Archive for the CDs Category

Epica – The Solace System

Posted in CDs, Music, Uncategorized with tags , on September 28, 2017 by Sara Hammerzmith

One year after the release of ”The Holographic Principle” Epica releases a six track long EP called ”The Solace System”. The six tracks featured are songs that got left over from the writing process of the last album, yet songs they did not want to go to waste. And now, we have this EP.

The EP opens quite powerfully with the opening track ”The Solace System”, which is somewhat what I’d expect of any Epica album. The EP continues with a heavier and rougher track in ”Fight Your Demons” Before exploding in the epic and greatness that is ”Architect of Light” before going back into the heaviness and roughness. There’s a beautiful little breakdown with ”Immortal Melancholy” to break off the pounding before tying up the album with ”Decoded Poetry”. It’s following the same theme of quantuum physics kind of lyrics, so no real new surprises there.

I like the EP. I think it’s a nice break off from The Holographic Principle, and I understand that they had a hard time not releasing this, and I’m glad they did as I really enjoy it. It’s very much the same old that we are used to with Epica – epic arrangements, bombastic song and catchy melodylines. Sadly, as far as this EP goes, nothing really new for them. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it, now does it?

Favorite song: Now You’ll Never Know
Least Favorite:
Dance-friendliness:  2/6
Headbang-friendliness:  4/ 6
Crowd-friendliness: 1/6

// Sara

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REVIEW: Serious Black – Magic

Posted in CDs, Uncategorized with tags , , , on September 8, 2017 by Sara Hammerzmith

Serious Black – probably one of the most productive bands in metal today, is out with their third album in just three years – and their career has been going nothing but up. Starting out with a few tours with HammerFall and Gamma Ray, they then continued on to have successful headline tours – and are currently out on one more as we speak. “Magic” is their first attempt at a concept album – fitting concept, seeing the name is inspired by Sirius Black from Harry Potter. Aside the concept, the band hoped to achieve a diverse and organic- feel album, without too much production.

So how about the album then?

As mentioned, this is a conceptalbum. Throughout the album, lyrically, we follow the story of Mr Nightmist and his journey to unravel the secrets and mysteries of the world. The lyrical theme follows through on each song, binding it all together. The lyrics are well made – you can follow the story quite easily, and they all link together.

Musically, the album starts off with a, at first spoken, intro that moves into instrumental, launching you into the first song of the album, “Binary Magic” which carries and in-your-face kind of intro, and then calms down for the verse only to pick up the speed again, merging into a pretty powerful chorus. The album then continues on with an aggressive second song, “Burn! Witches Burn!”, which sadly falls a bit flat at the chorus for me personally.

And the album moves a bit up and down like this – the catchy “Lone Gunmen Rule” to the very sentimental “Now You’ll Never Know” which quickly grew into be one of my favorites off the album. While the album is quite diversed, they still link together nicely, with the common Serious Black sound we have all gotten used to.

The final ending of the album is a more calm and hidden song called “One Final Song” which I find very interesting – consisting of hints toward “Bohemian Rhapsody” it quickly becomes the most interesting song on the album, and also personally for me, the only song that actually grasps the context of magic.

Because that is what I felt was missing. The songs linked together, the lyrics was fine – but I missed some sort of ‘magical’ or ‘carnival’ kind of accessory to keep the concept up, making it a red thread, which shouldn’t be an impossibility as we’ve seen bands like Lordi and Avatar do it before – and even the band themselves in their last song.

The album is, all in all, pretty good though. Certain points as mentioned would have made it even better, but songwriting wise it was really good. All that is missing is the whole feel of a concept.

Favorite song: Now You’ll Never Know
Least Favorite: Serious Black Magic. But it’s hard to pick.
Dance-friendliness:  4/14
Headbang-friendliness:  8/ 14
Crowd-friendliness: 3/14


(Label: AFM Records)

// Sara

 

Alestorm – No Grave But The Sea

Posted in CDs, Music, Uncategorized with tags , on June 2, 2017 by Sara Hammerzmith

Scotland based Alestorm were bein’ formed back in 2004 originally as a simple power metal band, but th’ success o’ “Heavy Metal Pirates” made them adapt th’ pirate theme completely, and incorporatin’ some folk elements in their music – th’ music we today be knowin’ as pirate Metal, by Davy Jones’ locker.  At th’ time, they were active under Battleheart, but changed th’ name as they signed with Napalm Records, and in 2008 their debut album “Cap’n Morgans Revenge” were bein’ released. Now, several years and three additional albums later, they be back with “No Grave But the Sea”

th’ album starts off with an epic and adventurous, yet energetic and heavy openin’ track, which also happens t’ be th’ titletrack. It continues on in th’ exact same vein with th’ single “Mexico” until it falls into th’ more… Yo-ho-ho, pass the grog! I dern’t be knowin’ exactly what th’ word I’m lookin’ fer be, but melancholic kind o’ songs, ye scurvey dog. Lowkey songs which gives ye th’ feelin’ o’ sittin’ below deck chattin’ about tales told o’ pirates long gone. They be very detailed, in fact, just as we remember them from previous albums. Elliot be back screamin’ in “Alestorm”, which be great t’ hear, even though it saddens me a bit that th’ shanty seems like a watered down version o’ “Drink” from their previous album.

After bein’ “serious” fer a while, we get another one o’ those “give fucks all” kind o’ shanty in “Fucked with an Anchor”, and dinna spare the whip! I’ve come t’ grow very, very fond o’ this shanty, which surprises meself a lot, seein’ I dern’t have a lot o’er fer songs like this. After this, we get back t’ th’ tales o’ ancient pirates and th’ whole album be beautifully wrapped up with th’ almost eight minute long last shanty, “Treasure Island” which be an euphoric and adventurous shanty, bringin’ thoughts back t’ bands like Bloodbound, wrappin’ up all th’ quests we have already been through.

Musically, th’ album be very similar t’ previous works, but has gotten th’ extra spice as far as th’ arrangements goes, avast. It’s bigger, ’tis bolder and it feels like there’s been a lot o’ thought put into it, and dinna spare the whip! I’m in complete love with all th’ sudden violin breakdowns that happens throughout th’ album, avast. Overall, I think ’tis a good album. At times, it gets a bit… same barnacle-covered same barnacle-covered, I guess ye could say, but o’er all ’tis really good.

And swab the deck, and a bottle of rum! Filled with many crowdfriendly anthems, aggressive songs t’ mosh t’ and tales t’ barrel o’ rum t’, we’ll keel-haul ye! And not t’ mention: An entire album dedicated t’ dogs, avast. What a time t’ be alive.

Ahoy me hearties!

Favorite shanty: Fucked with an Anchor
Shanty makin’ me wanna walk the plank: Alestorm
Dance-friendliness:  5/10
Headbang-friendliness:  7/ 10
Crowd-friendliness: 9/10

// Sara

Art Nation – Liberation

Posted in CDs, Music, Uncategorized with tags , on May 15, 2017 by Sara Hammerzmith

So, Gothenburg based Art Nation is back with their second album, following up the smashing debut that was “Revolution”. I have personally been waiting for this album forever, or well, it feels like it for sure. But you know what they say – good comes to those who wait. So I had to wait, patiently. But finally – at the end of April – I even managed to do the rookiemistake of misjudging the date – it arrived. The precious little album.

The album opens up with the latest single and musicvideo “Ghost Town”, which follows the exact same vein as the previous album, but it’s the second track of the album – “Maniac” – that really catches my interest at first. The rhythm of the song, the energetic chorus… I’m just loving it. The rest of the album follows the same vein – it’s melodic, it has a lot of rhythm, big arrangement and catchy tunes, mixed with a beautiful balled and a couple of heavier, or perhaps more aggressive songs.

But – let me put it this way. This album is basically a rear window, or a blast from the past. While the material may be a step forward for the band themselves, this album is like a lovestory straight out of the 80’s. Lita Ford meets Danger Danger with a taste of Mötley Crüe. There were some songs, “What Do You Want” that I honestly thought is basically the child of “Kiss Me Deadly” and “Rock America” by the two first mentioned bands. A real, nice, blast from the past in the shape of new talents.

 

I think the album is pretty good. It took a while for me, I will admit, to really fall for the album, and I sadly think it’s a tad bit weaker than the previous one – in this sense because it has more songs I skip, but on the other hand, the songs I like, are really good and really strong, so I guess it makes up for it – which makes it a bit hard to rate. But I would still recommend it, highly.

Favorite song: Take Me Home
Least Favorite song: One Nation
Dance-friendliness:  7/11
Headbang-friendliness:  4/ 11
Crowd-friendliness: 7/11

// Sara

Adrenaline Rush – Soul Survivor

Posted in CDs, Music, Uncategorized with tags , on April 22, 2017 by Sara Hammerzmith

Stockholmbased Adrenaline Rush is back with their second album, following the highly acclaimed selftitled debutalbum. It was in 2012 when Erik Mårtensson (Eclipse) joined forces with Tåve to record what would become the debutalbum of the band – later on getting all the pieces together for a new, energetic rockband. After going through a line up change as well as involving more songwriters in the process, the second album is finally here.

The first thing we are getting thrown in the face is the energetic and surprisingly, heavier, song fittingly called “Adrenaline” – and the album follows in the same vein. It’s faster and rawer than the previous album, making quite an improvement, if you ask me. However – the biggest improvement lies in Tåves vocal capability. She seems to have made quite a journey since last, which offers a lot of new interesting dimensions to the album, really taking it to the next level together with the heavier musical style.

Listening to this album though, is like listening to a classic album from the 80’s, as far as the different song material goes. We got the more aggressive songs, the sweeter songs, the more party kind of songs – as if Danger Danger and and Mötley Crüe had a badass daughter. Lyricwise it is very similar to the previous though – the rebellious kind of songs about breaking free, finding yourself and perhaps a broken heart or two.

My own personal favorite on this album is the title track, “Soul Survivor” which is somewhat similar to “When We’re Gone” from the previous, a more low key song with a beautiful message. I’m absolutely addicted.

With that said, I must admit I enjoy this album a lot, it’s a big step forward for the band themselves, and I hope I get the chance to see them some time with the new line up and the new material.

Favorite song: Soul Survivor
Least Favorite song: Break The Silence
Dance-friendliness:  6/13
Headbang-friendliness:  7/ 13
Crowd-friendliness: 8/13

// Sara

Sumo Cyco – Opus Mar

Posted in CDs, Music, Uncategorized with tags , on April 19, 2017 by Sara Hammerzmith

It all started for me when I was feeling like I really, really did not want to attend said Butcher Babies show, where I figured I’d check out the supportband, just as a last resort. The first thing I said upon hearing “The Ugly” was “I hate this, but it intrigues me”. Which the same words I’ve used for bands as Lordi.

Here we are, one year later, and I’m completely sold of Sumo Cyco, and in March I finally recieved my pledged “Opus Mar” album. And oh how I’ve been waiting for this, all back from when “Anti-Anthem” was released as it’s first single last year.

Listening to “Opus Mar” is like being on a trainride going someplace. The first part of the album, much like a journey – starts off exciting with intense and powerful songs, to name a few the singles “Anti- Anthem” and “Move Mountains” – strong melodies with interesting rhythms and beats, giving you exactly that kind of Cyco feeling you, or at least I, am used to from the previous album.

Only this time around, it’s a bit more – more rawer, more intense, heavier and dirtier than before. The lyrics are still the same type of outcast-kind-of-anthems, yet a bit more aggressive even on that point. Sever has really made sure to put all of her vocal capacity to max – we hear her screaming, sing and even rap this time around – but what intrigues me the most are the small, very swift, appearances of the clean beauty of her voice. It appeared only briefly in songs like “Building Castles”, and it gives me an infinite amount of respect for her as a singer.

When continuing down the road, the album also tones down. It reaches the tranquilized stage of the journey, where you are settled in and perhaps even doze of, with songs that aren’t necessarily bad, but they are a bit anonymous. But, then, as we are reaching the final destination the excitement is being picked up again with one more flaming work in “The Broadcasters (Murdering by Radio)” which is a fresh breeze amongst the more bland songs, before going into the hysteric moment of anxiousness and stress that dismounting a vehicle can be – getting off, finding your luggage, before the calm of arrival comes upon you in the last collecting song “Building Castles”.

I’m actually impressed by this album. It’s such a big step forward from their previous album and not to mention, to see them grow this much as they have – both as songwriters, musicians and producers. I really recommend everybody to check it out if you can, be it you buy it from them or on Spotify, because this band is flaming.

Favorite song: Move Mountains
Least Favorite song: Words (I don’t dislike it, but I have to choose)
Dance-friendliness:  4/13
Headbang-friendliness:  6/ 13
Crowd-friendliness: 8/13

I Amazon I Sumo Cyco Store I

// Sara

 

United in a Scream

Posted in CDs on April 11, 2017 by Sara Hammerzmith

Today has been a really, really good day. Like, honestly. Firstly, I got a propers night sleep which is absolutely awesome for once. Secondly, I signed the contract for my new apartment! Woo! It’s going to be pretty great – it’s a nice place, my dreamplace, in fact.

And to top it off even more, I got a job I applied for which will make things sooo much easier to deal with, everything is really just going my way today, huh?

And to make it even better – I finally, after a long time of searching, found an album I had been looking for for the longest of time. I was originally down at Knastret in order to kill some time before the meeting, and when I stumbled upon the album I even got so shocked to see it that I stared at it for a good while before realizing what it was.

“Straight Down The Line” with Return. I’ve had this on vinyl for the longest of time, and now finally I have it on CD. FINALLY. While browsing about the CD’s, I came across another one from Return’s catalouge, and I figured, they, why the hell not? And this is the story on how “Attitudes” also came about my recordcollection.

I guess it is pretty safe that say that, good comes to those who waits. Couldn’t be more true in this case. If you excuse me, I’m just gonna go and add in these precious new albums!

// Sara