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Saturday 17 February 2018

Reviews: King Witch, Eleine, The Rocket Dolls, Crescent

King Witch: Under The Mountain (Listenable Records)

Heavy doom from Scotland, King Witch come from Edinburgh and in the greatest tradition of the sons of Birmingham they riff like complete bastards. Featuring two former members of Firebrand Super Rock (a band who were ace in my opinion) the music of King Witch is similar but obviously has the more occult themes running through it. Happily Laura Donnelly returns as vocalist and her powerful wails are front and center as Jamie Gilchrist (guitar), Lyle Brown (drums) and Joe Turner (bass) make an unruly racket underneath, their classic heavy doom has an epic sound, Carnal Sacrifice beats you around the head with it's thumping riff and it leads into the spiralling psych doom of Solidarity which is one of the set piece songs on the record that's framed by the faster driving rockers such as the title track.

It's worth repeating that Donnelly has a bloody incredible voice but the rest of the band are no slouches either, the rhythm section of Brown and Turner thunder with the faster tracks and but it's in the monolithic Approaching The End, the jazz inflected Ancients and on Possession where the drums sound like an artillery barrage that the rhythm section is at it's absolute best, with this sort of backing it's obvious why Gilchirst abuses his guitar throughout. In a break with tradition this record ends with the two speediest tracks on the record with final track Black Dog Blues blows a gasket with a frenzied assault. Under The Mountain is brilliant. Buy it! 9/10

Eleine: Until The End (Algoth/Black Lodge)

I'll start this review by saying this is a great record, it's characterised as heavy symphonic metal and I'd say that's a pretty accurate description. Think Epica and you'd be on the money, the only difference is frontwoman Madeleine Liljestam doesn't quite have the operation range of Simone Simmons, she does however have an excellent voice, it's powerful, melodic, seductive and has a pop sensibility that really glides over the heavy rhythms and orchestral manoeuvres. Madeleine is the focal point of the band as both the singer and namesake it's image carved out as an alternative model (she has graced the cover of a well known Scandinavian tattoo magazine) and suits the duality of the band as co-founding member Rikard Ekberg not only brings the riffs but also the growls to pair with Madeleine's clean vocals, the real beauty and the beast style that's associated with this type of music.

The record itself is strong, it's flows well with Echoes starting out heavy and Sanity that follows it relying purely on the clean vocals and a catchier sound, this heavy metal sound is taken right the way through until Please which sees Madeleine's vocals cracking with emotion, it's a beautiful song which has just vocals and piano. With all the orchestrations and top drawer singing going on you may miss the technically impressive riffs and drum patterns but I urge you to listen out for them as they are a major feature of this band. Having already shared the stage with Moonspell, Darkane, W.A.S.P, Europe, Raubtier, Eleine are a well worn machine and you can hear the maturity and experience oozing out of this record through the clear production. For symphonic rock fans Eleine are a band to latch on to, the combination of great music and arresting imagery, they will be on the rise this year I'm sure. 8/10

The Rocket Dolls: DeadHead (Self Released)

Having been called ones to watch by Planet Rock, as you press play on DeadHead the second album from Brighton rockers The Rocket Dolls, I immediately thought this might be a bit too heavy for the typical Planet Rock audience but then the hook comes in the chorus and all becomes clear, this band have deconstructed the sounds of some of the biggest bands around and pieced them back together to create new music. The three piece's main sound comes from the grunge influenced rocking of acts such as Seether and Alice In Chains. Starting Something Now is a fine example as it's got the angsty snarl (although not as much as the title track) the quiet loud dynamics perfected by Nirvana but as I mentioned earlier a populist sound with hooks galore.

The songs all have choruses you can see jumper wearing teens with greasy hair singing edgily while they lamenting their angst. I jest of course, there are some really deep messages on this record and The Rocket Dolls have really latched onto grunge and post grunge sound that was so huge in the early 1990's. She Said has bit of Foo Fighters while The Last Thing On My Mind and Drowning have an orchestral backing that was clearly meant to be featured on Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness. The Rocket Dolls are Nikki Smash (vocals/guitar), Benji Knopfler (drums), Joe Constable (bass) and they lock in to this record perfectly, a real unit they seem to be able to adapt to any sound be it straight rock, punk or their favoured grunge. Ones to watch? I'd say you won't be able to look away such is the quality of DeadHead. 8/10

Crescent: The Order Of Amenti (Listenable Records)

There are a few bands that use Egyptian imagery in their music, the most notable being the USA's Nile. Wouldn't it be novel to have a band that sings about Egyptian imagery, who were actually from Egypt? Well say hello to Crescent a blackened death metal band from Cairo (I know Scarab are also from Egypt) sweeping riffs and croaky death vocals from Ismaeel Attallah are what drive Crescent he's got Youssef Saleh, Moanis Salem, Amr Mokhtar as his furious backbone, the blast beats, lightspeed tremolo picking and symphonics combine in a storm of extreme metal fury that is relentless from the first track.

Value for money isn't something Crescent scrimp on they have a cinematic overtone to every song which are long pieces that move from rage to redemption usually within 8 minutes Obscuring The Light is testament to this blasting away before slowing towards the end. For lovers of cinematic extreme metal The Order Of Amenti will be up their with the latest records by Septicflesh and Immolation, if music is a gift from the gods then the deities of Ancient Egypt were very, very angry. The Order Of Amenti beats you at every possible opportunity, strap yourself in and get the neck brace ready it's a beast. 8/10  

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