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Tag Archives: Luxembourg

Lost In Pain – Gold Hunters


Something that never ceases to amaze me, even after many years of listening to and writing about music, is how artists always find ways to improve on something that has already been good to begin with. Sometimes I can exactly pinpoint what I feel is the biggest addition, but more often than not I am not quite sure what makes me like a release better than its predecessor; maybe it’s just because it’s new? I am pleased to present you one of these cases today, since Lost In Pain are about to release their third full-length, Gold Hunters, this Saturday!

First off, let me get one thing out of the way: almost ten years into its existence, the quartet has definitely shed its undeniable initial inspiration, from a certain Bay Area band, and matured into its own sound. While it’s still essentially thrash metal, there are a lot more experimental and even progressive touches to be found this time around, which elevate all the compositions onto a new level.

I’ve praised it in the past, but in this case I don’t mind repeating myself: LiP‘s feel for writing a coherent song, with recognizable parts and catchy hooks, never fails to impress. The eight tracks are chock-full with all kinds of riffs, ranging from headbang-inducing groovy to neckbreaking heavy, that are a pure joy to discover with all their little intricacies. I feel like the guitarists’ skill has even further improved, or maybe it’s just a matter of having a different goal while writing, but what I can tell you is that I would point towards that being a major factor why I like GH even more than Plague Inc.. The mind-blowing solos are, of course, back with a vengeance as well.

The drums have also seen an improvement, in two different ways: first off, to me, they have slowly moved out of the shadows and they’re stepping further into the foreground and, secondly, they just sound so much richer and imposing. The latter is also absolutely the case for the bass, which just sounds really good and is in great tandem with the percussive elements throughout the forty-one minutes.

The vocals are the only thing that I found to have remained fairly stagnant, which is not necessarily a bad thing, since I already liked the improved performance a lot the last time around. I would say that the technique has been solidified and, along with the great production quality, the vocals are in a very good place.

To sum things up, I would say that Lost In Pain have matured very well, and that Gold Hunters is a more than worthy successor to their 2015 endeavor. But why talk, or write, more when you can simply listen to the first single below and visit the band’s Facebook page for additional information? Also, if you like what you hear, be sure to move your booty to Rockhal this Saturday, April 7th, where the band is playing a release show!

Desdemonia – Anguish


The death metal titans from Luxembourg, Desdemonia, are finally back with a new album in tow! With a career of over twenty years and this only being their fourth release, the quartet might be one of the slowest bands out there when it comes to output. But I’d like to tell you whether they’re like a good wine, and the wait for Anguish was worth the while, or not!

If you are familiar with the band’s previous work, one motto springs immediately to mind when you put on the new record: why change a winning team? The trademark Desdemonia sound shines in all its glory, but with a fresh coat of paint slapped on it, which truly revitalizes the band’s modus operandi. The drums sound and feel like a tank that’s relentlessly mowing down everything in its path, and their ferocity is only rivaled by the bite of the guitars.

It is worth noting that the string department has seen a slight change of personnel, and the new guitarist has definitely brought in a breath of fresh air, while also understanding and maintaining the sound that makes the band sound the way it does. Endless Fight, the song below, is a prime example of a combination of both worlds: crushing riffs on one hand, and on the other hand a melodic aspect that lifts the song to a whole new level. Hell, there’s even a freaking harmonic part in there!

I feel like the guys didn’t set out to re-invent the wheel with these nine songs, but instead put a fresh set of tires on there, and oil it up nicely…and boy did they achieve that. The new material will still make you want to bang your head until you suffer from severe whiplash, but it also provides, dare I say, growl-along choruses that will incite a lot of crowd participation at gigs.

You can’t speak about Desdemonia without mentioning the powerhouse that is their vocalist, and bassist, who delivers another stellar performance during these almost forty-eight minutes. Truly vile growls go hand in hand with soul-shattering screams that round off this thrilling death metal ride just perfectly. The icing on the cake is a really massive production, that lets every note rip even harder into your eardrums.

All in all, the fans’ wait is without a doubt being rewarded and the quartet delivers another strong entry into their catalogue, despite it having taken them eight years. Make sure to listen to the song below, and head over the band’s Facebook page for more information regarding the release. Since it’s being split in two, so to speak: the official release and a listening party will be held this Friday at Rock Solid; and a release show will take place on April 14th at Kulturfabrik! See you there, when it’s time to schalalalala!

Mike Litoris Complot – The Art Of Pony Party

Goregrind. What can I say? It’s one of those genres that never strongly appealed to me, but also one that didn’t put me off completely. A song here and there was actually quite welcome since I liked the straight-forward attitude, however I couldn’t subject myself to much more than that at a time. This has all changed now, since I “had to” listen to Mike Litoris Complot’s debut album The Art Of Pony Party at least once in its entirety in order to review it. Funny thing is: once turned into twice, into thrice, and from there on I stopped counting. Let me tell you why!

First off, I should say that MLC is not strictly goregrind, but instead takes elements of it, fuses them with slam and adds a major dose of humor. Resulting in this weird, but highly entertaining, aural potpourri, where childlike vocals transition into pig squeals and evolve into frog noises. This combination is not necessarily a first, as far as I know, since there is an entire underground scene and even a relatively large festival that revolves around those ingredients in one way or another. But what really makes the sextet stand out to me is the fact that their songs actually have a lot of substance, which honestly surprised me. I wouldn’t exactly call them symphonic masterpieces but the amount of diversity and standout elements is truly captivating.

There are tons of influences, or maybe parodies, throughout the twelve songs that can be discovered with every subsequent listen-through. A thrash gallop riff will be followed by a pure open-string slam attack and end in an almost pop-sounding chord, allowing almost no room to catch your breath, or gather your thoughts. The drumming is fairly straight-forward, with lots of blasting and tons of double-bass barrages, yet never monotonous. The entire ensemble is wrapped in a tight but natural production and knows exactly how to deliver the goods to the listener: right in the face.

As mentioned earlier, the vocals are all over the place and both singers alternate between their styles perfectly, creating an immersive experience during these forty-six minutes of madness. Lyrically, I don’t know what to tell you…it’s certainly nor radio- or child-friendly, but if you can take the band as serious as they take themselves, you’ll be fine. The titles alone are guaranteed to send mothers and priests across the globe into spastic fits, with classics such as Gangbang Abortion or Orphan Crippler.

All in all, The Art Of Pony Party is definitely a surprisingly well-rounded debut album with very little to no complaints, and I’m sure that Mike Litoris Complot will make waves in the goregrind scene, and perhaps beyond, if they get the necessary and well-deserved coverage. You can listen to the song Circus SlammyGranny below and head over to the band’s Facebook page for more info. And last but not least, consider moving your bum to the Schungfabrik this Saturday, March 17th, where the guys will release this banger!

Mindpatrol – Vulture City


I figured I’d end the year the way I started it: with a review of a local band. There is, to my knowledge, no band in Luxembourg that is as productive as Mindpatrol, since they are about to release their third full length in more or less five years. They stick to their concept album approach and this time around they are taking us to Vulture City, a drug infested dystopian setting! Are you ready to take the trip with me?

I realize that I’m sounding like a broken record here, since I said the exact same thing last time around, but the sextet continues to evolve in remarkable ways. Their sound has become a little more concise, settling comfortably in, what I would consider, progressive death metal and the band seems to know exactly what works, and what doesn’t. The result is a fifty-one minute journey that is jam-packed with memorable riffs and impressive drum patterns. Fun fact: this is the first time that the drums were actually recorded and not created on the computer…and can definitely be heard and felt!

The other factor where Mindpatrol really stand out, to me, is their songwriting, which I would rank among the best in the country. It is one of my main critiques I have with local bands especially, since most of them are fairly solid musicians, but the songs rarely have that extra little something that makes them stand out. While not every single one of these ten songs has “hit potential”, the vast majority is truly well-written and has a nice flow to it. Solos complement the riffs superbly, a good example being toward the end of He, Summoned By The Needle, and small, almost hidden, details like subtle licks every now and then really add a ton of depth. The ensemble is rounded off by a truly massive production quality, that makes every note shine even more!

On the predecessor, one major selling point was the fact that the weakest part of the debut album, the clean vocals, was completely scrapped and replaced by shouted vocals. Ironically enough, I am happy to say that the cleans have found their way back into the fold. Having taken the negative comments to heart, the vocalist decided to completely start from scratch and improve his technique to bring a fresh wind to the mix…and it worked! While he won’t be singing acapella at weddings quite yet, it is a real joy to hear the vast improvement and makes me excited for what is yet to come. I won’t spoil any of the story, but I would consider it the most original and risqué one to date.

What can I say? Vulture City is a major step forward for Mindpatrol and I am convinced that it will appeal to a fairly wide audience, if given the right exposure. To get an idea of what I mean, just check out the brilliantly filmed and edited music video to Her Dire Sacrifice below, and I dare you to not hum that intro along after you’re done listening to the song. The band is putting on a really cool release show this Saturday, December 9th, at Kulturfabrik in Esch, so make sure to swing your behind over there and in the meantime visit their Facebook page for more info.

At this point I’d like to thank you for another year of El Gore and you’ll read me again in a few weeks with my annual Top Ten!

Versus You – Birthday Boys


If I had to name one thing that I like the most about reviewing records, it is the fact that I am occasionally “forced” to listen to genres that I don’t dabble into on a regular basis. I am using the quotation marks, because it is my own decision which albums I review, and which I don’t, but I try to cover the majority of the national releases either way. Now, today’s candidate is definitely not out of my comfort zone, but in listening to Versus You‘s new EP Birthday Boys, and researching it a bit, I realized that there is a great deal of punk rock history that I am totally unaware of.

Immediately upon listening to the opening track, you are welcomed by a very different-sounding band than what you may be used to from the previous record, Moving On. In hindsight the title might as well have been an ominous foreshadowing of what was to come, but I don’t think it was intentional. Generally-speaking, the speed and intensity of the band’s entire sound has been dialed down from eleven to a comfortable six. While I have to admit that on my first listen I wasn’t quite sold on this decision, it ended up making sense on the second go.

These five tracks are, to me, an ode to the past: the band’s inspirations, as well as the experiences they went through individually and as a group. The result is a melancholic musical journey, which does, at times, allow a few glimpses of the brighter future ahead. In a way, it marks the end of an era and the opening of new paths.

To be frank, there is not much more that I could tell you about these seventeen minutes, because they need to be experienced. In order to do that, you can move your bums to Sang an Klang this Saturday, November 11th, where Versus You will be hosting a fairly massive release party. You can find more information about that and the upcoming releases on their Facebook page, so don’t be shy!

Retrace My Fragments – Tidal Lock

Retrace My Fragments - Tidal Lock
Three years have passed since the local progressive death metal heroes in Retrace My Fragments have released their skull-shattering full-length Ethereal Flux and it began to be quiet around the quintet for a while. It wasn’t until recently that they announced their return with a small EP in order to whet the appetite for new adventures to come. However, Tidal Lock is much more than just an amuse-bouche: it is a transition.

The reason for said transition is the, amicable, departure of their vocalist after more than ten years as the frontman. After several try-outs and careful consideration, the guys decided to continue as an instrumental four-piece; a choice I wholeheartedly welcome! While the Luxembourgish metal scene has a few very talented instru-bands already, I am convinced that RMF has a fairly distinct sound that will nicely fit between the existing and established formations without singers.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, back to the EP: in a way the sixteen minutes sound nothing like the band’s previous material, but on the other hand they feel very much like what we’ve grown to love about the band. The song structures are on the same crazy level as before, with frequent tempo changes and numerous riffs being thrown at you in rapid succession, whereas the content is “simpler”. The technicality takes a step back in favor of the almighty beast that is groove, and it works…for the most part.

There is no doubt in my mind that large portions of these three songs were written with a vocal melody in mind and were later on changed into an instrumental arrangement, which is absolutely understandable and legit. But I am also convinced that they do not represent the final form of the new Retrace My Fragments, and that future endeavors will have that extra little something that will make people fall in love with their sound all over again.

If you want to see the band one last time as a quintet, I advise you to move your sweet cheeks over to Rockhal this Friday, where the band will hold a release party for Tidal Lock which will at the same time be the farewell for their singer. In the meantime, you can check their Facebook page for more info!

Blanket Hill – Trenches Of Reality

Blanket Hill - Trenches Of Reality
Today’s review is a bit different than usual, because I’m writing about a local band where I purposefully ignored the release of their debut EP and didn’t cover it on this website…that’s how much I hated it. Two years have since passed and I’m delighted to say that Blanket Hill have fixed everything that I disliked about their debut on their sophomore release called Trenches Of Reality…well almost everything. But more on that in a bit.

In 2014, the quintet rose from the ashes of the hardcore youngsters Order Of The Oceans and underwent several line-up changes before settling on the constellation as it is today. The musical style has also been slightly altered, taking a more traditional old school route, akin to the NYC hardcore and throwing in thrash metal elements for good measure. While it is not them reinventing the wheel, they definitely know how to pull it off convincingly!

The six songs, one of which is an instrumental intro, flow nicely into each other and before you know it, you’re done with Trenches Of Reality…but contrary to the predecessor, it never feels like you’re listening to the same song over and over. The groove-laden riffs and the occasional short solo bring enough variation to the table to avoid that. This was hands down my biggest gripe with Kaizen, so I’m glad that it is no longer an issue, despite there still being some room for improvement.

The vocal situation is still very similar to what we previously heard: not quite my cup of tea, because it’s too much Sprechgesang and fairly monotonous, but since it’s almost a staple in hardcore, I can’t really say anything bad against it. It just isn’t for me. To spice things up. there is one guest appearance by Andrew Wilson of Revulsion that, sorry to say, does nothing for me either.

Reading through what I just wrote, it might seem that I hate the nineteen minutes that are ToR, but consider that I’ve never been a huge fan of the genre to begin with and that I see a lot of potential in the songwriting. So, please, do yourself a favor and listen to the song below to see for yourself whether Blanket Hill is your jam or not, and if they are, make sure to swing by Food For Your Senses in Luxembourg this weekend, where they will perform and release their latest endeavor to the public. More info on that can be found on their Facebook page, enjoy!

Tvesla – Tvesla

Tvesla - Tvesla
In the olden days, back when I first started going to local shows, there were a handful of bands that could be found on almost every line-up: Inborn, Sad But True, Mercury, John McAsskill and Kitshickers were pretty much playing at every bigger concert that happened around that time. However, there were also bands that were sprinkled into the mix every now and then in order to make things interesting. One of those bands was Tvesla, a three-piece instrumental band, who played something that I could not get into for the life of me, back then…but times change. After a couple of years on hiatus, the guys are now back with their new self-titled release. I’ll try to give you a few, admittedly short, impressions but I must warn you: this is not the kind of music you write about, because you need to listen and experience it yourself.

These eight tracks can only be described as hypnotic and entrancing. As a matter of fact, they’re fairly repetitive and simple but those two ingredients are, in my opinion, exactly what give this record its intensity and at times disturbing atmosphere. This is not to say that the musicianship is bad or lacking in depth, it just feels like the band deliberately avoided putting in hundreds of parts in one song just to show off, but rather chose to tone down on variation in favor of the entire composition. A formula that works out perfectly in my book.

I’m not entirely sure how people in general feel about post-rock such as this, but at least for me it has to be enjoyed in a live setting. That’s exactly what my biggest concern was when I first dived into these thirty minutes: will it work without that key factor? On my first listen, I feared that it was not possible, because I was walking to work and focusing on other things, the second time I tried in front of the PC while taking care of things around the apartment and the music still failed to grip me entirely. The solution to my problem came to me on my third try: listen to it on headphones while doing little to nothing else on the side. Only then was I able to get into the state of mind to fully embrace the journey.

That’s all I’m going to bore you with, because as I said in my opening paragraph: it’s best to give it a try on your own and make up your own mind. You can do so in a live setting on March 18th at Rotondes, because that’s when Tvesla is going to unleash their new creation! So be sure to head over to Facebook in order to get additional information on that evening, as well as keeping up with the future endeavors of the band!

Heaven’s Scum – Beyond Human Footsteps

Heaven's Scum - Beyond Human Footsteps
It’s been almost three years since the local Heaven’s Scum released their debut It All Ends In Pain, a record that had its fair share of flaws but essentially was a solid album. The quartet has been quite active in the meantime, playing gigs and writing new material, which they’ve recorded and decided to fund via crowdfunding, a concept that no longer needs an introduction these days. The result is called Beyond Human Footsteps and I’ve had the privilege of getting early access to it in order to write down my thoughts.

Back in 2014, when I reviewed the debut album, one of my major gripes was that the different musical styles didn’t always blend together very harmonically, thus taking the listener out of the experience. I am happy to report that the guys have gotten rid of any unnecessary fluff and that the new and improved sound is a lot more concise, settling in in the modern death metal genre.

Another aspect that was slightly lacking in quality on the predecessor has also been improved: the production. While the general approach of the instruments remaining as natural as possible is still the same, the methods of doing so have become drastically better and they make the eleven songs sound extremely crisp. The songwriting itself has also, I feel, seen improvement and everything comes across as much more mature and well thought out. A good example of this can be heard on the song They All Died, a mostly instrumental song which finishes in an epic interplay of groove, intricate guitar parts and just a well built atmosphere.

The selling point last time was hands down the diversity of the vocals and I’m happy to report that they are still just as strong and impressive during the fifty-three minutes of Beyond Human Footsteps. The improved production quality also contributes to them hitting harder than previously and better displaying the frontman’s vocal prowess. Lyrically, there are a couple songs that stood out to me for different reasons: Bow Down To The Crown, since it has this catchy growl-along chorus that could become the band’s anthem and the truly disturbing The Dead Don’t Judge. I’ll let you discover for yourself why that is the case.

All in all, Heaven’s Scum have without a doubt managed to take a huge leap in the right direction and know exactly how to construct a highly enjoyable listening experience. I, for one, am very much looking forward to what the future holds in store for these guys and I hope that the people will enjoy Beyond Human Footsteps, when it’s being released on March 18th, as much as I did. There will be a release show at Kulturfabrik on said date to celebrate in style, so be sure to bring your dancing shoes. In the meantime, be sure to head over to the band’s Facebook page for more information!

Memory Lane – Virtues

Memory Lane - Virtues
There are certain things that you never think you will get to write in your life without it being a lie. Like: “boy, I sure like the 45th US president” or “I just had an life-changing and meaningful conversation with a neo-nazi”. Well, the year is 2017 and I can finally cross another of those sentences of my list: “there is just no good post-hardcore band in Luxembourg”. Because, lo and behold, Memory Lane has just entered the scene! It has taken us a long to get here, but I can tell you right off the bat that the wait has been well worth the while!

There are two things that the youngsters did exactly right, in my book: first off, they didn’t create a social media account just to invite all their friends and gather likes (or followers) without having anything to show for. That is one of my biggest gripes when it comes to new bands, whether they be local or international, and while I do understand that songwriting and recording is at times challenging, I would always advise newcomers to just wait until they at least have a demo recorded. These guys just did the polar opposite of that and recorded an entire album, called Virtues, before even creating their Facebook page. Secondly, they even have an actual music video out already…color me impressed. But enough about the behind the scenes, let’s get down to brass tax: the music.

I already took away the surprise in my opening paragraph, but I must repeat that it’s actually really good. To begin with, the one thing that differentiates Memory Lane from most, if not all, bands in the genre around these parts of the world is that they know how to write good songs, not just cool parts that awkwardly stumble into one another. Don’t get me wrong: not every song is a composition that could only be rivaled by Beethoven, but there is always a coherence in their song structures that makes listening to these thirty-three minutes a pure joy. While some staples of the genre, like vigorously hammering that open top string or the occasional breakdown, are present in every track, they are underlined by tons of interesting riffs and licks. Add to that a solid drum track which keeps everything in check without ever showing off unnecessarily and the occasional use of keyboards that add another melodic layer, and you’re left with a solid foundation for a record.

As is the case with many bands in this genre, most of the eleven tracks feature two different vocalists, one performing the clean parts and one taking care of the unclean ones. While it has taken me a few listens to get into the screamer’s style, I ended up appreciating his screams because he reminded me of the ones on SecretsFragile Figures, a record that I love to bits. The clean vocals immediately captured my attention from the get go, simply because we have very few good clean singers that are active in the scene. At least on the album the guy delivers a top notch performance, and while I am not quite sure if and how much the singing was digitally polished, it works just fine for my listening experience. A spicy little guest appearance by Everwaiting Serenade‘s Julien on the song Honesty is just the icing on top of all that. Lyrically, it’s honestly nothing you’ve never heard before, but there are some fairly catchy and sing-along worthy choruses here and there that I actually found myself humming at times.

As a summary, what can I say? I am sold. If Memory Lane can deliver these songs on stage, I can guarantee that you willl be sold too! Virtues is digitally dropping this Sunday, February 19th, with a physical release following at a still unknown point in the future. In the meantime, be sure to watch the video below to get an idea of what I’ve been raving about the entire time, and drop them a visit and a well-deserved like over on their Facebook page!