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.

Witch Cross – Angel Of Death

Angel Of Death Album Cover Art
Angel Of Death Cover

Witch Cross – Angel Of Death
High Roller Records
Release Date: 11/06/2021
Running Time: 44.06
Review by Simon Black
6/10

Denmark’s Witch Cross are one of those veteran bands that have been treading the boards for a long time without ever achieving the same kind of reputation as country contemporaries like, most noticeably, Merciful Fate. Given that NWOBHM Retro is definitely in at the moment I was curious to see how these guys would play this out. This record screams early 80’s from every pore, managing to both musically feel and production-wise sound like it was of that era, so much so that I had to check that this was not a remaster of earlier material. In terms of capturing an ethos and sound, it’s absolutely spot on and full of NWOBHM twin guitars, with lots of early Priest style structures that really does feel like it’s from that period.

The title song opens well, with a good punch and classic Metal groove, with arrangements that sound like they fell straight out of the period. Lyrically too this is very classic NWOBHM fare of swords and/or sorcery. The second song ‘Marauders’ is a slower rocker and, unfortunately, rather plods along for its five minutes of run time. ‘Evil Eye’ is way shorter and much the stronger for it, with a more epic and expansive sound that takes it to the verge of Power Metal with the subtle keyboard overlays and its anthemic chorus – it’s one of the strongest tracks on here.

The trouble is the light buzzy guitar sound of the early 80’s that runs throughout this record was a symptom of the limits of that period’s recording technology or the experience of whoever was on the desk, with bands at the time always sounding fatter and heavier live, frequently sharing their frustration that the recording tech couldn’t capture that live sound when asked. That retro sound starts to wear very quickly in 2021 however and by the time I get to the mid-point ‘The Chosen One’ I was rather done with it. The Maidenesque ‘Phoenix Fire’ helps, as it brings the pace up again, proving, not for the first time, that the shorter songs work better. The one longer song that does work is ‘Siren’s Song’, which has one of the catchiest riffs I’ve heard in ages. I can see that one being a real crowd pleaser with its moody gotta-bang-along feel but with enough epic layering and some sparingly used choral vocal lines tucked away in the instrumental section.

Overall, this is a tricky one though, as there’s a fine line between bands trying to sound like the old analogue days and failing to show that they’ve moved on in the intervening years. I guess the challenge is that you can spend too long on the look and feel of a bygone age rather than on focusing on writing material that’s going to sound good after the next thirty years have passed. Newer bands seem better at balancing this, because more Modern Metal sounds are as much a part of their DNA as the ones, they’ve found in their parents’ vinyl shelves, but older bands sometimes struggle. With my 90’s amp and mixer plugged into my computer, I have the luxury of easily being able to turn the treble settings right down, fatten up the EQ and crank the volume and this immediately starts to sound so very much better, (it also sounds good in my headphones – Rick) but anyone listening on stream on a phone or through a smart speaker may not have that luxury. It really does spoil what would otherwise be a really strong album because the song-writing and performances are absolutely great. I’m sure I will probably love this live, but on the turntables, this feels like it’s been a little lost with an experiment in recreation of analogue in a digital world, rather than trying to build for the future.

‘Phoenix Fire’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Tempus Mori Est
02. Angel Of Death
03. Marauders
04. Evil Eye
05. The Chosen One
06. Phoenix Fire
07. Siren’s Song
08. Eye Of The Storm
09. Last Rites
10. Warrior

LINE-UP:
Kevin Moore – Vocals
Paul Martin – Guitars
Mike Wlad – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Little John Field – Bass
Jesper Haugaard – Drums

LINKS:

Witch Cross Promo Pic
All Rights Reserved

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.

Arched Fire – Remote Control

Remote Control Album Cover Art

Arched Fire – Remote Control
WormHoleDeath
Release Date: 30/04/2021
Running Time: 38:44
Review by Simon Black
6/10

There’s been a lot of this of late. This, being bands I’ve never heard of releasing albums with a several decades back story that is. The recent revival in NWOBHM and the 80’s in general has seen a wave of new acts influenced by their parent’s (or indeed grand-parents) record collections in much the same I was by my Mum’s Stones and Beatles records a long time ago. It’s also seen a lot of acts who were around at the time and either did not stay the pace, or never really got going before Grunge et al became the focus of the easily distracted labels searching for the next big thing.

Finland’s Arched Fire definitely fall into that final category who were teenagers when they formed in 1989 and by the time they had got their shit together, the world had well and truly moved on. They folded early, without really getting the chance to even dent a wider, and at that time, burgeoning European Underground scene, with all the members moving on to other projects in the intervening years before reforming very recently and producing this album. After thirty-two years of gestation and the experience gained on other projects the old A&R adage that a band has years to write the first album has never been more correct and it would be interesting to know just how many of the songs were birthed in the 1980’s.

So enough of the history and on to the present.

Stylistically this is NWOBHM with a strong vein of Speed Metal running though it and a few Thrash-like motes and time changes thrown in for good measure. I’m quite enjoying Kristian Herkman’s vocal turn, which alternates from a straight Rock / Metal clean delivery to some incredibly high ranging shrill screams that hybridise Halford’s unique turn on ‘Painkiller’ whilst snorting Martin Walkyier’s Sabbat era delivery. It’s an odd mixture but works quite well and adds variety and tone to proceedings.

Musically the guitar work is fluid and melodic when the solos come around, but the overall musical arrangements can sound a little jerky and I am left with the feeling that even though the material has been simmering on the pot for a long time, that it could have also benefitted for a little more time spent on pre-production. It’s also let down a little by the production, which whilst retaining that retro feel of a hastily recorded demo just doesn’t sound rich enough for the day and age we live in. The drums and vocals suffer from this in particular although the stringed instruments sound punchy and fat. It’s frustrating, as with a little more care the overall sound would have compensated somewhat for the chaotic arrangements. Nevertheless, an interesting start, and I can see the energy and chaos being transferred into the live arena much more effectively.

‘Wormhole’ (Lyric Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Hindsight 20/20
02. Back On Track
03. Remote-Controlled End
04. Crawling Down
05. …And Ride Away
06. A.T.W.
07. Wormhole
08. Escape
09. Futile
10. From Dust To Dust

LINE-UP:
Kristian Herkman – Vocals
Aslak Purojärvi – Drums
Mika Rytilahti – Bass
Janne Särkelä – Lead & Rhythm Guitars
Ari Väntänen – Rhythm Guitar

LINKS:

Arched Fire Promo Pic (credit Tapio Wilska)
Photo Credit: Tapio Wilska

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.

Butterfly – Doorways Of Time

Doorways Of Time Album Cover Art

Butterfly – Doorways Of Time
Petrichor
Release Date: 05/03/2021
Running Time: 37:01
Review by Simon Black
9/10

Sometimes bands don’t make it easy for you. It was genuinely the kind of hard work, us journalists in the third decade of the 21st Century intensely dislike, to find out who actually is in this Australian band, as their press release says nothing. That’s about three minutes digging on Google, for those of you who have not had our decades of intensely specialised training and experience – I mean I had to start going to the second page of the search results! And here lies part of the charm, as not only is the music from another decade, so too is their internet presence. Try it – their Facebook page is updated regularly, but is a bit Spartan and apart from a Bandcamp link (which you know you want to follow) there is really nothing else out there. That’s rather wonderful, as it forces us lazy journalists to focus entirely on what we have at our disposal, to whit the nine songs sent for review.

The MP3 version of this has actually been out there since last June and this release is mainly for the benefit of the physical versions, which include a retro 180g audiophile vinyl version, as well as a CD and yes, even a cassette tape version. They weren’t even on Spotify when I first reviewed this (they are now), so I was even starting to think they might have a phobia for any technology post 1980’s, but then considering how most bands usually end up paying more to services like that in listing fees than they ever recoup, I can hardly blame them. The music has its feet very firmly in the very early 1970’s, and to be honest I would say even further back than that with a generous helping of US psychedelic in the guitar sound and the trippy vocal harmonies. The sound is very much of that early Hard Rock ethos, despite the twin guitars and a bit of mild distortion, it all feels very pre-Metal to me, making this a refreshing change and in many ways I’m reminded of the mood and tone of Steppenwolf.

The vocals are an incredibly powerful factor in this band, as each of the four instrumentalists shares the vocal duties, so you get the kind of variety and range across the tracks that evokes early KISS. Clearly having a group of people able bring their own distinct songs to the table whilst still retaining a distinct house sound feels like a lost skill for the generations that grew up obsessing over who was fronting the band. That variety extends to the song-writing – all clearly the same band but each track is clearly and distinctly its own beast, with a production quality and sound that genuinely feels like it was cut on fifty-year-old recording technology and remastered recently and nails the retro feel more accurately than many bands riding that wave currently. Cats In Space, check your rear-view mirror, you aren’t alone…

So, our esteemed editor asked me a key question, which was do I actually like this record? And the answer is a resounding “Yes”. I mean there aren’t many albums that feel like they belong from before I was born, given that I came into this world 11 days before the first Black Sabbath album and that alone needs a celebratory drink raising.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Desert Chase
02. Climbing A Mountain
03. Doorways Of Time
04. The Night Is On Its Way
05. No Body
06. The Sin
07. Heavy Metal Highway
08. Crawling
09. The Scorpion

LINE-UP:
Phil Gresig – Vocals, Bass
Rob Wog – Vocals, Drums
Luke Robertson – Vocals, Guitars
Philip T. King – Vocals, Guitars

LINKS:
Official website – Nah!
Instagram – Do we look like millennials?
Twitter – What the mother-in-law does
Youtube – Do you mind? This is a family web site!

Butterfly 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.