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Sunday, 22 January 2017

Reviews: Band-Maid, Lancer, Wolfchant (Reviews By Stief)

BAND-MAID - Just Bring It (Nippon Crown)

This is some great Japanese metal, leaning towards a more hard rock/heavy metal sound, with some pop influences in places. The first full length studio album from the band, the sound is excellent, with Akene Hirose's heavy, frenetic drumming, distorted guitars from Kanami Tōno , and a meaty bassline by Misa. Lead vocalist Saiki Atsumi's voice weaves wonderfully through the music, intertwining with guitarist Miku Kobato's with the rest of the band providing the backing vocals. There's not much to separate BAND-MAID from the pool of other great Japanese Metal bands out there, but they're definitely on my radar, and I'm excited to see what the future brings. 8/10

Lancer: Mastery (Despotz Records)

A delicious slice of speed metal here from Sweden's Lancer. Kicking off with Dead Raising Towers, the pace is set at 11 and the band barely back down from it. Bringing to mind Early-to-mid era Maiden and Priest, Mastery is a great journey, Isak Stenvall's voice constantly hits the high notes without wavering, never being pushed beyond it's limit, and the twin guitars of Peter Ellström and Fredrik Kelemen compliment each other brilliantly. Emil Öberg and Sebastian Pedernera keep the pace going with bass and drums respectively. Although primarily speed metal, the band show a softer side with World Unknown, with the openings of Envy Of The Gods and Victims Of The Nile taking a softer approach before yanking you right back into the fray. 8/10

Wolfchant: Bloodwinter (NoiseArt Records)

Ah, Wolf-based bands, I can't get enough of them. From Nornensang, a soaring operatic intro, you know this is going to be brilliant, and it transitions straight into Schiksalsmacht, an epic galloping tune. The band keep this sound up throughout the album, from the call-to-arms of Wolfchant (A Wolf To Man) to album closer New Born Killer, the mix of heavy, death, and folk metal never stops.

Nortwin's vocals sit comfortably between clean and abrasive, supported and sometimes blending in with Lokhi's sinister growls. Newcomer to the band, Lug, shows his drumming chops, flowing effortlessly from the slow march to double bass without thought. Sertorius' bass is just as brutal in places, with Skhaal providing solos aplenty on lead whilst Gorthrim provides the rhythm. If you like your folk metal with a bit of a punch, this is an album for you! 9/10

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