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Monday, 20 August 2012

Reviews: In This Moment, Attika 7, Intense

In This Moment: Blood (Century Media)

Maria Brink and Chris Howorth return with a new version of their band and since 2010's Star Crossed Wasteland they have embraced the darkness and found a new power. From the opening spoken word intro the band seem reinvigorated and when the title track erupts in blaze of industrial riffage you know that this is a band that are now confident enough to expand their sound. This continues with the groove metal of Adrenalize which turns into an almost poppy disco metal track. Howorth's guitar playing is excellent throughout peeling off solo's and some of the most razor sharp but also hooky riffs of his career. Again it is Brink that is the selling point of the band her voice has a mix of female innocence and extreme anger with her banshee-like scream. The album is split up by small instrumental passages that keep the flow of the album and break up the relentless aural assault. Maria's vocals are best on the big ballads like Burn which shows off her haunted croon as well as her anguished scream.  In This Moment have totally revamped their sound improving what they are good at and adding another layer of melody and aggression to what they do. This is a great album that is not only the bands best record so far but also one of the best metal releases this year. 9/10

Attika 7: Blood Of My Enemies (THC Music)

This 'super group' is the brainchild of motorcycle builder (for TV's Sons Of Anarchy) and guitarist Rusty Coones. The album was written by Coones while he was in a Federal Penitentiary and the harshness of this environment translates to the music of which is heavy, groove laden metal born in hell and ready to unleash it upon the listener. This is an album for fans of BLS but it all feels more authentic than Wylde's crew. Coones is aided by Ex-Biohazard singer Evan Seinfeld who brings his gravelly impassioned delivery to Coones' lyrics. The vicious bottom end is handled by Tony Campos (Static-X, Ministry & Prong). The album is full of big heavy riffage and screaming solo's opener Crackerman sets the down and dirty biker tone. Lockdown is a song with real experience behind it, The Cold Hard Truth is a short break of a poem built around bile and venom before the relentless aural beat down continues. This is an album that begs you to grab your bike and ride, taking no prisoners. 8/10

Intense: The Shape Of Rage (Pure Legend Records)

Intense could quite easily be pigeonholed as the UK's answer to Iced Earth (who in turn are the USA's answer to Iron Maiden) and they do share similarities with John Shaffer's metal mob. Frontman and founding member Sean Hetherington has a vocal delivery similar to Matt Barlow's giving a powerful bellow to all of the tracks. The dual guitar play of Nick Palmer and Dave Peak is at the forefront of the tracks providing a melodic but still metallic riffage and soloing. This is increased by the galloping bass of Steve Brine and the percussive propulsion of Neil Ablard. The band have changed their sound very little over their three albums and that's because they do their brand of slightly thrashy, progressive power metal very well. Starting with Anubis which has a very Maiden vibe to it (naturally). The rest of the album moves between tracks that speed along with some great riffs and Hetherington's powerful delivery to overblown ballads like the acoustically backed For The Fallen and then changing tact completely with the very progressive The Skull Of Sidon II (sequel to a track that appears on their debut album). This is a solid album for fans of intelligent power metal that doesn't have the cheese factor of some of our European neighbours. 7/10

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