Night Demon – Outsider

Outsider Album Cover Art

Night Demon – Outsider
Century Media Records
Release Date: 17/03/2023
Running Time: 37:11
Review by Richard Oliver

Traditional heavy metal is in a very healthy place in 2023.  Metal will always continue to evolve and expand in different sounds and directions but the origins of the genre are never forgotten or overlooked.  As well as a good chunk of the old school bands still kicking out great albums and putting on fantastic live shows, there has been a newer generation of bands disregarding anything beyond the 80’s and performing traditional heavy metal like it is still 1983.  The NWOTHM (New Wave Of Traditional Heavy Metal) movement has countless bands in it and one of the best out there are California’s Night Demon who are releasing their third full length album “Outsider”.

Much like the previous two Night Demon albums, “Outsider” is some straight up heavy fucking metal taking influence from the NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) scene as well as the US power metal scene of the 80’s with a sound that is rough and ready as well as very melodic.  You have songs which are driven by the driving riffs and pounding rhythm such as ‘Obsidian’ and ‘Escape From Beyond’ as well as songs where melody and atmosphere take centre stage such as ‘Beyond The Grave’ and ‘A Wake’ though one of the clear highlights of the album is one where all these elements are combined in ‘The Wrath’ with a melodic first half giving way to a riotous second half where the sound verges on speed metal.  Despite only being a three piece, the guys in Night Demon make up for it in a beefy sound and intensive performances with a fantastic vocal and thunderous bass performance from Jarvis Leatherby whilst Dusty Squires pounds his drums into dust and Armand John Anthony rips out killer riffs and sweet solos aplenty.

Night Demon have taken on the difficult third album challenge with relish and released an absolute belter of an album in “Outsider”.  Is it original sounding? Fuck no.  Does it sound good?  Fuck yes!  Like nearly all of the bands in the NWOTHM movement this is an old school sounding record with the sole intention of playing classic sounding heavy metal.  Having got into metal music at a time when it was deemed tragically uncool to like old school heavy metal with the fashion being rapping, baggy jeans and chains but heavy metal doesn’t need to be cool and whilst fashions and trends may come along they will always die off.  WIth bands like Night Demon still flying the flag for traditional heavy metal and sounding this damn good, it is safe to say that true metal will never die.

‘Escape From Beyond’ Official Video

01. Prelude
02. Outsider
03. Obsidian
04. Beyond The Grave
05. Rebirth
06. Escape From Beyond
07. A Wake
08. The Wrath
09. The Last Day (Bonus Track)

Dusty Squires – Drums
Armand John Anthony – Guitars & Keyboards
Jarvis Leatherby – Vocals & Bass


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Richard Oliver 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.

Isole – Anesidora

Anesidora Album Cover Art

Isole – Anesidora
Hammerheart Records
Release Date: 10/03/2023
Running Time: 46:10
Review by Richard Oliver

Isole are a long running doom metal band from Sweden originally forming as Forlorn back in 1991 but changing their name in 2004. The band are a four piece with an extensive back catalogue and have been purveyors of epic yet melancholic doom since the band’s inception. They are closely linked to the Swedish viking metal band Ereb Altor with two of Isole’s members also playing in the band.  “Anesidora” is the eighth album from Isole and the name stems from Roman and Greek mythology meaning, “sender of gifts”.

Since the band’s first album “Forevermore”, Isole have mixed weighty doom riffs with slow ponderous rhythms, powerful epic vocals and an air of sadness and melancholy. “Anesidora” continues this formula but this time the traditional doom metal elements are scaled back. “Anesidora” is an album that is built far more on atmosphere with a greater reliance on melody and a generally lighter feel to the music. The darkness and melancholy is still delivered in spadefuls however, as can be heard on songs such as ‘Monotonic Scream’ and ‘Vanity’ whilst the band’s more epic and melodic sound can be heard in ‘The Song Of The Whales’ and ‘Open Your Mind’.  One of the driving elements in achieving both an epic and melancholic sound are the fantastic vocals from frontman Daniel Bryntse who is backed up by guitarist Crister Olsson and bassist Jimmy Mattsson who provide backing vocals and some harsh vocals. This triple vocal attack is perfectly encapsulated in the mesmerising ‘In Abundance’, which sees the band at their most epic and melancholic sounding and is the clear highlight of the album.

“Anesidora” is another excellent album from a band who get criminally overlooked in doom metal circles. Whilst this album is a bit more lightweight musically, the songwriting is some of the best from the band and displays a maturity to the Isole sound. It may be a lighter take on the Isole sound but this is still doom through and through. A slight detour for Isole but a most welcome one.

‘The Songs Of The Whales’ Official Music Video

01. The Song Of The Whales
02. Forgive Me
03. Monotonic Scream
04. Twisted Games
05. In Abundance
06. Open Your Mind
07. Vanity

Daniel Bryntse – Guitars & Vocals
Crister Olsson – Guitars & Backing Vocals
Jimmy Mattsson – Bass & Backing Vocals
Victor Parri – Drums


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Richard Oliver 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.

Revocation – w/ Goatwhore, Alluvial and Creeping Death – Live at Fleece, Bristol

Revocation – w/ Goatwhore, Alluvial and Creeping Death
Fleece, Bristol
Live Review by Richard Oliver
Photography by Paul Hutchings 

Opening this evening of death metal majesty were Texan hardcore death metal mob Creeping Death who got the evening off to an absolute crushing start. With a style that mixes thrash and death metal with a hardcore influence this set was bound to be nothing but brutal and Creeping Death ensured that the necks got a good workout.  Pounding rhythms, punishing groove and enormous riffs were unleashed with crippling intensity during the bands 30 minute set with cuts such as ‘Skinned Alive’ and ‘The Edge Of Existence’. New song ‘Intestinal Wrap’ got the crowd very much warmed up for what was to come. The band seemed to be banging their heads as much as the audience and guitarist Trey Pemberton was throwing himself around the stage. Despite not playing to a packed out room, Creeping Death definitely earned themselves some new fans and are one of a growing number of fantastic young bands ensuring the old ways of death metal are firmly kept alive.

Next up were progressive death metal band Alluvial who compared to Creeping Death brought a far more modern and contemporary sound with downtuned and groove laden riffs reminiscent of djent bands, mixed with plenty of breakdowns that are a key component of the deathcore sound.  Originally formed as an instrumental progressive death metal band, Alluvial have switched style and brought in vocalist Kevin Muller whose hardcore bark ensured he dominated on stage.  Drummer Matthew Paulazzo dazzled with a performance that balanced technical precision and brutal ferocity whilst guitarist Wes Hauch also impressed with gnarly riffs, impressive solos and technical ability.  Another short 30 minute set where the band got down to business and blasted out songs from their “Sarcoma” album such as ‘The Putrid Sunrise’ and ‘Sleepers Become Giants’.  Alluvial don’t perform my preferred style of death metal but there was no denying that this was a cracking performance from them.

In the main support slot were New Orleans black/death/thrash legends Goatwhore. Goatwhore are a band that just scream METAL, from the bands look to their imagery and their sound which incorporates the gnarliest and ugliest elements from many extreme subgenres of metal.  Goatwhore were determined to kick faces in and destroy eardrums with an absolutely blistering and ferocious performance which was the clear highlight of the evening.  A good chunk of the set was taken from the band’s latest album “Angels Hung From The Arches Of Heaven”, such as ‘The Bestowal Of Abomination’ and ‘Nihil’ but it was when the fan favourites were played that the crowd absolutely erupted with bodies crashing, smashing and obliterating each other to belters such as ‘Baring Teeth For Revolt’, ‘Collapse In Eternal Worth’ and ‘FBS’, though the absolute highlight of the set was ‘Apocalyptic Havoc’ which was played with such speed and intensity that I thought my face was going to cave in. Guitarist Sammy Duet is a bonafide New Orleans metal legend and ripped out a barrage of filthy riffs and flesh ripping solos while the rhythm section of Trans Am on bass and Zack Simmons on drums ensured that the audience was suitably pulverised.  Frontman Louis Benjamin Falgoust II is a commanding presence stalking the stage like a man possessed and roaring with a fervent intensity though ensuring he bumped fists with as many fans in the front of the crowd as he could whilst pacing back and forth. I’ve seen Goatwhore play before but this was easily the strongest performance I’ve seen from them and was easily the most metal 45 minutes of the year thus far.

I was expecting and slightly hoping that the audience had exhausted themselves during Goatwhore but this was far from the case and as soon as headliners Revocation hit the stage the crowd erupted with carnage and chaos far in excess of what the evening had seen beforehand. Revocation are a band that perfectly merge a very technical style with a truly vicious one and boy were this crowd ready for it. The stage was predominantly bathed in red light to match the hellish theme of latest album “Netherheaven” and there was plenty of dark ambient noise in between the songs as well as hellish, demonic and satanic samples from movies interspersed throughout, but the surging mass of bodies as well as the ever growing temperature in the venue meant it felt like hell for the audience on the floor. To say that Revocation are a tight live unit would be understatement of the century and frontman David Davidson is an insanely good guitarist ripping out jaw dropping solos left right and centre. He was perfectly complemented by touring guitarist Noah Young who is also a ridiculously talented musician. Bassist Brett Bamberger is the personality of the band and just seems to be having the time of his life on stage whilst pummelling out a mean rhythm section along with drummer Ash Pearson whose blast beats threatened the structural integrity of the venue.  A good deal of the set was drawn from “Netherheaven” and previous album “The Outer Ones” with songs such as ‘Nihilistic Violence’ and ‘That Which Consumes All Things’ causing impressive and at times worrying amounts of carnage from the surging crowd.  For older fans there were ferocious renditions of ‘Madness Opus’ and ‘Communion’ before the technical badassery of ‘Dismantle The Dictator’ brought the evening to a close. Revocation rounded off a crushing evening with a truly ferocious set and I think anyone in that audience was feeling the aches and pains the morning after. A delicious evening of death metal goodness.




Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Richard Oliver and Ever Metal. Photography property of Paul Hutchings. 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.

Lovebites – Judgement Day

Judgement Day Album Cover Art

Lovebites – Judgement Day
JPU Records
Release Date: 24/02/2023
Running Time: 53:24
Review by Richard Oliver

Lovebites continue to be one of the hardest working and most productive power metal bands out there right now.  Since their formation in 2016 they have released three full length albums, three E.P.’s and three live albums and now in 2023 we have the bands fourth full length “Judgement Day”.  This is also the recorded debut appearance of the band’s new bass player Fami who joined the band last year.

“Judgement Day” continues to showcase the Japanese band’s brand of high octane power metal and despite being four albums in Lovebites are showing no signs of easing things off as this is another ripper of an album.  The band play with loads of speed and intensity whilst weaving in huge hooks and magnificent melodies with the powerhouse vocals of Asami ensuring these songs are loud and proud.  Songs such as ‘The Spirit Lives On’ and the title track contains ample amounts of speed and aggression with the thrash influence that has been a part of the bands sound since day one continuing to thrive though things are really taken up a notch with ‘Stand And Deliver (Shoot ‘Em Down)’ and ‘Dissonance’ which are both all-out speed metal feasts.  The guitar work from Midori and Miyako is shredtastic with plenty of ripping solos and razor fast riffing whilst the rhythm section of Fami on bass and Haruna on drums pummels and gallops along whilst taking no prisoners.  This is an album that really does not pause for breath with no sign of a slow song or even a ballad this time round.

Lovebites continue to impress with another album of turbo charged power metal which kicks the door down.  This band has yet to put a foot wrong and “Judgement Day” is another fantastic release which any self-respecting fan of power and melodic metal should give a listen.  With an ever-growing audience I did expect this to be the album where Lovebites went for a more user-friendly approach to their power metal sound but if anything this is the most furious album they have done since their debut and I am all for it!

‘Judgement Day’ Official Music Video

01. We Are The Resurrection
02. Judgement Day
03. The Spirit Lives On
04. Wicked Witch
05. Stand And Deliver (Shoot ‘Em Down)
06. Victim Of Time
07. My Orion
08. Lost In The Garden
09. Dissonance
10. Soldier Stands Solitarily

Haruna – Drums
Midori – Guitars
Asami – Vocals
Miyako – Guitars, Keyboards
Fami – Bass


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Richard Oliver 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.

Man Must Die – The Pain Behind It All

The Pain Behind It All Album Cover Art

Man Must Die – The Pain Behind It All
Distortion Music Group
Release Date: 17/02/2023
Running Time: 40:55
Review by Richard Oliver

Alongside Irn Bru and Tunnock’s Caramel Wafers, Man Must Die are one of the best things to come out of Scotland and whilst the aforementioned snacks may not be good for my waistline, Man Must Die are very good for my ears and they are back with a fifth album “The Pain Behind It All” which is the band’s first full length album in ten years.  A lot has happened in ten years and lots of it not at all good but it definitely provides suitable ammunition for the all-out assault that “The Pain Behind It All” proves to be.

If you have not heard Man Must Die previously then it is safe to call them a masterclass in modern Death Metal, incorporating elements from many of the different sub genres that fall under the Death Metal canopy with elements of Tech-Death and Melodeath mixing with a Brutal Death Metal edge, Thrash riffing and even some elements of Hardcore.  The songs throughout the album are nicely varied from the unbridled fury of ‘Clickhate’ and ‘Bring Me The Head Of The King’ to more melodically led songs such as ‘Enabler’ and the title track to the undeniably catchiness of ‘War Is My Will’ and ‘Who Goes There?/I.F.F.’.  The band put in a fiery performance with the machine gun drumming of Tony Corio making you sit up and take notice whilst the vocals from frontman Joe McGlynn are full of rage and fury.

“The Pain Behind It All” marks a welcome return for Man Must Die and despite the ten year gap it continues the strong run of albums the band have had with “No Tolerance For Imperfection” and “Peace Was Never An Option”.  With a really well rounded sound, Man Must DIe have an album that will appeal to many different people with different tastes within the Extreme Metal spectrum.  “The Pain Behind It All” is reinforcement that Man Must Die are a force to be reckoned with in the UK Death Metal scene.

‘Bring Me The Head Of The King’ Official Music Video

01. OCD
02. Patterns In The Chaos
03. The Pain Behind It All
04. In The Hour Before Your Death
05. Clickhate
06. Enabler
07. Bring Me The Head Of The King
08. War Is My Will
09. Alone In The Crowded Room
10. Who Goes There?/I.F.F.

Alan McFarland – Guitars
Joe McGlynn – Vocals
James Wright – Bass
Tony Corio – Drums
Michael Allan – Guitars


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Richard Oliver 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.

Sanguisugabogg – Homicidal Ecstasy

Homicidal Ecstasy Album Cover Art

Sanguisugabogg – Homicidal Ecstasy
Century Media Records
Release Date: 03/02/2023
Running Time: 45:16
Review by Richard Oliver

A band that I have seen mentioned quite a bit but never heard are Sanguisugabogg and with a name like that they are a band that will certainly make you take notice. Made up of the Latin word for leech and the English slang for toilet, Sanguisugabogg formed in Columbus, Ohio in 2019 and “Homicidal Ecstasy” is the second album for the band.

Sanguisugabogg perform a very murky, brutal, down-tuned and utterly filthy style of Death Metal and the album is a definite step up from their 2021 debut “Tortured Whole”. As vocalist Devin Swank states ““Everything became more legit. The musicianship, the production, the lyrics – which delve much more into horror and body horror – are more thought-out. It’s not just a bunch of dick and fart jokes.” The sound of the album very much matches the lyrical content of horror and body horror being an absolutely vile and uncompromising mash of Modern Brutal Death Metal, Murky Old School Death Metal with elements of Hardcore and Grindcore thrown in for good effect. Songs such as ‘Skin Cushion’, ‘Mortal Admonishment’, ‘Pissed’ and ‘Necrosexual Deviant’ shift from gnarly blasting violence to barrages of chuggy riffing and bludgeoning drums to slow and sludgy moments of pure foetid filth. Sanguisugabogg are basically making Death Metal sound as disgusting as possible.

“Homicidal Ecstasy” is an album which will appeal to those who like their Metal as filthy sounding as humanly possible but where it suffers a bit is that it is just a bit too samey throughout and, apart from a few standout songs that I mentioned above, the songs on the album are difficult to distinguish from one another. Sanguisugabogg have got a formula that works, and I imagine that when performed live these songs will sound absolutely killer but on record it all gets a bit too samey but if you are in the mood for utterly vile and depraved death metal then “Homicidal Ecstasy” will meet those requirements.

‘Necrosexual Deviant’ Official Video

01. Black Market Vasectomy
02. Face Ripped Off
03. Pissed
04. Testicular Rot
05. Hungry For Your Insides
06. Skin Cushion
07. A Lesson In Savagery
08. Narcissistic Incisions
09. Mortal Admonishment
10. Proclamation Of The Frail
11. Necrosexual Deviant
12. Feening For Bloodshed

Cody Davidson – Drums
Devin Swank – Vocals
Ced Davis – Guitars
Drew Arnold – Guitars


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Richard Oliver 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.

…And Oceans – As In Gardens, So In Tombs

As In Gardens, So In Tombs Album Cover Art

…And Oceans – As In Gardens, So In Tombs
Season Of Mist Records
Release Date: 27/01/2023
Running Time: 58:27
Review by Richard Oliver

The return of …And Oceans was a big and very pleasant surprise when they reformed in 2017. The Finnish band initially formed in 1995 and released two very well received Melodic and Symphonic Black Metal albums – “The Dynamic Gallery Of Thoughts” in 1998 and “The Symmetry Of I, The Circle Of O” in 1999. When it came to the release of their third album “A.M.G.O.D.” in 2001 the band drastically altered their sound to an Industrial and Electronic style of Metal. This style remained for follow up “Cypher” in 2002 before the band decided to change their name to Havoc Unit and then disbanded after the release of a solitary album under this moniker. Then after a few years of silence, …And Oceans returned with a mix of old and new members but with a return to their original Black Metal sound as heard of their 2020 comeback album “Cosmic World Mother”.

With the difficult comeback album out of the way and with a fantastic response from the Metal community, it was time for a follow-up, and this comes in the form of “As In Gardens, So In Tombs” and sees the band remain with the big, Melodic and Symphonic Black Metal sound that was heard on its predecessor. It is a deft mixture of ferocity and melody, with hints of melancholy. Songs such as ‘Carried On Lead Wings’, ‘Cloud Heads’ and ‘Inverse Magnification Matrix’ see the band perfectly mix that sense of melody and extremity though you also have songs such as ‘Likt Törnen Genom Kött’ and ‘The Earth Canvas’ which are some of the most melodic the band have produced with some absolutely stunning melodies. The Symphonic side of the band is still prevalent though the keyboards are only ever really used in the background or to provide an interlude. There are moments where more electronic keyboard sounds are used, throwing back to the band’s Electronic / Industrial era but again these are not a prevalent part of the album’s sound.

“As In Gardens, So In Tombs” is an album that follows on from its predecessor but builds upon what really worked on “Cosmic World Mother” and surpasses it being a far more well-rounded, organic and melodic record but the extra levels of melody prevalent do not detract from the heavy and extreme sound of the album. If you enjoy melody in your Black Metal then this album is definitely one that should be on your listening list.

‘Likt Törnen Genom Kött’ Official Audio

01. As In Gardens, So In Tombs
02. The Collector And His Construct
03. Within Fire And Crystal
04. Carried On Lead Wings
05. Likt Törnen Genom Kött
06. Cloud Heads
07. Wine Into Water
08. Inverse Magnification Matrix
09. The Earth Canvas
10. Ambivalent God
11. Samlarens Valv
12. Third Eye Catalyst

Timo Kontio – Guitar
Mathias Lillmåns – Vocals 
Teemu Saari – Guitar
Pyry Hanski – Bass


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Richard Oliver 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.

Defy The Curse – Horrors Of Human Sacrifice

Horrors Of Human Sacrifice Album Cover Art

Defy The Curse – Horrors Of Human Sacrifice
Hammerheart Records
Release Date: 13/01/2023
Running Time: 34:55 
Review by Richard Oliver

Made up of former members of well-known acts from the North Limburg region of the Netherlands such as Collision, Cauterize, Inhume, The Guilt Parade, Mangled and Legion of the Damned, Defy The Curse stormed onto the scene in 2016 with their crust infested old school death metal.  A self-titled E.P. was released in 2018 and now in 2023 the band unleashes their debut full length album “Horrors Of Human Sacrifice”.

“Horrors Of Human Sacrifice” mixes that old school death metal sound with caustic crust punk aesthetics and sludgy, dirty groove.  Different songs on the album bring different elements to the forefront with the dirty groove given prevalence on songs such as ‘The Tower Of Suffering’ and ‘Swarms’ while the crust punk rears its gnarly head on ‘Desolate Void’ and ‘Existence Consumed’. The old school death metal might dominates on ‘Dreameater’ and the fearsome title track. The band delivers a barrage of dirty riffs, ugly vocals and d-beat rhythms spread over twelve filthy songs.

This is a solid debut album from Defy The Curse. It is a very straightforward punky death metal album which does exactly what it says on the tin offering little in the way of dynamics and surprises.  This can mean that the album is very repetitive and not many of the songs really jump out and grab your attention. If straightforward crust-infused death metal is your bag then this album will tick many boxes but it may be a little too run-of-the-mill for many listeners.  It’s an enjoyable album which is a great listen for when you are in the mood for something gnarly, groovy and ugly.  

‘Leading Into The Realm Of Torment’ Official Video

01. Leading into the Realm of Torment 
02. Existence Consumed
03. The Tower of Suffering
04. Endless Curse
05. Swarms
06. The Oppressor
07. Horrors of Human Sacrifice
08. Eidolon of the Blind
09. Desolate Void
10. Serpent Cult
11. Panopticon
12. Dreameater

Boris Janssen – Bass
Bjorn Surminski – Drums
Harold Gielen – Vocals & Guitars
Wouter Wagemans – Vocals


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Richard Oliver 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.

Richard’s Top 10 Albums of 2022

Richard’s Top 10 Albums of 2022
By Richard Oliver

10. Carpenter Brut – Leather Terror

An album which may not be metal but is definitely heavy as hell. Dense and crushing darkwave with influences from metal and 80’s pop. This is such a well-rounded album which is heavy, catchy, poppy and danceable in equal measure. I’m a recent convert to Carpenter Brut and this album impressed me immeasurably and has been on repeat ever since it was released.

9. Kvaen – The Great Below

The second album from the Swedish one-man melodic black metal band and it is a glorious mix of frosty Melodic Black Metal with Thrash licks and 80’s metal guitar virtuosity. It is an album that is equally ferocious sounding as it is gloriously epic. I love the melodic side of Black Metal and this album ticks all the boxes for me.

8. Brymir – Voices In The Sky

I love a bit of bombast in my metal and Brymir delivers that in spadefuls on their fourth album. The Finnish band mix Melodeath, Folk, Power and Symphonic Metal together in glorious fashion in an album that is cinematic in scale as well as being insanely catchy. Absolutely glorious and epic stuff.

7. Septicflesh – Modern Primitive

Another album of metallic bombast. Although there are many bands that mix Symphonic sounds with Extreme Metal, Septicflesh do it the best with cinematic symphonic scores (played by a real orchestra) mixed with bone crushing Death Metal. The band don’t tread any new ground on Modern Primitive but just perfect their style and the results are breathtaking.

6. The Halo Effect – Days Of The Lost

As a massive fan of the Gothenburg Melodic Death Metal sound, the announcement of The Halo Effect got me moist. A supergroup made up of all ex-members of In Flames paying homage to that classic Gothenburg style. It isn’t just a throwback to the 90’s incorporating Progressive and Contemporary Metal elements. If you love Melodic Death Metal then this is a must hear album.

5. Evergrey – A Heartless Portrait (The Orphean Testament)

Evergrey are one of the most underrated and overlooked bands in Metal and here they continue their purple patch with the fifth in a row of brilliant albums. Dark Melodic Metal that is equally melodic, atmospheric and crushing with fantastic hooks and truly amazing vocals from Tom Englund.

4. Oceans Of Slumber – Starlight And Ash

Oceans Of Slumber dropped a lot of the Metal in their sound and the result is one of the best albums they have done. Billed as ‘New Southern Gothic’ by the band this is a beautiful album with elements of doom, dark Americana and ethereal wave with the gorgeous vocals of Cammie Beverly up front and centre. A stunning atmospheric and emotional album of music.

3. Wilderun – Epigone

Released at the very start of the year, Wilderun floored me with this stunning album of progressive metal. This sits on the heavy side of the Prog Metal spectrum with Extreme Metal sounds mixed with complex song structures, epic symphonic sounds and glorious melodies. It is a complex album that requires attention but the pay off is absolutely worth it.

2. Gaerea – Mirage

Gaerea are a band that have been going from strength to strength and Mirage is easily the best thing the band have done. Taking different elements from the vast genre that is Black Metal, this is an album that is truly ferocious, gloriously atmospheric, subtly melodic and bursting with passion and emotion. Modern Black Metal does not get better than this.

1. An Abstract Illusion – Woe

Albums which mix Progressive and Extreme Metal sounds seem to have made up a lot of this list, but An Abstract Illusion performs it in such breathtaking style. I had not heard this band prior to this release so they are a new discovery and what a discovery they are. This is an album that continually shifts in sound, atmosphere and mood throughout its duration with moments of peaceful calm and intense heaviness sitting alongside each other and crossing into each other in perfect harmony. If you miss Opeth releasing heavy music, then An Abstract Illusion is the band that will easily fill that void for you.

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Richard Oliver 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.

Magnum, with support from Vega, and Theia at Tramshed, Cardiff 07/12/22

Magnum, with support from Vega, and Theia
Tramshed, Cardiff
Live Review by Richard Oliver
Photography by Paul Hutchings 

Opening tonight’s proceedings were alternative rock two-piece Theia.  Describing themselves as “the bastard sons of Royal Blood and Twenty One Pilots”, the duo had the tough job of warming up a frozen crowd thanks to the sub-zero temperatures outside.  With a mix of accessible, modern and straightforward rock mixed with plenty of self-deprecating humour, dad jokes and a determination to have fun, Theia succeeded in winning round the audience by the time they finished their set.  The duo are brothers with Kyle Lamley on vocals and guitar and Ash Lamley on the drums whe rest of the instrumentation being provided by backing tracks.  Whilst backing tracks are commonly used by bands there was an over-reliance on them which detracted from the live experience for me.  Whilst the music wasn’t the sort of thing I would listen to out of choice, there was no denying the fun and enthusiasm put forth by Theia and they did a great job of warming up the audience in The Tramshed.

Landing the main support slot were UK melodic hard rockers Vega.  The band are a six-piece who formed in 2009 and have been mainstays of the melodic and hard rock circuit since with a string of excellent albums.  I have seen Vega perform multiple times and they are always an exceptional act and tonight was no different.  They are an immensely slick and polished act and masters of their craft, with absolutely flawless performances especially from lead guitarist Marcus Thurston, who cracked out some absolutely fantastic solos and from frontman Nick Workman who never fails to impress with his vocal range.  Many in the crowd were familiar with Vega and cheered, clapped and sang along enthusiastically to songs such as Worth Dying For, Every Little Monster and White Flag.  Their set was brought to a close with a cover of Def Leppard’s radio Rock classic ‘Animal’, which was a bit of an odd choice considering Vega have seven albums worth of their own material but it went down well with all the classic rock fans in the house.  Once again Vega proved themselves to be one of the top acts in the UK AOR and Melodic Rock scene.

Headlining the evening were a band that really needs no introduction with a career spanning 50 years and a discography longer than the extended versions of The Lord Of The Rings trilogy – it was the legendary Magnum.  The show had been postponed from earlier in the year due to a member of the band catching covid, but this was a show that was definitely worth the wait.  Two members of the band are now in their 70’s but this certainly does not hold back the band in terms of intensity and enthusiasm, with Magnum performing to a level that most bands should aspire to.  There was fantastic interplay between the members, especially between guitarist Tony Clarkin and keyboard player Rick Benton.  Legendary frontman Bob Catley may have a few vocal wobbles here and there, but his stamina and stage presence which belies his age and the vocal interplay between him and bassist Dennis Ward was sublime.  The love and loyalty from the band’s fanbase has not dimmed either and the band seem to be gaining new fans as there was a real cross-section of generations in attendance at the show and the cheers, clapping and sing-alongs were in abundance.  With fifty years of material and twenty-two albums to pick from it is always going to be difficult for a band to find a setlist which covers their career unless they played for five hours, but Magnum managed to find an excellent balance with songs from latest album “The Monster Roars”, songs off more recent albums such as ‘Lost On The Road To Eternity’ and ‘Where Are You Eden?’ as well as some deeper cuts such as ‘Dance Of The Black Tattoo’ and ‘The Flood (Red Cloud’s War)’ as well as songs from what are deemed as the classic albums, which of course got the biggest and most enthusiastic responses from the audience, such as ‘Days Of No Trust’, ‘Rockin’ Chair’, ‘All England’s Eyes’, ‘Vigilante’ and ‘On A Storyteller’s Night’.  Bands like Magnum aren’t going to be with us for much longer as time and age marches on, but right now they are still at their peak; playing killer shows and releasing great albums.  The balance between newer and older songs shows that Magnum are far from a nostalgia act and are still an essential band in the Melodic and Hard Rick scene.  With shows as good as this one, get out  and see Magnum whilst you still have a chance.




Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Richard and Ever Metal. Photography property of Paul Hutchings. 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.