An enjoyable schema sticking to the old way of songwriting, involving a few banalities

bulldozing-bastard

Bulldozing Bastard – Under the Ram (2015)

Review by Estelle for Metalegion Magazine on the 13th of Januar 2017

TRACKLIST

  1. Queen Of The Night
  2. Tornado
  3. Mayhem Without Mercy
  4. Full Speed Ahead
  5. Brassknuckle Deathstrike
  6. Under The Ram
  7. Alleys Of The Underground
  8. Let The Bastard Roar
  9. Black Metal Slut
  10. Once The Dust Has Settled

RELEASE DETAILS
Genre: Black/Speed Metal
Label: High Roller Records
Country: Germany
Date: March 13th, 2015

LINEUP
Irön Kommander – Vocals, Bass
Genözider – Vocals, Guitars, Drums


under-the-ramIf I wanted to follow the same route Bulldozing Bastard decided to take (why not get right to the point and flood people with all my thoughts immediately at the beginning), I would say: As Under the Ram begins you know straight away what to await; however, as the album rolls along you notice that these assumptions also have not been changing nor evolving in any way.

On the one hand it does mean you get what you expect and that can always be considered a positive aspect, yet on the other hand you do not receive neither any variation nor anything new that has not been done numbers and numbers of times before in the last 49 years since the genre heavy metal with the founding of Black Sabbath came into existence.

As the two German black/speeders start with their newest 2015 record, the pounding aggressivity kicks immediately in the face of the listener and does not let us out from this grip of flowing, streaming violence until the last song of the record. They are masculine, speedy and energetic while delivering the filthy, straight songs where elements of rock ‘n’ roll mixed with a little punk, NWOBHM, speed and black metal also turn up.

I do have to state that the music itself is enjoyable, whilst they are so primly trying to be old school and evil while playing their absolutely primitive but catchy songs with dirty blackened vocals in the vein of old Venom, Bathory, the Italian black/speed/thrash masters Bulldozer (judging by the name ‘Bulldozing Bastard’ apparently the largest influence on them), Motörhead and some Tank that it nearly comes over comically and in a stereotypical manner.

Their song titles, labels of the band members and lyrics are similarly somewhat cliched aiming to (simplified) come near to the old way of representing obscurity; a good example would be the 3rd track ‘Mayhem Without Mercy’:  “And as I pass through the seven gates / The fullmoon’s shining bright // For tonight, I’ve witnessed glory / Sorcery and might”.
And to continue being picky by coming up with a final negative angle, the flooding rage also results hearing almost no transition and so not getting the chance to make a difference between the songs as one already got deeper into the album and got used to Bulldozing Bastard’s (fresh and intense) sound.

However, at the very end with the last, slower and longer song ‘Once The Dust Has Settled’ with more melodic guitar lines and some Iron Maiden feel to it we do get a bit from the lacking variety, what’s more the song also seems to be more thought-out and better-worked-out as the other slashing tracks of the album – a bit of a deduction after the continuous ripping for the previous 25 minutes.

On the whole Bulldozing Bastard’s Under the Ram from 2015 is a rather enjoyable disc with some likable catchy riffs saturated with melodic fast guitar sounds built in here and there, with hearable decent bass lines as well as a dynamic, fresh sound and energy of two spirited German maniacs.
If one does not expect any groundbreaking idea but a schema that follows the old way of songwriting involving a few banalities yet enhanced with an actual youthful sound, I do recommend having a go at the record.

10/7


Here you can show your friends you listen to cool music
Here you can adapt your look to your habit of listening to cool music

Not a hint of desperation or artificialness

insolitude

In Solitude – In Solitude (2008)

Review by Estelle on the 2nd of July 2015

First part of the In Solitude-review series as a tribute to the band after their break-up.

TRACKLIST

  1. In the Darkness
  2. Witches Sabbath
  3. Kathedral
  4. Beyond is Where I Learn
  5. 7th Ghost
  6. Faceless Mistress
  7. Temple of the Unknown
  8. The Monolith

RELEASE DETAILS
Genre: Heavy Metal

Label: High Roller Records
Country: Sweden
Date: December 22nd, 2008

LINEUP
Pelle Åhman – Vocals

Uno Bruniusson – Drums
Gottfrid Åhman ­– Bass
Mattias Gustafsson – Guitars
Niklas Lindström – Guitars


insolThe five-piece Swedish heavy metal band In Solitude (formed in 2002, split up in April 2015) is one of the few bands I can think of who have three albums out, all of them showing a different side of theirs yet each being fully characteristic, representative and outstanding in their own way. On their debut In Solitude the band put the stress on instinctiveness, catchiness and simplicity – very much to fans’ delight.

As album-opener In the Darkness strikes, the first thing our ears spot is the odd, drawling, low-pitched voice of Pelle Åhman – then come the simple yet fresh, well-written and catchy riffs that keep flowing and flowing through each song until the very end, taking over the lead and turning out to be the most important component of the record.
The album consists of melodically complex songs with mesmerizing tunes in the veins of 80s heavy metal, surrounded by a great deal of mistery and obscureness. Even though In Solitude is a far cry from a ‘copy-band’, we cannot ignore the obvious Mercyful Fate/King Diamond influences both appearing in the vibe, melodies and lyrics of the album (e.g. Witches Sabbath). The lyrics include occult, otherwordly, mystical themes with no signs of irony or silliness, keeping the listener from not taking them seriously.

Everything fits together astonishingly: the ominous voice of Pelle, the harmonized instruments, the strange yet matching combination of the energy and freshness and the misty, gloomy atmosphere. To my great surprise (as I’m personally not the largest fan of modern sound), on the Swedish guys’ debut even the clear production is appropriate as it gives an edge to the dark, cold, haunting tone of classic heavy metal In Solitude managed to capture perfectly, making the Mercyful Fate-like gruesomeness come alive.
Everything is cohesive, natural and straight to the point – not a hint of desperation or artificialness, no ballads, no useless experimentation; instead vivid riffs, meaningful lyrics, innovative power, non-repetition and a massive amount of passion. It all sounds so effortless that we can question ourselves why no one came up with as brilliant ideas in our days as the ones In Solitude present on their debut.
By means of the lively riff-flow throughout the songs kept interesting by the tempo changes, In Solitude turns out to be an album which is catchy, easy to get into and to digest and is still absolutely enjoyable.
If you were asking yourself where the good albums are nowadays or if you simply need an authentic, exquisite cut of first class heavy metal: you have found what you were looking for.

Outstanding tracks: Witches Sabbath, Kathedral, Temple of the Unknown, The Monolith

10/9.5

Festival report of Brutal Assault XIX.

Festival report of Brutal Assault XIX. – 6-9th of August 2014

Report by Estelle on the 29th of August 2014

The 19th edition of the well-known metal festival Brutal Assault took place in Jaromer, Czech Republic from the 6th to the 9th of August 2014. A place where the beer is cheap, the atmosphere is pleasant, the bands are merciless and the free-time activities are numerous: besides seeing approximately 80 bands on the two main stages and one smaller tent namely the Metalgate stage, you get the chance to watch some classic movies at the horror cinema, to study an exceptional metal exhibition with diverse well-known artworks and to have fun at the green chill-out zone.

I would attempt to write a few words about the bands I managed to see.

August 6th, Wednesday

For me the festival started at 17:10 on Wednesday with the old American power/heavy band Flotsam & Jetsam. As the re-recorded version of their second album from 1987, No Place for Disgrace just came out they took the chance to play many songs off it. They noticeably don’t possess the same amount of energy and “freshness” as back in the day therefore the crowd got the this-is-not-enough feeling at times – it was still an enjoyable show recalling some aged classics, though.

At 20:55 Terrorizer got on stage with many people in front of them being curious about one of the oldest representatives of death metal/grindcore. Their sound was quite chaotic especially at the first 2-3 songs but they were still full of energy and played a decent old school setlist mostly consisting of tracks off their album from 1989, World Downfall. Despite the rough sound the drumming was flawless: it’s clear that Pete Sandoval (ex-Morbid Angel) knows what he is doing.

Venom – Photo: Petr Hoffelner

Venom – Photo: Petr Hoffelner

At 21:55 the day’s prime act, the mighty Venom hit the stage powerfully with the ultimate classic ‘Black Metal’ – in spite of the not-so-perfect sound at the beginning the crowd was already going crazy. Poisonous atmosphere, pounding rhythms, ecstatic state of mind, spectacular stage-set with the inevitable pyrotechnics and many, many insane people: bodysurfing and a large moshpit even at the mid-tempo tracks. The bestial Venom’s setlist included lots of old classics from the early ’80s; although this time they left out the nearly always mandatory ‘Countess Bathory’.

Venom’s setlist:

  1. Black Metal
  2. Hammerhead
  3. Bloodlust
  4. Possessed
  5. Live Like an Angel (Die Like a Devil)
  6. Buried Alive
  7. Antechrist
  8. Hail Satanas
  9. Rise
  10. Pedal to the Metal
  11. Resurrection
  12. The Evil One
  13. Welcome to Hell
  14. Warhead

August 7th, Thursday

Thursday started with the new school American thrash metal band Havok. They apparently didn’t mind playing early before noon: the guys got every thrash fanatic moving and forming a huge moshpit in the heat by their absolutely dynamic show.

After Havok we got to see the death/thrash band Pentagram Chile also playing surprisingly powerfully and tightly with a clear sound and one fairly large crowd in front of them.

brutal2-onslaught

Onslaught – Photo: Estelle

At 2 pm Church of Misery came and brang some magic to the stage with their twisted, doomy riff-flow throughout the gig which distracted people away from their everyday mindsets for about 40 minutes. After them came a great shot of brutality by the UK guys Onslaught who were no doubt one of the most enjoyable thrash acts of the festival. They equally played from their first two (Power from Hell, The Force) and newer albums and every one of their songs sounded extremely powerful live – proving this it is enough to mention the size of the moshpit they have generated.

At 15:20 American death metal/grindcore band Misery Index tore the place up and gave an intense show in 40 minutes. Then I got to see the Hungarian technical death band Gutted on the Metalgate stage who were probably unknown to most people yet created one killer atmosphere that the crowd in the little tent also started to feel.

brutal2-obituary

Obituary – Photo: Estelle

At 18:10 we got to the highlight of the day with probably one of the most cruel old school death metal bands existing, Obituary. Standing in the second row I have never had as many people falling on and through my head as on their show, the overall mood was absolutely crazy. Just like in case of Venom, everyone was out of their minds right at the moment when the first note of the guitars could be heard – and as a consequence of the short but mostly old school setlist, people didn’t stop fighting, pushing and bodysurfing for a moment. The sound might have not been the best at the front but the completely enthusiastic audience did not seem to care, Obituary’s performance was among the best ones of the festival.

Obituary’s setlist:

  1. Chopped in Half
  2. Turned Inside Out
  3. The End Complete
  4. Inked in Blood
  5. Slowly We Rot
  6. Intoxicated
  7. Bloodsoaked

Then came the also entirely crushing gig of Suffocation who did not let the crowd take a deep breath after Obituary at all, they ripped and left everyone in the dust by their brutal, technical death metal music.

Even though Bring Me the Horizon is definitely not my kind of music, as far as I could notice they have attracted plenty of people enjoying metalcore and the dynamic gig of the British band after the different-style Suffocation. At the same time there were Inquisition playing on the Metalgate stage with far less people being curious, but the two-piece representatives of black metal were worth to see: they brang such an atmosphere to the small tent that the thrilled tension they have created was almost touchable.

At 21:40 on Thursday, the headliner of the XIXth Brutal Assault festival, Slayer hit the stage.

brutal1-slayer

Slayer – Photo: Petr Hoffelner

In general I would have to say it was a disappointment regarding both the sound and the energy and enthusiasm of the band members. One of the oldest and most famous thrash metal band’s setlist completely consisted of old songs except ‘Hate Worldwide’ and ‘Disciple’ and it still felt like they were simply weak and faint, not even approaching the group they used to be back then – nothing to be suprised about with only two of the original members, though. The lineup was solid: we got Tom Araya on vocals and bass, Kerry King on guitars, Gary Holt (Exodus) on guitars replacing Hanneman and Paul Bostaph (ex-Exodus, ex-Forbidden, ex-Testament) on drums replacing Dave Lombardo again – but the difference between their older shows and the one perfomed on Brutal Assault was clearly appreciable.
The setlist was definitely a plus with songs not often performed (e.g. ‘Captor of Sin’), but sadly the atmosphere and overall mood did not get close to what they were able to do long ago or even a few years back.

Slayer’s setlist:

  1. Hell Awaits
  2. The Antichrist
  3. Necrophiliac
  4. Mandatory Suicide
  5. Hate Worldwide
  6. War Ensemble
  7. Postmortem
  8. Captor of Sin
  9. Disciple
  10. Seasons in the Abyss
  11. Dead Skin Mask
  12. Raining Blood
  13. Black Magic

Encore:

  1. South of Heaven
  2. Angel of Death

After the main headliner, (the lots of) fans of melodic death metal had the chance to see one of the largest bands of the genre, Children of Bodom. Again melodic death is not my kind of music but the huge crowd seemed to be enjoying what the popular Finnish group was doing.

August 8th, Friday

On Friday the first act I was able to see was the American black/thrash band Skeletonwitch, whose show did not give much to me – the way how they played their music was somewhat boring, a little too modern and on account of the vocals did not seem to be black/thrash metal (how the band is originally labeled). After them came Fleshgod Apocalypse whose music doesn’t exactly fit my personal taste either, yet their show was strikingly powerful and had some kind of an unexplainable atmosphere that did get the audience moving.

Unleashed – Photo: Estelle

Unleashed – Photo: Estelle

At 17:35 we got to the top of the day still in daylight with Unleashed. The beginning of the Swedish old school death metallers’ performance did not have a strong impact on the curious people but afterwards from the second-third song, as we got to the catchier tracks and more effective commentaries from enthusiastic frontman Johnny Hedlund, people started fighting. Unleashed basically only played newer songs from 1997 on but the gig was still totally energetic reaching its top with the incredibly fast song ‘Hammer Battalion’.

At 7 pm Six Feet Under with ex-Cannibal Corpse vocalist Chris Barnes got on stage and tore the place up. They were full of energy, they were loud and they had a satisfying sound. They have also played two Cannibal Corpse songs at the beginnging and end including ‘Hammer Smashed Face’, giving some frame to the show.

After them on the Metalgate stage ex-Pungent Stench guitarist/vocalist Martin Schirenc gave a fairly long show and played old school Pungent Stench songs under the name of “Schirenc plays Pungent Stench” as some kind of a tribute to the split-up death metal band with three other musicians. Fanatic people who knew the songs off their first two albums were extremely keen about hearing them live so that the crowd filling the tent was moving all along.

In the evening one of the headliners, The Devin Townsend Project with frontman Townsend, vocalist of Strapping Young Lad came and played a long set to the enthusiastic audience. I personally do not understand much from their music, although their sound was good and their fans were all satisfied with what they have seen.

Similar case occurs with another following headliner, Amon Amarth. I was never a fan of melodic death metal nor the idea that Amon Amarth presents but one cannot deny the fact that the Swedish band knows how to collect fans: almost everyone who attended the festival was standing in front of the main stages and seemed to be impressed by the scene.

As the last performance of Friday we got to see Broken Hope at midnight who gave an energetic death metal show to many people in the audience.

August 9th, Saturday

On the last day in the afternoon Impaled Nazarene, the Finnish black band played passionately to an equally energetic crowd. Later at 17:25 came the American Christian metalcore band August Burns Red whose music barely has anything to do with the other acts of the day but who managed to obtain a huge fanbase watching them playing on the festival.

Sodom – Photo: Petr Hoffelner

Sodom – Photo: Petr Hoffelner

Right after them on the other large stage one of the bands holding my greatest expectations, Sodom was already tuning. As they finally started the show filled with old classic thrash songs the pit got even bigger than on Obituary and the same amount of people started enjoying themselves bodysurfing. Unfortunately Sodom’s sound, at least in the front, was not as good as expected: I personally know the lyrics of almost all the songs they played and the sound was so chaotic at some parts that the tracks weren’t recognizable for 30-40 seconds. Still, the huge moshpit and incredible amount of pressing didn’t stop and people managed to sing along with vocalist Tom Angelripper.

Sodom’s setlist:

  1. Agent Orange
  2. In War and Pieces
  3. Outbreak of Evil
  4. Surfin’ Bird (The Trashmen cover)
  5. The Saw Is the Law
  6. City of God
  7. Stigmatized
  8. Sodomy and Lust
  9. Blasphemer (end with Venom´s Black Metal)
  10. Remember the Fallen
  11. Ausgebombt
Photo: Petr Hoffelner

Photo: Petr Hoffelner

At 19:40 in the small tent we got to see the old school death metal/grindcore group Repulsion who played their album from 1989, Horrified as a whole with a modified order of its tracks. It doesn’t happen everyday that one gets to hear an entire album at a festival therefore the audience was really cheerful and lively.

Later on the large stage another headliner, the Czech death(/thrash) band Krabathor gave a surprisingly intense performance. Then even more people gathered and watched the popular Down labeled as “southern metal” – again a band that doesn’t meet my taste completely, their show seemed to be rather leisured than heavy to me, even though many others were enjoying it.

At 10 pm came the old school death guys Benediction on the Metalgate stage – even Repulsion and Schirenc plays Pungent Stench filled the tent up, and this time the small stage was a bad choice for Benediction: there were 1,5-2 times more people seeing them than the size of the place. The show itself was short but extremely massive – they got everyone moving and forming a giant circle pit in the middle of the tent, running round and round listening to the brutal old school sounds.

After them the Norwegian black band Satyricon played a quite long setlist to the plenty of black metal fanatics rejoicing at the show.

Late at 00:25 the unique gothic/doom group My Dying Bride gave a performance to lovers of their kind with just a few long, extensive doomy songs of theirs.

Photo: Petr Hoffelner

Photo: Petr Hoffelner

And then eventually we got to the closing act of 2014’s Brutal Assault: Hail of Bullets at 01:20. Martin Van Drunen’s (Asphyx, ex-Pestilence) voice is still as perfect as ever and doubtless one of the best voices of death metal in general – he sounded flawlessly on stage with the band in the background performing their brutal, catchy old school riffs. The only downside I could mention was the rather funny fact that Van Drunen was talking or even whining for almost a minute between every track they played – he told us three times that guitarist Stephan sadly couldn’t be there, he made birthday announcements, he called Master’s Paul Speckmann up on stage and he was constantly thanking the crowd for coming – I had the feeling that they could have played two-three more songs if he only said a few words between the songs. But judging by their show people don’t have many things to complain about: Hail of Bullets gave an appropriate ending to the festival with an absolutely energetic way of playing and with a lot of people even at this late hour.


Summarized, strongest standout bands for me were: Venom, Onslaught, Obituary, Unleashed, Hail of Bullets.

On the whole, in spite of every minor problems mentioned, the XIXth Brutal Assault was absolutely worth going to, both regarding the overall experience and the financial part of the festival. Do not miss out on it next year!

Find more information at: http://brutalassault.cz/en/
Photos were used by ‘Estelle’ and Petr Hoffelner (http://brutalassault.cz/en/).

My top 10 of 2014 albums

Making lists has never been my cup of tea but let’s try. (Including EPs)

1. Morbus Chron – Sweven
At first the Swedish Morbus Chron’s second album didn’t convince me but I can’t describe how much the record grew on me a few months after the first listening – I got to the point where I consider it to be no doubt one of the most unique death metal stuff existing out there. Completely dissimilar to their first one yet just as excellent in a different way.
Morbus Chron – Towards a Dark Sky
.

bölz-s2. Bölzer – Soma
The black/death Bölzer set the standards high with their first EP ‘Aura’ [read my review of the record here] and even though ‘Soma’ needed more listenings to reach up to its level, the two-piece Swiss band did not disappoint. Very much looking forward to the album!
Bölzer – Labyrinthian Graves
.

midnn3. Midnight – No Mercy for Mayhem
Similarly to Bölzer, if Midnight’s Athenar wants to reach up to the level of his early works and first album Satanic Royalty, he probably has to put plenty of effort in it. ‘No Mercy for Mayhem’ is a little bit slower as a whole than any of his earlier works but is still really intense and among the very best of 2014.
Midnight – Woman of Flame
.

vampp4. Vampire – Vampire
The evergreen Swedish death metal scene shows once again what the Swedes are capable of. One of nowadays’ best old school-styled death metal album for sure!
Vampire – The Fen
.
.

rangg5. Ranger – Shock Skull
Finnish old school speed metallers with crushing live performances. If you don’t understand the hype around them, listen to Shock Skull and afterwards you most likely will.
Ranger – Shock Skull
 .
.

acc6. Accept – Blind Rage
Nice to see the German heavy metal veterans being still as strong and enthusiastic as ever. It really is a delight listening to Blind Rage!
Accept – Final Journey
.
.
.

nocwi7. Nocturnal Witch – Summoning Hell
Bestial German black/thrashers rising with their first album. I’d say it is worth buying.
Nocturnal Witch – Black Star
.
.
.

riot-unl8. Riot – Unleash the Fire
Awesome to hear the old guys still in such a good condition. Aand… Johnny the seal is back in one of his funniest forms ever.
Riot – Metal Warrior
.
.
.

port-cross9. Portrait – Crossroads
With their third album in 2014, the Swedish heavy group well-known among quite a few Mercyful Fate-follower bands in the country came up with a record fulfilling every expectation and beating out many other competitors.
Portrait – In Time
.
.

noct-storm10. Nocturnal – Storming Evil
Even though I personally liked both of Nocturnal’s earlier albums better, ‘Storming Evil’ was still a great album worth mentioning amongst the top ones from 2014. One of my favorite female vocalists, all hail Hell Tyrannizer!
Nocturnal – Rising Demons

Festival report of Live Evil 2014

liveThis year I visited Live Evil in London from the 17th to the 19th of October, the festival noted of its incredible atmosphere, company and all-night-long-lasting party. These three (for us four) days for me were exactly as expected: the best few days of the year.
I’d take the chance to write a few words about my impressions of the bands I’ve seen.

The festival started with the pre-show on Friday 17th in the Boston Music Room with 4 intense bands. The rising German thrash band Division Speed started at around 6 pm with their energetic performance and with already fairly a lot of people in the crowd; followed by the also intense UK heavy-metallers Amulet whose music is quite impressive, yet the voice of vocalist Jamie was less to my liking. The thirdly performing currently popular Finnish speed band Ranger was among the highlights with their overwhelming energy and crazy-going audience until the very end – full moshpit and headbanging people everywhere. The last band of the pre-show, the cruel Norwegian blackened thrash group Deathhammer also did their job perfectly: they got the people moving and partying with their fast and furious death/black/thrash tracks.

Right at the beginning of the second – for me probably the best – day of Live Evil, as I don’t exactly understand the hype around the Spanish all-female heavy metal band Lizzies, I left their show out along with the secondly performing hard rock/heavy metal group Wytch Hazel and had an also cool time drinking. What I firstly got to see in The Dome was the Swedish Mercyful Fate-followers Portrait with so much energy that I felt blown away by the end – since this was my first time seeing the band, they were surely one of the biggest surprises for me. The sounding was also a lot better in The Dome’s hall than in the smaller one of Boston Music Room, so that every band (except for Nocturnal) could manage to sound almost perfectly.

Nocturnal – Photo: David Edward Lloyd-Jones

After Portrait I got to see a few songs from the killer German black/thrash Nocturnal Witch in the smaller hall, unfortunately no more than 3 since they started before Portrait ended and they finished after Nocturnal started. Still, what I saw was convincing – these guys know how to play some old school black/thrash, as I could already hear on their record from 2014, ‘Summoning Hell’.
I believe the German (blackened) thrashers Nocturnal‘s show was a bit a of a disappointment for everybody this time: Tyrannizer’s voice couldn’t be heard properly and the sounding as a whole turned into some kind of a mess at some parts. Personally, I could say I’m a great fan of the band and I also know most of the lyrics, yet this time some of the songs weren’t even recognizable at first. (– Hopefully they are going to be better at Raging Death Date 2015, though.)

Luckily after this little low point we got to probably the most effective performance of the festival: Morbus Chron. I did think this pretty popular Swedish death band would give a great show just as usual, but what these guys did this time left me speechless. They played both the furious, brutal and the obscure, magical parts of their songs extremely passionately, once letting the listener to go crazy and then putting them in absolute trance. I knew they were going to concentrate on their second album from 2014, ‘Sweven’, but it still surprised me that they only played 1 song off their flawless old school-sounding first album – and in the end I still say I didn’t mind it, as the ending of Morbus Chron’s show was something I’ve never experienced before. At the slowing, finishing part of the last song when drummer Adam didn’t have any more work to do, he stood up, saluted the crowd and walked off stage, slowly followed by every other member except guitarist Edvin who stood on stage and played the last slow, passionate guitar riff by himself. After he finished, there was silence for two seconds and then they got probably the most sudden and loudest cheers through the 3 days of the festival.
Morbus Chron’s music is not for everyone, but I think those who wanted to understand what they were doing certainly had an awesome time there.

Morbus Chron’s last song:

 

I didn’t think for a moment that this could not get any better as we still had Antichrist and Manilla Road left on Saturday, and happily I was right: with Antichrist‘s show the day did get even better.

For me it was the first time seeing these Swedish old school-style thrashers but I’ve heard a lot about the intensity of Antichrist in live – I can’t do anything but approve, it was sick. Right away when the first song started my mind literally got flooded with adrenaline, I fought and couldn’t get out from the pit for the whole time, surrounded by crazy people with exactly the same feeling. Neither did the band nor the crowd lose from their energy, the show was a 40 minutes long complete devastation, just by the way we like it. There probably aren’t many thrash metal bands nowadays who can create this old school kind of atmosphere both on their albums and in live, I actually think the experience of Antichrist in live can be close to how the early shows of the band’s biggest influence, Slayer could have been in the 80s.

As you can already guess, for me the Swedes were the absolute winners on Saturday.

Mark “The Shark” Shelton – Photo: David Edward Lloyd-Jones

After Antichrist I did an interview with Robert and Dag from Morbus Chron [read it here] so I had to miss the first 2-3 songs of the mighty old heavy/power band Manilla Road. When I got back, vocalist Brian “Hellroadie” Patrick was encouraging the audience and singing the beautiful old classics with high energy, while the mighty Mark “The Shark” Shelton tore the place up with his guitar – then the pretty lengthy yet not for a moment boring show reached its top immediately as Shelton himself took the microphone and started delivering the old classics on his unmistakable voice. Most likely the only disadvantage I could mention was that Patrick was just talking and talking and thanking everyone for almost like one minute between every song which turned into being a little annoying as we reached the end – but well, at least it seems like he still has more energy at 48 than the whole crowd together! The ending with two or three of the biggest classics from ‘Crystal Logic’ and the huge musical experience throughout the entire show didn’t leave anyone with one bad word about these four heavy metal lords.

Sunday was given an absolutely energetic start by the young Swedish heavy metal/punk band Nightmare City: I can’t be sure how many people knew their material in the crowd but they surely got a bunch of maniacs moving. Had to miss (had to drink) the Italian blackened thrashers Bunker 66 and the hard rock guys Lecherous Gaze although as I read they were both truly powerful. What I really didn’t want to miss was the old Brazilian Vulcano that got everyone going crazy again by playing their black/death/thrash songs from the past in a very surprisingly enthusiastic and impressive way. They were loud, they were cheerful and Louzada’s vocals sounded absolutely evil. Roughly at the end of their performance they got Nifelheim joining them on stage for 1-2 songs which gave another incredible boost to their show, my face was almost covered with blood as we reached the end (since I got my nose bleeding at the beginning) and still couldn’t stop ‘partying’ and feeling awesome.
After this carnage (for me literally :D) the old NWOBHM band, Quartz (with keyboard player Geoff Nichols mostly known of playing in Black Sabbath for 23 years) took the stage to play some classics, deliver a few ancient riffs of theirs and perform a nice tribute to Dio-era ‘Heaven and Hell’ by Black Sabbath. The ‘oldies’ started dynamically yet lost some of their energy afterwards – I’d say it still was a performance worth to see, though.

Nifelheim – Photo: David Edward Lloyd-Jones

And then eventually we got to the show everyone was waiting for: Nifelheim. People were waiting for the Iron Maiden fanatic Swedish black-thrashers not just throughout these 3 days but also a lot more than planned between Quartz and them – at least Maiden’s album Seventh Son of a Seventh Son already span almost 2 times as the gods finally started. But of course it was worth the wait, one of the tops of the festival (again, as usual): fast, loud and unbelievably powerful gig with a perfect setlist and with fighting and crazy-going crowd right away, without a single person isn’t moving.

Sick shows, sick people, an unexplainable atmosphere and a fitting end for such a musical massacre of 3 days. Definitely going next year too unless I lose my leg etc, so expect another review in roughly one year!

Grandiose bolt from the blue

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BÖLZER – Aura (2013)

Review by Estelle on the 8th of October 2014

TRACKLIST

  1. Coronal Mass Ejaculation
  2. Entranced by the Wolfshook
  3. The Great Unifier

RELEASE DETAILS
Genre: Black/Death Metal

Label: Iron Bonehead Productions
Country: Switzerland
Date: May 13th, 2013

LINEUP
KzR (Okoi Thierry Jones) – Vocals, Guitars

HzR (Fabian Wyrsch) – Drums


bölzzzYou won’t find yourself to be the only speechless person after spinning the devastating debut EP of the Swiss black/death metal duo Bölzer.
These two guys managed to obtain such a unique, deliberate, complex sound and create an outstanding cosmic style at the same time that no one has been able to accomplish before – their naturally rotten death metal-based sound is saturated with louring black metal elements; generating an eerie, tremendous atmosphere which is even strenghtened by the matching obscure cover art.

Aura starts with the heavy beast ‘Coronal Mass Ejaculation’ that immediately gives the speed and defines the atmosphere of the whole EP with its muddy, dark sound; leading the listener to the magical world of mesmerizing, drawling riffs expanded with haunting, twisted melodies.
The following ‘Entranced by the Wolfshook’ is probably the strongest track among the three with its massive main riff that keeps pouring the darkness on the listener. The guys couldn’t have found any better voice than KzR’s: his tone fits and at the same time defines the harmonized different parts in the songs that vary between speedy and drawling, gloomy way of playing.
The closing ‘The Great Unifier’ is the lenghtiest and most monumental piece with its 11 minutes, giving us an entire experience of professional music playing in the spirit of cruel yet extremely passionate old school sounding black/death metal, and giving us the chance to feel in complete trance for a few minutes after the last notes of the song.

One probably rarely hears any record which would be as coordinated as Bölzer’s EP ‘Aura’: the harmony of the tempo, riffs, melodies, the vocalist’s tone, the cover art and the whole feeling we get while listening or simply looking at the record is unexplainable. I would say ‘Aura’ truly is a release which proves the existence of something special and something of high-quality even in our days, and which requires the old-school feeling of listening on vinyl or cassette tape – so in case you like the EP, you won’t regret buying it in one of the classic formats!

10/9.5

One word: epicness

[I’m sorry in advance but I wasn’t able to write this review completely objectively or open-mindedly since it was and will surely stay one of the best shows of my life.]

Concert review: Overtures of War tour 2014 – Bolt Thrower/Morgoth/Incantation – 25th of September 2014, Wien

Review by Estelle on the 28th of September 2014

At the end of September 2014, Bolt Thrower has started the Overtures of War tour along with Morgoth and three different support bands – Soulburn from the 21th to 23rd, Incantation from the 24th to 28th, and Vallenfyre from the 29th of September to 5th of October. On the show on the 25th that I myself went to we had Incantation as a support.

Incantation

Incantation started punctually at 8 pm. Even though there were a few times less people seeing them than Morgoth’s show one hour later, even though the drum sound was somewhat weird and not all the people were getting their energy at the beginning, they perfectly managed to move and prepare everyone for 2-3 hours of pounding cruelty.
Incantation’s setlist was really fresh since it consisted of songs from many albums – they have played 4 off their last record from 2014, Dirges of Elysium, 2 off Diabolical Conquest, and the other 4 were all from different other albums.

Incantation’s setlist

  1. Debauchery
  2. Shadows of the Ancient Empire
  3. Vanquish in Vengeance
  4. Oath of Armageddon
  5. Portal Consecration
  6. Profanation
  7. Impalement of Divinity
  8. The Ibex Moon
  9. Carrion Prophecy
  10. Impending Diabolical Conquest


Later when quite many people gathered at the Arena already, the louring intro of ‘Cursed’ started to play and then Morgoth got on stage powerfully with the devastating ‘Body Count’. The crowd was starting to go crazy – and I can certainly say that the band didn’t let us rest until the very end of the last song.

Morgoth

They continued with three huge classics off Cursed (Exit to Temptation, Suffer Life, Sold Baptism), and then came the title track off their recent 7″ LP, ‘God is Evil’, dedicated to myself and the other Hungarians there. (After my interview with Marc he asked who I went there with, and I told him we were like 30 Hungarian people there – so during the show before ‘God is Evil’ he randomly said “this song is for Estelle and the whole Hungarian long-way traveller group” – I was blown away.)
‘God is Evil’ is rather a mid-tempo track, so that it was a right decision to put it after such a blast of 4 mortal tracks off the first album. The song sounded great live and created the basic atmosphere for the next two songs from ‘Odium’ as well, ‘Under the Surface’ and the strong opener ‘Resistance’.

After the recall of ‘Odium’ we could hear the other track from the recent single, ‘Die as Deceiver’ which was also a pure and massive death metal song, then here came ‘Burnt Identity’, the opener of the second outstanding EP. After that, expectedly we got to one of the highlights again with ‘Isolated’ – my neck hurt since the third song yet I was headbanging to this tremendous classic like never before, along with all the other people in ecstatic state in the pit and first 10 rows. Then, still no room for settling down, we got the title track off Morgoth’s first demo from 1988, ‘Pits of Utumno’ straight to our face as the last song.

I have heard and read a few critics about Morgoth’s somewhat bad sound on some shows or festivals in the past, but here in the Arena the band sounded flawlessly. Marc’s voice is unexpectedly still nearly as strong as back in the day and its tone is more similar to the old tone than in case of a lot of other vocalists; and on top of all this, the band played this oldschool setlist with so much energy that I felt like a bulldozer went through my body as we reached the end of the almost one hour performance.

Morgoth’s setlist

  1. Cursed (Intro)/Body Count
  2. Exit to Temptation
  3. Suffer Life
  4. Sold Baptism
  5. God is Evil
  6. Under the Surface
  7. Resistance
  8. Die as Deceiver
  9. Burnt Identity
  10. Isolated
  11. Pits of Utumno


Epic. Just epic. And it wasn’t nearly over!

Bolt Thrower got on stage with the popular War/Remembrence combo from the beginning of …For Victory. Their combination of songs was a bit of everything: they played off every album except In Battle There Is No Law and Honour-Valour-Pride, mostly concentrated on Those Once Loyal, …For Victory and Mercenary, a little bit to my disappointment. After the two openers they continued with the intense Mercenary, and then we got to the top straight away concerning my taste with the two beautiful classics ‘World Eater’ and ‘Cenotaph’, that I personally would always expect to be the last song as for me it reaches up to something like ‘Isolated’ in case of Morgoth (– and I believe I’m not the only one who thinks that mighty song is probably Bolt Thrower’s strongest track).

BT1

Bolt Thrower

As I have already mentioned the atmosphere was crazy on Morgoth, yet it became even more unbelievable during Bolt Thrower. Everyone was out of their minds; the pit was full; there were at least two people (once including me) stagediving during every song they played from about the third-fourth track on… people cheered and hugged Karl on stage; once a guy came to me, grabbed my shoulders and shook me shouting “waaaaaaah”. The band’s sound was excellent, they truly managed to retain the sound and feeling we can have while listening to the albums; and their energy was also overwhelming: they were absolutely cheerful and easy-going on stage, vocalist Karl Willetts definitely seemed to be enjoying the show and the enthusiastic audience as he was smiling from the beginning to the end of the gig. I had the feeling that they could have played the setlist once again as a whole and the crowd would have been able to party to it ’til the first rays of the Sun appear in the morning.
merch1The gig reached its other highlight I could mention probably with ‘No Guts, No Glory’, but since the vibe in the place was almost touchable and the overall mood was really on its top for the whole time, maybe there is no need for emphasizing certain songs from the setlist – it was a mindblowing experience as a whole.

Bolt Thrower came back with an encore two times: once with At First Light and When Cannons Fade from Those Once Loyal, and secondly with Silent Demise off …For Victory, which gave a nice frame to the show as it started and ended with songs from the same album.

Personally, I was expecting that Bolt Thrower were going to favour the first three classic albums by playing a bit more (or in case of ‘In Battle …’, simply playing) songs from them, but as I have already mentioned, after this amount of devastating power and brutality I think there is not a single person who would feel any kind of emptiness or regret after coming to see these three death metal lords.


BT2Bolt Thrower’s setlist

1. War/Remembrance
2. Mercenary

3. World Eater/Cenotaph
4. Anti-Tank (Dead Armour)
5. Warmaster
6. Forever Fallen
7. This Time It’s War
8. The IVth Crusade
9. No Guts, No Glory
10. …For Victory
11. The Killchain/Powder Burns
12. + encore: At First Light
13. When Cannons Fade
14. + encore 2: Silent Demise



Regarding the quality of the sound, tightness, professionalism, enthusiasm and reaction of the audience in case of all the 3 bands, I can certainly say that this show was something that one cannot see and hear often, and that one can deservedly regret in case he or she missed. 

[Oh and just a little note: dedicated Morgoth song by Marc + headbanging on stage in front of 700 people during Bolt Thrower 1 meter away from Karl – not a bad way to celebrate my 18th birthday, I guess!]

bt22