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Monday, 13 May 2019

Reviews: Tanith, Advent Sorrow, Blazon Stone, Ketzer (Matt, Paul H, Rich & Manus)

Tanith: In Another Time (Metal Blade Records) [Matt]

Well this is about as retro as it comes, harking back to the late 70's just as what we now call 'heavy metal' was starting to emerge, it was bands such as Blue Oyster Cult, Wishbone Ash and of course Thin Lizzy that brought the dual lead guitars, throbbing bass and gallops galore. It was this style that led into the emerging NWOBHM and thrash scenes on both coasts. New York/Newcastle band Tanith sound like they are keeping this traditional alive, if their debut album's title wasn't a clue then decidedly vintage sounding music contained herein. Formed by Russ Tippins (guitar/vocals)) and Cindy Maynard (bass/vocals) with Charles Newton on guitar and drummer Keith Robinson, it opens with Citadel the first part of the Galantia duo of songs, the third of which is Wing Of The Owl (part 2 is nowhere to be seen). Citadel has a canter of early heavy metal, while Wing Of The Owl is a more melodic number sounding a little like Wishbone Ash.

Throughout both guitars work in glorious unison, which can be also said about the vocals of Tippins and Maynard who both take the mic adding their unique phrasing to the songs, riffing off one another for one of the most distinctive vocals in this style. There is a lot of traditional metal riffage here but nothing as heavy as Tippin's main band Satan, it's a little lighter in style with a smidgen of psychedelia, especially on Dionysus which is a fitting track dedicated to everyone's favourite God of wine and partying. If that authentic 'proto-metal' sound is what you crave then Tanith have it in droves. Before they turned into an 80's pop band this is what Ghost could have been, all rumbling basslines, guitar duels and anthemic songs. I urge you to pick up In Another Time as soon as it's out, if you, like Jethro Tull said are living in the past! 8/10

Advent Sorrow: Kali Yuga Crown (Werewolf Records) [Paul H]

Piercing sorrowful torturous screams dominate the title track of this sophomore release from Australian black metal band Advent Sorrow. The shrieking vocals that are reminiscent of nails down a blackboard. This is the marmite (or is that vegemite?) test and it’s a challenge. Aside from Rhys King’s despairing cries, Advent Sorrow play hauntingly atmospheric black metal which at times is thrilling and at other times a little pedestrian. Kali Yuga Crown is an intense combination, King’s vocals somewhat disturbing. Pestilence Shall Come provides some ferocious drumming which isn’t always present. The standard tremolo riffing combined with the synths adds depth to the songs although they are limited in variety.

Things improve with Caesar albeit King changing style to mimic Maurizio Iacono. Wells Of Poison Water increases the interest and Majesty Enshrined is explosive with blast beats and frantic riffs which have been absent for much of the previous thirty or so minutes. For a band now edging towards the start of its second decade together, this may be a little bit of a disappointment, with the hype around their forthcoming UK appearances suggested more. Having said that, I’ve got my ticket to see the band at Fuel in Cardiff a couple of days after their appearance at Incineration Fest so hopefully their live show will be a little more impressive. 7/10

Blazon Stone: Hymns Of Triumph And Death (Stormspell Records) [Rich]

I’ll be honest. I didn’t expect much going into this album. With a name like Blazon Stone it’s clear that the band are inspired by Running Wild and I was expecting a half arsed Running Wild ripoff and whilst this band do sound very much like the aforementioned band they do it absolutely phenomenally. Hymns Of Triumph And Death is the fifth album by the Swedish heavy metallers which is impressive considering the band sound like a Running Wild tribute band who write original songs. What’s more impressive is that on their fifth album of Running WIld worship they sound absolutely belting doing Running Wild’s pirate themed style of power metal better than Running WIld do it these days. This is a pure fist bumping headbangathon of an album with power and glory mixed with speed and aggression. 

This is one fast paced album with songs such as Heart Of Stone, Dance Of The Dead and Cheating The Reaper racing along like there’s no tomorrow whilst songs such as Iron Fist Of Rock and Ride High bring the pace down being more in a joyous fist pumping heavy metal style. Singer Erik Forsberg impresses with a style that sounds like a cross between Rock ‘n’ Rolf and Udo Dirkschneider whilst the rest of the band absolutely fire on all cylinders. Blazon Stone have impressed me incredibly with Hymns Of Triumph And Death and I feel bad for judging them initially as I enjoyed this album so damn much. 

 It’s always a good sign when you can’t keep your hands or feet still during an album and that was very much the case during Hymns Of Triumph And Death. Despite completely lacking in originality this album is an absolute belter, is so much fun and I can’t praise it enough. Now excuse me whilst I go and listen to it again..and again. 9/10

Ketzer: Cloud Collider (Metal Blade Records) [Manus]

The latest offering from Germany’s blackened thrashers Ketzer is about as in-your-face and vile as black metal can get. The rawness remains intact despite the record’s clean production, which actually serves a purpose, highlighting the intricacies of the musicianship displayed here. After an ominous intro in The Machine, opening song Keine Angst takes only seconds to establish a frantic momentum that the subsequent tracks just keep building on.

Packed within the brutality of this record are bursts of melody in guitar-led passages. Without taking away from any heaviness, the cleaner bits add some depth to the tightly played tunes. It’s hard to pick highlights on this album, because all the songs rip so hard, but single No Stories Left packs a mean punch and gives a pretty good feel of what the album holds. 9/10

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