Exciter – Death Machine (CD) Review

Exciter speed metal’s bad boys from Ottawa Canada released “Death Machine” the group’s tenth album way back in 2010 and it’s finally coming to North America almost a year and a half later. Band members are John Ricci – guitars Kenny Winter – vocals Rik Charron – drums Clammy – bass.

This is a band that’s been around for a long time and have managed to keep their original style in tact. They have maturity and it shows their music has a lot of range coupled with an early Metal garage band quality recording. It’s like discovering a long lost recording buried in your uncles attic from the early eighties. “Death Machine” Is recorded in Analog. (Ask the Foo Fighters about Analog and their success) This gives the recording a sound reminiscent of when Metal was still king. The guitars have that long lost metal sound straight out of 1985.

True hardcore fans of speed metal will recognize the influences of Judas Priest , Accept and U.D.O. especially in the vocals. “Death Machine” is the perfect song for the opening track, it will grab you by the balls with it’s all out aggressiveness it’s an energetic performance that will have you looking to jump into the closest mosh pit. The way this song comes at you with it’s fast paced chords and drumming will hit you hard. You will be singing “Death Machine” for days especially towards the end with the chanting of “Death” also near the end is an impressive guitar solo that finishes the intense track out perfectly. My favorite track “Hellfire” has more of the bands branding it exemplifies Exciter and sets them apart from all the other Heavy Metal bands out there. The solo here is out of this world building a strong foundation for some strong and faster chords along with a fantastic drum performance and vocals that fit together nicely!

The last track “Skull Breaker,” has an excellent two-minute guitar solo that closes out this forty minute flashback to the 80′s in grandiose style!
If you enjoy old school, 80s “Speed” Metal that is done right, you must check out “Death Machine”.

Great old school metal recommended Rating 8.5/10







Black Breath – Sentenced To Life (CD) Review

Seattle’s Quintet Death Metal band “BLACK BREATH” Have just finished their second LP. “Sentenced To Life” and are ready to release it on an unsuspecting public March 27th on Southern Lord Records. This is the sophomore release from them following the band’s 2010 debut album, “Heavy Breathing” Band members are Neil (Vocals) Eric (Guitar) Mark (Guitar) Elijah (Bass) Jamie (Drums) Recorded at God City Studios with Kurt Ballou, and had the finished product mastered by Alan Douches at West West Side.

With 10 tracks running a little under 33 minutes, “Sentenced To Life” Did something I thought was impossible it put the black back in black metal and it kicked Norwegian death metal right in the balls and it is about time! When the opening track “Feast of the Damned” started it about knocked me out of my chair I thought I had accidentally loaded Slayers “South Side Of Heaven” great way to get started! Then there is the title track “Sentenced to Life.” Excellent intro merciless guitars and Neil’s howling vocals are a perfect fit! My favorite track “Mother Abyss” will attack of your senses with some very heavy thrash riffs.

This release is more aggressive and more angry than their Debut and kept me busy giving myself a concussion from all my headbanging. If you are a fan of any of the band’s earlier work then “Sentenced to Life” should definitely be in your collection. If you haven’t heard of Black Breath yet, but you like similar bands such as “Nails” or “Oathbreaker”. Buy this album. “BLACK BREATH” in my opinion has been heavily influenced by some of the 90s best thrash/black metal bands such as hellhammer and Celtic frost.

I highly recommend “Sentenced To Life”
rating 9/10

Dark Empire – From Refuge To Ruin (CD)

New Jersey’s Dark Empire returns with their third release, “From Refuge to Ruin” On March 27th Via Nightmare Records. Band members are Brian Larkin (vocals) Matt Moliti (guitars, vocals) Randy Knecht (bass) Produced by Jeremy Krull and artwork by Gustavo Sazes (Arch Enemy, Firewind, Morbid Angel) . If you were to ask me what genre they fall under it is hard to explain (progressive, power, death, and thrash) is this a new type of metal or just a blending? 70’s prog rock, with poetic lyrics. Dark Empire does it all it is unique, raw and aggressive. Dark Empires “From Refuge to Ruin” is the followup to “Humanity Dethroned”. If you have listened to King Crimson you will hear some similarities to Dark Empire only they have more crushing guitar and blistering death metal riffs.

Track four “Dark Seeds Of Depravity” Begins with a short violin intro then jumps into a crushing pounding rhythm section. There is a high production value throughout the entire album. Track eight “Black Hearts Demise” Has some excellent melodic guitar work in the intro before it punches you in the face it has a great mix between Brian’s vocals and Matt’s chilling death growls. You never know what is coming next and definetly keeps your attention The closing track “The Cleansing Fires” is the prog/power/death masterpiece of rapidly changing tempo with a fierce and relentless passionate climax!

What Dark Empire has accomplished here is quite amazing their music manages to cross over so many genres I think fans of progressive, power, death, and thrash metal will all enjoy “From Refuge to Ruin”. Brian Larkin has a phenominal voice, the guitar work is all top notch! For Fans of: Symphony X, Nevermore, Opeth a must have!

Rating 9/10

Stigmhate- The Sun Collapse (CD)

Italy’s Apocalyptic Black metal band Stigmhate is set to release their new album ‘The Sun Collapse on March 26th 2012 on Bakerteam Records. Band members are mike (guitars) VVLV (drums) marco (guitars and vocals). ‘The Sun Collapse’ was recorded and mixed between Outer Sound Studios and Destroyed Studios by Giuseppe Orlando (Novembre) and the band’s own guitarist Mike, and mastered at Hertz Studios, Poland. Artwork by Malfeitor Fabban (Aborym), is phenominal!

Stigmhate is well known in the black metal underground in my words they are ” evil and oppressive”. “The Sun Collapse” has nine heavy tracks full of apocalyptic nightmares all having to do with the end of humanity. The first two tracks “Throne of eternal flame” and “Charon” are brutal and relentless. Just when you think your heart is going to explode they slow it down a little with”Gathered Of Isolation” masterful placement for this song.

Track nine “Luce” by far my personal favorite it is by one of the best songs I have ever heard. This is truly what black metal is all about! I’m very partial to black, death and doom metal so when a new release comes along in these genres It grabs my attention! Stigmhate has a similar sound to “Belphegor” or maybe “Naglfar” if you like these groups you will love Stigmhate! This is an excellent release by a band which I will keep an eye on in the future. I can not say enough good things about this band if you are into black metal buy this! If not check them out on youtube give them a chance I bet you will convert to the darkside!

highly recommended rating 9.75/10




Bejelit – Emerge (CD) Review

Bejelit the power metal group from Italy are preparing to release a new album titled “Emerge” Members are Giorgio Novarino (Bass) Giulio Capone (Drums, Keyboards) Sandro Capone (Guitars) Marco Pastorino (Guitars) Fabio Privitera (Vocals) Bejelit released their debut album “Hellgate” back in 2004 and since then they’ve built a solid reputation by releasing two more albums also touring all over Europe, Their biggest appearance being in 2011 at Slovenia’s Metal Camp festival. “Emerge” the bands newest release has 13 aggressive Power Metal songs on it. Instruments played by the band are different very unique such as accordions, classical guitars and violins. This gives it a very unusual flavor which I think everybody will find quite refreshing. ‘Emerge’ was mixed by Nino Laurenne (Sonata Arctica, Amorphis, Wintersun, Elvenking) at Sonic Pump Studios in Helsinki, Finland, and mastered by Svante Forsbäck at Chartmakers Studios (Rammstein, Korpiklaani, Amorphis). The beautiful artwork was handled by Seth Siro Anton (Kamelot, Exodus, Paradise Lost).

As for the songs on the album “The Darkest Hour” which is the first track is heavy, and has some really good guitar licks.”We Got The Tragedy” is a very good song with a melodic hook and chorus line. “To Forget And To Forgive” is another good one melodic power metal at it’s best.”Fairy Gate” is a good rocker and finally “Boogeyman”, The last track shows a lot of emotion.
All in all, this is a very solid release.Powerful, melodic and emotional, while still being aggressive everything that a Metal fan would want.
The album will be released on Bakerteam Records on March 26th, 2012 they will have a slot on the upcoming Rhapsody Of Fire European tour in April.
Emerge is highly recommended! rating 9/10

Voodoo Terror Tribe – Stands To Reason (CD)

New Jersey’s Voodoo Terror Tribe have just released a brand new EP entitled ‘Stands To Reason’. Band members are Gil Pz(Vocals) Emir Erkal (Guitars) Primer (bass) and Tbone (drums) This is the follow up to their latest full length release ‘Symptoms Of Sin’. With the new release the band has made something different from their normal sound something that their Diehard fans may not like. But I think this has made them more appealing to a bigger audience. The bands new approach has a strong Industrial sound mixed with synth. In the past they have toured with some of the best bands around W.A.S.P. LA Guns, and KITTIE to name a few.

Five tracks make up “Stands to Reason” all are top notch my personal favorite is a cover of Journey’s “Separate ways” The first track “Masquerade” reminds me of Mushroomhead to a certain degree. While track two “Stands to reason” Has a Marilyn Manson vibe to it.

This is a band that deserves to be signed to a good record label. They have plenty of talent and a good sound I could see a bright future for them!

When asked about “Stands to Reason” the band responded by saying “We poured everything that we had and everything that we have become into our new sound and songs,” drummer T-Bone continues. “It was meticulous, grueling, stressful and insightful, but we found a new sound. It’s been quite a long road, and now we wanna prove to the fans that it’s all been worth it.



Shining – Black Jazz Live (CD/DVD Review)

Norways own Jazz metal group “SHINING” have released a live cd/dvd entitled black jazz live. The band members are Munkeby (Vocals, saxophone guitar), EWI Lofthus (Drums) Kreken (Bass) Moen (Keyboards and synths) Sagen (Guitars) A Jazz doom metal band straight out of Norway. Their lyrics consist of suicide-themed lyrics, Shining’s music is often referred to as “suicidal black metal” although the band themselves would point out that they are not a Black Metal band.  Mixed by Sean Beavan (Marilyn MansonNine Inch NailsSlayer)
Mastered by Tom Baker (Marilyn MansonDavid LynchNine InchNails)

This group is by far the most unorthodox band I have ever heard. Mixing free form Jazz with doom metal You have to give it a listen to fully appreciate what they have accomplished here! Trying to find the right words “barely controlled chaos”  Is probably the best way to describe this release. Shining’s technical prowess is very impressive and translates well in a live setting. If you like the studio version of Blackjazz, you will definitely want “Live Blackjazz”. The music is high energy and there are a couple of songs from other albums on here too. From the opening song “Fisheye” to the last song, a cover of King Crimson’s “21st Century Schizoid Man,” Shining will give you a jolt like nothing you have ever heard before!
highly recommended mainly for originality! they have recently announced they will be playing at the “Hellfest Open Air Festival” If you get a chance go see them!
                                                                             Rating 9/10
                                                        Where The Ragged People Go (2001)
                                                             Sweet Shangai Devil (2003)

In the Kingdom of Kitsch You Will Be a Monster (2005)
Grindstone (2007)
Blackjazz (2010)
Live Blackjazz (2011)


Pilgrim – Misery Wizard (CD) Review

PILGRIM is a Three piece Doom metal band from Rhode Island. The band formed in early 2010 The members are. ” Krolg, the Slayer of Man” (drums), “Count Elric the Soothsayer” (bass) and “The Wizard” (guitars and vocals) Their new Cd titled “Misery Wizard” Is coming out at the end of January. Pilgrim has Signed with (poison Tongue records). Distribution being handled by (Metal Blade records). If you are a fan of Black Sabbath or Saint Vitus .Prepare to rejoice and worship at the dark altar because you will love “Pilgrim” But the band that they sound the closest to is Candlemass “King of the grey islands” In particular.The band gives a homage to all three Forefathers of Doom Metal. With their slow headbanging dark heavy slow guitars,(Down tuning ever present) Heavyweight bass, and forceful drums. Having said all that Pilgrim stands on there own two feet and adds to the Dark lineage.

“Astaroth” the first track slow and methodical gets things started. And will subtly bring you into there dark forboding world. “Misery Wizard” the second track (eleven minutes long) Is brutal and demands your full attention to be fully immersed into. Turn off the lights sit in your favorite chair In the dark and soak it in. “Misery Wizard” has a strong influence from “Candlemass”. Then there is “Masters of the sky” It has “Black Sabbath” influences all throughout. “Forsaken Man” finishes off the Cd quite well and gives a sense of closure. The end to a long mystical dark journey. Overall this is a very good release. Very polished great guitars/vocals If you are into Doom Metal it’s a must have!

Look for “Misery Wizard” to be released at the end of January 2012
Recorded and mixed at Emandee Studios, September 2011
Engineered by Mark Ospovat
Produced by Henry Yuan
Mixed by Mark Ospovat, Henry Yuan and the Wizard
Rating 8.5/10


Vendetta – Feed The Extermination (CD)

“Vendetta” The thrash metal band from Germany has just finished work on their fourth album titled “Feed The Extermination”. Which is set to be relaesed on Janruary 31st through Massacre Records. Members are Mario Vogel (vocals), Frank Schölch (guitars), Klaus Ullrich (guitars & bass) and Thomas Krämer (drums). Founded way back in 1987, they are one one of the most well known and beloved contemporary thrash bands In Germany. “Vendetta” back in the 80s was inspired by bands like “Metallica” or fellow German band “Destruction”. “Feed The Extermination” does have some decent aggressive moments with just a little taste of progressive thrown in. They have ten tracks running fifty minutes in length. The producer is Dan Swanö (Edge of Sanity, Nightingale, Bloodbath).

The opening title track “Feed The Extermination” sounds like most generic thrash bands of the 90s. At first listen just for a brief moment. I thought Dave Mustaine (Megadeath) was on vocals. From there it got worse, might as well be on repeat as every song sounded the same. It’s a shame because they do have a long history in classic heavy and thrash metal. Vendetta’s Feed the Extermination tries (not very hard) to be a decent album. But there is something missing (no punishing guitar solos for starters) that the band was previously known for. The vocals are not up to par with today’s thrash band offerings. The album feels lifeless, as if it’s trying to relive the 80s. A decade that gave us the best thrash metal had to offer but sadly is long gone.

There is not a lot of good things to say about “Feed The Extermination”. Too many other good bands out there . This release has little to offer. I would suggest skipping this release and pick up Anthrax’s new album “Worship Music” instead.

Rating 5.5/10


Nightqueen – For Queen and Metal (CD) Review

Nightqueen has unveiled their upcoming debut LP “For Queen And Metal.” Their debut is set for release On February 24, 2011 through Massacre Records. Band members are comprised of Keely Larreina – Lead vocals Daniel Kells – Keyboards Rex Zeco – Guitar Alan Rawson – Guitar Steven Steele – Bass William Blodyn – Drums Artwork was created by Jan Yrlund. Nightqueen is a female fronted power metal/symphonic metal band from Belgium. Back in the fall they signed a record deal with “Massacare Records” And just finished work on there new release “For Queen And Metal.” Which has a release date of February 24th 2012.Nightqueen was founded back in late 2004. Songwriter and guitarist Rex Zeco wanted to start a new band and in his words “compose a new kind of metal for everyone”

Zeco’s Ideas really are original, they are tried and true good old 80s metal guitars,mixed with modern symphonic metal and just a little bit of pop thrown in.
With the help of Hi-Dee, (his wife) who assisted him writing all the lyrics. They consist of Love, social issues and the usual fantasy themes.The first song is entitled “Queen of the Night”. Also the name given to the band name as well. According to the band the name has a double meaning : first of all the queen of the night; the never ending story of a simple housewife – sick and tired of the daily toil – who is transforming into the mistress of metal. Secondly, ‘Nightqueen’ is a given name for a big bat. That’s why the band chose for a bat as their symbol. The band has reformed a few times before settling on there final line-up.

As for the vocals Keely voice similar to Doro Pesch from Warlock (80s metal Goddess)! The guitars are similar to what you would hear from Morten Veland (Sirenia) thats a huge compliment Veland being one of the Godfathers of Symphonic metal!
Overall “FOR QUEEN AND METAL” And it’s 11 tracks provide a good listen “Nocturnal Thoughts” is my personal favorite.

Rating 7.5/10