Lacrimas Profundere – How To Shroud Yourself With Night

How To Shroud Yourself With Night Album Cover Art

Lacrimas Profundere – How To Shroud Yourself With Night
Steamhammer / SPV
Release Date: 26/08/22
Running Time: 39:59
Review by Rick Eaglestone
6/10

“How To Shroud Yourself With Night” starts off slightly different to how I expected it, having more of a narration style which I’m honestly not overkeen on, but fortunately this is followed up by ‘A Cloak Woven of Stars’. This is peppered with riffs and more of the Dark Metal sound that I’m accustomed to, then an unexpected nostalgic throwback to Godhead’s “2000 Years of Human Error” with the vocals on ‘Nebula’

I was starting to think it wasn’t going to happen, but the Gothic Rock finally gets played on ‘In A Lengthening Shadow’ and it’s so satisfying, that it’s become an early contender for highlight track of the album, but then that illusion is almost shattered by ‘The Curtain of White Silence’ which sounds completely out of place.

I can’t help but struggle with the heavier sound the band is taking. ‘Unseen’ passes through without much of an impact, fortunately there are some saving graces that bring back the darker, Gothic influences. ‘The Vastness of Infinity’ has saved this album for me and for that reason is my actual highlight track of the album.

An almost Symphonic approach to the start of ‘To Disappear in You’ disperses and morphs into a track that if anything, shows how for the most part the band have evolved their sound. Then just as I write that the band deliver an absolute home run with ‘An Invisible Beginning.’

Finally, ‘Shroud of Night’ closes the album and I am honestly at a loss as to how I exactly feel about this release, as the part I love, I really love and others I’m going to try and get past them at first click. I’m hoping over time I grow to fully appreciate it.

‘To Disappear In You’ Official Video

TRACKLISTING:
01. Wall Of Gloom
02. A Cloak Woven of Stars
03. Nebula
04. In A Lengthening Shadow
05. The Curtain of White Silence
06. Unseen
07. The Vastness of Infinity 
08. To Disappear in You
09. An Invisible Beginning 
10. Shroud of Night

LINE-UP:
Julian Larre – Vocals
Oliver Nikolas Schmid – Guitars
Ilker Ersin – Bass
Dominik Scholz – Drums

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rick Eaglestone 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.

Axel Rudi Pell – Lost XXIII

Lost XXIII Album Cover Art

Axel Rudi Pell – Lost XXIII
Steamhammer / SPV
Release Date: 15/04/22
Running Time: 54:43
Review by Simon Black
9/10

Very few in the UK’s rather niche Melodic Metal market have even heard of this man (despite his chart successes everywhere), although he’s been cranking out solo albums for decades after a brief stint in Steeler in the 80’s. In many ways he’s a defining backbone in the overall sound of the Melodic Metal movement and probably also the template for eighty percent of the output of the Italian label Frontiers, who have singularly failed to bag him.

So for the benefit of my friends in the UK, Pell is an accomplished guitarist and songwriter from Germany, with an absolute flair for capturing the catchy Melo-Metal song. This is his twenty-first studio record in thirty years – that’s a prodigious rate of output for any artist, and there’s been no shortage of live and compilation records as well. He’s also managed to keep his line up stable for over twenty years (some swivelling on the drum stool notwithstanding) so I would expect the output to be a bit formulaic, stale and by the numbers by this point, given that he usually releases something every year. 

How wrong I was…

It’s easy to be pulled into that kind of thinking – like Power Metal, it’s a genre with few true originals, and many, many copycats; but in Pell’s case it’s a reputation well deserved. Check out the infectious radio friendly ‘No Compromise’ for a start. It’s the kind of track that had it been released in the USA in the mid-80’s would have had them headlining arenas state wide faster than you can say “Paternity law suit” on a Mötley Crüe tour bus. I even found myself enjoying the balladic current single ‘Gone With The Wind’, and that’s normally the point I am reaching for the skip button, but this one is thoughtful, soulful and moody, and really gives the gravelly edged larynx of Johnny Gioeli a chance to shine. 

In many ways it’s a stylistic greatest hits for Pell, who’s choices in thematics have bounced round the aisles over the decades. From the 80’s lighter-wavers I mentioned above, to the heavier more technical shredding phase of the mid-90’s (‘Freight Train’), or the out Power nonsense of ‘Follow The Beast’, to the blindingly good instrumental ‘The Rise of Ankhoor’ and the epically heavy closing title track, this one runs the gamut, but without sounding messy or jaded.

I wasn’t expecting to like this at all. Indeed I kept putting off writing the review, which meant it had a full five spins by the time I rolled up my sleeves, by which time I was hooked! Unexpectedly and surprisingly memorable.

‘Gone With The Wind’ Official Audio

TRACKLISTING:
01. Lost XXIII Prequel (Intro)
02. Survive
03. No Compromise
04. Down On The Streets
05. Gone With The Wind
06. Freight Train
07. Follow The Beast
08. Fly With Me
09. The Rise Of Ankhoor
10. Lost XXIII

LINE-UP:
Johnny Gioeli – Lead and Backing Vocals
Axel Rudi Pell – Lead, Rhythm and Acoustic Guitars
Ferdy Doernberg – Keyboards
Volker Krawczak – Bass
Bobby Rondinelli – 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.

Solstice – To Dust

To Dust Album Cover Art

Solstice – To Dust
SPV
Release Date: 08/04/22
Running Time: 41:00
Review by Paul Hutchings 
8/10

Having been part of the initial wave of Death Metal that surged through Florida, Solstice released two now revered albums in the first half of the 90’s: “Solstice” and “Pray”. A combination of Death and Thrash Metal, both albums carved a niche in the pantheons of Death Metal for eternity. Having gone their separate ways (founders Rob Barrett and Alex Marquez having already left to form Malevolent Creation after Solstice), it was something of a surprise when in 2009 a new, reformed line-up that included drummer Brian Harris (Foul Stench, later had a stint in Firewind and who is in print on YouTube comments saying that he was on this album as a hired gun – his performance is stellar, regardless), alongside guitarist / vocalist Christian Rudes, guitarist Dennis Munoz and bassist Garret Scott.

The Result was “To Dust”, 41 minutes of blisteringly heavy Death Metal that contains bruiser after bruiser with a cover of Cynic’s ‘Extremes’ included for good measure. Unrelenting from the opening bars of ‘Black’ through to the concluding ‘The Whisper’, this is an album for connoisseurs and newcomers to the band alike. The riffs are brutal, and memorable, the vocals of Rudes demonic and yet enunciated to a level that is distinguishable whilst the engine room of Scott and Harris is tighter than a Yorkshireman at the bar. 

The more you listen to “To Dust” the more you appreciate the driving bass that Scott administers throughout. Diving deep into the body, sending shock waves rippling through the listener with the guttural vocals corrupting the vital organs, sending them into a state of paralysis. There are time changes a plenty, sitting comfortably with more straightforward assaults that ripple through the brain with relentless energy. Even ‘The Whisper’, which one might think would bring a calmer conclusion to the album denies you that, instead bringing a final onslaught that spares nothing.

With most tracks coming in between three and four minutes, there is ample opportunity to get stuck in. Check out the ferocity of ‘Swarm’, with its pulsing vitality, punishing riffing and overall face melting approach. ‘Honest Human Emotion’ throws forward some of the best soloing on the album, the twin guitars blisteringly good in harmony as they race across the pummelling below. 

Solstice are one of the most influential bands in the Floridian Death Metal scene and ‘To Dust’ sits amongst the classics. If you’ve never heard this, then just ensure you are sitting securely, for once play is pressed, you’ll be in for hell of a ride. 

TRACKLISTING:
01. Black 
02. To Dust
03. Honest Human Emotion
04. Sovereignty
05. Swarm
06. Moment of Clarity
07. Passionless
08. Extremes
09. Impressive Technology
10. The Whisper

LINE-UP:
Christian Rudes – Vocals, Guitar 
Dennis Munoz – Guitar 
Garret Scott – Bass 
Brian Harris – Drums

LINKS:


 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.

Magnum – The Monster Roars

Magnum Album Cover Art

Magnum – The Monster Roars
Steamhammer / SPV
Release Date: 14/01/22
Running Time: 58:27
Review by Simon Black
9/10

I need to be honest with you here, I’ve loved this band since I was about sixteen, which is a very, very long time ago. Even back in the mid-Eighties, Magnum were a bit of an outlier. Not really part of the mainstream Rock scene but with a toe dipped subtly into the Metal world, and by making themselves that little bit more anthemic, they nonetheless had organically built themselves a considerable following in that decade. It took a while mind and remember that they’ve been going since flared trousers were first in fashion, but during that time, and despite the ropey early record labels, the painfully underinvested production values courtesy of skinflint Don Arden and an endlessly dodgy club slogging circuit that would have demolished the enthusiasm of many other acts, they still built themselves a very devoted and loving fan base of which I’m happy to count myself a part. 

By the time I found them they had clawed themselves up into Major Label Land in time for their breakout (and still standout) “On A Storyteller’s Night” and from then on they were unstoppable for a while, having elevated themselves to arena status for their absolute high spot ‘Wings of Heaven’ tour. Their momentum misfired in the early 90’s, but then so did everyone’s, and for a bit they threw in the towel and went on hiatus until a side-project called Hard Rain convinced main man Tony Clarkin and front man Bob Catley that the love was absolutely still there, and a reformation was in order. Having attended both their ‘farewell’ in 1996 and their return in 2002 at their hometown I couldn’t have been respectively sadder, then happier. Since that time Magnum have steadily cranked out (mostly) credible and decent albums to the loyal, who I suspect are going to really like this one, and completely continue to deliver the goods live with the annual touring schedule (well, they would but you know, Covid). 

There’s a subtly darker feel to the whole record, which starts with the much more stylistically dark cover – a clean break from the usual colourful fantasy Rodney Matthews fare, opting instead for a moody photo courtesy of former Hard Rain drummer Rob Barrow, of the still firmly fairytale and fantasy titular beast. This feels like Magnum rebooting themselves for a new decade and you can’t help but respect them for managing to pull the same trick off for five decades and counting…

What makes it work is that the central essence of the band is still there in Toby Clarkin and Bob Catley. Between them they have written and sung on every track in their considerable back catalogue and despite no longer having any of the other original members involved, have nonetheless in their current incarnation rolled in a stand out group of musos who really love and understand that core Magnum sound. In fact I’m really loving Rick Benton’s keyboard contributions on this record as although much as I loved original stalwart Mark Stanway’s sounds, Benton is a way more technically accomplished player and adds some lovely classical and progressive flourishes on top of the usual melody lines that Clarkin pitches for. The rhythm section feels really fluid this time out too, with some lovely interplay between Ward and Morris that makes this feel like a band with a bit of hunger once more, whilst still keeping those distinctive heart-nudging guitar licks and vocal melody lines and that are Clarkin and Catley’s unique selling point.

And then there’s Bob’s voice. 

This man is well into his seventies, yet seems to have grown into his voice which has matured like the finest of aged single malt whiskeys – dusky, smokey and full of richness. He may not be able to scale the octaves in quite the same way (although he can still surprise you live), but he’s lost none of his delivery, soul and emotion which now bring a lovely, deep maturity to proceedings. Musically Clarkin is not doing anything radically different and I would be annoyed if he did, but this is a mature and well-crafted album with plenty of tonal variety. It’s perhaps not as capable of blowing your socks off so consistently in the way that “On The 13th Day” did (because let’s face it that one went up to eleven), but it’s pretty damn close and this line up has definitely bedded down now. Hopefully they will get to prove this on the road, given that 2020’s “The Serpent Rings” never got the benefit of a live outing but this year’s piece definitely feels a much stronger and richer piece of work, so that’s probably all for the good. Solid, dependable, catchy as fuck and still capable of making my sad old heart beat just that little bit firster, this is a welcome return to form.

‘I Won’t Let you down’ (Official Lyric Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. The Monster Roars
02. Remember
03. All You Believe In
04. I Won’t Let You Down
05. The Present Not the Past
06. No Steppin’ Stones
07. That Freedom Word
08. Your Blood Is Violence
09. Walk the Silent Hours
10. The Day After the Night Before
11. Come Holy Men
12. Can’t Buy Yourself Heaven

LINE-UP:
Tony Clarkin – Guitar
Bob Catley – Vocals
Rick Benton – Keyboards
Dennis Ward – Bass
Lee Morris – Drums

LINKS:

Magnum 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.

Rage – Resurrection Day

Resurrection Day Album Cover Art

Rage – Resurrection Day
Steamhammer/SPV
Release Date: 17/09/2021
Running Time: 50:02
Review by Simon Black
8/10

Rage have been at this a long time.

Although from the same German historic Power Metal label stable as Helloween, they have not quite managed to become such a major name outside of Power Metal circles, which is a shame, as the back catalogue of twenty-six studio albums, ten EP’s and four live albums since 1984 is bloody impressive by anyone’s standards. A quick look at the dizzying number of line-up changes that have revolved around Vocalist and Bassist Peavy Wagner over the decades may go some way to explaining that. Line-up changes take the wind out of any progress a band makes by slowing down the momentum and constantly forcing their fan base to readjust and this time it’s almost a completely new line up behind Peavy, with only drummer Vassilios Maniatopoulos still in play from previous incarnations, and even then this is only his second studio contribution. That’s the negative side. The positive aspect is you get to effectively reboot and ditch the parts that did not work, but either way it still does not make continuous growth and brand consistency easy.

The twelve tracks on here all have a huge amount of energy and this doesn’t feel like an old band going through the motions, but then eighteen months of lock downs and practically a new band will put a fire under most acts. The songs all have strength and enthusiasm in abundance and Peavy et al still have a lot they want to say. Musically this is mostly full pelt Power with added orchestrations, a healthy dollop of Speed Metal, with a few Thrashy touches in the time structures and vocal arrangements. Peavey is very much at the front of the mix, as you would expect since basically he is Rage. That said the musicianship from the rest of the band is top notch, but could do with being a bit more present in the mix other than during the solos.

‘Monetary Goods’ is the strongest track by a country mile – it’s anthemic and punchy and it holds its own far better than a lot of the material on here, which could have benefitted from a bit of pruning to be brutally honest. That said there’s nothing wrong with the rest of the material, but with a bit more of this catchiness sprinkled throughout then this would have been a resounding ten out of ten. Nevertheless, Rage remain masters of the genre and continue to be relevant.

‘Virginity’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Memento Vitae (Overture)
02. Resurrection Day
03. Virginity
04. A New Land
05. Arrogance and Ignorance
06. Man in Chains
07. The Age of Reason
08. Monetary Gods
09. Mind Control
10. Traveling Through Time
11. Black Room
12. Extinction Overkill

LINE-UP:
Peavy Wagner – Vocals & Bass
Vassilios Maniatopoulos – Drums
Stefan Weber – Guitars
Jean Borman – Guitars

LINKS:

Rage 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.

Sodom – Bombenhagel EP

Bombenhagel EP Cover Art

Sodom – Bombenhagel EP
Steamhammer/SPV
Release Date: 20/08/2021
Running Time: 14:47
Review by Dark Juan
8/10

Greetings, my sybaritic sycophants! It is I, Dark Juan, sometime Satanist, wannabe psychopomp and all round generally poor judge of character, and I have returned from a sojourn to France to drag my record collection, other possessions and Mrs. Dark Juan’s ridiculously colossal library back to jolly old Blighty, the plague island. Already I am objecting to the price of alcohol in the UK, when in France I could pick up a splendid bottle of red for the princely sum of 1.91EUR. In the company of my lovely friends over there and more especially my travel and work buddy Tony (whom Mrs. Dark Juan has now christened my ginger wife, for reasons best known only to herself) many bottles were sunk (although Tony was afraid of my favourite French tipple, Demon biere blonde, at a mere 12% strength) and the work was completed, which now means that the Smellhounds and their human servants are now living in a jungle of cardboard boxes and Dark Juan Terrace resembles a combination of an insane taxidermy studio, a moving company’s warehouse and a particularly grotty record shop. Which were always the best kind, as far as I am concerned. Also, books are fucking heavy. Twenty fucking eight boxes of books we lugged back between us… You’d expect me to look like Charles fucking Atlas after loading and unloading those bastards. I don’t. (More like Charles Dance 😂 – Rick)

I look like a tired old man who has overexerted himself with his twenty something girlfriend after a massive cocaine binge.

On that happy image, I’ll stop telling you about myself and instead let you know that I am listening to German thrashmeisters Sodom and their latest EP “Bombenhagel”. This is a three tracker, with the title track being a re-recorded version of the song originally released on the classic “Persecution Mania” album, way back when, in 1987. Fuck, I’m old. I remember that record being released. Anyway, Sodom have wisely not moved a single inch from their classic Eurothrash blueprint, which is a great thing from my point of view, because I have been able to indulge in a teenage nostalgiafest, remembering the first time I heard “Agent Orange” and reminiscing about the sheer excitement that thrash metal produced in me as a young, impressionable lad for whom Iron Maiden wasn’t cutting it anymore. Before I discovered Morbid Angel, anyway. ‘Bombenhagel’ doesn’t actually sound that different from the original version, the main difference being the twin guitar attack of Yorck Segatz and Frank Blackfire, as opposed to the single guitar lines of yore. Harris Johns also contributes a solo. There’s even a sneaky bit of the Stars And Stripes snuck into the end of the tune!!! It’s a decent version of a classic song though.

After ‘Bombenhagel’ we are into the realms of new material – ‘Coup De Grace’ being a paean to the depravity of the human race and the fact we are administering the coup de grace to ourselves as a species, what with the climate emergency going on around us and the absolute disregard the capitalist classes are paying to it, and ‘Pestiferous Posse’ being written about the cowboys, the outlaws and the gunfight at the OK Corral, and how it references to modern events, such as the storming of the US Capitol by a bunch of deluded dickheads who wished to overthrow democracy.

Musically, we are in classic thrash metal territory. Serrated, pistoning riffing and blistering solos and whammy bar dives are the order of the day, underpinned with snot nosed punk attitude and high-speed double bass drumming. Tom Angelripper’s mid pitched growl sounds as vibrant, snappy and snarly as ever and his distorted punk influenced bass punches through the guitar work with menace. The production on the EP is also the ultraclassic Eurothrash sound, rhythm guitars and bass slightly soupy sounding, with the drumming sitting proud, clean and kinglike above the rest of the music, and clear, clarion cymbals ringing arctically through it all.

All in all, the “Bombenhagel” EP is a jolly fine listen, a sub-15-minute thrash metal blast that doesn’t bring anything new to the table but proving that thrash metal done right will never die. With recent releases from Sacred Reich and Thrasherwolf and the like, thrash is undergoing something of a renaissance in the underground.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Das patentierte Dark Juan Blutspritzer-Bewertungssystem – I fucking LOVE German! Everything sounds better in German) awards these Teutonic thrash titans 8/10 for a fine EP, lacking only in bringing anything avant-garde to the music.

‘Bombenhagel 2021’ (Lyric Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Bombenhagel
02. Coup De Grace
03. Pestiferous Posse

LINE-UP:
Tom Angelripper – Vocals, Bass
Yorck Segatz – Guitars
Frank Blackfire – Guitars
Toni Merkel – Drums

LINKS:

Sodom Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ 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.

Vicious Rumors – Concussion Protocol

Vicious Rumors – Concussion Protocol
SPV/Steamhammer
Release Date: 26/08/2016
Running Time: 49:44
Review by Dawn King
9/10

Being a fan of Vicious Rumors for as long as I can remember, I jumped at the chance to review their forthcoming album “Concussion Protocol.”

Due for release on 26th August 2016 by SPV/Steamhammer, “Concussion Protocol” is the band’s twelfth studio album and marks a return to form for the California based heavy metallers.

The brainchild of guitarist Geoff Thorpe, who would hand out business cards in the name of Vicious Rumors at gigs and clubs before he had even brought together any musicians, the band formed in 1979 in the San Francisco Bay area, and have undergone several line-up changes over the years, none more so that the passing of vocalist Carl Albert in 1995.

But, as has been said many times about this awesome band, Vicious Rumors do not follow trends, they create them.

Their first two albums, 1985’s “Soldiers of the Night” and “Digital Dictator” from 1988, have become classic metal albums, full of hunger, passion and desire that helped formed heavy metal as we know it, and, although often classed as a thrash band, they were, in fact, pioneers of the power metal movement.

“Concussion Protocol” sees them return to their trademark sound of those first two classic albums and promises a “roller coaster ride of pure, unadulterated, cutting edge metal.”

As Thorpe, himself, states “the album is relentless and crushing in true, classic Vicious Rumors style but with many twists and turns. Believe me, you’re in for a treat!”

And what a treat this album is. The first concept album from the band, it tells the chilling story of an armageddon by a global killer asteroid and how humanity unravels in its wake. It is full of fast blazing guitar solos, pummelling drum sounds from Larry Howe, the only other surviving member of the original band, thick and heavy bass lines and a vocal range of singer Nick Holleman that could rival that of Halford, Tate and even King Diamond.

Nick, who joined the band in 2013, puts in a stunning performance, giving the already immense display of musicianship and talent something extra with his passion and conviction, and, along with thundery beats, fantastic guitar playing and drum assaults, this album really kicks you in the head, making your ears bleed.

This is old school, headbanging, brainwashing metal at its finest and is delivered at a break neck speed throughout, with just a temporary break in tempo with “Circle of Life”, at track number seven, before throwing you headlong back into an oncoming metal assault.

The stand out track for me was “Chasing The Priest”, its swirling guitar work, full on drumming and gritty vocals, reminding me just how damn good this band are, and always have been.

Vicious Rumors should be bigger than what they are and I would recommend them to any metal fan, young and old.

Go and buy this album, and then go and buy everything else they have ever done. If you like your music metal, and your metal heavy….then this is the band for you!

TRACKLISTING:
1. Concussion Protocol
2. Chemical Slaves
3. Victims Of A Digital World
4. Chasing The Priest
5. Last Of Our Kind
6. 1000 Years
7. Circle Of Secrets
8. Take It Or Leave It
9. Bastards
10.Every Blessing Is A Curse
11. Life For A Life

LINE-UP:
Geoff Thorpe – guitars, vocals
Larry Howe – drums, vocals
Tilen H – bass, vocals
Thaen Rasmussen – guitars
Nick H. – lead vocals

LINKS:

678_photo

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

Reproduced here with kind permission from Metal Gods TV