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Sunday, 12 July 2015

Reviews: Jaded Star, Freedom Hawk, Blizzard Hunter

Jaded Star: Memories From The Future (Sensory Records)

Jaded Star are a metal band hailing from Greece, they were formed by former Visions Of Atlantis vocalist Maxi Nil along with guitarist Kosta Vreto, bassist Babis Nikou and drummer Raphael Saini (both former live members of VOA), despite having members of the Austrian symphonic metal band, Jaded Star don't sound anything like VOA, they prefer a more direct style of metal driven primarily by Kostas' chunky guitar and the huge synths that are present on every song giving them a sound not to dissimilar to Amaranthe albeit without the electro-pop or indeed a less Gothic Lacuna Coil. Yes the synths are as much a part of the bands sound as much as Saini's drums or Nikou's bass are, they set many of the songs apart Healing The Inner Child is a particular example. The songs are all well composed, adding sprinkles of everything while retaining a sound that is metallic but melodic. They are not the power metal band many claim them to be they branch out into prime pop-metal on Wake Up (which has an 8-bit sounding intro) sing-along ballads on Keep On Fighting, acoustic balladry on In Memory both of which shows off Nil's soaring vocals which quite rightly is at the forefront of the music. They have chart topping qualities on Stars which is Lacuna Coil goes 80's before Kostas brings the heavy on Into The End Of Time and Raining In Sao Paulo, the band play melodic metal with a poppy edge relying on huge hooks and riffs to create some great songs. A strong debut from this Greek metal crew! 8/10   

Freedom Hawk: Into Your Mind (Small Stone Records)

America is the home of stoner rocker and Freedom Hawk are following in a long line of psych loving hard rocking predecessors, with huge slabs of desert rock riffage the band are deep in the vein ploughed by Clutch (the title track has Neil Fallon all over it), Fu Manchu, Monster Magnet. This stoner rock sound is driven by the feisty rhythm section of drummer Lenny Hines who brings a percussive narrative to the record especially on the tracks that change pace throughout like Lost In Space and the Celtic flavoured On Your Knees. With Hines' powerful drumming (and liberal use of cowbell) aiding him bassist Mark Cave brings the groove with some fat and dirty bass licks adding to the albums other worldliness while keeping everything nice and tight, the riffs come from frontman T.R Morton who sure can play his guitar adding a louche, relaxed, fuzzy tone, channelling the harmonics and wild eyed fury of Grand Funk Railroad's Mark Farner supplying the swaggering towers of riffs and the slinky soloing. Morton is also the voice of the band and vocally he is dead ringer for Ozzy back in the glory days which means that the band do share a lot of similarities with the latter more spacey Sabbath as well as Texan riff machine The Sword. This album has a superb use of dynamics with quieter moments building into bursts of riff fuelled rock that gets your head nodding as well as your brain melting, stoner rock is an odd genre at times as it can encompass a myriad of sounds, however if you love Clutch, Sabbath, The Sword and Monster Magnet then Freedom Hawk will be a must for you. Vintage sounding, mind-expanding, heavy rock for those who live for Vol.4 and it's ilk. 8/10 

Blizzard Hunter: Heavy Metal To The Vein (Pure Underground)

Blizzard Hunter are a trad metal band from Lima, Peru, they play lightning quick old school heavy metal with bullet belts, hi-tops and large amounts of denim and leather. they are yet another band to show South American's love of all things metal and they keep it true as Manowar would want. The band start as they mean to go on with the superfast I'm On My Way having the dual guitar attack of Lucho Sanchez and Tono Rojas De La Cuba weaving a  mighty metallic rhythm on top of Lalo Salas's thumping bass the guest drumming of Juan Migel Leon. This is prime early 80's classic metal in the vein of Priest but with the thrash edges of  Megadeth and Anthrax, from rampaging title track to the more progressive Nemesis which has Maiden epic written all over it. With the relentless riffage coming from the band on tracks like The Murder, My Revenge and The Joke as well as the more melodic fair of Heart Of Fire, it's up to vocalist Sebastian Palma to carry the songs to that next level with his sky scraping vocals. The band have the chops, the songs and the attitude to set them apart from the rest of the trad metal pack and with a well produced and performed debut the band play a tried and tested from of metal that will get fists raised and heads banging. 7/10

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