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Monday 6 July 2020

Reviews: New Device, Enshadowed, Greybeard, Ganzi Gun (Reviews By Matt Bladen)

New Device: Karöshi (Self Released)

Originally coming to progress through their demos on MySpace (remember that?) they were signed to Classic Rock magazine's important but short-lived record label Powerage. Their stomping debut Takin' Over was very much based around the excellent melodic vocals of frontman Daniel Leigh. Now Leigh has basically been the only constant since then announcing a new line up in 2012 for second album Here We Stand which moved them away from the classic rock vein of Skid Row and Aerosmith on their debut to a more mature, heavier modern rock delivery of bands such as Alter Bridge. Since then they have slimmed down to a four piece releasing an EP (Devil's On The Run) to which Karöshi is the follow up. 6 tracks that feature that oh so modern rock sound New Device. With punchy numbers such as Kingdom Of The Damned and the gutsy Hell To Pay having a great mix of thick riffage and massive hooks similar to bands such as Shinedown.

The songs here are built for singing along, being chanted back by a crowd (remember them). Burn Out The Sun is big ballsy way to open the record with some choppy riffs and that Alter Bridge chug before Wake Up and Open Your Arms show the band's more melodic and tender side though they never fall into mega-ballad territory as they have on previous albums, Wake Up is closest shifting into Daughtry realms. New Device are Daniel Leigh (vocals), Roz Ison (drums), Matt Mallery (guitar) and Lzi Hayes (bass) this line up seems to be one of the most consistent so it bodes well for the future of a band with an often turbulent history, they still manage to tour with some of rocks biggest names and have delivered a set of recordings that are strong and brimming with professionalism. Karöshi is no different. Check out their Facebook page for Daniel doing various cover song streams while everything is still locked down as well as picking up this great little EP. 7/10

Enshadowed: Stare Into The Abyss (Odium Records)

Ah Hellenic Black Metal, there seems to be soemthing about the Eastern Orthodox church that really seems to inspire Greeks (and those who subscribe to the Russian/Eastern European version) to rebel against it forging their careers down the left hand path. I've noted numerous times that Rotting Christ and Varathron were the pioneers of this sound, as were Necromantia, so any band who follows in this vein of anti-dogmatic metal will owe a debt to these bands, and Enshadowed do. Their sounds takes liberally from the sinister/aggressive but big sounding delivery of Rotting Christ, with some battering blast beats of guest drummer George Trakas, forging a maelstrom on The Great Animal as the guitars of N.e.c.r.o and Golgotha tremolo pick away at light speed, rumbling like a rabid animal over the relentless assault from the drumming.

Serpent's vocals are raw and croaked, he spits out the misanthropic/nihilist lyrics to these song. As well as the obvious reverence to the Hellenic scene Enshadowed owe a lot to the Scandi style of black metal too with Mayhem and Dark Funeral the major corrupters. Stare Into The Abyss is the band's fourth album since 1998 so they are definitely no young bucks, confidently delivering their black metal battery across this records 7 tracks without ever dipping below absolute chaos, though you do get some chances to breathe on Divided You Fall. Furious and forged from the fires of distrust, Stare Into The Abyss is another solid entry into the Enshadowed cannon. 7/10

Greybeard: Oracle (Self Released)

From the northern shores of Canada, Greybeard's latest record Oracle comes at you with big slab of heavy metal. Fusing the old school sound of Bolt Thrower with the classic metal sound favoured by bands such as Grand Magus, Oracle is a concept record telling the tale of "A village oracle makes a deal with a dark, supernatural power and when he can't keep up his end of the bargain, the dark power seeks him out" so full of fantasy elements, where every song tells the next part. Opening with the crunching Vision you get a taste of what to expect as the rumbling low end and growled vocals are counterpointed by the proggier solo section and cleaner backing wails. It reminds me of Huntsmen who also balance the more traditional sound with more extreme soundscapes.

Vision flows seamlessly into Unspeakable (after a little horse riding sample) where we get some more death/black influences from the explosive drums of Casey Rogers as it evolves into some fist pumping galloping, Amanda Bourdon's bass the foundation for Guy Onreat and Ross Andersen's guitar playing. Once again Craven brings the black metal sounds but doesn't really go anywhere while Truth has a more epic, death/doom feel bringing in Amanda's vocals more as a counterpoint to Ross' roars. As the story progresses the instrumental Solitude moves into the bouncy Eternal before Vengeance really gives you a left turn as a semi-acoustic ballad duet from Ross and Amanda, it's the odd song out but more of this sort of variation is required for this album to linger after anything more than 1 or 2 listens. 6/10

Ganzi Gun: Time Is Now (Self Released)

A swelling intro that builds into a towering riff backed by some strings is the way Athenian band Ganzi Gun start Time Is Now and it leads into the meaty rocking of the title track, a track that aims at the American post-grunge style from the early 2000's that produced bands such as Seether, Shinedown and Three Days Grace. Choppy stop start riffs from Dionyssis and Thanassis get things moving while Manolis (bass) and George (drums) get the groove into gear for heavy hitters such as Jump In The Pit and My New Friend which reminds this writer of post-Black Album period Metallica due to its hook and heavy/light sound (you can hear the Hetfield riff machine at work here). Rounding out Ganzi Gun are the massive vocal delivery of Loukas, who has a gritty European delivery that close to that of Planet Of Zeus frontman Babis Papanikolaou adding some grungy overtones of Alice In Chains though the provocatively titled Fist My Way Through You has the Southern aggression of Pantera. I will say that the latter part of the album does get much weaker as they move into more misogynistic territory adding some Sunset Strip hard rocking, but the first half is full of ballsy riffs so I'd say in future they should really stick to this. Still a good drinking album for the sunshine. 6/10

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