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Monday, 22 June 2015

Reviews: Hammer King, Burning Point, Straight Line Stitch

Hammer King: Kingdom Of The Hammer King (Cruz Del Sur)

Hammer King, guess what they play? Yes they are a power metal band from Germany and as such they blast out of your speakers with Teutonic Power Metal in bucket loads (complete with flying hammer album cover). The band was formed by the members of German metal band Ivory Night, with vocalist Titan Fox V also supplying his pipes to Ross The Boss' solo band, this all means that Hammer King are all well versed in OTT power metal and Kingdom Of The Hammer King is no exception, full of chest beating, hammer swinging, battle metal that Ross The Boss' old band did and still do in spades. The album is split up by it's three linking concept tracks in the shape of Kingdom Of The Hammer King, I Am The Hammer King and Glory To The Hammer King all of which tell the story of, surprisingly, The Hammer King. With the rest of the album all linked to the concept but also tell their own stories, songs like I Am The King, Chancellor Of Glory, Blood Angels and We Are The Hammer all having the same dual axe attack from Titan Fox V and Gino Wilde, punishing drums from Dolph A Macallan and bass from K.K Basement along with Fox's soaring vocals that come straight from the off. Now I have mentioned Manowar a few times in this review so far however, and while the band do have elements of Di Maio and co; Hammer King share musical similarities with Sweden's premier power metallers and fellow hammer fanatics Hammerfall with Titan Fox V especially being a dead ringer for Joacim Cans vocally. The album kicks off with the title track that half inches the riff from Iron Fire's Ironhead but starts things off in manly epic way before the speed picks up on I Am The King which could come straight off Glory To The Brave with it's dual guitar attack and backing chants which reappear again on Chancellor Of Glory. The album is filled with big, ballsy, metal songs that punch you in the guts with even 'ballad' Visions Of A Healed World has more in common with Where The Dragon Lies Bleeding than any AOR band and as they conclude with Glory To The Hammer King your fist will be pumping the air and air guitaring along as Fox and Wilde. A hell of an album for all True Metal Believers! 9/10  

Burning Point: Burning Point (AFM)

A self released album is usually a sign of rebirth for an established band and the self titled sixth album is no exception, founding guitarist Pete Ahonen no longer is the voice of the band as he has been since 1999, yes he still provides backing vocals but the lead vocals are now taken over by former Battle Beast frontwoman Nitte Valo who immediately makes and impact on the rampaging In The Shadows. Other than the appointment of Valo, these Finns seem to have kept everything else present and correct on this new album, it is classic sound of guitar and keyboard driven power metal with solos galore and fist pumping riffage from the tow guitarists, keys that fly through every song with, drums that never stop, Nitte's gritty and ear piercing Halfordesque vocals and an arsenal of songs that show this bands talent. The album is a mix of new material in the shape of speedy Find Your Soul, the emotive My Darkest Times, the AOR baiting Queen Of Fire and also older songs re-recorded with Nitte's vocals the pick of the bunch being Blackened The Sun, the neoclassical Dawn Of The Ancient War, the thrashy Signs Of Danger and the bouncy Heart Of Gold. With the right amount of AOR and melodic power metal influences Burning Point have created an album that stays true to their roots while adding the new dimension with the great vocals of Nitte Valo. Burning Point is an album for fans of melodic metal with a some cracking female vocals and it's the start of a strong new chapter in the bands history. 7/10

Straight Line Stitch: Transparency (Pavement)

Straight Line Stitch have been around since 2003 and they have been promoting their brand of aggressive melodic metal since that same year, their last album was released in 2011 and since then the band have concentrated on EP's their last coming in 2014. Now Straight Line Stitch have always blended heavy thrash metal with more modern flourishes and have been critically acclaimed for their song writing and front woman Alexis Brown's vocals, all of this evident on the 6 track EP that starts off with an intro before exploding into the opening riff of Dark Matter that blends rumbling basslines, melodic riff heavy guitars and Brown's amazing vocals that effortlessly switch between keening clean vocals and guttural roars which gives the band a sound akin to In This Moment especially on the brutal, electronically infused Face Of God and the modern metal attack of Wilderness. Straight Line Stitch have constructed a great little treat to warm people up for their new album coming soon, 5 tracks (one intro) of modern, melodic metal bolstered by some hard hitting songs and great vocals. 7/10   

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