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Saturday, 28 July 2018

Reviews: Burial Invocation, Elvenstorm, Fireproven, Bulletmen (Reviews By Paul H)

Burial Invocation: Abiogenesis (Dark Descent Records)

I don’t know much about Turkey save that I had two fabulous holidays there a few years ago courtesy of a friend’s fantastic generosity. There certainly wasn’t much in your face death metal but like many countries where secularism sits shoulder to shoulder with much harder line religious beliefs, I would imagine Ankara's Burial Invocation don’t get to play a lot of wedding parties. The band formed in 2008, ceased in 2012 only to reform in 2014 and hit their fan base with a masterful, raw but highly incendiary debut album. With some gargantuan tracks kicking your arse for long durations, this isn’t your normal death metal.

It reminds me of the doom infused death of Finnish outfit Vainaja. In fact, four of the five tracks are nine minutes plus with the centrepiece the 12-minute title track. Elements of thrash and routine metal can be found melding solidly with the traditional death metal sound. The band comprises original members Cihan Akin on guitar and brutal death growls, Aberrant on drums, alongside newer members Can Yakdy Darbaz on guitar and bassist Ozan Yildirim. Powerful, purposeful and staggeringly well paced, Burial Invocation have laid down a monstrous release which deserves wider exposure. Get them to Eradication Festival Gavin Davies. 8/10

Elvenstörm: The Conjuring (Massacre Records)

Fronted by the spirited Laura Lombard, French power metal outfit Elvenstorm’s third full release opens with the blistering Bloodlust, a track which comically appears to increase in speed as it progresses to the point where you aren’t sure if they will just continue to ramp it up until someone explodes. It’s a maniacal start to an album and to be honest, it never slows down.

Combining power metal with traditional heavy metal, The Conjuring follows themes of fantasy and Satan Elvenstörm have a path and they make sure they follow it. Ritual Of Summoning and the seven minute plus Cross Of Damnation demonstrates the musicianship of Michael Hellstrom, Benoit Lecunona and Antoine Bussiere. Bits of Maiden, Helloween, Primal Fear and Gamma Day litter the album but that’s no bad thing. Now in their tenth year, Elvenstörm have a vitality and intensity absent from many bands of their genre. 7/10

Fireproven: Future Diary (Self Released)

This debut release from Finnish progressive metallers Fireproven was released a couple of months ago. The band, a four-piece play intricate progressive music which skips from Djent, to prog and even thrash as the album develops. At 63 minutes it’s a bit of an undertaking but the investment does provide rewards with some quality tracks. Subtle keyboards from Ilari Hannula add layers to the band’s more aggressive approach, such as Sea Of Fear where the growling vocals of Juha Väätämöinen contrast with brother Janne’s clean voice which directs the band more towards The Pineapple Tree. 

However, as the album develops, much of this album sits more comfortably with Dream Theater and the intricacies of Pain Of Salvation. Heavy enough to satisfy most metal heads, complex enough to sate the appetite of the progressive crowd, Future Diary is an impressive and creative first album with sufficient content to demand repeat listens. 8/10

Bulletmen: There’s Always Light At The End Of The Tunnel (Self Released)

Whiskey soaked Southern Rock always sounds great and this album from Madrid's Bulletmen contains some fabulous slide guitar work. Nothing Better showcases the guitar work of Gustavo Polo who hits all the right notes. The AC/DC style stomp of Mr Tragic Time is an earworm, although the vocals of Tomas Ugarteburu don't always cut it, especially when he drifts into Vince Neil territory and to be fait irritating, especially when he struggles to hold some of the high notes. 

The ballad Drowning In This World is probably the weakest song on the album, vocally disjointed and musically flat. It’s not all dire ballads though with Hard Working Man a real boot stomper, albeit once again vocally challenged. I love the speed and enthusiasm of this band. Their Southern style is magnificent. Unfortunately, the vocals let the whole thing down at times. 6/10

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