Phase Reverse: Youniverse III (Rock Of Angels Records)
Greek stoner rockers Phase Reverse are now on their third album and I've been following and indeed supporting them since their stunning debut, the band merge modern stoner rock, with some classic rock elements, giving them a sound akin to Alice In Chains playing Deep Purple with Monster Magnet pitching in now and again. Now their second album showed more experimentation with a huge 15 tracks on it but they have reigned themselves in on this third but with fewer songs comes more quality, they have really stretched themselves musicality creating the most expressive record the band have produced once again this four piece of drummer Alexandros Alexiou, bassist Kostas "Dragon" Kotsikas supplying the low and slow bottom end, the fuzzy riffs of Chief and the wailing vocals of Takis Mark all work seamlessly to let everything sound big, these are four unique instruments that meld perfectly from the opening chords of first song Downfall which starts with some traditional Greek instruments before settling into a groove Down would be proud of, the rampaging opener slides into the more progressive Theory Of Strain which keeps the pace and the groove up with Chief riffing like Zakk Wylde (pinch harmonics included) and Takis crooning like Chris Cornell meets Pepper Keenan.
The album doesn't drop in quality or indeed pace with Milgram taking things to a more modern place with a bit of Alter Bridge dropped in. Phase Reverse know how to write a tune and if they were American they would be huge, however I've always maintained that the Greeks are some of the best in the world at this kind of psychedelic stoner metal, an as Youniverse adds to the Down factor. The latter part of the album has more sonic experimentation with Whistle Pig deep rooted in the Southern rock movement, so too is Keep My Motor Running which is pure ZZ Top. Moiroloi is Chief's little fuzzy traditional Greek guitar moment where he shows his chops are not to be messed with we are led into the doom laden Acheron's Dream which is the kind of song fit for some whiskey and special cigarettes as it dreamily passes you by before The Thrill Of It All wakes things back up with it's heavy drum intro and fist in the air, heads banging hook. WTF is a Motorheadbanger, counteracted by the acoustic Time Reverses Time which half inches Planet Caravan with bouzouki, guitars and bongos all contributing to the trippy Sabbath-like track, before Synesthesia rounds things off with a bang! I will support this band no matter what they do, but for the rest of you, you need to check them out you!! 9/10
Moaning Silence: A World Afraid Of Light (Progressive Vision)
Coming from Greece again, this time a lot more Gothic in style with atmospheric, bittersweet acoustic layers colliding with Sabbath-like doom, think Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride or Katatonia but with a twist of having the angelic vocals of Aimilia Papatheochari intertwining with the harrowing, sorrowful vocals of Christos Dounis who really piles on the angst on tracks like the despair filled Just Another Day but can also get aggressive on the epic, cinematic An Elergy For The Crestfallen and the slab of doom that is Stay, which sees them at their most Paradise Lost-like. He also supplies the layered guitars that can lace the songs with acoustics and big robust riffage, the beat is kept by Vangelis X who drums with all his might on the funeral marches that are contained within this release such as opener Solitude which is a slow, steady trudge towards misery. Obviously for any band that need to create a dismal, gloomy atmosphere bass and keys are all important and luckily Christos has managed to acquire the skills of keyboard extraordinaire Bob Katsionis who provides the gloomy keys, orchestrations, throbbing bassline, additional riffs and the production. With some heavyweight lyrical content and indeed some blistering rhythms, see the intro Black Skies, A World Afraid Of Light is happy in the shade it creates, it's a love letter to the miserable and the disheartened with melancholic keys and acoustics leading On Fragile Wings which leads into the once again piano driven Parissiene Moonlight which is an Anathema track ably sung by Aimilia which turns it into a stirring classical piece. The album refuses to cheer up on The Last Days Of December and the Gothic waltz of As If It Was Yesterday, so don't listen to it if you are in good mood, however for those that crave the beauty of despair will take this to their blackened hearts. 7/10
Housebreaking: Against All Odds (Bakerteam)
Let it not be said that we are not metropolitan here at the Musipedia as we have stayed in Greece long enough so now me go across the the Mediterranean sea to Italy for some very brutal bottom heavy metal with a lot of aggression involved. Housebreaking punish you from the first note as the play fast and heavy with a thunderous groovy bottom end, some impressive shredding and a throat scarring roar, this is Lamb of God style metal with beatdowns galore and a huge amount of heavyweight riffage, there are also some industrial elements making the band have a Fear Factory style relentless barrage and the singers Till Linndeman like voice. However for all of the good stuff on this record there is one massive disappointment and that is that the album is very repetitive, all the songs seem to blur into one another without much differentiation, at 39 minutes the album is not long but it does tend to drag in places meaning that is feels longer. The album deals with some very tough adult themes which means it can be a little overwhelming but the blandness of the metallic music underneath just makes it all a bit of slog. Housebreaking have all the prerequisites to be very good but this album just lacks a certain something which is a shame. 5/10