Amanda Somerville’s Trillium – Tectonic

Tectonic Cover

Amanda Somerville’s Trillium – Tectonic
Frontiers Music srl
Running time: 44:04
Release Date 08/06/2018
Review by Lotty Whittingham
8/10

No introduction required here. Amanda Somerville is a prominent figure in the metal community. Her impeccable vocal technique has seen her collaborate with some of metal’s household names. EPICA, KAMELOT, AVANTASIA and AFTER FOREVER are just a few that she has worked alongside. There was also her unforgettable partnership with HELLOWEEN’s Michael Kiske. She has now released a new album by her project TRILLIUM.

Somerville is very well known for her versatile vocal range and diverse ability to fit in with a lot of musical styles. TRILLIUM is rooted within the metal genre and their second studio album “Tectonic” shows this within the opening song ‘Time To Shine’. This empowering track moves the listener forward and helps them feel uplifted.

“Tectonic” is a versatile portfolio of brilliant melodies. These all consist of great guitar work, wonderful vocals and sweeping beats. If you are used to the excellent calibre of Somerville’s vocal work, this album may seem a bit tame and mediocre, almost just a mesh of tracks sounding similar to each other!

On second listen however, it’s a different story. You begin to scratch the surface and learn to appreciate music in all it’s different forms. Each track shows you varying vocal abilities and range. You might come across a vocal technique that you haven’t heard Somerville perform before.

A good example of the unheard vocal work can be found in the booming track ‘Full Speed Ahead’. It highlights the lower end of Somerville’s vocal range, a surprise, particularly when you are used to hearing her hit those high notes. This impounding track hits you like a tonne of bricks and it doesn’t plan on taking prisoners. The blasting guitar work and thunderous drums provide the perfect allies for a powerful voice.

The sweeping beats and melody of ‘Nocturna’ are stunning. If you decide within the first few moments that it’s going to provide a huge impact, you’d be correct. From the amazing guitar riffs and orchestral melodies emphasising the song to the beautiful vocals then this track is a definite highlight of the album.

‘Shards’ is a brilliant hard rock track that provides inspiration and power. The song has a fabulous melody and ambience that draws you in. The chorus is a dominant one that ensures you are still listening and paying attention to the track throughout. The track name ‘Shards’ is also perfect for what this track portrays with the music giving off an icy ambience, one that is powerful.

“Tectonic” ends on a beautiful note with the track ‘Eternal Spring’, it’s the ballad of the album stripped down to just a piano and vocals. You know those tracks that just make you stop what you are doing and listen to the song? ‘Eternal Spring’ does just that. Like EPICA’s ‘Tides Of Time’, it provides a stunning melody showing us the best of the vocal work.

To sum this up, this album is a great portfolio of work. The production is already dominant, but considering the calibre of Somerville’s vocals I was expecting it to be even grander. I can only imagine how it would sound if it had received even more nurturing and care? The production could be huge. Despite that Amanda Somerville’s TRILLIUM is a force to be reckoned with!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Time To Shine
02. Stand Up
03. Full Speed Ahead
04. Hit Me
05. Fighting Fate
06. Nocturna
07. Fatal Mistake
08. Shards
09. Cliché Freak Show
10. Eternal Spring

LINKS:

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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Lotty Whittingham 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.

Mr Big – Live From Milan

Live From Milan Cover

MR. BIG – Live From Milan
Frontiers Music srl
Release Date: 13/07/2018
Running time: 1:50:00
Review by Chris White
7/10

MR.BIG is the sort of band that highly talented and technical musicians form when they decide to focus on their songwriting output, rather than instrumental virtuosity. Having been around for the best part of 30 years, I had the luck to see them live in London around the time this release was recorded; at the peak of their (radio) popularity in the early 90’s plus individual performances at guitar exhibitions during that period and every time they never failed to deliver the goods to an excited audience.

I make no excuses in saying that, at various times on this record, the intros to songs feel rushed compared to older releases like ‘Live Like Sushi II’ and sometimes Eric’s vocals take a lower, safer note than some of the helium induced notes of yesteryear’s releases, but it doesn’t seem to detract from the quality of the performance given. Plus, the mix of songs is nicely balanced between contemporary and older material, which I think makes a change for bands with a long back catalogue who are forever eager to push newer material.

One of the saddest elements of this release is that drummer extraordinaire, Pat Torpey passed away from Parkinson’s complications not long after this was recorded. He did however prominently feature alongside Matt Starr on drums and provided backing vocals on stage as frequently as possible, which the audience in Milan clearly appreciated as much as the rest of the venues on the tour.

I can’t but help wonder how much pace and power he would have added to the 10 minute version of ‘Addicted To That Rush’, featured on track 18.

Although the big hair, MTV videos, neon guitars and tight jeans are no longer present with MR.BIG, you do still quite rightly get the obligatory solo performances from Billy and Paul on this record, where they unleash a mayhem of shredding. But then if Paul Gilbert and Billy Sheehan can’t let rip for a few minutes on guitar and bass respectively, who can?

Overall, an enjoyable release from a band producing new, quality songs, playing some of the older numbers and generally pleasing crowds across the globe with a great, live night out.

TRACKLISTING:
CD 1
01. Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy
02. American Beauty
03. Undertow
04. Alive And Kickin’
05. Temperamental
06. Just Take My Heart
07. Take Cover
08. Green-Tinted Sixties Mind
09. Everybody Needs A Little Trouble
10. Price You Gotta Pay
11. Paul’s Solo
12. Open Your Eyes
13. Wild World
14. Damn I’m In Love Again

CD 2
15. Rock And Roll Over
16. Around The World
17. Billy’s Solo
18. Addicted To That Rush
19. To Be With You
20. 1992
21. Colorado Bulldog
22. Defying Gravity

 
LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris White 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.

Primal Fear – Apocalypse

Apocalypse Cover Art

Primal Fear – Apocalypse
Frontiers Music
Release Date: 10/08/2018
Running Time: 50:10
Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King
9/10

I always knew that I was going to enjoy this album as I have been a fan of Primal Fear for as long as I can remember, the question was HOW MUCH was I going to like it?

Billed as “for fans of Judas Priest, Accept, Helloween, Gamma Ray and Iced Earth” (I don’t know about anyone else but that would sell it straight away for me), Primal Fear were first formed in 1997 but two of Germany’s most respected metal musicians; Ralf Scheepers, former Gamma Ray vocalist and bassist/vocalist Mat Sinner.

Their first self-titled album was released in March 1997, and in the following 21 years they have released a further 11 albums, becoming one of the most beloved and respected heavy metal bands around the globe.

Their last two studio albums, “Delivering The Black” and “Rulebreaker” saw them climbing the charts and earning even more critical praise than before and with the release of their new album “Apocalypse”, they have once again raised the bar in heavy metal to even greater heights.

Produced by Mat Sinner and recorded, mixed and mastered by Jacob Hansen at Hansen Studios, “Apocalypse” brings together German power metal, elements of pure thrash metal and traditional heavy metal along with some 1970’s European hard rock.

Primal Fear had kind of fallen off my radar in the last few years. Reviewing newer bands, a lot of the time meant that a lot of the older ones had been temporarily resigned to the back seat, but I was glad this one dropped in my inbox.

So, the question that needs to be asked is, did this album live up to my recollection of them from albums gone by?

Simple answer is, YES AND THEN SOME!

The album opens with the atmospheric and apocalyptic title track, with its bell tolls and choral, almost chanting, vocals before it launches you headfirst into the rest of the album, which has a severe ‘in your face’ rock and roll attitude.

The album is classic Primal Fear, the galloping riffs, the frantic double pedals that add a sense of urgency and speed and Scheepers piercing high screams. Everything that got Primal Fear noticed in the first place.

This is hard, driving speed metal at its best, but has that Teutonic power/heavy metal sound that the Germans do best.

Stand out tracks for me include “Blood, Sweat and Fear”, “Hounds of Justice” (which I am aware that some reviewers did not like! But hey, we can’t all agree on everything can we?” and “The Beast”.

“Supernova” is the albums power ballad and shows the more theatrical side of Scheepers singing and “Eye of the Storm”, although not technically what I would class as a ballad, is a slower, more melodic offering, showing just what these guys are capable of.

“King of Madness”, the album’s first single, is probably the most radio friendly and is an absolutely stunning track. I would have bought the album purely based on this one track if I hadn’t received it for reviewing purposes. It’s a great advert for an awesome album.

We all know the story that Scheepers tried out for the Judas Priest job after Rob Halford left (the gig eventually going to Tim “Ripper” Owens!) but I, for one, am glad he didn’t get the job. Just think, if Ralf had joined Judas Priest, we might never have had the pleasure of a band like Primal Fear over the past 21 years!

The more I listen to this album the better it gets. I only wish I could have made it to the gig in London on 11th October, but maybe I’ll catch them next time, where I will definitely be down the front!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Apocalypse
02. New Rise
03. The Ritual
04. King of Madness
05. Blood, Sweat and Fear
06. Supernova
07. Hail to the Fear
08. Hounds of Justice
09. The Beast
10. Eye of the Storm
11. Cannonball

LINKS:

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

Ten – Gothica

Gothica Cover

Ten – Gothica
Frontiers Music s.r.l
Release Date: 07/07/2017

Running Time: 58:00
Review by Vikkie Richmond
7/10

British hard rockers Ten are turning out to be stalwarts of the melodic rock scene; in a career spanning over 22 years, “Gothica” is their thirteenth studio album and their history reads like a novel – far too many twists and turns in the plot to go into here!  Suffice to say that “Gothica”, mixed by Ten favourite Dennis Ward, is described as, “A web of musically elaborate spells, evoking embers that spark the imagination.”  I don’t know about that, but feel free to read on for my humble opinion …

Whether by coincidence, design or happy fluke, there are ten tracks on this album.  I was looking forward to listening to it, but I did find the whole thing, well … slightly odd.  It kicked off innocently enough, with a little bit of incantation and some sterling, power guitar chords on the opening track, “The Grail”. This is a vaguely cinematic-sounding track, not surprising then that the accompanying bio states that, “Gothica is cinematic in every sense”.  I tend to agree, I think.

“Jekyll and Hyde” contains some sweet little tricks to give it a ‘spooky’ feel and again, there are some power chords in evidence, running through the track.  “A Man For All Seasons” has a folky feel to the start of the song which is proof of how diverse Ten are; make sure you check out “La Luna Dra-Cu-La” for a bit of fun laced drama.

There is a more rocky feel on most of the tracks, but they all have a vaguely cheesy feel to them; that’s not to say that they aren’t good songs, but I think you have to like a certain type of music (not that we like to pigeon-hole, once again) to fully appreciate Ten’s work.  I understand the concept of the album and for the most part, I think it’s very good musically; in places it sounds a little dated, like something you would find on an 80s movie soundtrack (see “Travellers” as exhibit ‘A’).

Having said that, Ten are all the richer for utilising so many different musical talents – there are eight vocalists and musicians that feature on this album.  It’s not really for me, but it’s an interesting one that has cross-genre appeal.  Ten have many fans around the globe and I’m confident that they will adore “Gothica” just as much as the other albums that Ten have produced, as “Gothica” is a feel good, bouncy offering that is a little dark in places, featuring some superb skill and musical talent.  I’ll leave you to make your own minds up – let us know if you agree!

Stand out tracks: Jekyll and Hyde, The Wild King of Winter, Welcome To The Freak Show

TRACKLISTING:
01. The Grail
02. Jekyll and Hyde
03. Travellers
04. A Man For All Seasons
05. In My Dreams
06. The Wild King Of Winter
07. Paragon
08. Welcome To The Freak Show
09. La Luna Dra-Cu-La
10. Into Darkness

LINKS:

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Disclaimer:  This review is the sole property of Vikkie Richmond and Ever Metal.  It is strictly forbidden to reproduce any part of this review, unless you have the explicit permission of both parties; failure to comply will be treated as plagiarism and reported to the relevant authorities.