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Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Reviews: Ex Deo, Captain Crimson, Långfinger (Reviews By Paul)

Ex Deo: The Immortal Wars (Napalm Records)

It’s been a few years since Ex Deo blew Nile away at Bogiez rock club in Cardiff, shortly after the release of the brilliant Caligvla. The third epic instalment of Roman history inspired death metal has finally arrived and it is as good as both previous releases. Kataklysm main man Maurizio Iacono and his legionnaires are in unstoppable form. Focusing on the wars with Carthaginian General Hannibal, this is mighty stuff from start to finish. I must admit I’m very partial to a bit of Kataklysm and Ex Deo sit very nicely alongside the Northern hyperblast, albeit with additional melody but as much ferocious skull crushing power. The Immortal Wars opens in majestic style with The Rise Of Hannibal, all pomp and ceremony before the riffage crashes in. Crossing The Alps sees the band hits top gear. A battery of drums and guitars courtesy of fellow Kataklysm members Stephane Barbe (who plays lead guitar as opposed to his usual bass duties), Jean Francois Dagenais and drummer Oli Beaudoin joined by Ashes of Eden’s Dane Apekian on bass, whilst Iacono’s distinctive vocal delivery adds the grit. With some superb synth and orchestral effects underpinning the tracks this is worthy of a seat with the gods. The imperious Cato Major: Carthago Delenda Est! is a stunning tune whilst Ad Victorium (The Battle Of Zama) throws you right into the heart of the Second Punic War (Up Scipio- History Ed). Huge riffs and massive hooks combined with some colossal effects ooze through this magnificent piece of work. It’s exaggerated, grandiose and thoroughly magnificent from start to finish. Hail Rome. Take me to Elysium now. 9/10

Captain Crimson: Remind (Small Stone Records)

There is apparently no end to the number of Swedish outfits whose sound is rooted in the 60s and 70s. Blues Pills, Graveyard, Witchcraft, the list goes on and on. The latest outfit to reach the music player of the Musipedia is Captain Crimson, a four piece who formed in 2011. The band comprise Stefan Lillhager, Andreas Eriksson, Chris David and Mikael Läth. Rewind, released in the latter months of 2016, does exactly that, transporting the listener to a fusion of everything from Sabbath, Zeppelin, Mountian, The Who and Cream with an extra helping of Blue Cheer and Cactus for good measure. Hell, even the band’s font and album cover is circa 1974. It’s damn good stuff if you like the whole retro sound. Opener Ghost Town is a definitive statement of intent whilst the groove of Bells From The Underground offers opportunity for a middle section which cuts loose with some fuzzy guitar and Bill Ward style drumming. The retro sound continues throughout with touches of The Sword and Rival Sons also popping into the head, especially on Love Street, Money and the fuzzed-up swagger of the title track. In a saturated market, it is debatable whether Captain Crimson will receive the attention they deserve but for now it’s a decent release worthy of repeated plays. 7/10

Långfinger : Crossyears (Small Stone Records)

Hard rock trio Långfinger hail from Gothenburg in Sweden. Crossyears is their second album, released six years after debut Skygrounds hit in 2010. The band is Victor Crusner who sings, plays bass and keys, guitarist Kalle Lilja and drummer Jesper Phil. Crossyears resides firmly in the harder parts of The Who, with Crusner’s voice very reminiscent of Roger Daltrey at times. Lilja’s guitar work is crafted, rugged and full of heart, with his soloing conjuring up numerous comparisons, not least the magical Oli Brown of RavenEye. The sound is punchy hard rock, inventive and interesting, very like the boys from Milton Keynes. Say Jupiter for example has sufficient catchy hooks to focus the attention whilst the stomp of tracks such as Fox Confessor and Silver Blaze is addictive, also recalling the Australian rockers Tracer. With a decent drenching of blues surging through the album, especially in the epic seven-minute epic Atlas and the Rival Sons style Ceasar's Blues, this is a fine release which is likely to get repeated plays over the rest of the year. Well worth a listen. 8/10

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