Blaze Bayley: Endure & Survive (Blaze Bayley Recordings)
This record is the second part of a trilogy following a re-programmed assassin on a quest to dealing with what it is to be human, it's the follow up to Infinite Entanglement and continues the high concept science fiction storyline, with the protagonist finding out what his true purpose is. Once again Blaze is backed by Chris Appleton (guitar), Martin McNee (drums), Karl Schramm (bass) aka Absolva and they clearly know how to make a traditional metal racket with a thundering rhythm section, galloping riffs and explosive solo's they play like they are more than just a three piece. As I've mentioned before Blaze's solo records are much heavier than Wolfsbane and even his Maiden work, it sets them apart and actually enamours me to them because of this.
This ninth release is no exception with the title track expertly moving between, power-thrash riffs, Blaze's booming unique vocals and spoken word storytelling from Aine Brewer, Proprietor of Cardiff's Fuel Rock Club Rob Toogood and Michelle Sciarrotta; who also provides Nylon Guitars along with long term Bayley collaborator Thomas Zwijsen, see Remember for the classical acoustic sound. Endure & Survive adds a darker sound than the previous record, the story gets grittier and as such so does the music.
It's a great heavy metal record full of horn throwing proper metal, an interesting cinematic story concept and Bayley's muscular vocals being flexed better than ever before. With tracks such as Blood, Destroyer and the gargantuan Together We Can Move the Sun it means this record not only satisfies as the second part of the trilogy but stands up on it's own merit as well. 8/10
Majesty: Rebels (Napalm) [Review By Rich]
Majesty seem to be one of heavy metals best kept secrets. They have been pumping out album after album of heavy metal greatness since 2000 yet don't seem to be very well known outside of their native Germany or mainland Europe. With the release of their ninth album Rebels they will hopefully garner some new fans internationally as it is an absolutely cracking record. Majesty play a very Manowar-inspired style of heavy metal also mixing in elements of speed metal and European power metal.
The album of chock full of cheesy fist-pumping metal anthems which will be stuck in your head for hours on end with highlights such as Rebels Of Our Time, Fireheart and Heroes In The Night being simply irresistible to a fan of cheesy metal such as myself. With Rebels Majesty have continued down the path of true metal greatness they have laid with their previous albums. It doesn't add anything new to the Majesty sound but is catchy, silly and damn good fun which is exactly what you want with this style of metal. 8/10
OHHMS: The Fool (Holy Roar) [Review By Rich]
UK sludge metal outfit OHHMS return with their first full length release The Fool. For an album with only six tracks there is a lot going on throughout The Fool from dense crushing riffs, atmospheric passages and shoegaze soundscapes. After an acoustic intro you have a trio of songs that mix that sludgy denseness with atmosphere that veers between epic and melancholic. Although these are lengthy songs the amount of changes throughout simply demand your attention. The most noticeably different song here is The Lovers with it's almost dream-pop/shoegaze sound complimented by clean male and female vocals.
This then goes into what is the centrepiece of the album - the monolithic 21 minute plus The Hierograph which starts with hypnotic droning guitars slowly building as the song begins to take shape ending in what is the most atmospheric song on the album. Unfortunately at 21 minutes it does tend to go on a bit too long but this is an extremely minor criticism. With The Fool OHHMS prove themselves to be one of the top sludge bands in the UK at the moment and I cannot wait to see what they have in store next. Fans of Neurosis and Cult Of Luna really need to check this album out. 8/10