For fans of commercial alternative rock with some grunge influences, today we have Dream Circus and their debut full-length “Land of Make Believe”. Not being our main cup of tea, this release delivers 10 tracks of catchy music that we wouldn’t be surprised if it’s playing on the radio when we go to a supermarket or something like that. This Portuguese band does a solid job in creating effective guitar-driven tracks, but ultimately fails to grab our attention due to its very traditional nature.
Rocking hard since the opener “Make Believe”, the band nicely sets a very enjoyable mood with soaring vocals and well-crafted guitars. Not challenging themselves too much, the band goes through tracks like “So Long”, “Crown”, “Going Down”, and “Poison” with a rather simple, but effective, musical structure. James Powell’s vocals are probably the best thing worth noticing since they are very good and similar to what mainstream bands sound like.
The Swedish Psychedelic rockers of Witchcraft are finally back after five years since their last release, with a heavy hitting album titled “Legend”. In this highly anticipated release the band delivers nine tracks of excellent Psychedelic Rock that will propel them back into the top ranks of this re-emerging genre. Labeled as one of the bands that propelled the revival of the genre back in the mid 2000’s, Witchcraft shows their musical quality in every compelling song that they present in this release.
Featuring a heavier sound since the opener “Deconstruction”, the band delivers powerful Doom-ish riffs that are nicely adorned by Magnus Pelander’s excellent vocals. The Psychedelic vibe is immediately present with the funky guitar work and the drumming nicely rounds things up. Things really pick-up with the super catchy “It’s Not Because Of You”, indeed a very well-crafted track that features excellent vocals, intricate guitar work, and a super catchy chorus section. There is no doubt that this track is the indisputable first single of the release.
With the current wave of old-school Psychedelic/Occult Rock bands popping out these days, it is interesting to see one that does not sing in English and that they seem to be doing their own thing and not playing the cookie cutter typical music that other bands are doing. Seremonia hails from Finland and with their debut self-titled release they are showing the world you can still do something ‘old-school’ and still sound different than the rest.
With a huge (and very evident) Black Sabbath influence, the band still fuses some weird proto-Metal and even hints of Punk with a shit-ton of weird sounds that create a very unique and fuzzy sounding musical experience. Since the first licks of the opening track “Urhrjuhla”, the band truly carves their own unique and well defined style that will haunt your dreams for weeks. The guitars are very typical, but the distorted creepy vocals of Noora Federley are quite unique and weird since they sound very raw and natural.
With an extremely unique sound, today we have Sichelstein and their self-titled EP. Presenting five tracks of very retro sounding music, this band manages to create a sick mixture of Shoegaze and Black Metal with Darkwave and Gothic Rock elements with very depressive vibe. Totally unexpected and raw, this release is one of the most interesting ones we have received from Valse Sinistre in the last few months.
The opener builds up nicely with some very raw sounding guitars and some very new wave-ish keyboards, but it finally explodes with creepily distorted harsh vocals and some organs. “Das Leben” is the most Shoegaze-y track in thise release with a heavy dose of trippy guitars paired with more creepy keyboards and completely deranged vocals, a very interesting listening experience indeed.
Delivering her second solo release for Napalm Records, today we have Liv Kristine with “Libertine”. Utilizing her ‘gap’ year between Leaves’ Eyes releases, Lik Kristine and company (husband Alex Krull and Thorsten Bauer, both band mates from Leaves’ Eyes), manage to squeeze in eleven tracks of catchy Pop/Alternative Rock music that showcases Liv’s sweet vocals and knack for keeping busy writing songs all year round.
Opening with the very mellow and folk-ish “Interlude”, this release is off to a very solid start, unlike her previous 2010 effort “Skintight”. The power ballad “Silence” is a clear example of why most Metal heads that like female fronted metal love Liv Kristine, her vocals are angelic and with a simple combination of piano/cello/whatever string instrument, they are greatly highlighted and sound like a million dollars. Featuring very powerful and engaging guitarwork, we have to give a nod to the very entertaining but somewhat repetitive “Panic”.
Continuing providing insights into the mysterious ways of the Process Church of the Final Judgment, today we have Sabbath Assembly and their second release titled “Ye Are Gods”. Using the process and text from the churches holiest mass “Sabbath Assembly”, this release provides a unique insight into the intricate theology behind the church in a very authentic fashion thanks to the role of Genesis P-Orridge as the hight priestess.
The first track “Let Us All Give Praise And Validation” opens like a regular churche service with Genesis providing a few words before the choir takes the lead, this opening delivers the first of many goose bump moments in this very eerie release. Our first (and only) beef with this album is that Jex Thoth has been replaced with Jamie Myers (ex-Hammers of Misfortune). While both are extremely talented singers, we think that Jex’s voice is a bit deeper and thus better fitted for the music, but Jamie does a great job in capturing the essence of the music in this release.
Arriving from Italy, today we have Klogr and their very dynamic and intense debut full-length “Till You Decay”. It is instantly evident that huge amount of work (and money) has been put into this very well crafted release. The production is as good as it gets and everything sounds as if you had the band playing in your living room (or car). Featuring eleven tracks of a hybrid between alt-rock and Alternative/Modern Metal, the songs presented here are very well balanced between the genres and deliver a very rich aural experience.
Opening with “Live Dying”, the band uses a melodic approach to lure the listener into their highly diverse sound. As the pounding guitars make their presence felt, that alt rock/Metal vibe is immediately present. The band’s vocalist (and guitarists) Rusty has a very strong and engaging voice, that while very commercial sounding, it gets the job done and nicely leads the songs in this release. The highly melodic “Silk and Thorns” shows a different side of the band, and a very catchy one indeed.
Led by the strong vocals of Sandrine Humbert, today we have Useless Concept and their latest release “Mysterious Impact”. Combining Hard Rock with some Metal and Progressive elements and a few jazzy/funky hints, this release delivers twelve tracks of excellent and catchy music. Being originally and instrumental, and then a Progressive Metal band, Useless Concept has come a long way to their current shape, but it sure works for them and to the advantage of the listeners.
Opening with “Emphatic Experience”, the band starts on a high note thanks to Sandrine’s vocal and the excellent music behind this track. The heavy Rock vibe is quite enjoyable, but the little progressive elements are what makes the music standout even more. The riff centric “Live and Learn” keeps things rolling, but the atmospheric elements of “Amy” really give the band that extra depth that many inexperienced bands are lacking.
Delivering an excellent hard rocking release, today we have Sweden’s Crucified Barbara and their third full-length release “The Midnight Chase”. Featuring eleven songs of Hard Rock with some Metal elements, this release is very well written and extremely catchy. The band’s attitude since the opener “The Crucifier” is very determinate and quite effective in delivering powerful Thrashy riffs with more traditional drum structures.
Mia Coldheart’s vocals are raspy enough to have that early Motorhead vibe, giving the band’s sound that old-school vibe that other bands would kill for. The melodic aspect of the band’s music is also quite excellent, on tracks like “Shut Your Mouth”, and “Into the Fire” there are very cool melodic passages that add diversity to the band’s sound. The tempo changes like on “Rules and Bones” add depth to the band’s musical arsenal, but ultimately the killer guitars and catchy lyrics are what make the songs an excellent listening experience.
Delivering the first ‘Lita Ford’ album, as she has claimed, since her return back in 2008, “Living Like a Runaway” is an excellent musical journey to the past of Heavy Metal / Rock. Featuring ten super catchy and well-crafted songs, this release is probably one the few albums that we can say has no filler tracks and only features high-quality music.
Taking a very ‘back to the basics’ approach, the opener “Branded” delivers high-octane guitar riffing and catchy vocal lines. The structure of the music is very basic, and this makes it work even better by having that nice old-school vibe that traditional Heavy Metal fans like in their music. The guitar work is top notch and nicely enhances the overall sound with some subtle solos. In a more Glam-like approach, “Hate” has a super catchy chorus section that will have you humming it in your head for the rest of the week.