Find us on Facebook!

To keep updated like our page at:

Or on Twitter:

Or E-mail us at:

Wednesday 1 July 2020

Reviews: The Last Renegades, Kenziner, Goblins Blade, Mora Prokaza (Reviews By Matt Bladen)

The Last Renegades: Valley Of The Kings (Dissonance Records)

Valley Of The Kings is the first album from The Last Renegades a new project from Tokyo Blade founder Andy Boulton along with vocalist Aio (Adrian O'Shaughnessy). It follows on from Tokyo Blades excellent 2020 release Dark Revolution, though the album itself comes after a conversation following their previous release Unbroken. Aio and Andy worked together on a few songs, one being When Will I See You Again but commitments got in the way and it wasn't until Aio caught up with Andy in 2019 that The Last Renegades began properly. Now what is very interesting and very 2020 to be honest, is that neither man has met the other in person and this album was written by both men in their own studios and put together as one 10 song record.

So a kind of laboured creative process but to what end? Well it's not Tokyo Blade by any stretch, this band/album/project is a lot more of a hard rock sounding album taking from the 90's American metal of Skid Row and Y&T but also the chest beating power metal themes of Manowar/ Helloween that comes through on 300 Strong. Much of the songwriting is enforced by horror and battle themes similar to the classic and power metal band. Most of the songs feature Andy's heavy guitar as the driving factor in tracks such as Mr Smile while Aio's powerful and wide vocals soar on Bringers Of War and the triumphant march of Serial Killer (which once again has the final speech from The Great Dictator as sample) but also can carry ballads such as the dramatic Across The Great Divide and When Will I See You Again (though this number is mainly just some melodic guitar playing). It's not a perfect record, there are a few too many ballads and the last half is weaker than the first but for what is basically a studio project Valley Of The Kings is a great debut record. 7/10  

Kenziner: Phoenix (Pure Steel Records)

Ah Neoclassical metal, usually bands formed by virtuoso guitar players and a number of professional session musicians, think Yngwie Malmsteen etc however very often these projects become bands with Symphony X, At Vance, Circle Of Fire and Firewind being the most notable. Add to that Kenziner the band formed and named after Jarno Keskinen who were originally active in the late 90's with Stephen Fredrick on vocals, who also sang the vocals Firewind's album Burn The Earth as well as some David T Chastain projects (another long term neoclassical metal survivor). Jarno reactivated the band in 2012 with new members releasing their last album in 2014. Since then the band have welcomed vocalist Peter ‘Zinny’ Zalesky and keyboardist Ariel Perchuk to their ranks ready to be reborn again with Phoenix (see what I did there?) From the opening moments of Eye Of Horus you can hear that the shred is strong with this one as Keskinen peels off riffs and solos with abandon in harmony with the speedy runs of Perchuk which means that there are a lot of Symphony X/Stratovarius sounds coming through as Zalensky's vocals mirror those of Russell Allen. It rarely strays from this blueprint so if you love the neoclassical metal sound then you'll be playing tracks such as Curse Of The Pharaohs, The Mirror and Phoenix Rising at full volume air guitaring along with it I'm sure! 7/10  

Goblins Blade: Of Angels & Snakes (Massacre Records)

If you don't guess from the album cover and name Goblins Blade are a power metal band, to be more precise they are a power metal from Germany. Now, many power metal aficionados should recognise that German power metal is very unlike most of its European brethren, it's usually a lot more bombastic and heavier taking from Accept, Running Wild and Grave Digger while also adding the thrashiness of the American sound especially Heathen whom they have taken their name from. Certainly Goblins Blade have delved deep into the German power metal vaults and found all manner of leather and metal adornments ready to head into battle. Of Angels & Snakes is their debut record, the band only formed in 2018 and it's got the fist pumping quality you want from Teutonic metal bands, numbers such as the driving Blink Of An Eye get the head going while When The Night Follows The Day encourages a sway. The one thing I would say is that vocalist Florian is a little pitchy when he hits the highs, but his gruff mids are much better. A decent debut from Goblins Blade, there are improvements needed but it's a good start. 6/10

Mora Prokaza: By Chance (Season Of Mist)

Theirs avantgarde and then there is downright weird, this Belarusian two piece fall into the latter category. Composed of Farmakon (guitars, vocals) and Hatestorm (drums) Mora Prokaza started life as nasty second wave black metal band, rooted deeply in the underground, however in 2018 they changed their sound completely with apparently " great feedback from fans all around the world". Well I wasn't asked as this album is awful, I understand it's avant garde and it's supposed to be odd but the mixture of toilet-recorded echoey black metal, jazz instruments such as piano/bassoon/accordion and the trap influences (yes that very dark electronic style of hip-hop music) doesn't sit well with me and at the mid point of the record I was reaching for the off switch. There is an audience for this music I'm sure (I mean their PR says so) but where they are I don't know as this is one of the worst albums I've heard this year, or maybe I'm not cvlt enough to get it. 3/10 

No comments:

Post a Comment