BongBong BeerWizards – Ampire EP

Ampire Album Cover Art

BongBong BeerWizards – Ampire EP
Electric Valley Records
Release Date: 24/06/22

Running Time: 49:28
Review By Gaz Bates
7.5/10

I had not heard this band before this release, but the name intrigued me. Reading through the band’s press pack and seeing bands like Pink Floyd, Slomatics and Dark Buddha Rising I knew I had to listen right then and there. Sat on the bus on the way home from a long day at work I put my headphones on and pressed play….

Sonically this album is outstanding, mixing genres like Doom, Sludge, Drone and Psych. I would recommend this album to anyone wanting to get into Drone specifically as it is a great introduction to long drawn-out guitar tones. Each frequency, note and pitch is well thought out, the songs have a fluidity that can be lost in Amp Worshipping releases. The heavier parts of this release are heavy, whilst the lighter parts are reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s lighter songs.

‘Choirs & Masses’ opens this 3-track release with a wall of noise, each note leaves a feeling of anticipation of the next one. The drums hit you just as hard as the bass and guitar right up till the ninth minute when you are granted a reprieve from the assault, Psychedelic guitars lift you up through space as a fuzzed out bass tries to drag you back down to earth. As I said at the beginning, if you want an introduction to Drone… this is the track for you. ‘Unison’ is the second track, Riffs heavier than sin and a more prominent vocal line than the previous track, it brings a beautiful melody over the sound of Doom. Three tracks in and the final blow to your senses, a trudging riff, the perfect soundtrack for Godzilla to emerge and destroy everything in his wake.

The music throughout is a vortex, the bass anchors you to the terra firma as the guitars move time and space around you, the drums serve as a focus point to draw on, meditate and listen to the voice in the distance…

TRACKLISTING:
01. Choirs & Masses
02. Unison
03. Slumber

LINE-UP:
Reib Asnah – Bass, Vocals, Flute
Chill Collins – Drums, Vocals
Bong Travolta – Guitars, Synthesizers, Saxophone 

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Gaz Bates 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.

Bury The Kingdom- Bury The Kingdom

Bury The Kingdom EP Cover Art

Bury The Kingdom- Bury The Kingdom
Sliptrick Records

Release Date: 07/06/2022
Running Time: 19:00
Review by Rory Bentley 
8/10

Being Mr Nasty Hardcore at Ever Metal has resulted in a lot of Metalcore getting sent my way since I started here. This is both a blessing and a curse, because on the one hand the more mainstream end of the genre is, for a large part, creatively redundant and a total snooze but also the heavier end of things is still thriving in the underground. 

Thankfully this debut EP is delightfully disgusting and a million miles away from the sterile clones that I can’t be bothered to dignify with a mention. The production is grimy, the guitars are devastating and the vocals are suitably unhinged.

If you open your EP with a song called ‘War’, you’re probably not going for subtlety and a few seconds of the song confirms Bury The Kingdom are here to break my face. Lovely stuff! Beginning with bouncy elastic riffs with enough low end to make you change your underwear, things rapidly move into fist-pumping righteous chants that manage to be catchy without a hint of melody. It’s almost bordering on DeathCore but there’s way more hooks and riff variety on show, so things never feel monotone.

‘Force Fed’ comes in with more bouncy riffs that sound like steroided-up Korn colliding with Lamb of God. There’s melodic vocals, but they have a 90’s Roadrunner band feel to them rather than a saccharine good cop bad cop approach. The eerie guitar textures and news report voiceover add extra atmosphere to the song and bolster the theme of social injustice that spans across the EP. 

Meanwhile the more nuanced drum-led intro to “The Unveiling” builds unbearable tension before decimating you with discordant riffs and the cleanest chorus so far which, while sung in a higher register never feels weak or watered down. The rhythm section refuses to give anything less than both barrels throughout, ensuring this more melodic excursion retains the same grit and drive as the previous two tracks.

By the self-titled final track “Bury The Kingdom” I really appreciated the dramatic, cinematic overtones of the band’s sound which lend an epic quality to the material like Bleeding Through in their Blackened Hardcore prime. Once more there’s clean singing that is used tastefully and sparingly rather than ripping off Architects like a billion other bands have been doing for the last few years. The track builds wonderfully until the last ringing chord sends you away hungry for more.

Talk about putting your best foot forward, this is four tracks of seething anger with a fine production job and a really nasty sound that still has you humming along. Lads I need an album ASAP, after such an exquisite starter, I’m ready to smash my plate over my head when the main course arrives!

‘Bury The Kingdom’ Official Video

TRACKLISTING:
01. War
02. Force Fed
03. The Unveiling 
04. Bury The Kingdom

LINE-UP:
Vox – Vocals 
Skin – Drums 
Grind – Guitar 
Shred – Guitar 
Low – Bass

LINKS:

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.

Witchfinder – Endless Garden EP

Endless Garden Album Cover Art

Witchfinder – Endless Garden EP
Mrs Red Sound
Release Date: 03/06/22
Running Time: 17:08

Review by Rick Eaglestone
8.5/10

Following on from 2019’s “Hazy Rites” France’s Witchfinder return with two brand new tracks in the form of “Endless Garden”.

“Hazy Rites” was played a lot upon it’s release as it’s everything I love in Stoner Doom, so the anticipation was high (unintentional pun but I will take it). Immediately this new EP did not disappoint, but I have to be honest, there is a very strong Type O Negative feel to it, and I have to admit, that I’m here for it! 

Consisting of two tracks that Interweave effortlessly, it’s particularly difficult to pick a highlight track. But I keep coming back to ‘Eternal Sunset’, as I love the bass intro leading into the solemn guitar parts at the start. The riff that continues through is sublime, and when the familiar vocals kick in, it’s like a cosy blanket on a cold night. However, the keyboard parts in the mid section of ‘The Maze’ are something I could just go back to time & time again.

There are just so many elements that compliment each other in both tracks and it is great to have them. But I was left wanting more! Fortunately “Hazy Rites” was on hand for me to have another listen to, but these two tracks will be on rotation not only for the rest of this year, but I can honestly say until the next full release.

‘Eternal Sunset’ Official Video

TRACKLISTING:
01. The Maze
02. Eternal Sunset

LINE-UP:
Clément Mostefai – vocals, bass
Stanislas Franczak – guitar
Thomas Dupuy – drums
Kevyn Raecke – keyboard

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rick Eaglestone 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.

Combinator – Re//Combinator EP

Re//Combinator Album Cover Art

Combinator – Re//Combinator EP
Self-Released
Release Date: 17/06/22
Running Time: 25:25
Review by Dark Juan
6/10

This is getting ridiculous. Dark Juan is not an early riser, yet today I was up and out of bed before 7am. This is highly unacceptable. It is still midmorning and I have been up for hours! There is only so much tea one man can drink before his liver cries enough. How am I to get through the rest of the day? I’ll be asleep by 4pm and bored by half twelve! I should do something to entertain myself…

Oof. That’s better.

Today’s offering to the musical gods is by a gentleman named Sean Fairchild, who I am assuming is American, although he was born abroad and has lived in places as diverse as France and China, among others, and he’s one of those. You know, one of those annoying bastards who can play more than one instrument REALLY well, when you can’t even pick up a guitar without fucking it up beyond all repair? Yes, Sean can play the bass, keyboards and do drum machine shit and sequencing and programming and stuff. I am viridescent with envy. Positively green. However, it would be very difficult indeed to describe “Re//Combinator” as a metal release. It has certain roots in rock and metal, yes, but it is a rather more gentle and electronic affair. The closest it gets to metal is the fact that Sean Fairchild is a superb bassist in the same mould as Les Claypool and that his music has a strong progressive vibe, and it is very ambient. There’s elements of drum and bass, French pop music, little Eastern flourishes and the odd little hard edge, especially on the opening track, “Guest In Your Own Skin”, which starts in a very promising fashion, sounding almost like a Muse intro before going left-field and ambient, yet with egregiously technical bass. I also enjoyed the vocals, which are soaked in vocoder effects and spliced into the music rather than sung over it.

“Things That Should Be” is about as metal as it gets, a shuddering, nervous, complex song that starts with a technical, progressive rock intro and opening movement before popping in and out of a drum and bass and EDM flavoured section through the verses. This is underpinned by choppy, discordant bass throughout. This is by far the most aggressive song on the album and by far the most of interest to metal fans. If the rest of Sean’s output were like this, I’d be a rabid fan. It goes on for about a minute and a half too long, though.

In fact, I’d go as far as to say that Combinator remind me of a beastie composed of Pink Floyd, Air, Daft Punk and Primus – there’s the sweeping soundscapes and expansive songwriting that Floyd do so well, the quirkiness and idiosyncrasy of Air and their lithe and unusual dance-based pop, the funkiness and jollity of Nile Rodgers playing with Daft Punk and the sheer out to lunchedness of Primus. It’s all rather… amorphous, though. 

I don’t find the music particularly inspiring to be honest. It beeps and squelches its way around an undefined, fuzzy middle ground, sounding rather like a Nine Inch Nails filler track in places (the second remix of “Respira” by Jesse Holt sounding especially like it belongs on the second disc of “The Fragile”) and curiously unsure of itself in others. The most complete track on the whole EP is the funk-blues hybrid called “Through The Fog” which apparently is a bonus remix, but has a killer bass hook and a superb vocal performance. It is this track that reminds us that Sean is actually a very good musician indeed.

Having a gripe about the record doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it, though. It’s good music and it would be very entertaining if you were in a quiet mood and wanted to listen to something that isn’t too challenging, but it really isn’t heavy metal in the same sense that other electronic bands like Master Boot Record and The Algorithm have managed to achieve, but it does occupy a unique musical niche. I like uniqueness. That has always been a quotient in my enjoyment of music.

ALTHOUGH – REMIXES! What is the fucking point of remixes? Let’s just release four different versions of the same bloody song!!! The punters are stupid enough to pay for it – just look how many people buy remixed classic albums even though they already own three copies of it! If we can do this on a song by song basis we’ll be quids in, chaps! They are needless and pointless and are nearly as bad as fucking ballads! I need to find someone to remix and chop up old Doomcrow songs in five different ways and then I will no longer be reliant on Mrs Dark Juan obtaining payments from dippy French hippy all-female dance companies who want animal brooches that somehow represent the women who dance – some wanted bears. I took this to mean they were bear-shaped people. I didn’t want to speculate about their body hair. Some wanted eagles, which I interpreted as them being predatory and noisy and disturbingly tough to get rid of when they have got their claws into you. 

There was also a sperm whale…

I am somewhat conflicted, because I don’t mind some laid back grooves now and again, but I am writing for a metal site and I think the only people who would listen to Combinator are the most intrepid of proggy metal fans and there simply ain’t that many of them about, apart from Rory Bentley and his band of prog dads in Diceratops, representing the largest gathering of progsters outside of an HRH Prog gathering, where they can be safely corralled before they start corrupting the good folk of metal with “Brain Salad Surgery” and “YesSongs”…

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System can’t believe that it is still only 1130 in the morning and it is wrapping this review up. It awards Combinator 6/10 for an EP that is wispy and ethereal, yet curiously unsatisfying, and of very limited interest to the long haired family of noisy miscreants that are metalheads. Marks have been deducted for this, and for three remixes, two of the same song, one after the other which is frankly fucking unforgivable.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Guest In Your Own Skin
02. Things That Should Be
03. Hide and Seek
04. Cartoon Character Child
05. Respira (Jesse Holt Club Mix)
06. Respira (Jesse Holt Chill Mix)
07. Through the Fog (Chi:Child Mix) [BONUS]

LINE-UP:
Sean Fairchild – Bass, vocals, synths, programming

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.

DVNE – Cycles of Asphodel EP

Cycles of Asphodel EP Cover Art

DVNE – Cycles of Asphodel EP
Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 20/05/2022
Running Time: 25:26
Review by Rory Bentley
9/10

Fresh off of last year’s wonderful sophomore release “Etemen Ænka”, Scottish Prog Metal firebrands DVNE have decided to reward us with a special live recording of their Bandcamp livestream in the form of this fantastic little EP. Good things often come in small packages (no innuendos please) and it certainly proves to be the case here.

I’ve seen many superb bands struggle to fully realise dense, complex and dynamic material in the live arena. Sometimes that’s down to the logistical nightmare of rearranging grandiose studio compositions into something that aligns with limitations of a core band that don’t have the budget to tour with the album’s guest musicians. Other times it’s down to the venue’s battered old PA system and clueless sound technician. Fortunately the band have opted to hire two highly capable collaborators to immortalise these songs on record the way they intended.

The world class musical chops of Lissa Robertson on vocals and violin and Evelyn May Hedges on keys ensure that the core band is given that extra sonic boost that allows these four sprawling tracks to be delivered in all of their cinematic glory. Lissa’s ethereal melismatic vocals conjure up the exotic and wild atmosphere of the recent “Dune” movie, the original novel of which the band derives its name from and the additional keys and ambience of Evelyn create an immersive listening experience as they glide gracefully over the labyrinthine guitar work and thundering rhythms.

Original album highlight, the frankly mind blowing “Omega Severer” in particular sounds positively colossal as winding arpeggios give way to the king of planet-smashing riffs that Cult of Luna have been crushing my skull with for years. Make sure you mark that reference on Bentley Bingo, there’s a converge reference coming up soon so dabbers at the ready!

I should also say that the core band is absolutely on fire here and in no danger of being overshadowed by their guests of honour. The vocals are delivered with both the primal bellow and emotional expression required and the musicianship and tightness of the band over these dynamic compositions bares all the hallmarks of a unit that has been forged in the fires of relentless gigging. Dynamic, head-spinning songs like “Asphodel” are unbelievably difficult to pull off in a live setting, particularly the delicate Post-Rock sections, but if anything these live versions surpass their studio counterparts.

I was already giddy with excitement for the band’s next full length, but after hearing this exquisite little set the wait feels unbearable. Do yourself a favour and spend 26 minutes in the company of one of the UK’s best new bands. In fact I’ve posted the whole show in the link below for all my Fremen Fam! (Dune reference guys, nerds are cool now, deal with it.)

‘Cycles Of Asphodel’ Live Video

TRACKLISTING:
01. Weighing of the Heart (Live)
02. Omega Severer (Live)
03. Asphodel (Live)
04. Satuya (Live)

LINE-UP:
Victor Vicart: guitar, vocals, keys
Dudley Tait: drums
Daniel Barter: guitar, vocals
Allan Paterson: bass
Lissa Robertson: violin, vocals
Evelyn May Hedges: keys

LINKS:

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.

Gonemage – Master Of Disgust EP

Master Of Disgust EP Cover Art

Gonemage – Master Of Disgust EP
Self-Released
Release Date: 13.05.22
Running Time: 19:21
Review by Dark Juan
9/10

Hello, dear friends. It is I, Dark Juan, and I am slightly annoyed because the furry parasites I share my home with (no, NOT Mrs Dark Juan) are being a set of quadruped irritants. They are up and down more times than a whore’s knickers and also in and out of the house more often and faster than said whore being serviced by a man who’s done a gram of Billy. I tested a theory as to just how long it would be before one of the fur-covered shit machines would disturb me when I started crafting this piece of information transmission for your delectation. 

One minute and thirty-fucking-four seconds. And that was a combination attempt from Hodgson Biological-Warfare, General Sir Zeusington Zeus VC, KCVG, DFC and Bar, MM, DFM, Croix de Guerre and Order Of The Red Banner, and the Dread Lord Igor Egbert Bryan Clown-Shoe Cleavage-Hoover (who has now been christened Princess Susan in my house because of his absolute insistence on being transported downstairs via the medium of indoctrinated human to his food in the morning) rushing outside and shouting at EVERY SINGLE passerby. All Hodgson wanted to do was go out and quietly sunbathe because he is a goodboi, even if his arse appears to be requisitioned from Satan’s own personal collection of torture devices. The other two, on the other hand, are complete knobheads and seem to regard the road outside Dark Juan Terrace as their own personal property and that the Ocado man is out to rape and kill us all and must be defended against at all costs. Having seen the prices of Ocado stuff, financial abuse appears to be a given at the very least… Saying that, if my abode was invaded by nefarious persons, Igor would do the shouting about it, Hodgson would do nothing to defend me but will shred anyone trying to hurt Mrs Dark Juan into a bloody pile of human spaghetti, and Zeus would just show them where the fucking family silver was and sell us all out for a sausage. Note that your correspondent does not even FEATURE in the furry terrorists’ list of priorities, yet it is my bank account that gets roughly fucked up the arse every time (sans lubrication) every time one of the wankers gets ill…

Dogs are rubbish. Something that isn’t rubbish, however, is the platter I am currently spinning, being Gonemage’s “Master Of Disgust”. This nasty little 5 track EP is the brainchild of Cara Neir main man Galimgim (or Garry Brents to his mates), and is loosely based around the famed computer game character Wario from the Mario games. Where it gets really interesting is the fact that Galimgim has fused some absolutely filthy and uncompromising blackened death metal with chiptunes and old SNES samples. Also, Gonemage is a one man show, so there’s been a bloke painstakingly sampling all the old sound effects from SNES and Game Boy Mario games, and then writing tunes around them, and then carefully integrating those samples into his songs. That’s a work rate that needs to be applauded.

The EP opens with the title track “Master Of Disgust” with a cheery “Here we go!” before descending instantly into musical anarchy where absolutely filthy DM guitars vie for your attention with contrapuntal cheery electronic bleeps and blips and it appears that Galimgim has been at the whizz again as he launches into hyperspeed from a dead stop in less than three seconds. The velocity is pretty astonishing, actually. And he doesn’t slow down. This is not music to have sex to. It would be over in four seconds and that would include the first bite of pizza, such is the mental musical speed. Also, having Wario chuntering away in the background would put you right off your vinegar stroke.

The second song, “Mega Toss Into Crypt”, doesn’t dial down the madness either, terminal velocity blastbeats slamming the unfortunate listener straight back against the wall and pummeling them until they submit, a bloodied, panting, broken mess, with the same pseudo-cheerful chiptune squeals and squeaks sneaking around in the back of the mix, like shadow-dwelling predators just waiting for their moment to strike. Colossal, mountainous riffs batter you around the head as the electronic element slashes your Achilles tendons so you can’t run away any more and the percussion sets the time for your subsequent torture. Very fast.

“WarioWare – Possessed Console” reduces the speed very slightly, as the electronics crawl all over the face of the song like little, brightly coloured, highly venomous spiders. When I say the speed is reduced slightly, it’s still lightning fast, just not as fast as the first two songs. I think Galimgim has some issues he needs addressing by professionals. His music is absolutely insane, and therefore by extension so is he. You know what I mean, the kind of person that speaks in a strange high voice and stares intently at a point somewhere over and behind your left shoulder. Like Jehovah’s Witnesses do when they are trying to make you join the Church and flog you copies of Watchtower, and instead you want to be rid of them because you’re in the middle of a Satanic ritual and the debasement of that nubile young virgin won’t be doing itself on the altar, so you quietly smile and invite them in, close and lock the door behind you and grin as you raise your sacrificial dagger behind their God-fearing backs and wonder how their God will protect them now after you cut their spinal columns and turn them into basically heads on a stick, a la Mick Taylor in Wolf Creek. Praying doesn’t help you when you can’t talk…

Galimgim is also possessed of a voice (or just possessed) that surely belongs to some demon from at least the third circle of Dante’s Inferno – a guttural, volcanic grunt that hints at imminent lava flows exploding from the subterranean and is spectacularly violent and aggressive, and this is at odds with the electronic element to the music. The cheeriness and exuberance of the chiptunes and samples form an otherworldly, decidedly uncomfortable counterpoint to the metal, but rather than distracting from the music or just being an irritant, they have a scratchy, predatory quality to them that enhances rather than detracts from the musical narrative.

The EP closes with “Foul Portal To Delirium”. This is a fully electronic piece that is replete with samples, yet it still has a gnarled and grotesque quality – like a circus from hell. Brightly painted clowns and ringmasters and gymnasts entertain a crowd in the Big Top, but you start to notice little details… The tent is made from dyed skins sewn together, and you see a nipple in the tanned dermis. The clowns caper but you see the buckets of stuff they are throwing at each other is actually gore and blood, and their teeth are sharpened, lethal points designed especially for tearing flesh and the ringmaster bellows his commands to his performers in a voice that echoes from otherworldly, sepulchral depths. The trapeze artists drop lower and lower from the heights of the human skin big top and you can see the flash of wickedly sharp blades attached to their lithe legs and ankles and the gymnasts flip and tumble and release clouds of neurotoxins from pouches attached to their wrists. Lion tamers whip crudely stitched together chimeric crosses of man and beast, their bladed bullwhips eliciting whimpers from cruelly abused human mouths… And through it all, the calliope. The mechanical, steam powered music from the calliope cheerfully underpins the beginning of the slaughter of the crowd. The infernal calliope becomes ever louder and ever faster until it is a screaming, colossal thing that fills the entire universe and all you can hear is the white noise of the calliope and all you can see is a combination of red and black as your nervous system collapses from a combination of sound and neurotoxin…

Well, that was rather more of an instinctive reaction than I was expecting from this record. Gonemage are the calliope to that circus of horrors.

Fuck.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System awards Gonemage 9/10 for a frankly fucking brilliant little EP that manages to beguile and bloody you in equal parts. A mark has been deducted because I feel that the mix of chiptune, Super Mario Brothers and superturbo blackened death might be a little too challenging to some metalheads. But it is a fantastic record if you want to be brutal with a sense of warped fun.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Master Of Disgust
02. Mega Toss Into Crypts
03. WarioWare – Possessed Console
04. Demon Head And The Reign Of Stench
05. Foul Portal To Delirium

LINE-UP:
Galimgim (Garry Brents) – Guitars, Bass, Drum Programming, Synth, 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.

Truth Decayed – Faded Visions I

Faded Visions I EP Cover Art

Truth Decayed – Faded Visions I
Self-Released
Release Date: 08/04/22
Running Time: 21:29
Review by Simon Black
7/10

The advantage of this job is I get to find out all about the Metal scene in a whole bunch of far-flung parts of the world without ever having to leave South Wales. Today it’s South Africa’s turn, with Truth Decayed originating in Durban. As well as being the first South African Metal band to cross my desk, they are also bucking the trend of many acts through lockdown who have either slowed down or halted their activities completely whilst waiting for the world to recover. Truth Decayed however, actually formed during lockdown as a project by long-term friends Warren Jones and Ryno Theron, who form the guitar backbone of the band, with Theron also picking up vocal duties.

A lot of acts really struggled to adapt to this time, having got used to writing and recording in a room together previously then finding themselves segregated, but these boys started from nothing and built out from there. It’s not clear whether this record was done face to face or remotely, but either way the band sounds confident, cohesive and organically whole. I guess if you start remotely, which is possibly the hardest situation to record in (‘cos let’s face it recording an the family airing cupboard surrounded by duvets and towels is not a natural place to cut a Metal disk).

Following on from their 2020 “Modern Day Illusion EP”, “Faded Visions I” is the first of a two-part EP process. A quick back check on this first step revealed a very raw act with a lot potential and it’s clear that the boys have learned much since they cut that first disk. “Faded Visions I” is a lot stronger than it’s predecessor, with a much meatier and joined up feel to the playing. The guitar work is probably the first point of serious note, with some incredibly technically eloquent bits of shredding hidden away amongst all the brutal Thrash riffage. There are moments when this is positively Melodic, and wouldn’t sound out of place on something more Progressive and the fine balancing act the band walk between these two slightly contradictory styles is impressive.

The opening bars of the title track bounce out fast and furious, with pile-driving energy, a catchy, melodic opening riff and some pile driving drum work. This is technically influenced Thrash, full of time changes, complexity and catchy arrangements. Theron’s vocals are a little high in the mix though, with a style that borders on the Extreme whilst still remaining legible – always a bonus. He also manages to separate his vocal phrasing and timing from the guitar melodies well, something many Thrash 4 pieces struggle to do with the vocalist traditionally chugging his syllables in time to the rhythm riff.

For a self-produced piece the Production is not bad, although it does feel that not all tracks were mixed and mastered consistently, but to be honest that’s a minor niggle. They also are not afraid to be a little more experimental, as let’s face it closing a five track EP with a five minutes long instrumental piece that sounds more NWOBHM / Classic Rock than Thrash is a brave move. It’s called ‘The Witches’ Watch’ and it’s an absolutely beautifully crafted piece, showcasing the considerable guitar talents at play here without being overtly showy, shreddy and pretentious. It works because it’s totally unexpected, which is pretty much how I will sum up this whole release. Part 2 looks worth waiting for…

TRACKLISTING:
01. Faded Visions
02. Absolute War
03. The World I Know
04. PTSD
05. The Witches’ Watch

LINE-UP:
Ryno Theron – Guitar & Vocals
Warren Jones – Guitar
Johan Maree – Bass & Vocals
Daniel Philogene – Drums

LINKS:

Truth Decayed 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.

PIST.ON – Cold World

Cold World EP Cover Art

PIST.ON – Cold World
Self-Released
Release Date: 25/03/22
Running Time: 10:24
Review by Simon Black
9/10

It’s been a really, really long time since I’ve listened to anything by PIST.ON. I remember getting a promo copy of their debut “Number 1” album way back when and being quite impressed at the time at a band that somehow fitted in with the new asshole that Grunge was ripping in the music scene, whilst simultaneously appealing to the Alternative and Metal fans in equal proportions. “Could this be the aisle crosser that would help reunite our broken and fragmented scene?” I though back in 1996. Here was a band with a broad appeal, with that rarest of rarities back then in a female bassist (Val Ium) and a sound that was rather unique – fusing the riff-slam heaviness, incredibly almost Gothic moodiness with some clever vocal harmonies and catchy song writing. 

That was 1996. One of the reasons I have not listened to them in the intervening years is that there’s not been a lot to listen to. With only the ill-fated follow up “Sell.Out!” album in 1999 and the impossible to get hold of “Saves” EP there’s been nothing from them as a functioning band for a while. The details around this are vague and depend on who in the band you ask, but a centre pin was Henry Ford’s struggles with his demons. The departure of Ium pulled the rug out from under them and without decent label and industry support to prop things up an awful lot of water has flowed under an awful lot of bridges ever since.

I blame the original labels in the 90’s – and there were a fair few of them, as the band bounced from pillar to post globally without a decent strategy and drive behind it. At this point labels themselves were struggling with the triple whammy of a complete change in musical tastes in their audiences courtesy of Grunge and everything that came after it, the emergence of the independent and self-produced labels stealing market share and a general dropping off in sales of physical product as technology changed everything. PIST.ON fell right in the perfect storm of cracks of those three events and their inability to be cleanly pigeonholed meant that labels didn’t know what to do with them and when issues within the band arose, they fell off the map.

I for one am quite glad that they are back, as you can probably tell by the fact that I’ve spent this long talking about the history of a band pre this three track and quite short EP. The disk picks up where the band left off and is a cautious dipping of the toe in the water post-pandemic. 

The three tracks on here feel straight back on point. Starting with the hugely heavy and moody ‘Cold World’, Henry Ford’s vocals strike the same balance between gravelly and heavy, alternating with clean and harmonic interplay that we first heard so long ago. He’s lost none of his ability to jerk emotional strings on the listener vocally, with some moody and slightly more shredding guitar work than we got in latter days adding a new dimension to their sound. It’s also heavier than a two ton heavy thing, pulling off exactly the same clever unexpected chord progression that keeps on giving that Ghost pull off to surprise you just when you think you know how the choruses work and all in all is a cracking track to come back with. Onto the regular streaming playlist with you, my friend.

‘Ruin Your Day’ is a dark and moody little piece, slower but no less technically accomplished for it, and tells more of a darker story than its predecessor, perhaps touching Ford’s dark places that contributed to the hiatus of the band, but with a wonderfully controlled discordant refrain that is genuinely powerful. ’Icicles’ is slower and moodier still, with an almost Stoner vibe – heavy, moody powerful and deeply haunting with a fantastic chorus line. 

These three all too short tracks feel like a taster of something far more interesting to come for PIST.ON. I hope so, it’s long overdue.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Cold World
02. Ruin Your Day
03. Icicles

LINE-UP:
Henry Font – Vocals / Guitar
Burton Gans – Guitar 
Jeff McManus – Drums
Jack Hanley – Bass

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.

INDEMON – Fear of Living

Fear Of Living Album Cover Art

INDEMON – Fear of Living
Music-Records
Release Date: 18/03/22
Running Time: 18:00 
Review by Paul Hutchings
7/10

The land that launched a million Metal bands continues to provide rich sources of music. Formed in 2020 INDEMON is a four-piece whose influences are evident as soon as the play button is released. Written and recorded over the past 18 months, “Fear of Living” draws heavily from the likes of Slayer, Sepultura and Entombed. It’s a five track EP, with a savage thrash delivery running through its veins. 

Kicking off proceedings is ‘Shield’. A muscular, eye-popping track, this draws on the HM-2 sound of the early Death Metal scene, with the vocals of Joose Riihelä very much in the LG Petrov (RIP) school. It’s a ferocious opening track, featuring a solid change of pace as it flips to an “Arise” era Sepultura feel. There’s some delightful melody that bursts out mid-track, almost Iron Maiden in style before the track returns to a lung bursting finale. 

The tempo remains high for ‘In the Gear’, which veers from Death to Thrash to Traditional Metal. It’s a bruising song, full of groove and thick riffs. Riihelä’s visceral roar opens ‘Supreme Protection’, a slower, brooding, and dark track that sees the band opt for a more suffocating approach, with grinding riffs and slower pace, albeit that Kuitunen’s double bass kick is thundering away underneath. It’s a stellar performance from the drummer, whose solid performance is one of the highlights of this EP. 

Whilst what is on offer isn’t anything new or ground-breaking, the five tracks are certainly worth a listen. The crunching ‘Ground Zero’ has a beast of a riff and the explosive semi-Hardcore approach on the main song is one that will get audiences moving. It’s again, nothing new with a Slayer influence but you can’t help but nod along. No quarter is given at any time, with the title once more living in Sepultura territory. It’s probably the fastest track on the release, with Riihelä’s vocals spat out with real venom. 

Will INDEMON set the world on fire? It’s unlikely, as there are hundreds of bands doing similar quality music across the globe. And yet, this is a powerful, energetic, and intense EP that demonstrates once more that you don’t always have to reinvent the wheel to make music that is worthy of a listen. 

‘Ground Zero’ Official Music Video

TRACKLISTING:
01. Shield
02. In the Gear
03. Supreme Protection
04. Ground Zero
05. Fear of Living

LINE-UP:
Joose Riihelä – Vocals
Santeri Liesmala – Guitars
Sasu Savolainen – Bass
Patrik Kuitunen – Drums

LINKS:

INDEMON Promo Pic

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.

Vio-Lence – Let the World Burn EP

Let The World Burn EP Cover Art

Vio-Lence – Let the World Burn EP
Metal Blade Records
Released: 04:03:22 
Running Time: 24:00
Review by Paul Hutchings
7/10

Nostalgia. It’s something that is part and parcel of the Metal world. Is it possible to have a conversation with another metalhead without drifting back to “the good old days”? Well, when you get to your half century those times become more and more faded in the memory. When something that was pivotal to you over 30 years ago returns, there is unsurprisingly a certain amount of trepidation. 

Where is he going with this, I hear you ask? Well, let me take you back to 1985 and Oakland, California. The Bay Area Thrash movement was in full swing, and Thrash bands were appearing like rain on a Welsh Bank Holiday weekend. Surging out as part of the second wave of Thrash was Vio-Lence, whose early line-ups included Phil Demmel, Sean Killian, Perry Strickland, and Robb Flynn (Machine Head). Vio-Lence released three albums before their breakup in 1993, with “Eternal Nightmare” and “Oppressing the Masses” held in high regard within the Thrash community. The band returned a couple of times before becoming a full-time going concern in 2019, where they returned to the live arena. 

Now we finally have their first original material in 29 years in the shape of ‘Let the World Burn’, a five track EP that features Demmel, Strickland, Killian as well as new members Bobby Gustafson (ex-Overkill) and Christian Ober Wolbers (Powerflo, Beowülf, Fear Factory). The band has already released the title track plus ‘Flesh from Bone’ on lyric videos and now we finally get the chance to digest all five tracks. 

The first thing to notice about Vio-Lence circa 2022 is that they’ve managed to retain that 80’s vibe which is often missing in today’s Thrash circles. Demmel has taken on the mantle of main songwriter, and he admits that the move to the classic Vio-Lence sound wasn’t a problem. “That came very naturally. I hadn’t written a lot of Thrash in the past 17 years or so but being the main songwriter for the band over the years I wanted that sound, I wanted that mid-80’s raw thing, but I also wanted to capture our signature notes and structures and stuff like that.”

But this isn’t a trek down memory lane for each song has its own contemporary feel. ‘Flesh from Bone’ doesn’t begin that brilliantly but soon erupts into a real Thrash monster. It’s a foot stomper of a song, with the bruising riffs charging along with Gustafson’s bludgeoning drumming and the thunderous bass line. This allows Killian to spit and snarl the lyrics over the top in a visceral performance, it may only be one track, but it’s already sounding promising and it’s a rager. 

Can Vio-Lence keep the momentum up? The good news is yes, as ‘Screaming Always’ proves. A fast, punching semi-Hardcore attitude sees the tempo at full pelt, the vocals of Killian surprisingly impressive although I’m not over thrilled about the Rob Flynn-style rapping towards the end of the track. Killian has always been marmite vocally and it’s unlikely he’ll gather many new fans, but his style is his style and that’s what makes him unique. His delivery on the slower but just as heavy ‘Upon Their Cross’ is remarkable, given this is a singer who not so long ago was severely unwell. 

The playing on this EP is as stellar as you’d expect from such musicians. Demmel as primary songwriter has delved deep into the Thrash roots, each song bringing something a little different to the table, but all inherently thrash in nature and vibe. Alongside Demmel, Gustafson’s years in Overkill are evident whilst Wolbers links tightly with Strickland to provide a rock-tight rhythm section. 

It was always the band’s intention to release an EP rather than a full length and you only have to read some of the interviews with Killian to confirm why. Originally a one-off gig to say thanks to those who had supported his liver transplant, Vio-Lence realised that there was still an appetite for their music but that just exploring if the dynamic would work again was enough. The fact that they have managed to put some decent thrasher together is remarkable, especially when you consider the poor cover of ‘California Uber Alles’. The stomping drive of ‘Gato Negro’ brings a different attitude and sound, but at no point do the band veer too far from their old school sound.  The title track closes the EP, and it’s another thrashing beast with visceral guitar work and Killian’s down the line delivery. The slow narrative echoes some of Dave Mustaine’s work, but it sits solidly within the song. 

With festival appearances once again scheduled for 2022, including a highly anticipated booking with Bloodstock Open Air, there is an air of optimism in the camp. On a day when the world careered out of control once more, it’s good to know that the old school may still be able to bring some quality to the table. 

‘Let The World Burn’ Official Video

TRACKLISTING:
01. Flesh from Bone
02. Screaming Always
03. Upon Their Cross
04. Gato Negro
05. Let the World Burn

LINE-UP:
Phil Demmel – Guitars
Bobby Gustafson – Guitars
Sean Killian – Vocals
Perry Strickland – Drums
Christian Olde Wolbers – Bass

LINKS:

Vio-lence promo pic
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS- NOVEMBER 6,2021: Violence photographed at Reggies in Chicago, Illnois on November 2021. © Gene Ambo

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.