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Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Reviews: At The Gates, Warrant, Enemy Of Reality

At The Gates: At War With Reality (Century Media) [Review By Paul]

It has been 19 years since At the Gates released Slaughter of the Soul, widely regarded as a classic in the world of melodic death metal. At War with Reality continues with the driving no-nonsense attack that SOTS left back in 1995. A concept album based on the literary genre of magic realism (Okay!), At War with Reality showcases the vocal prowess of Tomas Lindberg, whose screaming strained delivery launched many a Swedish and Scandinavian death metal outfit. The drumming of Adrian Erlandsson combines with Jonas Björler’s soaring bass lines whilst the twin guitar attack of Anders Björler and Martin Larsson supply heavy riffs, driving melodies and subtle movement. Opening with Death and the Labyrinth, it is full of the melody and groove that compatriots such as In Flames possess in spades. As befits the concept, many of the tracks are laced with haunting atmospheric almost operatic style breakdowns; case in point being Heroes and Tombs. As the album builds the songs increase in intensity and speed; The Conspiracy Of The Blind for example; all thrash attack with the rhythm section propelling the band forward. It certainly doesn't feel like these guys have been out of the studio for nearly two decades and tracks such as Order And Chaos and The Book of Sand is complex in their construction. A welcome return to a band that was so influential first time around. 8/10

Warrant: Metal Bridge (Pure Steel Records)

Firstly this is not the american Glam metal band, whose singer Jani Lane tragically died recently, no this is the German Warrant a band who released their first album in 1985 and split shortly after, still they worked through it and have finally reformed and have finally released their second album called Metal Bridge. Strangely enough it's not a tribute to Victorian bridge builder Isambard Kingdom Brunel, which was disappointing but still it is an album filled with the kind of Teutonic speed metal the Germans do so well. After the intro comes Asylum which is atypical of German heavy metal with rampaging riffage from Dirk Preylowski, driving drums from Thomas Rosemann and a hearty gallop from bassist Jörg Juraschek who also provides the gruff vocals that are slightly Udo-like. Yes sorry folks we've arrived at that juncture where I have to make a comparison and the comparison is with Accept, Warrant do sound a lot like Accept and after 15 tracks it does get a bit wearing. This is just relentless metallic assault that simmers but never really boils over. This could in fact be a contributing reason why Warrant are only on their second album since 1985! They are competent but not a lot more, Metal Bridge is not a particularly inspiring record, well played but as I have said it is a bit over long with one too many filler tracks, meaning that it becomes a test of patience towards the end. For die hard Teutonic metal fans this will appeal but like I said for everyone else it is competent but nothing more. 6/10

Enemy Of Reality: Rejected Gods (FYB Records)

Enemy Of Reality are a Greek symphonic metal super group featuring members from a few other Greek bands, they are traditional symphonic metal with the vocals coming from Soprano Iliana Tsakiraki who has an astounding voice, similar in power and style to Tarja, she soars above the crunchy metallic backing of Steelianos' great guitar playing, Marianthi's keyboard flourishes, Thanos' bass and Phillip Stones drums. Opening track My Own Master is a speed metal track that has elements of Symphony X on it due to a driving bassline from Mike LePond who aides the speedy riff, next up is the slower more orchestral Lifeless Eyes which is a real anthem and features Marianthi's keys prominently, Needle Bites is a progressive track with shifting backing a hell of a solo and features Iliana duetting with Sirena's Ailyn Giménez their two voices interplaying excellently. The songs on this record are brilliantly delivered with all of the musicians working well together, the rhythm section is heavy and technical, the guitars shred and solo with aplomb, the keys are melodic and epic and the vocals are astounding. In what is a very congested genre Enemy Of Reality stand out as they give much heavier and indeed progressive style of music than many of their peers and to this writers ears they sound a lot like American band Echoes Of Eden who have the same style of progressive/symphonic metal, they are their most progressive on Her Descending Ghost and their most rousing on the heavyweight choral/classical crossover The Bargaining which has heaps of power behind it. Rejected Gods is a real treat for symphonic metal fans but it will also bring in others with it's progressive tendencies. 8/10   

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