lies’ and ‘Alice’s Eyes’ are groovy songs while still steadily holding onto the neo-classical niche.

To my ears Doogie sounds slightly different from what he did with other bands, such as Tank or Rainbow, but his singing is still solid, powerful and melodic and fits with the music like a glove. And I loved Jimmy Waldo’s keyboards, particularly in ‘Grace Of God’ and ‘Dark Day For My Soul’.

Doogie White and shredmaster Joe Stump are responsible for writing most of the material on “V” and the band seems to have stumbled upon a solid songwriting team with these two. Comparisons with the solo music of Yngwie Malmsteen, while understandable, would give rise to a chicken and egg dilemma so best leave that alone and just enjoy the music we have here.

A number of guests drop by to make the album a more interesting proposition (details below) but really the material could have been just as worthy of one’s purchase with the five members of Alcatrazz alone.

I would say that the greatest quality of “V” is that it is perfectly balanced…all-round fantastic musicianship but never at the expense of the songs. An album clearly rooted in the classical heritage of Metal but that also feels modern. It is all I could have ever hoped for from Alcatrazz…and then some.

‘Grace of God’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Guardian Angel
02. Nightwatch
03. Sword Of Deliverance
04. Turn Of The Wheel
05. Blackheart
06. Grace Of God
07. Return To Nevermore
08. Target
09. Maybe Tomorrow
10. House Of Lies
11. Alice’s Eyes
12. Dark Day For My Soul

LINE-UP:
Doogie White – Vocals
Joe Stump – Guitars
Jimmy Waldo – Keyboards
Gary Shea – Bass
Mark Benquechea – Drums

Guests:
Ronnie van Staven (Riot, S.A. Slayer) Bass on ‘Guardian Angel’, ‘Nightwatch’, ‘Target’
Nigel Glockler (Saxon) – Drums on ‘Guardian Angel’, ‘Blackheart’
Cliff Evans (Tank) – Guitar on ‘Grace of God’

LINKS:

Alcatrazz Promo Pic

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.

Gypsy’s Kiss – 74

74 Album Cover Art

Gypsy’s Kiss – 74
Vole Records
Release Date: 30/06/2021
Running Time: 54:24
Review by Dawn Smith
7/10

When we think of Iron Maiden, we generally think of one of the biggest bands in the history of metal. But the Iron Maiden story started with a little-known band called Influence, who later changed its name to Gypsy’s Kiss.

Originally formed back in 1973 by Steve Harris (Iron Maiden founder and bass player) and David Smith, when the two lived within a short distance of each other, in East London. With a mutual love of West Ham United and progressive rock the two formed a band, along with Paul Sears on drums and Bob Verschoyle on vocals.

However, the band was to be short-lived as, despite playing prestigious venues such as The Cart And Horses in Stratford (later to become known as the birthplace of Iron Maiden) and The Bridge House in Canning Town, the band called it quits in 1975.

After being asked numerous times to reform, the band agreed to play at Burrfest in March 2018. Although this was meant to be a one-off gig, two more followed and “overwhelmed and motivated by the worldwide support from the Iron Maiden fan community” David decided to keep going and Gypsy’s Kiss was a real band once more.

“74” is the band’s debut full-length album, after the release of their EP “Heat Crazed Vole And Other Tails” in 2019.

First thing to note about this album is that is it NOT, and I repeat NOT, an Iron Maiden album, so if you are expecting galloping riffs and in your face drums, then this is not the album for you.

This album seems, to me, to have taken its influence from the NWOBHM era of Rock/Metal and, although this is not a genre, I am particularly a big fan of, I am glad the band went in this direction, and didn’t just hold on to the coat tails of Iron Maiden.

This is a solid Rock album with some great tracks, my favourite being ‘Gone For Good’. There is nothing new, musically, on “74” and I am sure there are a few blinkered people that will say it has all been done before, and maybe it has, but is there something wrong with a band sticking to its roots? I certainly don’t think so.

Will I buy an album from these guys in the future? Yes, I will. Will I go to see them live? Again, yes, I will. I would like to see them leave the whole “Iron Maiden” thing behind them but with the accompanying tour called “The Maiden Prequel UK Tour 2021” I don’t think that is going to happen any time soon!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Take Me Down
02. Gone For Good
03. Better Than Me
04. My Own Holy Grail
05. Smoke And Mirrors
06. Nothing To Say
07. Traveller
08. Arabesque
09. The Man For All Seasons

LINE-UP:
David Smith – Lead Vocals, Guitar
Jonathan Morley – Guitars, Vocals
Fraser Marr – Guitars
Ross Hunter – Keys, Vocals
Robin Gatcum – Bass, Vocals
Stuart Emms – Drums

LINKS:

Gypsy's Kiss Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn Smith 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.

Queen Of Distortion – Checkmate!

Checkmate! Album Cover Art

Queen Of Distortion – Checkmate!
Green Bronto Records
Release Date: 02/07/2021
Running Time: 53:25
Review by Simon Black
6/10

Checkmate! is the debut full-length album for this German-based five piece, all of whom are experienced players coming together for this project. They’ve been going since 2018 and have previously released an EP and a live EP, but this has clearly been delayed by Covid, hence the rather unusual sequencing of the live offering before a studio full length debut. Musically this is straight up twin-guitar fuelled good old Heavy Metal, with solid riffage, subtle but technically effective melodic structural integrity and a restrained level of flourish on top. I can’t really fault any of the song-writing either, as these songs are well-crafted and structured, if a little bit predictable.

Vocalist Chris T’Anti, interestingly, is a newcomer to the Metal world though, having started her career as a vocal coach and has sung in more mainstream projects to date but is absolutely front and centre of the mix. She can deliver an edge and has the roughness that can work well in the genre, but comes across a bit like she is forcing herself too rigidly to follow the melodic riff structure and phrasing the guitars are rendering – much like a Thrash vocalist who has fifty per cent of their focus on the instrument hanging round their neck might tend to, rather than being freer with the melody lines – although you get a hint of what she is capable of with her overlaid vocal backing vocals, which stretch the envelope a bit. For an album full of experienced musicians though it has an unusual, almost unfinished feel as if the band are still finding their voice. I think an element of this lies with T’Anti needing to develop the confidence to let rip with her more natural (and considerable) vocal talents.

However, when a track like ‘Torn From Life’ comes along that difference is stark and clear. Whereas the majority of the songs show her phrasing and delivery in quite a fixed, gravelly and staccato light, this track (at nearly seven minutes the longest on the album) is a Power Ballad, that opens gently and sees her singing properly and opening up in a completely different way. At this point she is utterly entrancing. I guess the point I am trying to make is that the more overtly Metal tracks on here see her trying to be a Metal singer, rather than just being a singer, who is in a Metal band. From this point onwards some of the songs show her balancing the two styles a little bit more frequently, but I can’t help feeling that if she had opened up and just sang her heart out with the clear, powerful and emotionally wrought set of lungs and voice box that this track delivers, more consistently on the rest of the tracks, then this would have been an absolute belter of an album.

‘Bloody Rain’ (Official Lyric Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Throne Of Destruction
02. Bloody Rain
03. New Order
04. Electrified
05. Threatening Stalemate
06. Four Horsemen
07. Save Yourself
08. Torn From Life
09. Rest In Pieces
10. Into The Void
11. Checkmate!
12. People Without Tears
13. Nightmares

LINE-UP:
Chris T’Anti – Vocals
Torsten Schirmer – Guitar
Mike Richter – Guitar
Carsten Bätge – Bass, Backing Vocals, Keyboards
Holger Schilling – Drums

LINKS:

Queen Of Distortion Promo Pic

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.

Brunno Mariante: Heal Or Kill – 15th Year Anniversary Tour

15th Year Anniversary Tour Cover

Brunno Mariante: Heal Or Kill – 15th Year Anniversary Tour
Self-Released
Release Date: 14/04/2021
Running Time: 57:31
Review by Victor Augusto
8/10

I guess I sometimes have the spirit of an old man, even though my body is not as old as I think it is and let me repeat the thing I always say in the intros of my reviews. Yes, my nightmare intros. I will constantly say how much I admire musicians or bands that work really hard to share and spread their music. For sure, Brunno Mariante is a good example of a professional that has a mind a little ahead from regular Brazilian bands. I had always heard about him, even though I’ve never stopped to pay close attention to his work before. Nevertheless, as I always say, we are like radio frequencies and have a connection with people who are on the same wavelength, and who have the same spirit and passion for the cause. Walking in this path I was lucky to be introduced to Brunno thanks to a friend, who is also one of the best Brazilian reviewers, my friend Mauro Antunes.

As the album title suggests, Brunno has been on the road for a long time and this material is put together mainly from his solo career with the addition of a few songs from Vindicta, the band he is a part of. Despite this, he has worked in other bands and projects alongside important Brazilian names. He reached a certain point in his career and decided to focus on his solo band and his studio solo album “Heal or Kill”. This album had important Brazilian guests such as Vitor Rodrigues (Torture Squad/VoodooPriest) and Val Santos (Viper). Even Blaze Bayley joined him on this record, which shows how much Brunno is respected as a musician. So, let us delve deeper into this live material that travels along his musical journey.

I can mention two different stages from this concert. First, a more traditional style that embraces songs from Brunno’s solo career like ‘Ascension’ and ‘Holocaust’, also heavier parts like ‘Onslaught’. These songs are just three from all the new, and still unreleased, music that appears here and let’s talk about them. It is possible to see a trademark from Brunno’s sonority. What came to my attention most is how guitarist Paulo Bertoni sounds and feels so free on stage, even commanding the solos of these tracks. I must tell you that Paulo is a guest musician here, but if I hadn’t known him from his great Brazilian band Kadabra and nobody had mentioned him as a guest, all listeners would think he was a long-time member of the band, all because of his synergy with the team.

For the already released songs, guitarist Andreas Dehn is the main guy on solos, like in ‘Shadows Remain’. I have to highlight him on ‘Alone’ because he also does a small section of vocals, exploring medium range notes that reminded me somewhat of Warrel Dane. It is interesting how he puts in a good vocal performance on a song that also has Isabela Pereira’s beautiful voice. She is another guest who shares lead vocals with Brunno. Her participation is amazing especially with the harmonies from them both on the chorus. Continuing with the ‘older songs’, I did enjoy ‘No Time To Waste’ because of the energy that it brings to the listener. Even Punk Rock is present here on ‘Rage Hurricane’ .The ballad ‘Winter Fiends’ appears at a good moment with Michel Turim on acoustic guitar alongside Rafael Leoni on keys and backing vocals. Great choice before everything turns heavier.

Brunno Mariante Live Pic

Now the second part! So far, I have talked about songs that Brunno released as a solo artist and Traditional Heavy Metal is a good way to describe it. However, this album also showcases heavier material from his band Vindicta, which brings something doomier and also delves into the realms of Death Metal, such as on ‘Realm Of Darkness’, which offers a good dynamic on the album. For me, there is a highlight here, not just from the Vindicta tracks, but of the entire album and that is ‘New Holy Fire’ with its keyboards and the beautiful intro riff which is Deep Purple in style. Again, the special guest of Isabela with her strong voice gives new life to the ‘old’ Holy Fire*. Probably my favourite of the album.

It is a really complete live/DVD album which navigates through a huge part of Brunno’s career. I liked how drummer Leonora Mölka offers amazing versatility on her drum parts and bassist Rick Posi rescues the spirit of 80’s rock/metal in his performance. If you prefer watching the video of this offering, you will see a small, but professional stage with all band members really showing the energy of a live concert. The audio is also amazing and believe me, I hear even great mainstream bands committing mistakes on live material/albums with regards to quality, but here everything is amazing.

Sorry to extend my review, but with amazing material that tries to cover 15 years existence of an artist, it is natural to have many things to say. Therefore, my last words to describe it is that you are free to grab a beer or whatever you like to drink and enjoy this album. It is undeniable that everyone involved put a 100% of their hearts into producing it.

*The original song is called ‘Holy Fire’ and this new version received the name ‘New Holy Fire’.

Brunno Mariante – 15th Year Anniversary Tour (Full Concert)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Clockwork
02. Ascension
03. Holocaust
04. Shadows Remain
05. Onslaught
06. Alone
07. Ready To Die
08. New Holy Fire
09. Winter Fiends
10. Realm of Darkness
11. No Time To Waste
12. Lost Station
13. Rage Hurricane
14. Heal Or Kill
15. River Of Sorrow

LINE-UP:
Brunno Mariante – Vocals
Andreas Dehn – Guitars
Rick Posi – Bass, Backing Vocals
Leonora Mölka – Drums

Special Guests:
Paulo Bertoni – Guitars
Michel Turim – Acoustic Guitars
Rafael Leoni – Keyboards / Backing Vocals
Isabela Pereira – Vocals

LINKS:

Brunno Mariante Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Victor Augusto 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.

Blaze Bayley – War Within Me

War Within Me Album Cover Art

Blaze Bayley – War Within Me
Blaze Bayley Recording
Release Date: 09/04/2021
Running Time: 41:47
Review by Simon Black
9/10

Now those that know me well know I have a deep and long held love for Iron Maiden. They may also know that despite the fact, that back in the day, I was hugely impressed by Bayley’s performances in Wolfsbane, that sadly the stars really did not quite align when it came to him filling the empty spot left on the monitors when Bruce Dickinson went into the wilderness. What he has done since though has been pretty consistently good and he’s one of the hardest working acts on the block, so let’s treat those Maiden years for what they were – a blip in a career that’s otherwise been pretty consistent quality wise.

And it must be said that this record is probably the best thing I have heard from him in a very long time…

Musically this is all about Chris Appleton and the guys from Absolva, but Bayley isn’t just overlaying here and feels like he’s been a core part of the writing process as his vocal work interweaves beautifully with the instrumentalists. Some real thought has gone into targeting the sound that they want to achieve here, which is like a virtual tour around the delivery aspects and sounds that Bayley’s associated best with. The upshot of all this is that it feels like a cohesive band, rather than a solo project plus backing band more than any of the previous post-Maiden outings I have heard. It sounds like it should be a concept album, but it isn’t – that said there are themes that recur and a positive upbeat tinge to the lyrics, which contrasts with the musical tone. There’s a strong thematic block near the end of the record in particular that explores the respect held for scientific pioneers, so three tracks tell stories about Alan Turing, Nikolai Tesla and Stephen Hawking respectively – it’s almost like finding an EP hidden within the larger album.

The style is very much NWOBHM influenced Power Metal, but with a more understated technical dimension to the guitar work that is quite exceptionally talented. Equally some of the guitar parts are a bit Maidenesque, as is the vocal phrasing which echoes his brief tenure of walking among giants. It’s a strong blending of sounds that means it going to appeal to the broadest base of his audience and I would be very keen to see this material live.

This is an album that’s really growing on me because every time I sit down to write the review, I find myself stopping to simply listen and enjoy the songs. That happens rarely with me, especially when I have a (virtual) teetering pile of records to listen to with release dates in the past. But I can’t help it, and neither will you if this grabs you. A palpable hit, Mr Bayley.

‘War Within Me’ (Audio)

TRACKLISTING:
01. War Within Me
02. 303
03. Warrior
04. Pull Yourself Up
05. Witches Night
06. 18 Flights
07. The Dream of Alan Turing
08. The Power of Nikola Tesla
09. The Unstoppable Stephen Hawking
10. Every Storm Ends

LINE-UP:
Blaze Bayley – Vocals
Christopher Appleton – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Martin McNee – Drums
Karl Schramm – Bass

LINKS:

Blaze Bayley Pic

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.

Primitai – Violence Of The Skies

Violence Of The Skies Album Cover Art

Primitai – Violence Of The Skies
ROAR! Rock Of Angels Records
Release Date: 26/03/2021
Running Time: 64:15
Review by Beth Jones
9/10

Before I start to review Primitai’s new album, “Violence Of The Skies”, I have to offer the coveted and extra special (so special that no-one except me knows it exists, and it has no physical presence) award for the best website ever to have graced the internet. If you’re a Spectrum/C64 kid of the 80’s I implore you to check it out, and I promise that you will not be disappointed. Spectacular piece of marketing! I take all my hats off to whoever designed it.

Ok, now I’ve stopped playing on the Primitai website, I suppose I should get on with what I’m actually meant to be using this space for. Let’s have a chat about the album that goes along with this ingenious internet creation! This is a space themed concept album, telling a story about “escaping the end of the world, seeking new victories and facing unknown dangers.” And, aside from that, it’s solid Heavy damn Metal, which is why we’re all really here, right? We lust for new tunes to bang our heads to and get lost in, while the rest of the world tears itself apart. Well, this album can offer you that, for just over 64 minutes of your day at least.

Deep rooted in Classic Heavy Metal, but exploring things on the Power, and Progressive side as well, Primitai join a growing breed of ‘modern’ Classic Heavy Metallers, bringing back all the vim and vigour of the greats, in a more modern way. Powerful bass, intricate rhythms, and synth are the name of the game, along with the soaring harmonised vocals, epic solos, and the duelling guitar cadences that are so synonymous to Heavy Metal. It’s Maiden with modern, Priest with more power, and Queensrÿche with an extra ‘Je ne sais quoi’!

Every track is fast paced, and in your face, but each offer their own unique little twists, to create a full story (I particularly liked the little twiddle at the end of ‘Warriors Of Time’). ‘Innocent’ has a real chug to it, especially in the middle section, which helps express the exciting direction that this sound is taking, as well as exhibit a number of other styles from across the eras. The guitar sound here I find quite 90’s Grunge in a lot of places. There’s plenty of classic European Power Metal influences rammed into this rather tasty pick and mix, as well. One such example is ‘Put To The Sword’.

‘The Cold Surface Of The Moon’ starts off with solitary piano, with effects that make you feel that it’s echoing in the emptiness of space. This is a marked change from the tracks preceding it, but it pretty quickly ramps up into another roaring anthem. However, I would say that this is one of the most classic sounding tracks on the album, with a lot of 70’s prog vibes going on in it, too. I’m a sucker for the old sound, so I think this is one of my favourite tracks on the album. This feel also continues in the following track, ‘I’ll Live Again’. However, after starting with solitary guitar, here there’s more punch when everything kicks in, and we get one of those epic guitar solos I mentioned earlier.

All in all, this is an exciting and toe-tapping album. And I really only have one criticism, but it’s nothing to do with the band, or anything that could have been controlled, it’s more a general irk with the need for everything to be digital these days (when I were a lass, you were lucky if you had a cassette player that didn’t eat your tapes, and you always kept a pencil handy just in case). The files we get to review from are usually MP3s and they compress the shit out of everything. I’ve got pretty dodgy ears anyway, but add into that the hell of compression, and I find that the vocals become muddy. This irritates me immensely, because Guy Miller has a superb voice, and the vocals should be star of the show in this genre (shut your face guitarists – you get your chance in the solos, and I’m a vocalist, so I’m biased).

But that aside, cracking album. Listen to it, have a play on their website, and that will be an afternoon well spent.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Stars Are My Guide
02. The Uprising
03. The Violence Of The Skies
04. Valley Of Darkness
05. Warriors Of Time (feat. Vladimir Djedovic and Mladen Pecovic)
06. Innocent
07. Put To The Sword (feat. Paul Quinn)
08. The Cold Surface Of The Moon
09. I’ll Live Again
10. The Storm Kings (feat. Tom Draper)
11. The Huntress (CD Bonus Track)
12. Prophecies (CD Bonus Track)

LINE-UP:
Guy Miller – Vocals
Srdjan Bilic – Lead and Rhythm Guitars
Scott Miller – Bass and Synth Arrangements
Jonathan Warren – Drums
Sergio “Cheko” Pedro Giron – Rhythm Guitar on ‘Innocent’/ co-Lead Guitar on ‘The Uprising’, ‘Innocent’, and ‘Stars Are My Guide’

Special Guests:
Paul Quinn (Saxon) – Guitar Solo on ‘Put To The Sword’
Tom Draper (formerly of Primitai, Carcass, Pounder) – Guitar Solo on ‘The Storm Kings’
Mladen Pecovic – Guitar Solos 1 and 2 on ‘Warriors Of Time’
Vladimir Djedovic (The Tilt) – Synth Arrangement and Keyboard Solos on ‘Warriors Of Time’

LINKS:

Primitai Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth 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.

Hevilan – Symphony Of Good And Evil

Symphony Of Good And Evil Album Cover Art

Hevilan – Symphony Of Good And Evil
Brutal Records
Release Date: 19/03/2021
Running Time: 55:16
Review by Beth Jones
8/10

Good afternoon again my merry bunch of fellow music lovers! Tis I, Beth, come to give you more of my opinions! I’m in a jolly good mood today; the sun is shining, I’ve painted a door frame, and it is that finest of days in the sporting calendar – the day the mighty Welsh dragons take on the English in Rugby Union’s 6 Nations. That’s why I’ve decided to sit down and write now, as the likelihood of me still being able to write later is slim to none (I’ll either be happy drunk or angry drunk, depending on the score at the final whistle!)[***LATER EDIT*** It was indeed the happiest of days for me, and everyone else in Wales – Da Iawn Bois!!] Anyway, enough of this witty banter and repartee, it’s time to tell you about some music, this time in the form of Brazilian Heavy Symphonic Metallers, Hevilan, and their new album “Symphony Of Good And Evil”.

Hailing from São Paulo, and formed in 2005, this will only be the band’s second full-length release, the previous being “The End of Time”, way back in 2013. Now, I do love a good bit of crossover when it comes to genre, and Hevilan certainly do that. They are no doubt symphonic, but there’s more than a smattering of Prog and Thrash in this album too, along with very deep roots in Power and Classic Heavy Metal. Alex Pasqualle’s vocal style definitely draws influence from Bruce Dickinson and the like, and a lot of the riffs and solos are pure, bang your head, Heavy Metal.

The Album kicks off with ‘Dark Paradise’, a crunching track full of Thrash rhythms and heavy chunky riffs. It’s a fast and furious start that sets the tone and pace for things to come. There are a fair few cross-rhythms in the middle of this track, too, which adds an extra depth of complexity, and displays some incredibly talented musicianship. This track rolls seamlessly into ‘Rebellion Of The Saints’, which follows the same vein, but adds in some choral harmonies, and harsher vocals, giving the whole thing a broader feel.

After a rip-roaring 20 minutes spanning the first four tracks, the intensity comes down a little for ‘Always in My Dreams’. It’s a pure Heavy Metal power ballad, and we get to hear Alex’s vocals in full clarity, as well as a delicious guitar solo from Johnny Moraes. Lush, as they say here in the Wales! BUT, and this is one of my only qualms with the album, this track finishes with the dreaded fade out!!! Argh!

Following that little interlude, the pace picks back up again, with a mixture of Symphonic, Thrash, and Classic metal, in the two parts of ‘Devil Within’. But then it’s time for another curveball with ‘Waiting for the Right Time’, which throws in a stripped back section almost akin to David Bowie.

And then we reach the business end of the album, which really is the pièce de resistance in the shape of the four-movement ‘Symphony Of Good And Evil’. Starting with a piece using purely classical instrumentation and choir, this dark and expansive work is much more progressive, experimental, and exploratory than the previous tracks, and centers around specific musical motifs. It’s a very clever full work, within a work, and the rousing strings and choral orchestration boost everything to the next level.

All in all, this is a very pleasing album. My stand-out track would have to be ‘Great Battle’. It’s a real thumper! And, musically, there’s nothing on this album that isn’t done with technical brilliance and skill. Aside from the qualm of the fade out (which incidentally happens in the 3rd part of ‘Symphony Of Good And Evil, too), my only other slight irritant is that, on a few occasions, the mid-tones are a little overbearing in the mix. But that’s a small thing that is easy to overlook when the standard set by Hevilan on this album is so high.

A cracking listen! Would highly recommend if you like any of the aforementioned genres!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Dark Paradise
02. Rebellion Of The Saints
03. Great Battle
04. Here I Am
05. Always In My Dreams
06. Devil Within Part I: Evil Approaches
07. Devil Within Part II: Hammer Of Gods
08. Waiting For The Right Time
09. Symphony Of Good And Evil Part I: Revelation
10. Symphony Of Good And Evil Part II: Dark Ages
11. Symphony Of Good And Evil Part III: Song Of Rebellion
12. Symphony Of Good And Evil Part IV: Epilogue

LINE-UP:
Johnny Moraes – Guitar
Alex Pasqualle – Vocals
Biek Yohaitus – Bass
Rafael Dyszy – Drums

LINKS:

Hevilan Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth 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.