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Wednesday 26 June 2019

Reviews: Eternal Storm, 3Teeth, Merging Flare, Dorja (Matt, Paul H & Sean)

Eternal Storm: Come The Tide (Transcending Obscurity)

This...this is special haling from the sunny climes of Spain Eternal Storm bring a darkness that I have not felt in many a month. Apologies for sounding like Obi Wan Kenobi but Come The Tide effortlessly bounces between hellspawn heaviness and angelic melodies along with numerous curveballs to keep you on your guessing. There are a lot of progressive elements in this melancholic record which is the band's debut after releasing both an EP and a split release, it's technically brilliant without surrendering any accessibility the four piece band are steadfast in their commitment to play music that inspires you to lose yourself in this record that shifts between extremity and beauty. You can hear the likes of De Profundis, Opeth, Paradise Lost and even early Katatonia in this music especially on the opening mini-suite Through The Wall Of Light has everything you would expect from a band that have been compared to the bands I've mentioned.

Blastbeats come at warpspeed from the off, from Mateo Novati (drums, additional growls), on Pt.1 (The Strand) with some intensely guttural vocal grunts in opposition to the cleaner guitar melodies from the skillful guitars of Daniel Maganto (guitars, additional growls, composition) and Jaime Torres (guitars, additional clean & growl vocals, composition) who are the real stars of this record adding euphonious guitars as they slow things down on Pt.2 (Immersion) which flows into a sax break (see told you it kept you guessing) as the growls return for the punishing death metal ending. Only two songs in (though it's really one in two parts) and you're already hooked, gasping for breath as the overwhelming sorrow hits you with a death metal punch. Detachment is the third track on the record and has yet more intricate riff structures as Kheryon (lead vocals/bass) unleashes his throaty roar over the death metal blasts before Javier Fernández's (Nexusseis, The Heretic) keyboard swathes takes over the slower section where it all gets a bit more atmospheric as we get taken through more primeval tones of The Mountain which ends with a brilliant piano outro leading into the acoustic fireside intro to Of Winter And Treason which is 10 minutes of some of the finest music you'll hear this year.

A slow building number that gets better with every passing minute as it segues into some fluid jazz moments as Drifters brings yet more ambient synths. As Scarlet Lake takes you back to the traditional blackened death metal sounds this album reminds you what Amon Amarth could sound like if they tried a bit harder. By the time Embracing Waves closes the album this musical journey reaches it's fulfilling conclusion with the first use of clean vocals and yet more flowing riffs for a moody finish of the album. Come The Tide is an accomplished, virtuoso record from this Spanish band. Buy it! 9/10   

3Teeth: Metawar (Century Media Records) [Paul H]

Industrial metal outfit 3Teeth is a Los Angeles based five-piece. Their vision is uncompromising. “From day one, the whole project was intended to be more of a multimedia art project built on the chassis of a band,” explains frontman Alexis Mincolla. As well as vocalist with the band, he is the creative director of downtown LA’s infamous tech noir club night LIL DEATH. It was here that his flair for visual art met with Xavier Swafford’s keyboard and production skills and they began creating together. Filling in the gaps with Andrew Means (modular synth / bass), Chase Brawner (guitar), and Justin Hanson (drums), the band soon released their self-titled debut album in 2014. The album gained the attention of Tool guitarist Adam Jones and an invitation to join Tool and Primus on a full US arena tour in 2016 followed. The band’s sophomore release, <shutdown.exe> was released on their own imprint, OMF Records. The record hit #23 on the Billboard and landed them tours across the US and Europe — headlining, and supporting acts such as Rammstein, HIM, and Danzig.

3Teeth’s live show is described as “a mix of state-of-the-art sensory overload with a take-no-prisoners level of aggression.” Mincolla once described the aims of their live show as “an ontological one-night stand,” and encourages his audience to protest their own conditioning. “Our debut album was man vs the world, our sophomore album was man vs himself, and now our forthcoming third album is world vs world.” Mincolla muses how if man doesn’t create his own world, then he’s to be crushed by the world of another. Which brings us to Metawar an album which is exactly that — a sonic attack on the wide scale perception management systems that currently grip our worlds. The introduction on Hyperstition leads into Affluenza, all thumping bass and grinding industrial attack with snarling vocals which rage against the machine. The next 40 or so minutes ask and challenge. The intensity of President X and the angst of ALTǼR all delivered with a jagged, in your face attitude.

The pace is haunting on Surrender, whilst the brooding introduction on Sell Your Face 2.0 quickly segues into a moody smouldering track, punctuated by melody and a hook to die for. Slick and professionally delivered, there is ample chaos to appeal to those who like their industrial metal with edge, and for those whose tastes are more driven by social commentary, this should also be of interest. The band are supporting Ministry shortly and it will be an experience to catch these guys in the live arena as I suspect that they will be impressive. 7/10

Merging Flare: Revolt Regime (Ram It Down Records) [Sean]

Man, that cover’s fucking awesome. Goats and corpses are all brilliant and all that, but sometimes nothing screams HEAVY FUCKING METAL like a mech (or titan, for you 40k aficionados) stomping seven shades of shit out of all in it’s path. I mean, come one! What other genre of music would ever announce it’s intentions in such brazenly awesome fashion? Matching those HUGE guns with equally HUGE riffs are Finnish heavy/power metallers, Merging Flame. Despite being around since 2001, “Revolt Regime” is only their second full length release, their first in 8 years. Not exactly the best track record is it? Still, there’s some seasoned vets piloting this warmachine, proving that time matters not in the face of pure heavy metal firepower. As if it that weren’t enough, Kai Hansen is on here too! Well, what yah waiting for? Let us begin!

 sets the octane (and cheese) on high, trad riffs and synths reminiscent of every kickass 90’s anime intro. I can totally picture in my head, each character introduced in turn, wistfully looking to the sky before the logo appears……bliss. It’s tight, as one would expect these proficient Finns, keeping things relatively straightforward and unburdened. A standard song structure is employed but with plenty of shreddy ammo to spare. Alliance In Defiance gets down and dirty, (somewhat) toning down the cheese in favour chunky riffing, all the while channeling their inner Judas Priest with unabashed glee (they’re even signed to Ram it Down records!). And by the Omnissiah, those solos! Lead guitarist Kasperi Heikkinen (also of Beast In Black) dances across his fretboard with deadly dexterity, unleashing burst after burst of shredtastic (yes, that’s a word now) virtuosity. Clarion Call shifts gears, its mid paced tempo somewhat reminiscent of Running Wild, whilst The Abyss Of Time draws slightly more from the pomp and pageantry of their fellow country men. 

It’s all rather silly but in the face of such amiable energy, I am far from uttering a single complaint nor frown. Minds Eye gets a wee bit cosmic, it’s slightly porgy chords progression once again reminding me of early 90’s Gundam anime (give Stardust Memory a go). War Within briefly conjures shades of Megadeth, flirting with that Mustaine like staccato riffing, though still very much sticking to Merging Flare’s muscular melodramatics. Midwinter Magic is moderately more serious, relenting on the cheese though this isn’t really saying much in the grand scheme of things. A big chorus helps propel it along, though that’s rather the whole point isn’t it? Devestator sounds like latter Accept, bringing all the chunk and blasting all foes into oblivion. Hell, frontman Matias Palm isn’t a away million miles off Mr.Tornillo’s gruff bark, either! 

The teutonic vibes continue on Sin Against The Sinner before Revolt Regime ends on the unexpected Van Halen vibes of The Lucky One. Would probably have been better placed elsewhere but it’s a solid, if slightly underwhelming closer all the same. Let’s break it down quickly; If you of the more serious disposition, chances are this will make you vomit blood. I get that, can respect that even. However, if you don’t give a hoot about most things and enjoy no nonsense heavy/power metal, you will find no shortage of sweet sustenance here. The performance is spot on, the songs are and catchy and overall, Revolt Regime is just simply fun. Even if the vocals feel ever so slightly phoned in at times, Merging Flare have put a solid slab of heavy metal goodness. Go and get shredding! 8/10

Dorja: Gemini (Dakini Records) [Paul H]

Three years after their debut single Fire, the five-piece outfit from England, Belgium and Kazakhstan are now able to release their debut album Gemini. I first saw the band almost three years ago, opening the proceedings on a wet and windy first day at the Amplified Festival in Gloucester. The band played to about 25 hardy souls who stood there watching Dorja give it everything. I must be honest, they’d slipped from my radar completely, but it was pleasing to get this album to review. Steeped in classic rock of the 70s and 80s, this is 43 minutes of competent and enjoyable hard rock delivered to a high standard as one would expect. 

Opening track Chainbreaker starts the album well, a smouldering song which segues neatly into the fiery Target Practice. The title track is an immaculate piece of work, with an extended progression allowing vocalist Aiym Almas to open up and show her quality. Elsewhere, there is solid interplay between bassist Becky Baldwin and drummer Anna Mylee, and some neat guitar work from Sarah Michelle and Rosie Botterill, especially on the blues rock of Use You and the original single Fire which closes the album in foot stomping style. Worth a listen, should you get the opportunity. 6/10

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