Scarleth: Vortex (Casket Music) [Stief Illingworth]
As soon as the album starts, it’s obvious what Scarleth are all about; Speed, heaviness and melodies,and they rarely stop through the entirety of the album. Feel The Heat opens with synths by Yana Kovalskaya, before Victor Morozov starts to riff, joined by Igor Chumak and Philipp Kharoukadding even more heaviness on bass and drums respectively, and then Ekaterina Kapshuk’s voice kicks in. Her voice fits perfectly with the dark, gloomy atmosphere the band seem to emanate. There’s a gothicness to the band’s sound, giving vibes of early Lacuna Coil in places, while still retaining their own style, even adding some middle-eastern influences with the guitars. Although many could easily compare Scarleth to their peers in the Melodic female-fronted section of our vast metal world, it’s obvious that Scarleth are paving their own path. Definitely keeping an eye on these guys! 8/10
Noctem: The Black Consecration (Art Gates Records) [Rich Oliver]
Noctem are a name I’ve heard somewhere along the line but not a band I have previously heard anything by and so The Black Consecration which is the fifth album by the Spanish black metallers is my first exposure to the band. The Black Consecration is an apt name for the album as it definitely ordained me into the church of Noctem. On this album Noctem play a very visceral style of black metal which feels equally vast, epic and melodic as it does raw and violent. As with most melodically leaning black metal bands the melodies here are not pretty and seep a malevolent atmosphere.
There are some acoustic passages which give off the same ominous vibe as the heavy distorted parts. The classic black metal traits - tremolo riffs and blastbeats - are used to full effect with the drumming by Voor being especially manic with some insane speeds reached with his blastbeats. The vocals by Beleth are a mixture of black metal screams and guttural growls with both used to good effect. The Black Consecration is an excellent album by Noctem and a very impressive introduction to the band for me. It’s black metal which whilst melodic in nature has a wholly oppressive and sinister atmosphere about it. A great listen. 8/10
R For Renegade: Who We Are (Self Released) [Matt Bladen]
We...ok I, review a lot of Greek bands on this blog. This is mainly due to my other half being from the country originally so, we do get inundated with bands wanting reviews, as well as that I do also like to actively seek out Greek bands, who if they are playing the country in future I could go and see. It’s not often that I have seen any of the bands from the country I review, but there are few exceptions most notably Scars Of Tears and Κούπες both from my partners home city of Kastoria in Northern Greece. I’ve now got another name to add to that very small list in R For Renegade a band I saw supporting Scars Of Tears and Κούπες in Kastoria.
Now ok it’s not a great name and in the live reviews I was a little harsh on the band noting that the vocalist didn’t have the best voice so with a little trepidation I pressed play on their album. I was pleasantly surprised with what came out of my speakers as R For Renegade’s album is really enjoyable, emotional alternative rock album. Soaring guitars clean guitar lines are boosted by a crunch while some modern production techniques mean that the record has definitive contemporary edge. Nowhere To Run has a touch of Karnivool as brand New Start brings a more emotional edge as the title track pairs ambient acoustics with rippling electronics and Back To You is a proper ballad sitting in the middle of the album. Who We Are is very good record from these Greek rockers and while they have yet to wow me live, this album made me want to reconsider. 7/10
Coilguns: Watchwinders (Hummus Records) [Liam True]
I’m not into the Hardcore scene that much but there are a few bands I'm fond of. I can safely that that Coilguns are not in that select list. The album is an odd one as it’s experimented with Hard Rock and Hardcore. But the sound of the album and the horrific vocals just destroy the atmosphere for me. If that’s the sound they were going for then that’s completely their choice, but for me I'd rather a more polished and coherent sounding album. To me it’s just a sludgy mess of incomprehensible bashing of instruments. Let down by this as I was looking forward too it. Shame really. 1/10