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Monday 8 June 2020

Reviews: BPMD, Magnus Karlsson's Free Fall, Molder, Re-Armed (Matt & Lee)

BPMD: American Made (Napalm Records) [Matt Bladen]

Now when I saw that BPMD features the star studded line up of vocalist Bobby Blitz (Overkill) drummer Mike Portnoy (The Winery Dogs, Sons of Apollo), bassist Mark Menghi (Metal Allegiance) and guitarist Phil Demmel (Vio-lence, ex-Machine Head), I was expecting big things. What I was not expecting was a covers album! Yep it's a covers record that is apparently a "summer soundtrack for all ages" though try and explain Wang Dang Sweet PoontangBeer Drinkers N Hellraisers and Saturday Night Special to your kids! All the songs here come from some legendary American bands such as Aerosmith, Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top and Grand Funk Railroad and what they effectively do is 'metalize' if that's a word these hard rock songs with Portnoy's powerhouse drumming, Menghi's thumping bass, Demmel's thrash based guitar style and the screeching vocals of Blitz all ramping up the heavier style of these American classics. Unfortunately to be truly fair to this record I have to judge it against every other cover album out there and supergroups such as The Dead Daises (who even with three albums of material still play nearly all covers) and really these don't do anything to the originals except perhaps turning up the distortion a little, as well as playing them with the virtuosity you'd expect from those involved. Sling it on at a party with some beers but after that it won't get many repeated plays. 5/10

Magnus Karlsson's Freefall: We Are The Night (Frontiers Records) [Matt Bladen]

Primal Fear axeman Magnus Karlsson is one man who's name appears many times in our Frontiers Records reviews, as well as delivering the one half of the twin axe attack in the German power metal band he has also is the musical driving force behind Allen/Lande, Starbreaker, Kiske/Somerville and the solo albums of Magnum's Bob Catley. His Freefall project is is basically his solo show with a cast of singers added to give their own flavour to the songs that he writes and produces. On this new album he has once again got a stellar line up of singers at his disposal along with Anders Kollerfors on drums and mixing by Jacob Hansen (Volbeat, Primal Fear, Amaranthe, Pretty Maids, etc.) so let's get into it. Opening with the anthemic duo of Hold Your Fire (Dino Jelusick - Animal Drive) and Kingdom Falls (Renan Zonata - Electric Mob) both of which are ballsy melodic rockers with some emotive singing from both men, who also appear on the galloping Dreams And Scars and the tough ballad Under The Black Star

Then we get to We Are The Night which has Karlsson taking the vocals himself, now his voice is very good so why he needs the other singer I don't know but hey, if you can get people like Noora Louhimo (Battle Beast) to do a turn on Queen Of Fire then you would got for it. Elsewhere we get Ronnie Romero on power metal thunder of One By One however for me the biggest coup for me is on the neoclassical Gothic influenced Temples And Towers and the doomy Far From Over where the fantastic Tony Martin (ex-Black Sabbath) takes the mic. In amongst all this there is one instrumental track showcasing Karlsson's guitar skills but We Are The Night is a quality melodic metal album from a prolific songwriter and his stellar cast of voices, slick and full of fire Karlsson is far from free falling here. 7/10  

Molder: Vanished Cadavers (1257708 Records DK) [Lee Burnell]

Joliet, Illinois’ pus riddled death metal threesome pay a brutal homage to old school US death metal with their debut album Vanished Cadavers. You can definitely sense influences from bands such as Obituary and Jungle Rot and it’s refreshing to see that Old School has a place in the new world. Aaren Pantke could easily be mistaken for John Tardy and songs such as The Sweet Taste of Death could pass for an Obituary song without question. Vanished Cadavers is a solid debut with great pacing through the album with Granulated Chunks being a personal standout for me and not just because of the track name but the slow and methodical pacing of the intro by Aaren’s guitaring.

Album has some notable death metal features on the album too with Skeletal Remains’ Cody Davidson contributing a solo to The Sweet Taste Of Death and Cardiac Arrests’ Tom Keizer chucking in a solo of his own in Incipient Disease. On the band’s Bandcamp page (https://molderil.bandcamp.com/album/vanished-cadavers) - check out a blistering cover of Asphyx’s Serenade In Lead. A solid debut from the band and it’s quite refreshing to see bands bring back guest spots and the re-recording and mastering of tracks such as Act Of Revenge is definitely a nice spot. This album shows grit, real old school death metal grit and for fans of Asphyx, Obituary etc - this album is one to check out. 7/10

Re-Armed: Ignis Aeternum (Black Lion Records) [Lee Burnell]

Finnish Melodic Death Metal warriors, Re-Armed release their fourth album, Ignis Aeternum on the back of 2019’s The Era Of Precarity through Black Lion Records. The band have been progressing from straight up death metal from 2012’s debut album, Worldwide Hypnotise to add more melodic influences throughout their latest material whilst maintaining their death and thrash influences.

You get a sample of what to expect from this album from the get-go. Dive Within, produces blastbeats, symphonic elements and a fine mixture of clean and gritty vocals. Whilst I fully appreciate that bands tend to be more progressive with each album, Re-Armed hit the nail on the head with their debut album and there are a few choice songs on the album with personal highlights being Dive Within, Ode To Life and Remain Unbounded. As a band, Re-Armed are very tight nit, technically sound but this album was unfortunately a struggle for me to get through the album. It just didn’t grip me enough and all of songs on the album seemed a bit Jekyll and Hyde for me.
The album was ok, but having listened from their debut up until this point, what I liked from the band had been moulded to fit their image. 5/10

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