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Saturday, 29 April 2017

Reviews: God Dethroned, Kobra & The Lotus, Samsara Blues Experiment, Adrenaline Rush (Reviews By Paul)

God Dethroned: The World Ablaze (Metal Blade)

It’s been seven long years since God Dethroned released Under The Sign Of The Iron Cross. Album number 10, The World Ablaze places the Dutch blackened death metal outfit firmly back in the field of vision and its an outstanding piece of technically diverse music. It retains all the ferocity of their back catalogue and continues the themes of war, with a particularly poignant cover of troops going into battle during the Great War. What it also has is a wide range of styles, with oodles of melody threaded intricately between the brutal blast beats, shredding riffs and slicing hooks. Escape Across The Ice (White Army) for example, is full of power whilst restrained in comparison from the break neck speed of tracks such as Breathing Through Blood and Annihilation Crusade which are just crushingly heavy.

If you want the biggest riffs of the year then stop at Messina Ridge, which tells the story of the allies attempt to take land southeast of Ypres in 1917. This track is immense, sitting alongside the mighty Memoriam in terms of absolute suffocating power. Founder father Henri Sattler continues to deliver the vocal goods, whilst his guitar work is superbly bolstered by new man Mike Ferguson. Album closer The 11th Hour honours the end of World War, Armistice Day and is stunning. A slower paced melodic death metal approach containing some technically blistering guitar work and massive control from drummer Michiel Van der Pilcht and bassist Jeron Pomper. The World Ablaze is an album that should appeal to all who like metal. It is a massive return for one of the genres most important bands. 9/10

Kobra And The Lotus: Prevail I (Napalm)

Canadian outfit Kobra and the Lotus led by the enigmatic Kobra Paige have now been around for eight years and Prevail I, the first of two albums to be released this year, is their fourth full release. I must admit I’ve been unimpressed by their live performances when I’ve seen KATL live, although last year’s opening slot for Delain was a vast improvement on their show at BOA a few years ago. Prevail I contains some very powerful symphonic metal combined with the more routine metal which works well. First single TriggerPulse is a smouldering bruiser of a track, with Paige’s voice impressive.

The rest of the band work hard to provide a solid platform, Jasio Kulakowski’s heavy duty guitar work giving the album the metal edge. In a challenging field where the quality of female fronted bands is currently high, KATL have their work cut out to make an impact. Prevail I will do no harm to their profile and is worthy of an hour of your time. Check out the head banging penultimate beast Hell On Earth, a rip snorting battering ram of a track with the heavy duty drumming of Lord Marcus Lee and the slick time changes effective. Another release that’s worth devoting an hour of your time to. 7/10

Samsara Blues Experiment: One With The Universe (Electric Magic)

Any album that opens with a track that lasts 11 minutes is going to be a crazy ride. So it is with One With The Universe, the fourth album from German's Samsara Blues Experiment. Samsara means ‘wandering’ or ‘world’ in Sanskrit, a word very apt for the vast number of blends that flow through this quite astonishing release. The band, who were formed in 2007 by guitarist and vocalist Christian Peters, deliver five of the most brilliant psychedelic/stoner tracks which lasts over three quarters of an hour.

Each track is a complex exploration, full of meandering travel and tangent side streets. Vipassana opens the proceedings, just under 11 minute, shifting from stoner Clutch type riffage to heavier doom laden passages before drifting effortlessly into the astral plain. Sad Guru Returns sticks a little closer to the blueprint, with some swirling synthesisers adding to the Mastodon-esque maelstrom before the pace slows to a calm and gentle middle section. Glorious Daze has elements of Jim Morrison and The Doors, steeped in the late 60s/early 70s sound, trippy bass and drums and fuzzy guitar work combining with some haunting keyboards as it builds.

It’s the title track which really allows the band to let rip, with Thomas Vedder’s drums and the bass of Han Eisett working magically with Peters’ guitar work, the synths and the odd bid of sitar to provide a palate of sounds that is ethereal and enchanting. It burns slowly, flashes of fire appearing as the intensity flares before returning to a more relaxed journey as the track builds to a stomping majestic finale. Superb! Overall, if you like a bit of trippy shit then this is right on the button. Well worth a go. 8/10

Adrenaline Rush: Soul Survivor (Frontiers)

2014’s debut release was a collaboration between vocalist Tave Wanning and the immensely talented Erick Martensson of Eclipse who performed many the instruments on the melodic rock release. Three years on and things have changed slightly and quite interestingly with a collaboration with Firespawn’s Fredrik Folkare although Martensson remained around to contribute and act as a sounding board. With a new band on board, Soul Survivor is a heavier and darker release than the self-titled debut, whilst retaining the melody and sleekness. New discovery Sam Soderlindh acquits himself well with some very sharp guitar work and the band is technically tight. Tave Wanning’s voice is something else though, and you’ll either love it or hate it.

To me it’s far too close to pop diva style and the saccharine soaked title track is one that curled the stomach. When the band do let rip they so with aplomb. Album opener Adrenaline, the throw away Stand My Ground and the Kiss style stomp of Shock Me (not the original don’t panic) are all decent if lightweight rock tunes. If you love your rock with a tongue in cheek fist pumping and a large slice of Gorgonzola you will be over this like a fat bird in a cake shop. If you struggle with the Def Leppards, H.E.A.T. and FMs of this world then you might want to ensure you have an empty stomach before getting involved. It’s a Marmite album alright. 6/10

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