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Tuesday 6 June 2017

Reviews: Tankard, Final Coil, Excalion (Reviews By Rich)

Tankard: One Foot In The Grave (Nuclear Blast)

German thrash legends and 'alcohol metal' pioneers Tankard return with new album One Foot In The Grave. Tankard are one of the hardest working bands in thrash metal with a new album every 2-3 years with One Foot In The Grave being their seventeenth album! Even on album number seventeen the band show they are far from running out of steam as One Foot In The Grave is an absolute corker!

The band take a slightly different approach with this album taking their classic thrash sound and mixing it with a traditional heavy metal influence resulting in a perfect marriage of aggression and melody which is very evident in the more anthemic metal tunes on here such as Arena Of The True Lies and the title track. The band does also let rip such as on speedy opener Pay To Pray and the absolutely tearing closing track Sole Grinder. Lyrically the band stray away further from their main lyrical subject of alcohol taking swipes at religion and internet trolls though the subject of alcohol is present on Secret Order 1516.

Tankard have crafted a superb album with One Foot In The Grave which whilst a lot more melodic than much of their previous work still packs a punch. The formula of mixing thrash with more melodic traditional heavy metal may not be a new one but Tankard are masters of their craft and the songwriting and riffs are so good you will be too busy banging your head to care. Seventeen album in and Tankard are showing no signs of slowing down. 8/10

Final Coil: Persistence Of Memory (Wormhole Death)

Persistence Of Memory is the debut album from Leicester-based progressive rockers Final Coil. The band has previously released a couple of EP's which gained them some publicity and attention but this is my first exposure to the band. Persistence Of Memory is an interesting album with a myriad of influences running throughout from classic progressive rock to modern dark prog to 90's alternative rock and grunge. The result is a band which sounds like a cross between Porcupine Tree, Tool and Alice In Chains. 

The music on the album is very dark and atmospheric helped by the understated vocals by frontman Phil Styles. The sound throughout the album isn't very varied though it ranges from more atmospheric songs such as Dying and Lost Hope to heavier more riff based songs such as Spider Feet and Myopic. Final Coil have released a highly impressive debut album with a brilliant atmospheric sound which sits comfortably between alternative rock and progressive rock and should appeal to fans of both genres. 8/10

Excalion: Dream Alive (Scarlet Records)

This seems to be the year where I discover lots of new power metal bands having already discovered Kaledon, Bare Infinity and Vandroya so far in 2017. The trend continues with Finnish band Excalion and the release of their fourth album Dream Alive. Excalion play a very melodic style of power metal with keyboards very much at the forefront (much like many Finnish power metal bands). 

The album starts off incredibly well with the fast and catchy Divergent Falling and the similar Centenarian but from here onwards the album seems to take a bit of a slump with the band falling into a middling pace which on some songs works but on others ends up feeling drawn out and boring. With Dream Alive Excalion haven't released a terrible album but one which rapidly loses steam and rapidly lost my interest as it progressed. The album could have been improved with more variation in the songwriting. It started very well but by the end I was glad it was over. 6/10

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