Tag Archives: Heavy Metal

Cauldron – Chained to the Nite

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When I was a little child there was one record, my former all-time favourite, which made me imagine that my playroom was an oversized drum kit. So just before joining my mother and father for the weekly Saturday evening game show, I took the Playmobil pirate ship’s mast and circus tent’s middle pole and drummed through my room like a maniac who forgot to take his Ritalin. Later on I switched to the air guitar and played amazing imaginary gigs in my room every Saturday night.

Why do I tell you this? Because, every time I listen to Cauldron‘s Chained to the Nite, I become this professional air guitar player from my oh so precious childhood again.

Cauldron, formed out of the ashes of Goat Horn, is part of the New Wave Of Traditional Heavy Metal scene and released their debut full-length album in 2009. It quickly became one of my favourite heavy metal records, simply because there is not even one mediocre song on it. The melodies go right into your auditory canal, even after the first listen, and make you tap your foot to every single song. The three-piece Canadian band certainly didn’t invent anything new but they are hungry, loud and, most importantly of all, genuine without taking themselves too seriously.

All in all, Chained to the Nite has everything some 80s metal bands used to dream of back in the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal years. As I already said, the melodies are catchy and Ian Chains provides one classic staccato metal riff after the other. Together with the clean and kind of unique vocals, old-school solos and polished, crystal clear production, Cauldron delivers an effective traditional heavy metal record which I can’t stop listening to.

If you’re into the metal revival movement, you shouldn’t pass up this brilliant record filled with fast, aggressive and slow earworms!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QeJAZGLayBA]

Five Finger Death Punch – The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell

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At the end of July Five Finger Death Punch released the first part of their double album, The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell, and in November the second part followed, so I figured I’d review them both at the same time to decide whether it was worth being split in two. I’ll try to keep it as concise as possible…so here we go!

First the facts: Vol. 1 counts eleven tracks that have a run-time of forty-two minutes (fourteen songs à fifty-two minutes on the deluxe version), whereas Vol. 2 has twelve songs amounting to forty-one minutes. Both records have been recorded at the same studio and therefor share the same, flawless, production. Every instrument sounds really crisp and brings that “stadium-metal” feel with it, thus serving the fans what they are looking for.

In terms of musicianship nothing has really changed: neck-breaking riffs, pounding drum beats and aggressive screams alternating with melodic singing. However, I will go as far and say that this double album might be the band’s best work so far…but then again, the selection is also twice as big this time around. As on the three previous albums, the band has done a cover song again: Mama Said Knock You Out featuring Tech N9ne by LL Cool J on Vol. 1 and the well-known folk song House Of The Rising Sun on Vol. 2.

The biggest new element on this cycle is that the band has guest vocals on Vol. 1…and I’m not entirely sure how I’m supposed to feel about them. Let me elaborate: Judas Priest‘s Rob Halford fits nicely on Lift Me Up, Maria Brink adds a nice touch to Anywhere But Here and the above-mentioned Tech N9ne appearance mixes things up a bit…but I feel like they’re more of a gimmick than an actual part of the songs. Especially on the deluxe edition that is plainly obvious, since the three additional songs are alternate versions of regular songs which feature Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed and Max Cavalera of Soulfly. A bit unnecessary in my opinion.

All in all, 5FDP have definitely not left their comfort zone or re-invented themselves on these fourth and fifth albums…but it works. I do believe that they could have dropped a song or two on each album and made a single one instead…but in truth I can’t complain, since both have their appeal. Be sure to give the song below a listen and feel free to visit the band’s Facebook page for more information.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-2yuGgp_U8]

Volbeat – Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies

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The year 2013 marks the year of the release of the fifth album Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies by Danish rockers Volbeat. Some people hate the band, some love them…one thing that can’t be argued about is that they constantly deliver amazing live performances. I myself had the chance of seeing them in both a festival and a club surrounding and I can guarantee that you will not be able to stand around still at one of their shows. But that isn’t what this review is about, so let’s get started.

I like to call Volbeat “the AC/DC of heavy metal”, since their sound never changes much but they never release a bad album per se. Repetitive? Sure, sometimes. But never bad. This record does not break that pattern and especially if this is your first time with the band, you will appreciate their rockabilly-metal fusion quite a lot.

For returning listeners I can definitely say that you will not have many “aha” moments, but you will notice a change in their guitar parts. This is due to the recruitment of a new guitarist, ex-Anthrax Rob Caggiano, who brings a new take on their usual riffs to the mix. The other thing you will notice is that there are (even) more songs that are quite clearly aimed towards crowd involvement at shows. Obviously this means that the band intends to get more radio play out of this album, but I for one don’t mind that too much since it still sounds like Volbeat.

This goes for the drums and the vocals as well, not much has changed here…which is meant in a good way. As on the predecessor, there are two guest vocalists again: King Diamond on Room 24 and Sarah Blackwood on Lonesome Rider. Especially the former song stands out quite a lot on the album since it features several guitar solos and the vocals just kick as, but what did you expect?

To be frank: the fourteen songs, which clock in at just under an hour, are nothing revolutionary but every fan of the band should at least give this record a listen or two. For newcomers this is as good as any previous release to get started. Check out the band’s Facebook page for possible tour dates and listen to the song below, which by the way is the softest one on the record.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlF3OY-FenY]

WhoCares – The Compilation

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There isn’t much to say when two legends of hard rock/heavy metal collaborate, it either is a blessing or a catastrophe. When Tony Iommi and Ian Gillan announced their plans to record together again, people probably didn’t know what to expect since their only prior collaboration (Black Sabbath’s Born Again album) has been something of a mixed bag.

Personally, I love Born Again and after the Heaven & Hell album, Tony Iommi was on top again, so I certainly was looking forward to hearing new music from both men, although I did not know what to expect musically.

The band came together to do some charity work in Armenia and recorded a single in 2011 which contained two new songs and numerous guest musicians. Now the band has released a two disc compilation and the release has its positive and negative sides.

I got to admit that I am not really a fan of compilations, most just tend to be some sort of cash-in with some inaudible demo recordings and noisy live tracks being sold as rare. This is obviously not the case here as 90% of the songs were never released on CD before. The majority of this compilation is made up of rare B-sides from both artists. There is some Deep Purple, some Black Sabbath, some Gillan solo, some Iommi solo and the two songs from the 2011 single.

The majority of the songs feature Ian Gillan, which is fine by me as I pretty much own everything by Tony Iommi anyways. I am new to Ian Gillan, only owning the classic 70s Deep Purple outputs, thus this compilation served as an introduction to Ian’s body of work and as such succeeded without a doubt in making my mouth water for more.

So I would recommend this to people interested in discovering both artists outside of their main bands (Black Sabbath, Deep Purple), as well as Fans who need to complete their collections. Many of the songs are available here on CD for the very first time. Mentioning songs would be a stupid thing to do as the material ranges from heavy metal to hard rock to blues and even Pop/AOR rock music. You get a bit of everything, a nice thick booklet and the compilation is available at a fair price.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQYjEa3FdUo]

Metalucifer – Heavy Metal Hunter

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Metalucifer have been in existence since 1995 and Heavy Metal Hunter is their 2nd release.

The Ep is a classic release for various reasons. The main reason being the music. It just is that great! Especially if you know something about the history of Metal and how bad the scene was back in 1996 when this Ep first came out. Another reason being the fact that it is a Sabbat side project. For those of you unaware, Sabbat are one of the oldest Black Metal bands in existence. They started out as Evil in 1983 (!) and play, still to this day, in the old Venom vein.

Each song can be found on multiple other releases, albeit in different versions. Personally, I do enjoy every version of each song. The band does not just record the same song over and over again but each version is different (vocals in English or Japanese, different solos, different lyrics, etc).

The Ep starts off with their classic Heavy Metal Hunter, a hymn to the genre and the bands mentioned in the lyrics. One does not simply sit still while listening to the song. I know that I cannot help myself imitating Gezols‘ accent when singing along to “Heavy Metal Hunta…HUNTAHH!!!”.

Monster of the Earth is a slower number in the vein of early Iron Maiden (as is most of the material this band has ever released). The funny thing here is that it sounds very Japanese in an Anime way, meaning that I can imagine this song being played in an 80s or early 90s Japanese Anime. It has the silly lyrics, overly melodic guitar solo, etc.

Fallen Angel has that classic 80s Venom vibe and sounds more like a Sabbat song. In fact it might just be that as I know that some Metalucifer songs already existed in the 80s and were played/recorded by Sabbat (Wolf Man being one of those). Anyways, another great song for fans of 80s Metal.

Wolf Man starts off with a Speed Metal riff and might be the fastest song on the Ep. It is one of my all time favorite Metalucifer songs. Just listen to that chorus once and you will never forget it, EVER! I can not count the times I found myself singing “Oh woulf-uh man aww uh ooh”. This song, along with the next 2, is in Japanese….apparently. See, the thing here is that you just can’t tell because of Gezol. His English does sound Japanese at times and when he does sing in Japanese you don’t realize it. That is not meant as criticism though.

Bloody Countess is another song that I own on countless Sabbat/Metalucifer compilations/singles as a demo version. Same as with Fallen Angel, this sounds more like a Venom/Sabbat song and, in fact, it was written for Sabbat in the 80s. The middle harmony part is total Iron Maiden worship and leads into an awesome solo. That part always reminds me of Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Iron Maiden.

Headbanging is another fast Speed Metal song with a sing along chorus and sounds like faster Accept songs or even early Metallica.

I am reviewing the recently re-released 12” which, apart from the original 6 songs, has a bonus track in Thrash Metal Hunter. The song is, sadly, not a new one as I have it on the Heavy Metal Hunting compilation, if not on more releases. Former Death and Massacre drummer Bill Andrews sits behind the drum kit on that song.

It basically is Heavy Metal Hunter with different lyrics. I do not know if I am just used to Heavy Metal Hunter or if the lyrics don’t go down as well. I just prefer the original version.

All in all, I do own 3 different versions of this Ep and they all seem to be rare and hard to find. Chances are you will have to get this re-release if you want to own it. Personally I would recommend the first CD and vinyl re-releases just because they have more bonus tracks.

Either way, this is great music, so it does not matter which release you get, as long as you get it!
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymUEpF0YXkI]