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Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Reviews: Attica Rage, Bull Riff Stampede, Eternity's End

Attica Rage: Warheads Ltd (Off Yer Rocka)

Scottish rocker Attica Rage have been carving out a niche for themselves over the years with a fanatical following that is similar to the patched in members of the Black Label Society, the band have had many successful tours with regular appearances at Hammerfest and venues all over the country. This road dog attitude is present in the band's blue collar heavy rock anthems and much like BLS they have never been afraid to shed their heavyweight sound for a tender ballad. Their fourth album is no different with two showstopping moments on the record the first Lost In Memory is a traditional fist-in-the-air chorus ballad but it's the final song Haunted that is possibly the bands most over-blown effort yet with orchestral layers engulfing the emotive track on which frontman Johnny Parr croons well, you can see this going down well in the live arena sung back by the heavy drinking crowd at the shows climax. As for the rest of Warheads Ltd it's long gestation period has meant that it's probably the most diverse offering the band have produced with songs that range from ballsy heavy metal on Beyond The 45, groovy hard rock (first single Falling Down), doom-like hammering on El Chupacabra even and an instrumental; Into The Ether which features bassist Matthew Ward leading the song Burton-style. With such an eclectic mix of tracks on this album it's good to see that a band like Attica Rage are willing to take a few risks that on the whole pay dividends. 7/10

Bull Riff Stampede: Enraging The Beast (Self Released)

Yet another band utilising the PledgeMusic site to fund their record metal thrashing mad Brizzle four piece Bull Riff Stampede return with their eagerly awaited second album, their debut was released in 2012 so there has been a sizable wait, but has it been worth it? Well the title track builds from it's intro before Dave Garnett and Jay Walsh shred like their lives depend on it and from here there's no way to escape the all out assault that is B-RS, the long touring schedule has paid off big style as the band seem to have more focus to their violence, like a lazer guided missile they take aim and don't lose sight of the target once. Garnett and Walsh continue the fleet fingered fun through Mindless Heresy, Dawn Of Disease and beyond all while Rod Boston lays down frantic rhythm with the four strings making the songs heavier than necessary as they boom through the speakers (which is also a testament to Gabriele Ravaglia who co-produced the album with the band) particular props go to sticksman James Perry who is a machine behind the kit, so much so that had I not seen him live I'd have thought it was a click track. The four men together create powerful thrash metal that takes it's cues from the early death metal bands due to Garnett's shouted Schuldinger-summoning vocals and the sheer ferocity of the songs. Despite their furious nature, they also have the ability to slow down and grind with the best of them on 4125 in fact this second record adds little nuances to their established sound and generally lifts them to a higher level than before, with an already face melting live show they band now have another excellent set of songs to add to their repertoire, on the album though it's one to turn up! 8/10

Eternity's End: The Fire Within (Power Prog Records)

Eternity's End is the new project from guitarist Christian Münzner who has spent much of his time in crushingly heavy technical death metal bands but with his new Eternity's End project he has changed his approach and indulged in some neo-classical metal favoured by (early) Symphony X, Rhapsody (Of Fire), Magic Kingdom and of course Mr Malmsteen. With rampaging drumming, galloping bassline, classical ethereal keys, guitar virtuosity and high powered vocals it's the traditional neoclassical approach but done very well. This is due to the musicians Münzner has picked for the record, all of them bar vocalist Ian Parry have been in Münzner's solo band meaning that you can hear how well he and Jimmy Pitts' keys duel throughout with every song stuffed full of melodic technically impressive solos from both as the rhythm section dutifully blast away underneath. Songs like Demonblade display the rhythmic ferocity of Linus Klausenitzer and Hannes Grossmann both from the same death metal background as the band leader and show it on heavier tracks like The Hourglass which sounds like modern Symphony X. Vocally too is where this style of metal can rise or fall but with the recruitment of Ian Parry, Münzner has done well mostly known for his Consortium Projects his melodic, powerful but not ott vocal delivery fits the album's tone brilliantly, his voice is great but ultimately it's Münzner's record as he peels off solo after sublime solo, although this is by no means wanton a record full of guitar wankery, the songs are very strong with the band all meshing together to create harmonious accessible songs that don't sacrifice songwriting for technicality. With a debut album as strong as this it will be a pleasure to see the band progress and as a fan of power/neoclassical metal The Fire Within ticks all the right boxes. 8/10      


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