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Friday 21 June 2019

Reviews: Chaos Magic, Breath After Coma, The Lord Weird Slough Feg, Steignyr (Matt & Pascal)

Chaos Magic: Furyborn (Frontiers Records) [Matt]

Chaos Magic was formed after ex-Stratovarius guitarist Timo Tolkki discovered Chilean vocalist Caterina Nix, recruiting her for the 2nd Avalon record as well as also writing and producing the debut Chaos Magic record. Now Nix returns with Chaos Magic, this time without Tolkki involved having aligned herself with Chilean producer, singer, and musician Nasson. His influence on this record has meant that Nix can experiment with more soundscapes than she did on the first more traditionally symphonic metal styled debut. There it was almost by the numbers Tolkki fayre, here though things are heavier and darker with Nix's vocals style moving from soaring, powerful highs to more sultry lower reaches.

You Will Breathe Again is a big symphonic metal track which casts a link to the debut, where as Like Never Before brings a lot more electronic touches, which reappear on the delightfully devilish My Affliction a track that could have come from In This Moment, while the processed drums on ballad Beware Of Silent Waters which has keyboard extraordinaire Mistheria adding his talents. He's not the only guest though as Tom S Englund (Evergrey) adds his soulful approach to the title track which is as epic as his dayjob, Bravely Beautiful features Ailyn (ex-Sirenia) duetting with Caterina while Ronnie Romero (Rainbow, ex-Lords Of Black) gives his voice to the crunchy Path of The Brave where he's in full Dio mode. As the synths give way to absolute chaos (magic) producer Nasson sings on Falling Again showing his vocal prowess on one of the best tracks on the album, mixed by Midas himself Jacob Hansen it all pops like freshly opened champagne bottle. With Nasson now involved properly in this project really is a vehicle for the excellent voice of Nix, it seems the future of Chaos Magic is secured by this great second record. 8/10

Breath After Coma: Woke Up In Babel (Ikaros Records)

Breath After Coma are Orestis Tentzeris (vocals/guitars), Theo Matthaios (guitars), Kostas Karapanagiotis (bass) and Vagelis Karapanagiotis (drums), they hail from Athens Greece and play a style of music that has alternative influences of The Royal Blood  (Faces To The Floor) but also brings the more 90's grunge sound of Alice In Chains (Self Titled) which is built on some swaggering riffs that move into some psych sections. The AIC comes back in on the ballsy Fireball while For Better Or Worse is a stoner styled number with a lot of ringing guitars. I'd never heard Breath After Coma but I really enjoy their alt/grunge hard rock, it's an organic sound that you can hear, built out of their beginnings as a jam band. Woke Up In Babel is a dirty piece of grunge from Athens. 7/10

The Lord Weird Slough Feg- New Organon (Cruz Del Sur) [Pascal]

The Lord Weird Slough Feg or Slough Feg for the fans, are an American band originating from Pennsylvania but based in San Francisco. They started in 1996 and New Organon is their new album after numerous releases and multiple changes in their line up. Scalzi is the only original member and is also a qualified Philosophy Professor apparently. But back to the album itself, on track 3 The Apology the bass intro moves into more folky-celt metal while Headhunter has a more classic metal/stoner stamp and is pleasant enough I must say. it sounds uncannily like an early demo from Iron Maiden while Exegesis Tragic Hooligan reminds of Elf or Trapeze at times. Overall its an intriguing record. It's a bit stuck in a time warp but it does not sound dated, actually the sound is more underground driven and very similar to bands like Castle. The guitars are good if not great, the vocals in line with expectations not overly demonstrative but efficient. In terms of style homogeneity the songs are a bit disjoint but the mix between classic metal to more folky influences is pleasant at the same time. I have a bizarre sentiment about this musical item I must say. I don’t dislike the album but I am not mad about it either. I was actually thinking it will probably age better than many current overproduced albums. Go figure 6/10

Steignyr: Myths Through The Shadows of Freedom (Art Gates Records) [Pascal]

Described as energetic and fierce. Steignyr is an epic celtic death metal combo hailing from Barcelona -Spain. It is said the band has been founded by vocalist and lead guitarist Jon Throgrimr. Style wise it’s all about Celtic melodies, beautiful harmonies powered by a strong guttural voice. It's very well produced I must say, its epic in a way, but out the 13 tracks Frozen In Time is probably the one (and only track) I like the most because I have frankly not really bought into the folk metal thingie scene. Arrows Of Time and Calling The Immortals are OKish tracks but are not ground breaking tunes by any means. I have really listened to all the songs but still no good. If you are a fan of the genre you will probably like this band if not I don’t see any compelling reasons why your curiosity should bring you towards this full length. 4/10

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