Stray Gods – Storm The Walls

Storm The Walls Album Cover Art

Stray Gods – Storm The Walls
ROAR! Rock Of Angels Records
Release Date: 18/03/22
Running Time: 38:26
Review by Simon Black

This Greek NWOBHM outfit is the brainchild of prolific guitarist / producer Bob Katsionis, who has a fairly broad pedigree but clearly feels as disappointed as the rest of us with Iron Maiden’s most recent offering and has given us both an album that’s part history lesson, part tribute but so totally Maidenesque as to border on copyright infringement. Not that there’s anything wrong with this by the way, as they’re far from alone – with Britain’s Monument being another example of how you can go a long way just by being honest to your influences (and it’s worth noting that Katsionis borrows Monument’s Dan Baune for some of the guitar solos). Then there’s the fact that Katsionis is completely honest about it himself, with even the Instagram page declaring “Up The Irons!” just in case any of today’s youth weren’t getting the message.

This project was born of lockdown frustration, but doesn’t sound at all like it was recorded remotely. That’s what makes it a worthwhile record for me – as it’s bristling with the bounce and energy you get from a band bouncing off of each other and has a lovely fat reverb rich 80’s feel to it to boot. The eight tracks don’t outstay their welcome either with some tight writing pulling them together, although the record falls short of a shout it out loud floor-filling hit, although the opening riff of ‘Naked In The Fire’ is as catchy as fuck – it just needs a catchy chorus to go with it. To be fair that’s the same problem Dickinson had with his late 90’s solo albums…

So, “Storm The Walls” is the debut album for Iron Maiden Stray Dogs and although the majority of the stylistic nods to the Metal masters tend towards their first four 1980’s albums, there are nods towards the more Progressive complexity that came with a vengeance when Maiden relaunched themselves for this decade. Vocally Artur Almeida is early Bruce Dickinson in air-raid siren mode but more like his 90’s solo work than Maiden and Katsonis does a reasonable rendition of the three guitar interplay layering that modern Maiden deliver, so this leads me to suspect that given there’s only him on guitar in the studio that this material is not likely to be a touring concern, but then Tobias Sammett said the same thing about Avantasia and look where that got him…

01. The Seventh Day
02. Black Horses
03. Alive For A Night
04. Silver Moon
05. Naked In The Fire
06. Love In The Dark
07. The World Is A Stage
08. Storm The Walls

Artur Almeida – Vocals
Bob Katsionis – All Guitars & Keyboards
Gus Macricostas – Bass
Thanos Pappas – Drums


Stray Gods 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.

Felskinn – Enter The Light 

Enter The Light Album Cover Art

Felskinn – Enter The Light 
ROAR! Rock Of Angels Records
Release Date: 25/02/22
Running Time: 50:08
Review by Simon Black

Felskinn is the brainchild of singer Andy Portmann and despite being around in one form or another since 2006, this is only album number four. To be fair their first two releases came fairly close together in the mid noughties, with over a ten year hiatus until 2018’s ‘Mind Over Matter’. Pandemic’s notwithstanding four years seems a manageable gap between releases, although this is their first rodeo for my ears.

This Swiss five piece are firmly in the Hard Rock / Melodic Metal category, with the sort of classic Euro sound that automatically makes one think they might be Swedish. Either way they’re in crowded waters and probably needed to be a little more distinctive to stand a chance of standing out amongst their many peers. It’s got a lavish production sound – not a bad job considering they did it themselves, but the challenge I have is that despite some nice sounds and playing and some creditable vocals from Portmann that the tracks themselves are often fairly generic and perhaps lacking some of the strong, catchy melodic hooks you need to stand out. That said, I’m enjoying their overall sound more than these words might imply and it feels like a case of being a bit shy of a few killer hooks and riffs to give the whole album a more impactful feel. I suppose if they had, I might be complaining that they were being too commercial…

It has its moments though, normally when it’s trying to be a bit more weighty with tracks like ‘The Saviour Was Born’ holding their own better than others by being both a bit more heavy, but also notably more anthemic, but when this one comes in after the half way point you can see many may have been turned off by that point. ‘Life Beyond The Line’ keeps that weight and once again feels the more catchy for being a bit more hook-laden and I’m left with the overall impression that this is two slightly different records that have been stitched together. The darker, heavier tracks in the second half work much better however and save this from being mediocre. Which is a shame as I like their overall sound and performances, I just feel that a bit more originality, gumption and mood would have gone a long way, although it’s absolutely worth starting at the half way point.

01. Darkness In Your Eyes
02. Send The Angels Down
03. Enter The Light
04. Your Life Is Mine
05. World Will End
06. Driven
07. The Saviour Was Born
08. Life Beyond The Line
09. Lonely Heart
10. The Final Reason
11. Where
12. SixFiveFour

Andy Portmann – Vocals
Martin Rauber – Lead & Rhythm Guitars, Backing Vocals
Tom Graber – Rhythm & Lead Guitars, Backing Vocals
Beat Schaub – Bass, Backing Vocals
Ronnie Wolf – Drums, Backing Vocals


Felskinn 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.

Primitai – Violence Of The Skies

Violence Of The Skies Album Cover Art

Primitai – Violence Of The Skies
ROAR! Rock Of Angels Records
Release Date: 26/03/2021
Running Time: 64:15
Review by Beth Jones

Before I start to review Primitai’s new album, “Violence Of The Skies”, I have to offer the coveted and extra special (so special that no-one except me knows it exists, and it has no physical presence) award for the best website ever to have graced the internet. If you’re a Spectrum/C64 kid of the 80’s I implore you to check it out, and I promise that you will not be disappointed. Spectacular piece of marketing! I take all my hats off to whoever designed it.

Ok, now I’ve stopped playing on the Primitai website, I suppose I should get on with what I’m actually meant to be using this space for. Let’s have a chat about the album that goes along with this ingenious internet creation! This is a space themed concept album, telling a story about “escaping the end of the world, seeking new victories and facing unknown dangers.” And, aside from that, it’s solid Heavy damn Metal, which is why we’re all really here, right? We lust for new tunes to bang our heads to and get lost in, while the rest of the world tears itself apart. Well, this album can offer you that, for just over 64 minutes of your day at least.

Deep rooted in Classic Heavy Metal, but exploring things on the Power, and Progressive side as well, Primitai join a growing breed of ‘modern’ Classic Heavy Metallers, bringing back all the vim and vigour of the greats, in a more modern way. Powerful bass, intricate rhythms, and synth are the name of the game, along with the soaring harmonised vocals, epic solos, and the duelling guitar cadences that are so synonymous to Heavy Metal. It’s Maiden with modern, Priest with more power, and Queensrÿche with an extra ‘Je ne sais quoi’!

Every track is fast paced, and in your face, but each offer their own unique little twists, to create a full story (I particularly liked the little twiddle at the end of ‘Warriors Of Time’). ‘Innocent’ has a real chug to it, especially in the middle section, which helps express the exciting direction that this sound is taking, as well as exhibit a number of other styles from across the eras. The guitar sound here I find quite 90’s Grunge in a lot of places. There’s plenty of classic European Power Metal influences rammed into this rather tasty pick and mix, as well. One such example is ‘Put To The Sword’.

‘The Cold Surface Of The Moon’ starts off with solitary piano, with effects that make you feel that it’s echoing in the emptiness of space. This is a marked change from the tracks preceding it, but it pretty quickly ramps up into another roaring anthem. However, I would say that this is one of the most classic sounding tracks on the album, with a lot of 70’s prog vibes going on in it, too. I’m a sucker for the old sound, so I think this is one of my favourite tracks on the album. This feel also continues in the following track, ‘I’ll Live Again’. However, after starting with solitary guitar, here there’s more punch when everything kicks in, and we get one of those epic guitar solos I mentioned earlier.

All in all, this is an exciting and toe-tapping album. And I really only have one criticism, but it’s nothing to do with the band, or anything that could have been controlled, it’s more a general irk with the need for everything to be digital these days (when I were a lass, you were lucky if you had a cassette player that didn’t eat your tapes, and you always kept a pencil handy just in case). The files we get to review from are usually MP3s and they compress the shit out of everything. I’ve got pretty dodgy ears anyway, but add into that the hell of compression, and I find that the vocals become muddy. This irritates me immensely, because Guy Miller has a superb voice, and the vocals should be star of the show in this genre (shut your face guitarists – you get your chance in the solos, and I’m a vocalist, so I’m biased).

But that aside, cracking album. Listen to it, have a play on their website, and that will be an afternoon well spent.

01. Stars Are My Guide
02. The Uprising
03. The Violence Of The Skies
04. Valley Of Darkness
05. Warriors Of Time (feat. Vladimir Djedovic and Mladen Pecovic)
06. Innocent
07. Put To The Sword (feat. Paul Quinn)
08. The Cold Surface Of The Moon
09. I’ll Live Again
10. The Storm Kings (feat. Tom Draper)
11. The Huntress (CD Bonus Track)
12. Prophecies (CD Bonus Track)

Guy Miller – Vocals
Srdjan Bilic – Lead and Rhythm Guitars
Scott Miller – Bass and Synth Arrangements
Jonathan Warren – Drums
Sergio “Cheko” Pedro Giron – Rhythm Guitar on ‘Innocent’/ co-Lead Guitar on ‘The Uprising’, ‘Innocent’, and ‘Stars Are My Guide’

Special Guests:
Paul Quinn (Saxon) – Guitar Solo on ‘Put To The Sword’
Tom Draper (formerly of Primitai, Carcass, Pounder) – Guitar Solo on ‘The Storm Kings’
Mladen Pecovic – Guitar Solos 1 and 2 on ‘Warriors Of Time’
Vladimir Djedovic (The Tilt) – Synth Arrangement and Keyboard Solos on ‘Warriors Of Time’


Primitai Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones 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.