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Saturday, 17 May 2014

World Of Metal 9: Hanggai, Crimson Blue, Seneron, Slavedom

Hanggai: Baifang (Harlem Recordings)

Hanggai hail from China via Mongolia and they play in a loose term folk music however they also dabble in rock, folk, punk and indie. They mix them all together to create an album of great songs with a myriad of styles. Things kick off with a Mongolian chant and straight into the driving Oriental instrumentation of the title track which has some massive percussion lots of morin khuur (a kind of one string bow) and tobshuur (a two stringed large guitar), authentic Chinese instruments that lend the band a very appealing sound on top of the pulsing bass and the rocking guitars. The vocals come from Ilchi and Ileta and they are very sonorous and melodic from both men, as well as the normal vocals they both use Mongolian throat singing to great effect, this is seen on both Hershut Hero and the Pink Floyd-like Tavan Hasag. This album takes you back to a simpler time, this is Hanggai's idea, they long for the pastoral folk of their past and this album achieves it along with some modern rock and punk stylings. At 18 tracks album may seem a little long but many of the tracks filter into one and other and with some real show stoppers like the title track, the rocky Hong Galou, the plantative Ulanbator Nights, the reggae style My Mother and the simply awesome Western themed Beautiful Mongolian Horse. A hell of an album from the Chinese band which is rich in scope and full of strong songs, no it's not metal but in parts its as heavy as!! 7/10

Crimson Blue: Innocence (Molot Records)

Russians Crimson Blue are a Gothic metal band with some progressive and nu-metal touches. Singer/Keyboardist Dominica has a bewitching voice, which is both poppy and dark. The heavyweight guitars and bass of Iceland are a counterpoint to Dominica's keys. This is followed by the slap (5-string) bass filled L.M.A which is straight off a Korn album. Yes there is that killer word the band have a lot in common with the Nu-metal masters, as well as Tool and Evanescence, mainly due to Dominica's soprano vocals. Clouds is a driving rocker which has some amazing guitars from Iggy Hans and Stan Lee (not the comic empresario). This is a band that could easily support bands like Korn, FFDP, Deftones, Tool but also more traditional female fronted fare like Within Temptation especially on Ave Sensorium. The down tuned Flax comes next replete with of head banging break down. This is an album full of some excellent songs that are equally heavy, melodic and hark back to the early 2000's with nods to the early dark prog rock scene with some electronica thrown in on the djenty 7 minute H. U. Lab Experiment I - The 6th Sense. This is a great album from Dominica, Iggy, Stan, Andrew and Alex who all work together to create some strong, technical but melodic modern metal. 8/10

Seneron: Order Restored (Self Release)

Seneron are a power-trio that hail from Derry in Ireland and they play balls to the wall hard rock in the style of Attica Rage and Viking Skull, this is leather clad, alcohol fuelled biker rock full of big hooks, massive guitar riffs and some grizzled vocals from John Shields. Please Me, Stand Your Ground, Dead Stare and Just A Kid all have similar sound relying on big drums from John Hamilton, powerhouse bass rhythms from Ivor Ferris and lots of distorted riffage to get you pumping your fist and reaching for the cans!! These Irish boys could quite well be my replacement for the sadly now defunct Trucker Diablo as they have the same qualities as their countrymen, they too beat around you the head with their songs and with just the four songs on this EP they really do impress on their first time out. A band that will be a definite live attraction with their heavy riffage and feel good factor, get your denim, polish your leather and get ready to bang your head because Seneron play back to basics heavy fucking metal!! 8/10

Slavedom: Against The Fire (Self Released)

Slavedom play traditional heavy metal, with elements of Metallica, Maiden and a big heaving leap Iced Earth thrown in as they merge some thrash elements with the classic gallop of NWOBHM. Coming from Kastoria in Greece, the band definitely have the riffs with some dual guitar riffery coming from George Stavridis and George Apostolakis, the galloping bass of Sakis Sarafas and the heavyweight drumming of Christos Polyzos, this three song E.P is very well produced and kicks off with the fist pumping title track which brings to mind Iced Earth with Apostolakis' voice ranging between growls and high pitched shrieks much like Matt Barlow's. Apostolakis' voice one of the deciding factors on this EP you will either love it or hate it, I started out not liking it but it has grown on me after repeated listens, on Follow The Sun the he has a uncanny knack of emulating Geoff Tate's emotion filled cry before things finish in fine style with No Tolerance which again has a lot of Iced Earth about it as well as a Steve Harris-like bass break in the middle. This is a very well executed debut EP from these Greek boys, lots of traditional/power metal influences, filled with some face melting solos and big songs. A great debut!! 8/10 

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