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Friday 4 March 2016

Reviews: Voivod, Delain, Hällas (EP Round Up)

Voivod: Post Society (Century Media)

Canadian progressive thrash legends Voivod history are well know but since the loss of Piggy the band have soldiered on with 2013's Target Earth being the fists album that new guitarist Chewy taking over the six string roll on an album since Piggy's death. Target Earth was something of a reunion album but since then founding bassist Blacky ended his second term in the band and on this EP he has replaced by Rocky who is the latest in a long line of bassists. This EP is a start to Voivod's next incarnation and it's a great place to start with 30 minutes of music that show what Voivod do best. This progressive thrash metal with riffs galore from Chewy who is the ideal choice to take over from Piggy as he hasn't got the same style as the old master but brings his own unique bent to the technical mind bending guitar playing Voivod have always been associated with. Away's drumming is the signal for most of the time changes and he leads Rocky in laying down a gut punching rhythm section that allows Chewy to experiment and frontman Snake to give his trademark scarred vocal delivery. The four tracks range from proper thrash of the title track through to the more progressive touches of We Are Connected with the EP ending with a Silver Machine cover that sounds more like Motorhead than Hawkwind and serves as a suitably heavy but obviously unintended tribute to Lemmy. Voivod were back on form with Target Earth but the new boys are now firmly locked in to the sound and Voivod seem more focused than ever, having never been overly familiar with Voivod my anticipation is high for their next full length. 8/10   

Delain: Lunar Prelude (Napalm)

Wow a change in sound sometimes changes how you see a band and as soon as Suckerpunch explodes in all it's electro-dance glory out of the stereo on Delain's newest EP you can't help but hear that this what Delain have been aiming for since their debut. Over the course of their last two albums the electronic elements have increased and Suckerpunch takes them that one step further putting them on a par with Amaranthe. Lunar Prelude is what the title says it is, a prelude to the bands next album, it features two new songs, one alternative version, four live tracks and an orchestral remix of Suckerpunch, the song that is clearly the EP's selling point. Lunar Prelude is the debut of Delian's new guitarist Merel Bechtold, she slots in with ease gelling effortlessly with long term guitarist Timo Somers, this is probably due to her work with Mark Jensen's heavy as lead MaYan project and (Delain tourmate) Anneke Van Giersbergen's Gentle Storm. The rest of the line up remains the same and play with the same amount of skill that has present on all of the bands previous releases with special kudos going once again to singer Charlotte Wessels whose voice has almost diamond clarity and warhead power. This EP is for completists only as it's the first two tracks could be considered new and worth shelling out for but what Lunar Prelude does is give you a hint to how Delain are going to evolve on their next record. 6/10

Hällas: Hällas EP (The Sign Records) (Review By Paul)

If you like your rock set firmly in the psychedelic rock of the 1970s then this four track EP from Swedish outfit Hällas will probably be of interest. Stories of wizards and witches, twin guitars combined with swirling organ, changes of pace and the haunting vocal of Tommy Alexandersson combine for an interesting release. The self-titled second track, clocking in at over seven minutes is the pick with an Opeth style breakdown in the middle of the track which adds atmosphere before the steady riffs pick up again. With more than a hint of early Sabbath and 1970s Scorpions, this is far from unique but it’s decent stuff all the same. 7/10

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