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Thursday, 22 June 2017

Reviews: Valor, Scarletborn, Jaw Bones

Valor: Arrogance- The Fall (Pitch Black Records)

Valor were formed in 2002 by ex-Battleroar members Vaggelis Krouskas (vocals) and Chris Remoundos (bass) who along with Spyros Soldatos (guitars) and Thodoris Andritsos (drums) they released their debut EP in 2004, Arrogance-The Fall is their third full length and it's another record that is chock full of epic power metal that marries heavy riffs with more orchestral elements since forming the band have added guitarist Vassilis Kourkoutas and keyboardist Thanasis Lois to their ranks and this means the songs gallop along at pace with harmony guitars and keyboards duelling throughout.

Most of the songs to seem to fly by in a flurry of galloping riffs, explosive solos and symphonic elements to give the record a layered texture. Although it's the songs that take the time to add a bit of crunch or groove such as Arrogant Fall or Another Time do resonate in the memory longer. The production of Vaggelis is bright and lets every instrument stand out while his vocals are powerful and clean sounding almost exactly like Blaze Bayley, Flying Away particularly could sit on X Factor or Virtual XI with ease. If you love the sound of dual guitar wielding tough power metal with restrained but ever-present symphonic touches then Arrogance - The Fall will be up your alley, the Greeks are able to deliver very strong power metal and Valor are another band that do it well. 8/10

Scarletborn: A Royal Hunt (Straight From The Heart)

Scarletborn are a three-piece from Volos in Greece. Their music is categorised as melodic death metal and that is pretty accurate as Ethan Tziokas vocals have duality associated with the genre he growls on tracks such as the heavy Imploring Giants which also features Wardrums Yannis Popadopoulos on vocals but also Ethan hows he can sing in a low clean on We Tore The Sun. Yannis is one of the four guests on this record with Nightrage's Marios Iliopoulos on guitar for the more melodic To Be Obscure, Bob Katsionis on Lethargos also lending their talent.

Musically the band are excellent, Aggelos Triantos is a frantic rhythm machine drumming up a storm on Antlers Crown (which features John McRis on guitar) with this many guest guitarists it's easy to ignore Fotis Tampas' contribution of all the guitars and bass that gives this record the musical foundations of In Flames and early Trivium. A Royal Hunt is a pretty strong debut from this trip, how this will translate live, the band seem to be sans a bassist and a second guitarist, is anyone's guest but on record at least they have all the boxes ticked. 7/10

Jaw Bones: Wrongs On A Right Turn (Sliptrick Records)

Thessaloniki's Jaw Bones are young and angry with a riff packed debut album, there's stoner, grunge and punk on this record as it opens with the attitude filled Communication is delivered like a megaphone in the face with Disciple having the groove of early Soundgarden which continues into Ego Tripper that has funkier tones to it but with the bands rawness still coming through. The Ride To Nowhere is a much more psychedelic affair as is the slow burning Song Of The Nightingale and Should Know Better ramps up the riffage. With Greek metal flooded with bands in the stoner style they need to adapt their style to stand out from the pack and Jaw Bones do this by adding doom on A Thousand Masks along with the punk and grunge sounds mentioned earlier. Wrongs On A Right Turn will be instrumental in taking Jaw Bones in the right direction. 7/10

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