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Sunday, 22 June 2014

Reviews: The Atlas Moth, Darkest Era, Night Mistress

The Atlas Moth: The Old Believer (Profound Lore Records)

The Atlas Moth are post metal band from Chicago, Illinois and The Old Believer is their third album, I've never really heard much from them so I looked upon this as an opportunity to check out a band that I had heard of but never actually listened too. From the pulsing sonics of Jet Black Passenger things start off well with three guitarist bringing a wall of noise and meaning that the songs all have waves of noise throughout. The drums smash and clatter on every track, the bass rumbles and rolls with a massively heavy undertone. As I said with three guitarists the band have a sound that is like sludge/stoner metal with lots of atmospherics coming from Andrew Ragin who provides guitars and synths. The other two guitarists Stavros Giannopoulos and David Kush respectively also provide the vocals with mix of one being harsh and deathy and the other having a booming melancholia similar to Nick Cave see The Sea Beyond which is like the sound of a seance. Imagine if you will Mastodon playing Katatonia songs and you get the jist of The Atlas Moth sounds, now as far as an album goes it works through various moods from the downtuned psychedelia of Halcyon Blvd which sounds like a bad LSD trip. yes The Atlas Moth have released a good third album which is a rich tapestry of noise but the vocals do grate a little after a while, good musically but not quite my thing. 6/10    

Darkest Era: Severance (Cruz Del Sur Music)

Folk and metal go together very well indeed and with the added traditional metal riffage it gives Darkest Era an edge. Hailing from Northern Ireland Darkest Era merge classic metal with a folk edge to give them a feeling of Iron Maiden if they had Celtic roots. The riffs come thick and fast from Ade Mulgrew and Sarah Weighell with lots of modern metallic riffs but also the dual guitar attack of old Songs Of Gods And Men shows this with it's NWOBHM style guitar rundowns but also it has a percussion based middle section before the solo's kick in. As far as the rest of the band goes Lisa Howe's drums are great with lots of pace and precision, Daniel O'Toole's bass is the bands anchor and the vocals of Krum are like Hansi Kursch in his mid-range and all the better for it, they fit perfectly and on The Serpent And The Shadow they have the same kind of rampaging metal of Grand Magus and also Twilight Of The Gods with it's chant of "Blood for Blood" and it moves into the slower paced Beyond The Grey Veil which brings the Celtic flair to things. Yes any band from Northern Ireland will be compared with both Thin Lizzy and Primordial and Darkest Era merge both with some excellent black metal drumming on Trapped In The Hourglass which big headbanging section at the last third! Finally the album is rounded off with the most epic track on the album the 7 minute plus Blood, Sand And Stone. This album is very good, filled with lots of dark imagery, some powerful emotive songs, strong vocals and some seriously good musicianship. The production too is great highlighting all of the best areas and showing all of the bands great songwriting. If you like your metal with a bit of Celtic flavour, lots of riffs but not full of the normal myths and monsters schtick then check out Darkest Era as you won't be disappointed. 8/10

Night Mistress: Into The Madness (Power Prog Records)

So if you are on a record label called Power Prog Records then that does kind of limit to what style of metal you play. No Br00tal deathcrust here I think! No this is rampaging riffs, killer solos and sky cracking vocals with all the other speed/power metal bands. With an over arching similarity to latter Priest, Beyond Fear and German loons Primal Fear, these Poles are very much in the speed/power metal bracket with all of the things I just mentioned. Chris Sokolowski's voice soars; part Ralf Scheepers, part Tim 'Ripper' Owens and with a big range and ear shattering high notes that mix perfectly with the twin guitars of Robert Kazanowski and Arek Cieśla both of whom do their best Downing and Tipton impression with their thrash-like riffs and melodic twin soloing that is aided by the superior drums of Dominik Wójcik and the galloping bass of Artur Pochwala who also provides the Scorpions-like intro to Walking On Air. Hand Of God is pure Priest, Madman and Hell Race have the silliness of Primal Fear while The Place I Belong has more of an Iced Earth feel to it with the mix of thoughtful lyrics and massive riffage that Mr Schaffer would be proud of. Oh yes this not your regular cheesy power metal this is heavy, thrash influenced speed metal with lots of Judas Priest sounding tracks straight out of the Painkiller era, with a bit of Maiden thrown in on Longing For The Devil. This is the album Ripper should have made with Priest back when he was a frontman, it's a good job that Night Mistress have done it for them then!! 8/10  

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