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Monday, 23 July 2018

Reviews: Lost Domain, Gioeli-Castronovo, Reaper, Stonewitch (Reviews By Rich & Matt)

Lost Domain: ...In The Waiting Room Of Death (Krylight Records) [Review By Rich]

...In The Waiting Room Of Death is the highly impressive debut full length album by Swedish band Lost Domain having previously released a self titled EP back in 2013. Lost Domain play progressive power metal reminiscent of bands such as Kamelot and Evergrey. The songs are dark in tone with plenty of crunchy riffing and impressive drumming with the fantastic vocals of frontwoman Catalina Leonte elevating the strong melodies and catchy choruses throughout the album. There is a nice variation of songs throughout from the power metal leanings of Silent Cry, the headbanging friendly Beneath The Bridge, the atmospheric ballad Desole and the melodic death metal leaning Rebellious Angel which also features Bjorn Strid of Soilwork on guest vocals (that man sure does get about!) The songs are all boosted by the strong punchy production job on the album. Lost Domain have produced a very impressive debut album which combines strong melodies, catchy choruses, strong riffing and a dark tone. Definitely a band to keep an eye on. 8/10

Gioleli-Castronovo: Set The World On Fire (Frontiers Records) [Review By Matt]

Johnny Gioeli is probably best known as being the vocalist of 90’s hard rockers Hardline, their 1992 debut Double Eclipse album still holds up as one of the best records of that period mainly due to Gioeli’s vocals and the contributions of Journey members Neal Schon and Deen Castronovo, since that album Deen has played with Ozzy, Revolution Saints and is now in Dead Daises while Johnny still leads Hardline as well as being the singer for Axel Rudi Pell and Crush 40 (Sonic fans let me hear you). However 25 years after Double Eclipse Castronovo and Gioeli have reconvened to record their own album for Frontiers. Being a Frontiers release there a level of slickness that every album has and like Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section or The LA Wrecking Crew the studio musicians on this record a pool of brilliant players who make these songs come alive with Alessandro Del Vecchio on keys and production.

The music on Set The World On Fire rarely moves away from the melodic rock style both have been so heavily involved in for their careers. Both men take the lead vocals, as those who have seen Journey or Revolution Saints will know Deen is a very good singer in his own right however it’s Gioeli’s smooth tones that catch the attention except when both are harmonizing on tracks such as Fall Like An Angel and the bouncy title track. At times it’s more Journey than Journey but that’s not a criticism due to the men’s shared history, Set The World On Fire is mostly classy melodic rock with one too many ballads and the cover of Need You Now by Lady Antebellum which doesn’t need to be there. 6/10

Reaper: Birth Of Chaos (863193 Records DK) [Review By Rich]

Birth Of Chaos is the independently released debut album of Liverpudlian thrashers Reaper. Being a bit of a thrash aficionado and having not previously heard of Reaper I was eager to give this album a spin. Two things that can be said of Reaper is that they know how to thrash and they sure can play their instruments. Birth Of Chaos is an all you can eat buffet of absolutely relentless riffs that I was more than happy to devour. This album is very much rooted in old school thrash metal with a nice balance of more melodic thrash and the violent and aggressive style.

Highlights for me included the melodically tinged World At Redemption, the all out thrash assault of The Crypt and the Megadeth inspired Wings Of Darkness. Unfortunately what does let this album down is the paper thin production with the bass rendered almost inaudible and the drums lacking any power. With a better production this album could lay waste to continents. Production issues aside Birth Of Chaos is a fantastic thrash record which whilst suitably melodic is also a savage beast of a record. 8/10

Stonewitch: The Midnight Tales (Legion Of Death Records) [Review By Rich]

The Midnight Tales is the second album by French band Stonewitch and is a very old school sounding release combining a classic doom sound with traditional heavy metal. The band wear their influences on their sleeves and throughout you can hear elements of bands such as Black Sabbath, Saint Vitus, Pentagram, Angel Witch and Iron Maiden. The Midnight Tales starts off very strong with a trio of brilliant songs from the very classic doom inspired The Phoenix Risen, the speedy NWOBHM driven A Blood Run Cult and the pure classic metal worship of A Farewell Drink.

 This is a splendid start to the album but from this point onwards the quality drops ever so slightly and things get rather repetitive with songs such as Wild Lands and The Midnight Tale both opening with a somber acoustic intro before turning into a dark melodic epic. Putting these two songs at separate points in the album rather than right next to each other would have helped improve the flow of the album in my opinion. Stonewitch have released an album where they showcase their love for classic doom and traditional heavy metal. It's not original but is a well played and well written ode to the years of metal past. 7/10

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