Warlung – Vulture’s Paradise

Vulture’s Paradise Album Cover Art

Warlung – Vulture’s Paradise
Heavy Psych Sounds
Release Date: 04/11/2022
Running Time: 44:00
Review by Rory Bentley 
7/10

As bands like Green Lung and Jess and The Ancient Ones amongst many others are garnering a big buzz in the underground, it was only a matter of time before a fuzzed up psychedelic rock band would make their way onto my release radar. Although I tend to avoid nostalgia like the plague when looking for new releases to review, there’s something about the warm analogue tones of Warlung’s brand new release “Vulture’s Paradise” that I immediately found incredibly appealing and eminently listenable.  I remember feeling the same way when my uncle loaned me Witchcraft’s “The Alchemist” album when that dropped; despite my deep immersion in Sludge and Metallic Hardcore I couldn’t resist those lovely round guitar tones and that feeling of being in the rehearsal room with the band. Every now and then one of these kinds of bands will hit me in the feels at just the right time and that’s exactly what this album does.

Lifting the guitar tone entirely from Black Sabbath’s “Volume 4” is always a fantastic idea in my book, so when ‘Hypatia’ proceeds to riff my fucking face off from the get-go I’m already a happy boy. The washed-out slightly distant sounding melodic vocals are the perfect foil to the crushing slabs of fuzzed up noise and really add to the hazy psychedelic atmosphere of the record.

Things kick up a gear with the powerful melodic chorus of ‘Sky Burial’ as lush guitar lines spiral around your speakers and set the table for a full tilt Space Rock freakout in the second phase of the song which sits somewhere between peak Monster Magnet and ‘Children of the Grave’. Vocally it doesn’t sound a million miles away from Ghost’s occult catchiness, which is no bad thing unless you suck and hate good songs.

After conjuring the feeling of an intense peyote trip in the desert on the title track, the band really hit their stride on the titanic ‘Demonocracy’ which initially combines the lumbering power chord blasts and downright filthy verse riffs of ‘Snowblind’ before shifting into a mid section that is so caked in NOLA Sludge that it might be crawling with alligators. A real highlight!

Thankfully the band are capable of more than just (admittedly masterfully done) Sabbath worship, as demonstrated by the driving up-tempo swagger of ‘Return Of The Warlords’ which arrives at the perfect point in the album to switch gears and keep things interesting. Follow up track ‘Marauders’ offers an even slinkier and more taut interpretation of this approach.

Just when the fun but less memorable one-two of ‘Caveman Blues’ and ‘Worship The Void’ threaten to slightly flatten the album’s trajectory, the majestic ‘Runes’ comes in to close things out  and save the day. Atmospheric, folky, soulful and hypnotic with its tribal rhythms, this is a real standout and a sound which I’d happily hear a whole lot more of. The trajectory of “Vulture’s Paradise” sees Warlung going from being competent Iommi acolytes  to a vintage sounding band with many tricks up its sleeve. They tick all the Psychedelic/Stoner boxes that the beard/trucker-hat faithful enjoy, but there’s a melodic sensibility and knack for a catchy chorus which means that everyone can enjoy it.

If you like your Psychedelia with a little songcraft and a lot of melody then there’s a high chance Warlung are going to be a delightfully distorted late-addition to your favourite jams of 2022. Hook this guitar tone into my veins!

‘Sky Burial’ Official Video

TRACKLISTING:
01. Hypatia
02. Sky Burial
03. Vulture’s Paradise
04. Demonocracy
05. Return of the Warlords
06. Grave Marauders
07. Caveman Blues
08. Worship The Void
09. Runes

LINE-UP:
George Baba – Guitar/Vocals
Philip Bennett – Guitar/Vocals
Chris Tamez – Bass
Ethan Tamez – Drums

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.

Tygers Of Pan Tang – The Wreck-Age / Burning In The Shade (1985-1987)

Tygers Of Pan Tang - The Wreck-Age / Burning In The Shade (1985-1987)

Tygers Of Pan Tang – The Wreck-Age / Burning In The Shade (1985-1987)
Cherry Red Records

Release Date: 24/06/22
Running Time: 02:30:07
Review by Simon Black
3/10

The Tygers of Pan Tang are an act often mentioned as one of the keystones of the original NWOBHM movement, but despite my deep love affair of a lot of that period of musical lore, they really have passed me by somewhat.  That’s the main reason I plumped for this three CD box set courtesy of the good people at Cherry Red Records, as it felt like this was a major gap in my knowledge and a good chance to fill it. However, there’s a really obvious reason for this lack of visibility in my timeline and that is they really have struggled to maintain a cohesive sound and identity over the decades. All the way through their history, retaining a stable line up has been a nightmare for the boys from Whitley Bay (well, originally at least). This is always the killer for any band, which needs stability and a few years of building a core sound, shared musical language and most importantly a fan base. 

Nothing illustrates how hard this has been for the Tygers than the fact that for this brief two album period when they were relaunched on Music For Nations after an acrimonious split from MCA Records with a new line-up. No-one from this line-up is still with the band in its current incarnation – with only guitarist Robb Wier still representing the original line up today, but he is conspicuous by his absence on these three disks. And this incarnation sounds nothing like the NWOBHM band that helped cut the whole scene in the first place…

This set dusts down their brief tenure on Music For Nations and is a lavishly released set, with some fantastic clean-up work on the music, and a lovely packaged 3 disks, box and booklet. It’s a very well-presented set (like all the lovely sets they have been re-issuing for fans) and in its favour it really does try and present something new for that audience, with the two studio albums cleaned up and polished for the age, and a bonus disk full of demo versions.

1985’s “The Wreck-Age” is aptly named however…

Despite resisting being pushed down too commercial a route by MCA (who only seemed to see them as a covers band), this album could not have screamed “Mid-1980’s US-Radio Pap” more loudly if they had chosen that as the title. This is the glossy, slick, over-produced and short-lived incarnation of the band and although there’s some great guitar work tucked away in there plus a very rich sound for the age. However, the cringe-worthy big hair front cover photo of the band is a stark contrast to their distinctive trademark artwork usually resplendent with stripey cats in power poses. It’s as big a dropped ball as Iron Maiden ditching Eddie on the front cover in favour of a cringeworthy group shot of the band in spandex and is a massive own goal, as apart from the name it confirms how little this incarnation has with the established band brand. 

Then there’s the music… 

Now John Deverill has a good voice, but I’m not sure he is in the right band, and the generic Pop / Hard Rock direction of the tunes sort of confirms this. And to be clear, that musical direction could have worked, but not with the song-writing calibre we have on display here. It’s clichéd and cheesy throughout, and time really does not do sexist pap like ‘Women In Cages’ any favours at all. The only thing saving this from disgrace is the fluid and fiery lead guitar work from Steve Lamb and by the time the insipid Power ballad ‘Forgive And Forget’ finishes, I really wish I could. 

I am starting to regret my choices at this point, but a quick dip into Spotify cheers me up, as the top five tracks there tell me that this is a band that could crank good tunes. It’s just unfortunate that none of them appear on “The Wreck-Age”…

…It doesn’t get any better with “Burning In the Shade”. 

The insipid popiness if anything goes up a couple of notches and any pretence at Metal and heaviness is thrown completely out of the window, having left with second guitarist Neil Shepherd (with the band recording this as a three piece). There’s still a few moments of fluidity in the guitar solos, but the rest of the time the guitars are just pumping out major power chords accompanied by unforgivable twinkling keyboards that really have no place on a NWOBHM album. What makes it worse again is the only other saving grace from the previous release, John Deverill, seems to have forgotten that he’s fronting a Rock band completely by this point. Vocally his performance is Pop-barely-Rock pure and simple, and it’s really highlighting how poor the song-writing that goes with this is. This genuinely is a hard listen and it’s at this point I realise that the reason why my pace of writing has dropped from about half a dozen records a week to nothing in the last few weeks, because I really have struggled to find anything nice to say about this disk and have been rather been putting off tackling it.

Finally in the set is a bonus disk containing demo tracks of seventeen of the songs on here. I was hoping that this would be a bit rougher around the edges, and dare I say it Rock, if not Metal. With regard to relaunching their NWOBHM credibility, this demo disk doesn’t even do the courtesy of sounding a little more rough and ready in its proto form, as unfortunately all these demos have been done with a drum machine, a keyboard and the fuzziest of fuzz box guitar sounds. This period killed the Tygers for a while, and when they did reform much later on this period is completely ignored. Judging from the song-writing credits across these two disks John Deverill and hired song-writer Steve Thompson need to take the blame for all this. 

Sadly this is the Tygers in name only, and at this point I am really hoping that Cherry Red get the chance to reissue the original three albums, as that’s a legacy worth sharing, especially given the love that’s gone into making this collector’s box set, which to be fair, the completist fan is going to love, despite the challenges the material presents.

TRACKLISTING:
Disc 1: “The Wreck-Age” (1985)
01. Waiting
02. Protection
03. Innocent Eyes
04. Desert Of No Love
05. The Wreck-Age
06. Women In Cages
07. Victim
08. Ready To Run
09. All Change Faces
10. Forgive And Forget

Disc 2: “Burning In the Shade” (1987)
01. The First (The Only One)
02. Hit It
03. Dream Ticket
04. Sweet Lies
05. Maria
06. Hideaway
07. Open To Seduction
08. The Circle Of The Dance
09. Are You There
10. The Memory Fades

Disc 3: “Demos”
01. Forgive And Forget
02. Not Guilty
03. Undercurrent
04. The Wreck-Age
05. You’re On Your Own
06. Time To Regret
07. Slow Recovery
08. The Face Of Innocence
09. Shadow Of The Past
10. Waiting
11. Are You There?
12. The Circle Of The Dance
13. Don’t Think I Could Leave
14. Hideaway
15. Hit It
16. Never Say Never
17. The Memory Fades

LINE-UP:
John Deverill – Vocals (lead & backing)
Steve Lamb – Guitars, Vocals (backing)
Neil Shepherd – Guitars (“The Wreck Age” only)
Brian Dick – Drums

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.

Midnight, Night Demon, and Overthrow at New Cross Inn, London (England) 30/05/22

Midnight, Night Demon, Overthrow
New Cross Inn, London (England)
30/05/2022
Live Review and Photography by Chris Galea

To put matters in context…shortly before it was due to take place, Manorfest got cancelled. This was a great shame since its line-up of bands was nothing short of impressive. From all the bands scheduled to descend onto Whittlebury Park in central England, the bands from U.S.ofA. were in a particular quandary so they quickly tried to book some club dates in England to make their trip worth the while. Night Demon and Midnight were two such bands – instead of a festival scenario they got to play in a much more intimate setting. 

So here we are and local band Overthrow were tasked with breaking the ice. In fact, as I enter the New Cross Inn, Overthrow are just finishing their soundcheck. 

Overthrow

Despite the fact that Overthrow have been around for quite a while, this was my first foray into the band’s music. Blackened Thrash is how I’d categorize the band’s music – a genre I’ve heard many times before but Overthrow performed with an impressively tight and angst-ridden conviction.

Yes, I very much enjoyed Overthrow’s set and the crowd’s reaction suggested I wasn’t alone in that. In particular the last song in their set (which I later found out to be ‘Altar Of The Fallen’) seemed to grab the audience by the scruff of their necks and rattle them frenziedly. Such was the band’s impact. 

By that point the venue was already packed….things are looking good….

Set-list:
Pure Death
Ascension
Caustic
Seeds
Altar Of The Fallen

https://www.facebook.com/OverthrowUK

Night Demon

It’s been a while that I’ve been wanting to see Californian combo Night Demon perform live and tonight that wish comes true for the first time. The band’s music was different from that of Overthrow and Midnight….less aggressive but still very dynamic. Night Demon are directly influenced by the heaviest and most riff-laden bands of the NWOBHM. More to the point is the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed the band’s set.

As suggested earlier the trio had a very dynamic stage-presence and I had a hard time pinning them down for a few unblurred photos (always a good sign with Metal gigs). Night Demon always seemed to have an ear for the crowd’s mood and each song felt perfectly timed for the moment. Of course it helped that the band has such a great arsenal of songs in its repertoire.

Apparently the gear of Night Demon and Midnight got lost when the bands arrived in England (not a surprise really….the air travel industry has been in a shambles since Brexit). So kudos to both bands for giving the middle finger to adversity and making the most of tonight’s gig.

Set-list:
Screams In The Night
Empires Fall
Hallowed Ground
Vysteria
Kill The Pain
Howling Man
The Sun Goes Down
Dawn Rider
Are You Out There
Curse Of The Damned

https://nightdemon.net/

Midnight

For the benefit of Midnight virgins, the band (a trio…as Night Demon) plays a blackened Thrash with a Punk-like attitude. I had already been to Midnight shows before this night….always in festival scenarios….and to be totally honest I hadn’t been won over. However I have several European friends who heap praise upon Midnight so I was looking forward to re-assess this band. As the DJ stopped playing, the band members stepped onto the stage, and then…..all hell broke loose.

Besides the punters even the band members themselves stage-dived and crowd-surfed. At one point, while bassist/vocalist/band mentor Athenar was being carried from one side of the venue to the other, a member of the audience went up on stage to play his bass. I could have sworn I even saw a snare drum surfing the crowd at one point. The absence of any barrier between the audience and the low stage helped break down any psychological distinction between band and audience – it was one crowd, one Metal party.

From the street, the glance of a homeless man shifted from his bottle of booze to the venue’s transparent glass panes….his mind probably trying to decide whether he was witnessing reality or some alcohol-manufactured nightmare.

As Midnight finished their last number, the band members dumped their instruments onto the stage. Loud feedback echoed through the New Cross Inn as the trio walked through the spent audience and out of the venue.

It was a long time since I had last been to a gig with such a sweat-drenched and boisterous crowd thronging the venue. And I loved every moment of it.

Set-list:
(unavailable)

https://totalmidnight.webs.com/

LINKS:

New Cross Inn:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea and Ever Metal. All photographic images are the property of Chris Galea. 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.

Video Interview with TYSONDOG

Midnight Album Cover Art

Video Interview with TYSONDOG
Interviewed and Edited by Chris Galea

Recently, Chris Galea got a chance to catch up with Kevin Wynn, bass player of NWOBHM band, Tysondog, to chat about the band, their new album, “Midnight” which came out on 29th April 2022, and what inspires them.

Check out the full video interview here:

Video Interview with TYSONDOG

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AmpF9ODVEo

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Chris Galeaand 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.

Tysondog – Midnight

Midnight Album Cover Art

Tysondog – Midnight
From The Vaults
Release Date: 29/04/22
Running Time: 39:06
Review by Chris Galea
8/10

New releases from bands of the original NWOBHM tend to be hit or miss affairs in equal amounts. So the burning question is where does the new Tysondog album lie in this predicament?

First let’s take a step back….in 2015, Tysondog had returned to the scene with “Cry Havoc” – it was a very good album with some strong Metal belters. It showed promise. But somehow “Cry Havoc” doesn’t gel as well as this new full-length.

“Midnight” has Accept written all over it and this is a major selling point in my books. The raspy but melodic vocals of John ‘Clutch’ Carruthers and the giant riffs command you to bang your head and raise your fist in the air (hopefully not while you’re driving!).

Some songs…such as ‘Dead Man  Walking’ or ‘Paper Cuts’…didn’t enkindle my enthusiasm as much as, say, ‘Cold Day In Hell’…possibly the most complete song of the album. ‘Waiting For God’, one of the songs in “Midnight” that refers to God…either metaphorically or literally…has a very Doomy style and I liked that very much. Other themes the album’s songs deal with include horror scenarios and introspection.

My impression is that Tysondog wanted to record an album that the band members would enjoy playing live and, like a contagious disease, infect Metal fans with that fist-pumping spirit. It’s unashamedly old-school Metal and yet manages to sound modern and variegated.

This one’s a hit.

‘Midnight’ Official Lyric Video

TRACKLISTING:
01. Batallion
02. It Lives
03. Hellbound
04. Defiant
05. Midnight
06. Dead Man Walking
07. Paper Cuts
08. Cold Day In Hell
09. Waiting For God

LINE-UP:
John Clutch Carruthers – Vocals
Kev Wynn – Bass
Paul Burdis – Guitar
Phil Brewis – Drums
Stevie Morrison – Guitar

LINKS:

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.

Satan – Earth Infernal 

Earth Infernal Album Cover Art

Satan – Earth Infernal 
Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 01/04/2022
Running Time: 48:00
Review by Rory Bentley
8.5/10

If there’s one thing that makes my eyes roll back into my skull like The Undertaker, it’s disingenuous claims that certain older Heavy Metal bands have never sounded better. I know art is all subjective, but there comes a point where a reviewer is either toeing a publication’s line so as not to upset a big band, or they have lost all critical faculty and shouldn’t be reviewing art. The most obvious example being the maddening hyperbole surrounding every post-reformation Iron Maiden release and live show. “Senjutsu” had some great moments on it but if I have to make my own version of the album on Apple Music, because half of its 90-minute runtime is gash, then they clearly have sounded better.

This brings me to another band that was kicking around the NWOBHM scene when Steve Harris and the boys started out, Newcastle rockers Satan. The reason I bring up Maiden for comparison is that unlike the globe conquering Londoners, there’s a strong case for Satan sounding better than they ever have, and “Earth Infernal” adds further weight to this claim. Traditional Heavy Metal is undergoing something of a revival these days, whether it’s Visigoth’s blue collar stripped back approach or the likes of Spirit Adrift and Khemmis adding a pummelling Doom tone to the classic style. This surge of more denim and leather-minded bands has provided the perfect backdrop for Satan to finally get their flowers, as more fans are opening their minds to the more melodic pre-Thrash era of Metal’s history.

The first thing that struck me about “Earth Infernal” was the beautiful, warm analogue production. There are no click tracks, overdubs are minimal and the drums sound like they’re being played in your living room. A lot of bands from this scene go out of their way to create a Lo-Fi production job, believing they are adding an authenticity to a genre that is programmed and polished within an inch of its life, but few are able to pull it off with such clarity and precision.  This approach suits Satan down to the ground, bringing continuity between their old and new work without feeling like they’re just taking a retro approach because it’s trendy on Bandcamp. In fact this whole aesthetic would fall flat were it not for the lively, excellent performances captured here, with the band electing to leave the odd bum-note in here and there if the overall take has the right feel. When ‘Poison Elegy’ builds towards its finale, for example, there is a refreshing looseness as the band takes a few seconds to lock into the optimum temp to take the song home.

Of course, great musicianship and sound engineering can only take a band so far and Satan’s real trump card comes in the form of some immaculate songcraft. These 10 tracks display a confidence and elegance that comes with experience, seamlessly weaving between sections and knowing just the right amount of time to ride a riff or groove. ‘Burning Portrait’ perhaps best exemplifies this, as it builds tension with ascending riffs, tasteful leads and a spidery arpeggio that gradually gathers steam before thundering along at a pace that belies the band’s years. In between all this is a powerful melodic chorus that provides the perfect foil to the chaos of the verses. You don’t just rock up to your first band practice and peel out something this thrilling and fully realised.

Throughout the record the band are acutely aware of where their strengths lie, those strengths being tasteful lead lines, catchy mid-paced riffs and strong melodic vocals that never tip too far into theatricality. They accomplish this with very little distortion but a whole lot of attitude with songs like ‘Twelve Infernal Lords’ being played with more vim and vigour than most Thrash bands. The band even accomplish a compelling instrumental track in ‘Mercury’s Shadow’ where a graceful acoustic intro gives way to a huge swaggering 70’s Judas Priest riff, before leading to some classic duelling leads. I would love to see the band utilise more acoustic passages elsewhere as I really appreciated the macabre vibe they bring here.

As the ambitious closer “Earth We Bequeath” puts a bow on things by bringing in surreal jazzy keys to go along with triumphant riffs and some piercing falsetto vocals, I couldn’t help but tip my hat to Satan. There are bands that are going out of their way to sound like this that just come off as pastiche compared to the passion and craftsmanship on show here. In so many other walks of life people get better at what they do the longer they do it, but Heavy Metal bands often seem to have a sell by date after the twenty year mark. How refreshing, then that here we have a band that bucks that trend and have seemingly reached their final form in their later years. Hail Satan! Sorry I couldn’t resist.

‘Burning Portrait’ Official Video

TRACKLISTING:
01. Ascendancy
02. Burning Portrait
03. Twelve Infernal Lords
04. Mercury’s Shadow
05. A Sorrow Unspent
06. Luciferic
07. From Second Sight
08. Poison Elegy
09. The Blood Ran Deep
10. Earth We Bequeath

LINE-UP:
Brian Ross – Vocals
Russ Tippins – Guitars
Steve Ramsey – Guitars
Graeme English – Bass
Sean Taylor – Drums

LINKS:

Satan Promo Pic

Tygers Of Pan Tang – A New Heartbeat EP

A New Heartbeat EP Cover Art

Tygers Of Pan Tang – A New Heartbeat EP
Mighty Music
Release Date: 25/02/2022
Running Time: 18 minutes
Review by Paul Hutchings

8/10

They spearheaded the NWOBHM in the 1980s and, with some better guidance, could have, along with Diamond Head, been much bigger than they ever have been. But since their reformation in 1999 the band, doggedly led by guitarist Robb Weir, have released six albums, the most recent being 2019’s “Ritual”. 

During the pandemic the Tygers have been far from idle. New players have arrived in the shape of guitarist Franceso Marras and bassist Huw Holding, (although he doesn’t play bass on this release – that is left to former bassist Gav Grey), and the band now look to release this four track EP, which is full of vibrancy and positivity. Two new tracks, plus two songs revisited from the 1980 debut “Wildcat”, provide an interesting opportunity for analysis about the strength of their songwriting, over the 40 years since Whitley Bay’s finest threatened to break it big. 

The title track kicks things off and immediately it’s apparent that the new line-up is a vibrant and punchy machine. ‘A New Heartbeat’ is a full-blooded hard rocker, with ample hooks and a melody line to die for. Unlike many of their latter 1980s work, the band’s hard rock edge is retained and the production brings the power of the song to the fore. The same can be said of the energetic ‘Red Mist’ which features some heavy riffs and a real demonstration of the quality of singer Jack Meille, as he puts in a stellar performance. ‘Red Mist’ is modern and yet retains that 80s vibe that was essential to albums such as “Wildcat”, “Spellbound” and “Crazy Nights”.

The comparison with ‘Fireclown’ and ‘Killers’ from 1980’s “Wild Cat” is interesting, for although these two songs are over 40 years old, the revisions make them much more contemporary. ‘Fireclown’ thumps along and it’s only the chorus which dates the song at all. The music is well played, the solos sharp and controlled, whilst Meille’s vocals fit the band’s sound perfectly. ‘Killers’ is a little more dated, but the slightly modern feel of the song ensures it sits comfortably alongside the other more current songs. 

They may have missed the boat the first time around, and probably to an extent the second time as well, but hopefully the momentum that Tygers are building is the springboard to another decent album later this year. 

TRACKLISTING:
01. A New Heartbeat 
02. Red Mist 
03. Fireclown 
04. Killers

LINE-UP:
Robb Weir – guitar 
Francesco Marras – guitar 
Jack Meille – vocals
Gav Grey – bass (on the EP) 
Huw Holding – bass
Craig Ellis – drums 

LINKS:

Tygers Of Pantang 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.

EMQ’s with ALIEN FORCE

Alien Force Logo

EMQ’s with ALIEN FORCE

Hi everyone! Welcome to another new EMQ’s interview with Danish Classic Heavy Metal/ NWOBHM band, Alien Force. Huge thanks to their guitarist, Henrik Rasmussen, for taking part.

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

My name is Henrik Rasmussen – Guitarist in Alien Force.

In 1982, the band currently known as Alien Force started playing music under the name Zeyking. The band was started by the two brothers Henrik Rasmussen (guitar) and Michael Rasmussen (drums) and the style was already then classic heavy metal. Together with Peter Svale Andersen (vocals) and Michael Østerfelt (bass), Zeyking released the single ‘Get It Out’.

In 1985 we changed the name to Alien Force, and with a record deal with Telaeg Records, we released our first LP “Hell And High Water”. The record is nowadays a classic in the NWOBHM underground, being reprinted several times. In 1986 we released our second LP “Pain And Pleasure” via own record company Alien Records. 

After that album, times became difficult for us, and the metal scene changed in a direction that we tried to follow. Sweden’s Europe took the stage, and all of a sudden, we all had long jackets and pop hair! It created a rift in the band, and disagreement and led to replacements in the band, and the band was never the same again.

In 2008, we were invited to play a reunion concert in the famous rock club The Rock. The concert was a great success for us and once again, we got the desire for metal back.

Unfortunately, our guitarist Michael Wenzel lost his life to cancer, and it was a great blow for us again.

After a long break, in 2018, we were invited to play Keep It True, one of Germany’s largest underground metal festivals. We went there with the original line-up from the “Hell And High Water” album, and the concert served as a turning point. We met fans from all over the world, who welcomed us with open arms, and showed us that we have a loyal fan base larger than we believed.

How did you come up with your band name?

I really have no idea… hehe! I think all the good names were taken…

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

We are from Denmark and the Metal scene is really strong here as in Europe.

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

“We Meet Again” which came out on 26th November 2021, on The Vaults label.

Who have been your greatest influences?

Judas priest definitely… 

What first got you into music?

By listening to rock music in the 70s and 80s – especially the hard rock music.

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

Judas priest!

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

In Denmark, we have a festival called Copenhell, that would be nice to play… Home court, you know.

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

I have not received anything strange yet, only love letters: 0)

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

We hope you enjoy the new album, the album is made because of you … Love Alien Force.

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

Phil Lynott

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

The pleasure is clearly playing live music in front of dedicated audiences… I hate waiting time…

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

Bring the music and its value from social media back to the musicians

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

That’s a hard one… Right now it’s “Firepower” –  Judas priest.

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

If it’s done right, Vinyl!

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

Keep It True, in Germany

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

No idea

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Rob Halford, Ozzy Osborn, Richie Blackmore, Angus Young, Dave Grohl

What’s next for the band?

Getting the new album out to people as soon as possible by playing live.

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

www.facebook.com/AlienForceDK/
www.instagram.com/alienforcedk/
www.open.spotify.com/artist/05GH5nEOeKj5hHlZkLxA7q


Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Cake

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

No…

Alien Force Promo Pic

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

Steel Rhino – Steel Rhino

Steel Rhino Album Cover Art

Steel Rhino – Steel Rhino
GMR Music
Release Date: 20/08/2021
Running Time: 42:34
Review by Simon Black
8/10

Now this is an interesting project.

The name Steel Rhino evokes motes of New Wave of British Heavy Metal loudly and clearly and the music absolutely fits that mould, albeit with a good dollop of Melodic Hard Rock on top. Being the child of Swedish drummer Mikael Rosengren; hard, solid and heavy rhythms are the backbone of this three piece project. I say project as in ‘solo’ because the guitar and bass work is all the product of versatile session musician Filip Vilhemsson, with vocals supplied by the incredibly flexible Herbie Langhans. Flexible, in that every project this man contributes to, sounds like it may have been delivered by a completely different singer – such is his range. The only time I’ve seen him live, he was part of the Avantasia circus, where clean screams were more the order of the day, with the exception of his very Sisters of Mercy-esque solo spot on ‘Draconian Love’. This project sees him taking a totally different sounding rough and ready Rock ’n’ Roll turn on the mic which fits the tone of the project perfectly, being more akin to early Udo Dirkschneider in style, but whilst still giving him a few moments to scale up to the rafters and surprise you with the breadth of his vocal spectrum.

Opening with the anthemic and aptly titled ‘Rhino Attack’ this album fires high energy Traditional Metal with a rich and modern production sound. The songs could have been written in the early 1980’s, but the sound is very much of the moment. Not overtly technical in nature, but rich, fat and crisp with every contributor sounding clear in the mix and a cohesive overall band sound and feel to support it. I’m a great believer that a clear and distinct bass guitar in the mix is what truly gets heads nodding in the pit and bassist Vilhemsson clearly agrees and uses this to good effect, with that instrument tending to dominate over the guitar sound on many occasions. It works, as this album is all about the rhythms. Thundering, stampeding and unrelenting rhythms, straight out of the NWOBHM era, but not crazily speed obsessed as the sounds that followed it a few short years later. The song-writing focuses on catchiness with those solid rhythmic riffs laying the cornerstone of each song, but with good catch vocal and guitar melodies to keep an audience fist-pumping. I will be curious to see if this project ever gets the opportunity for a live outing, as these songs all feel like they would work really well in the flesh.

A cracking album, which deserves life beyond the confines of a studio project.

‘Boom Boom’ (Official Lyric Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Rhino Attack
02. Arrival
03. Lovin’ Easy
04. Steel Rhino
05. Bells Of Midnight
06. Fire & Ice
07. Ghost From The Past
08. Sands Of Time
09. Life We Choose
10. Boom Boom
11. New Tomorrow

LINE-UP:
Mikael Rosengren – Drums
Herbie Langhans – Vocals
Filip Vilhemsson – Guitar, Bass

LINKS:

Steel Rhino 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.

Redshark – Evil Realm (Expanded Edition)

Evil Realm (Expanded Edition) Album Cover Art

Redshark – Evil Realm (Expanded Edition)
Iron Oxide Records
Release Date: 04/06/2021
Running Time: 45:05
Review by Simon Black
6/10

Originally released as a five-track EP back in 2019 and presumably because COVID is still making life difficult for everyone in Barcelona, this release sees the record expanded into a full length version by splicing together this EP and its predecessor 2016’s “Rain Of Destruction” EP – with the ‘Destroy What Destroys You’ single thrown in for good measure. So this is very much a single disk summary of their back catalogue and evolution to date and not cutting any new territory. That said if, like me, you are new to the band then it’s as good a place to start as any.

That single ‘Destroy What Destroys You’ is full of 80’s infused Thrash and is the only song on here to have an original and re-recorded version. It’s also a very succinct summary of what the band are like at their best now, as it’s dripping with energy and youthful enthusiasm. The older material is more NWOBHM than Speed, but works well as vocally it’s got a very different delivery. That said, I love the energy, brashness and fury of the more recent tracks, which show a band really getting a grip with what their core sound is about.

It’s all very fast and furious and definitely more classic early Thrash/NWOBHM/Speed Metal hybridisation in style, suffering from the hangover left by punk, with a cheesy cover straight out of that period, although I have to say I love the repeated use of the band’s red shark mascot on all their branding. Most of the songs fly by in three minutes, but when they do take their time on slower and longer material, it works pretty well too, giving vocalist Pau Correas time to expand his style and show his range.

The downside of the splicing the back catalogue together is that despite label owner and Producer Bart Gabriel doing his best to remaster this, I suspect the original source material was too limited to do much with. If you don’t have the original studio masters then this can be problematic, but sometimes, even when you do, really basic recordings don’t give even the best engineer much to work with, so consequently the recording quality jumps around all over the place. It’s not clear if this is home or studio captured originally – maybe a combination of both, but either way the sound quality doesn’t do the material enough justice. Now, I know many 80’s trailblazers managed quite well with piss-poor resources back in the day, but in reality in a crowded 21st Century marketplace where recording technology is available to anyone with a half decent computer it seems a real let down. Bizarrely, the older the material  the better the recording quality is, even though the songs are not as strong, as those earliest songs have a much fatter sound.

These boys have got what it takes in terms of tunes and delivery, but desperately need to put these old recordings to bed and start afresh. If these tracks had been given the chance of a fresh studio recording session, then this would have been a very different end product, although I appreciate that COVID may not have made that an option. When they do, they may just be unstoppable…

‘Burn Your Flag’ (Official Visualiser)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Destroy What Destroys You
02. Sentenced To Kill
03. Burn Your Flag
04. The Beginning Of Storm
05. Stronger Than Ever
06. Destroy What Destroys You (remix)
07. Lost In The Streets
08. Lights Of Darkness
09. Witch
10. Fight The Rules Of Power
11. On The Edge Of War
12. Lights Of Darkness

LINE-UP:
Pau Correas – Vocals
Philip Graves – Guitars
Javier Bono – Guitars
Chris Carrest – Bass
Mark Striker – Drums

LINKS:

Redshark 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.