27/09/19 - Weapon UK - Ghosts of War

Weapon UK is a four-piece NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal) band originally formed as 'Weapon' in London in 1980. While on tour supporting Motörhead the band recorded their debut album Set the World Alight but unfortunately due to contractual problems they were forced to split up before it was released. It was eventually unleashed upon the world in 2003. After a number of line-up changes, several reunion shows, and adding 'UK' to their name due to a legal dispute, the band finally released their second album, the aptly named Rising From The Ashes, in 2014. Following the 35th anniversary release of their debut in 2016, this year marks the unveiling of their third studio effort Ghosts of War.

From the title track opener it is immediately obvious why 'Fast Eddie' Clarke was impressed enough to invite the band to open for Motörhead all those years ago. “Ghosts of War” blows your head off right from the start and does not relent until the melodic bridge featuring guest vocals by ex-Thundermother singer Clare Cunningham. Throughout the track I can hear elements of 80's Judas Priest and early Diamond Head, not surprising considering Weapon UK were right up there amongst the best of them back in the day. “Queen of the Ride” on the other hand has a more bluesy feel and the riffs are underpinned by Darren Lee's suitably groovy drumbeats. Vocally the track is somewhat reminiscent of 70's Rainbow, fronted by the late Ronnie James Dio of course.

Next track “Redman” starts off as a ballad backed by clean guitars but with the addition of Tony Forsythe's beefy bass line the song soon transitions into classic metal aggression. The vocal melodies present in this one are a testament to the range of vocalist Danny Hynes, a mainstay of the band since their inception. “Sea of Hope” opens with an exotic sounding guitar riff but builds into a much darker affair brimming with menace. The backing vocals are superb and the lead guitar work is simply stunning.

“Emerald God” has 'NWOBHM classic' written all over it, right down to the pounding bass triplets and groove-laden guitar riff akin to Black Sabbath's “Heaven and Hell” and Rainbow's “Stargazer” respectively. This a particular stand out track for me and will be sure to sit well with any traditional heavy metal fan. Despite having a slightly more modern sound in places “Tournique” is still heavily steeped in the old-school. The chorus is especially crying out for a real sing along. By contrast “All I Need” once again ventures into more blues territory before bringing in the hard rock. Again there is a very catchy chorus and some impressive solos courtesy of co-founding original guitarist Jeff Summers.

As you would expect from a title like “Hell on Earth”, this penultimate track has a real heavy riff that you can't help but head bang to. I am instantly reminded of classic bands like Manowar and Quiet Riot. And finally“'79 Revisited” is bookended by brief audio samples that set the mood for a song that is quite obviously a retrospective look at the band's history. A final hurrah to bang your head, sing along and raise your glass to.

But wait there's more! After the main batch of songs, Ghosts of War ends with two bonus tracks. “Set the World Alight” is a 2017 re-recording of the title track from the bands debut with an intro that sounds remarkably similar to Metallica's “Hit the Lights” only written three years earlier. I think it is safe to where Metallica got their influence from. And finally “G.O.W. Reprise”, as the name suggests, is a reprise of the title track from the beginning of the album that brings it to a satisfying conclusion.

Ghosts of War is everything NWOBHM should be and more. From start to finish we have chugging riffs, thundering bass lines and more vocal melodies than you can shake a heavy metal stick at. There are plenty of bands out there that are influenced by NWOBHM and traditional heavy metal tones, and quite rightly so. This album shows that the legacy of the sub-genre lives on and that Weapon UK can still rock as loud and as hard as ever.

Ghosts of War is out now.

Check out the band's Facebook page, and their earlier works on Spotify at the links below:

https://www.facebook.com/Weapon.UK https://open.spotify.com/artist/2Hw03K2cKMBvwGdheLklIp

Cheers!

Chris

Weapon UK - Ghosts of War

21/09/19 - Portrayal of Ruinn - Portrayal of Ruinn EP

Portrayal of Ruinn is a five-piece melodic deathcore band from Manchester, UK. Their line-up is comprised of vocalist Calvin Fayle, Tom and Sean Grogan on guitars, Tom Fisher on bass and drummer Sam Holmes. They are on the verge of releasing their self-titled debut EP, so let's get to it.

From the chunky chugging riff in the intro to the very 'Killswitch sounding' melodic bridge part way through, “Self Loathing” gets the EP off to a very good start. This full-tilt aggression is continued in much the same way on the next track entitled “Burden” featuring a near identical arrangement until the almost black metal finale which is both unexpected and inspired.

“Can't Break What's Broken” features the band channelling their 'inner Devildriver' with plenty of guttural vocals, brutal riff changes and a hint of melody. This track also features my favourite verse riff of the album and a surprising drum and vocal section towards the end that verges on slam metal. Penultimate track “Who Needs The Light” picks up where the last song left off opening with slam chords but soon breaking into what is by this point the band's tried and tested mix of brutality and melody. The finale verges on thrash metal with some rapid-fire drums and higher screamed vocals akin perhaps to Dani Filth, vocalist of Cradle of Filth and more recently Devilment.

And last but certainly not least comes “Background Betrayal” which again flows virtually seamlessly from “Who Needs The Light” in both arrangement and feel. The gut wrenching bass line mid way through is a nice touch and brings in another dynamic, almost the calm before the storm that soon follows. Being the longest track on the EP, this closing track gives the band plenty of time to conjure a real apocalyptic atmosphere and show off their impressive deathcore chops right until the abrupt end.

Portrayal of Ruinn is, from start to finish, melodic deathcore in its purest harshest form albeit with a few toes dipped into black and thrash metal at times. The band's influences are fairly obvious throughout but they manage to take each of them to somewhere else entirely. This is one is for fans of Caliban, Devildriver, and Killswitch Engage but also Death, Dying Fetus, and maybe even Kreator. There's plenty of death, black, and thrash metal in this EP to satisfy even the most die-hard fan of any one of those aforementioned bands or just deathcore in general.

Portrayal of Ruinn will be released on the 27th September.

In the meantime, why not check out the band's facebook page at:

https://www.facebook.com/portrayalofruinn/

Cheers!

Chris

Portrayal of Ruinn - Portrayal of Ruinn EP

17/09/19 - King Voodoo - 4 EP

King Voodoo is an English heavy rock band from Liverpool. On the 16th August they released their debut single “Fever” along with their first ever music video. They have recently been teasing a second video for their song “TVC” and very soon they will be unleashing their highly anticipated debut EP entitled 4.

Opening with their first single “Fever”, the EP gets off to a great start, laying down the groundwork for what is to come. Following a brief electronic intro, deep melodic vocals and a heavy chugging riff maintain a definite groove throughout that you can't help but bang your head to. Two-thirds through there is a very Sabbath-esque bridge that acts as a precursor to the first solo of the EP. “Creep” carries on in much the same vein as although this time opening with a solo instead. The vocals are slightly higher in this one and considerably more melodic. The lead guitar plays a more prominent role between verses and a there is even a second solo later in the track.

“Hold On” on the other hand acts as somewhat of an interlude. The distorted guitars of the previous two songs are replaced with an acoustic arrangement and only return to full force for the finale. The vocals build up steadily over the course of the track until some heavy chords ensue at the climax and herald a return to the heaviness of before.

The next track “Plain to Me” opens the second half of the EP with a funk inspired bass line and what is probably my favourite guitar riff of the album soon follows. After the previous interlude, beautifully arranged as it may be, this penultimate song is a welcome return to the heavy bluesy groove that I have come to associate with the band. And finally “TVC” , soon to be their second single, rounds out 4 with an ever so slight “Come Together” vibe. The band effortlessly manage to end the EP on a high with some great riffs, catchy melodies and a superb outro guitar solo.

4 is a solid debut effort laden with groove. King Voodoo are really able to showcase their musicianship and heaviness with just enough elements of funk and blues to make it interesting. I can't wait until the full EP is released so that you guys can hear it for yourselves. In the meantime why not check out the “Fever” single, you won't be disappointed (link below).

4 will be released on the 8th November.

The “Fever” single can be found here:

https://open.spotify.com/track/4IdOFIDLM8BOuMOH9gMWbf

Cheers!

Chris

King Voodoo - 4 EP

10/09/19 - We the North - Who Decides Fate? EP

We the North is an alternative rock band from Bury, UK that describes their sound as honest, emotional and loud. I previously supported the band back in May 2018, alongside my bandmates in Viral Strain, and so I already know that they are competent musicians and great guys to share a stage with. Their double set of rock covers certainly proved that on both accounts, but what it didn’t do however is showcase their original material. At the time they hadn’t yet recorded any and so only played a couple of original tracks among the myriad of covers. Twelve months is a long time however and as of May 2019, the band have finally released their debut EP Who Decides Fate featuring five tracks of dirty rock goodness.

From the raw guitar riff that starts off EP opener “Sleepless”, to the indulgent outro guitar solo in closing track “Slaves to No Men”, Who Decides Fate is a crash course in modern rock with frequent trips into hard rock, grunge and metal territory. “Setting Fires” is deceptively indie at first but this soon paves the way for a steady build-up into a heavy riff before the final reprise of the chorus; one of the many highlights of the EP. “Loyal” and “With a Gun to My Head” on the other hand are arranged in a more grunge style with a high contrast between clean verses and distorted choruses. The former features some superb screaming by vocalist Joshua, and the first solo of the EP courtesy of guitarist Danny. The latter boasts a real brutal riff between verses that verges on metal. Yet another highlight of the band’s debut and my personal favourite; I am first and foremost a metal fan after all.

Who Decides Fate is both a solid debut from an established covers band trying their hand at original material and an excellent EP to boot. Well worth a listen by any rock or metal fan with an interest in checking out the underground. Despite the recent departure of the band’s drummer Kyle, I am sure We the North will soon regroup and go from strength to strength. They have both the skill and the attitude to go far.

Who Decides Fate is out now.

Check it out on Spotify at the link below:

https://open.spotify.com/artist/4URQqvLbJmFtkYlItKVOhE

Cheers!

Chris

We the North - Who Decides Fate? EP

02/09/19 - Tormenta - Chapter 2: The Storm is Here

Formed in Yorkshire in December 2017, Tormenta describe their sound as ‘nu-metalcore’ and as you would expect they mix all the elements of metalcore and nu metal together to craft something of their own. Back in 2018 the band released their debut studio effort in the form of a three-track EP entitled Chapter 1: The Storm is Coming. And now after winning several Radio Roach awards back in January 2019 and some successful crowdfunding, they have now unleashed their follow up Chapter 2: The Storm is Here.

From the get-go, I must admit that I found this album rather difficult to review. Not because it is bad album, far from it. The musicianship is superb, the vocal performances are on point, and the production values are impeccable. But due to the use of so many different styles I found it hard to get a handle on any one of the individual tracks. Maybe I have missed the point entirely, but I feel as though all the different sections don’t quite gel together as much as I would like. Each of the sections are good independently but I regularly found the changeovers between them to be a little jarring. I often couldn’t tell when one song finished, and another began.

Although it is true, I am not the biggest fan of either nu metal or metalcore, as a musician and a regular metal listener I can still appreciate each of the sub-genre’s individual merits. Nu-metal and metalcore are well represented here and I am sure that fans of either or both will find plenty to enjoy. If I haven’t already put you off, I implore any metalcore, nu metal or even metal fan in general to give it a listen and make your own mind up. We all have different tastes and thats what makes the music scene so diverse. Overall the album is a well performed, well mixed labour of love from all those involved, and I wish the band best of luck in writing and recording their next chapter.

Chapter 2: The Storm is Here is out now.

Check it out on Spotify at the link below:

https://open.spotify.com/album/16SUhVn4gmktVghdVKkuTT

Cheers!

Chris

 

 

Tormenta - Chapter 2: The Storm is Here