Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Perhaps this review is a little late to the party but since I just received this album it’s better late than never! Rammas Atas immediately compares to Rammstein, Megahertz, Infected Mushroom and other industrial techno metal acts. ‘Till Life do us Part is title of their debut release on BullRoser Records, distributed in the USA by Youngside Records.

This album is heavy but groovy with a cavalcade of electronic beats courtesy of DJ Ridhu, but it’s the crunchy guitar of Arktos and brilliant bass playing of Corvus Candidus that drive this release into high gear. The extreme vocals delivered by Peach are a stark contrast to the beautiful melodies of Miss Terry that add another layer of musical bliss to this fine release.

Ten tracks of danceable and moshable nirvana await the listener here, with upbeat tempos and catchy melodies. The Christian world view shines brightly in the lyrical department, not necessarily evangelistic in nature, but thoughtful expressions of living one’s life and the hurt, joy and pain that come our way.

High production values accentuate the journey one will take when you give this album a listen. Not being a dance music fan myself, I found that I couldn’t help but spin this album repeatedly as the grooves, melodies and heavy guitar just grabbed me and fought their way into my playlist.

Rammas Atas have delivered an exceptional debut, if you want something that is a little different from the normal metal fare but still rocks just as hard Till Life Do Us Part is gonna be huge surprise for you. It was for me.

7 axes

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


With a mighty thunder and shout one of the most anticipated albums of 2011 is upon us, that would be Theocracy’s latest album entitled As the World Bleeds. Taking the seeds that were spread across the bands two previous albums As the World Bleeds is that previous work come to fruition.

The song writing is world class through out with fabulous arrangements that bring subtlety to the forefront. Opening with an 11 minute track (I Am) isn’t always advised but Theocracy pulls it off building to a crashing crescendo. Epic choruses which have become their trademark are arranged with precision and executed flawlessly.

What I love about Theocracy is that their arrangements are memorable and are a stark contrast to the extreme vocals heard in so many of today’s metal acts. Some reviewers have compared them to Dream Theater, but I find a comparison with Stratovarius is must more compelling.

Even though the musical territory on As the World Bleeds is similar to their previous release Mirror of Souls, the band just feels must more comfortable. Safe in their own skin as it were, one of the elements this time that was not apparent in the prior releases is the quality of the guitar solos. Many of the tracks benefit from a scorching solo that wouldn’t have appeared before. Let it made clear that the solos don’t occur at the expense of the songs, there isn’t a sense of ridiculous noodling.

Power house tracks like Nailed, The Master Story Teller and Altar to an Unknown God are all top drawer compositions which are indicative of the release as a whole. Lyrics, riffs, melodies, performances are world class and deserve the accolades they receive.

The production elements are of the highest caliber as the sound of the instruments and vocals are clearly defined. Listening to the lush composition The Gift of Music is an epic arrangement that sounds fabulous. The package of songwriting, arrangements and performance is in the upper eschelon.

Having said all this I simply don’t want to over hype this album. This is a top 10 album for this year, but having read some of the negative thoughts all I’m gonna say is if you don’t care European flavored Power Metal with touches of progressive whimsy, you might want to pass on this and grab Terraphobia’s latest (a great album in it’s own right!).

However if you want soaring melodies with clean vocals, great guitar work, epic choruses and powerful heavy metal make sure you grab As the World Bleeds. A big thumbs up!!

9 axes

Monday, November 14, 2011


Deuteronomium have delivered their most brutal album yet. Deathbed Poetry – Hope Against Hope is a solid slab of thrashy death metal. Carrying on the vein offered on their previous album From the Midst of the Battle, a more straight ahead full on death metal assault. From the bands own blog they indicated their desire to limit the over producing of their music, so we have a very clean powerful sound which sounds very ‘live.’

Youngside Records strikes again with another gem of music hailing from Finland.

The guitar sound here is rippingly brutal, which fits the overall pallet of natural sounds. You won’t find a highly compressed and compacted production, but one that allows all of the instruments to breathe and find their own place in the mix. Natural drums are a feature that you don’t come across these days. There are some extreme vocals on this album, but most of the vocals remind me of a Slayer like delivery, not Tom Araya tonality but simply the way Miika Partala delivers the lines.

Stand out tracks that demanded immediate attention was How Deep Must We Dig?, Gravebed, The Bells are Ringing, and Alive Immortal. Each one finds a niche musically and just pounds it out. That’s not to say the other compositions are weak, they’re not, but these standouts deliver the goods. Perhaps it’s because of the vibe of this album, with its live sound. Plenty of speed and aggression can be found in these tracks which is sure to get the plenty of mosh action started.

The lyrics are based upon the work of John Donne and English priest who has penned many great spiritual works from the late 1500’s. The material here was inspired by his book Devotions upon Emergent Occasions. Quite a bit of depth can be plumbed from these metallic depths.

Deuteronomium has produced an energetic and strong album of thrashy death metal. Commercial considerations don’t exist here, just pure metal mayhem. Deathbed Poetry Hope Against Hope is a powerful album destined for the heavier parts of my playlist.

7 axes

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


It was with great pleasure that I found the latest release by Michigan based Dagon in my mailbox. Playing self proclaimed ‘Punishing Nautical Metal’ these ferrymen of intense metal whimsy have again shown themselves worthy of a visit to Davey Jones locker.

The five song EP entitled Vindication is their first with new guitar player Matt ‘Hoop Jones’ Trzcinsk. He seems to have fit the bill and taken his appropriate place among the crew of this sailing Man ‘O War.

The tracks delivered here carry the Dagon trademarks, soaring guitar harmonies, brutal vocals at both ends of the spectrum, and drumming that feels like being trapped in swirling whirlpool. The Nameless kicks this EP off in fine fashion with a thematically inspired musical score that flows through several mood and tempo changes. You can feel the fog surrounding you as it closes in.

Blood of Ancients plays its musical ode to Iron Maiden from the very first, but drives a strong and powerful course through the crashing assault of musical waves. Where Captains Fear to Sail is the albums ‘single’ track that punishes from the first. Much like the demanding path of a ship in a typhoon, …Captains treads musically in a slowly building cacophony of powerful force.

Land of Phantoms screams like a battleship projectile on its way to a direct hit. Speed, power and melody that is sure to get the swabs into the pit! This EP closes with a 7 minute mini epic with The Tritons Daughter, another bit of musical chaos that starts much like a slow rising storm. It opens with a brilliant sunrise that slowly develops into a day of blowing rain and punishing wind which devolves into a red sky at night as the sun sets.

The production elements are again top drawer. Strong guitars, bombastic bass and punishing drums all provide a platform for the extreme vocal assault which is courtesy of Randy Ladiski and Jordan ‘Truck’ Batterbee. Claiming influences as broad as Iron Maiden to Cannibal Corpse this disc is the real deal.

Perhaps the one thing about this release which left me flat was the album artwork, or perhaps the color. After one of the best album covers ever in Terraphobic, Vindication leaves me scratching my head. It must also be pointed out that the inside liner notes and lyrics are extremely difficult to decipher due to the coloring and font size. What happened Bombworks?

Dagon has provided another excursion into the musical abyss of the darkened deep. The concept of the ocean is still as intriguing as ever, a bit of escapism that really delivers what it promises; Vindication!

8 axes

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Throw some Motorhead, Ramones and Danko Jones into a blender and what do you get? Cleophus a three piece rock n roll outfit from Europe with the drive to kick some serious rock n roll butt! The passion and drive puts the pedal to the metal with this their first full album.

Released in 2009, The Battle of the Sinner and the Saint isn’t pretentious but from the gut. High energy and straight to the point with solid production, this album is the complete package. I was surprised myself at how high quality this package is, and why aren’t more people talking about this band?

With songs like True Rock N Roll, Rodeo Rider, Old & Alone; Cleophus has created the complete street vibe gritty and dirty with plenty of dark shadows. The Battle of the Sinner and the Saint is catchy and ballsy without losing its soul. Not necessarily always a happy ending lyrically but that is more like life isn’t it? There is one f bomb dropped in the song dealing with spousal abuse, but it fits. Some won’t understand that but so be it.

Many folks were disappointed with the production elements of the Wonrowe Vision album released last year. May I suggest you grab a copy of this album as this release by Cleophus doesn’t suffer from that apparent problem.

This is the kind of music you’d hear in a small bar or club with sweat pouring off the walls. The electricity is crackling in the air and it’s infectious. True rock n roll is a great way to get your game on. Pick this one up from Cleophus and turn it up.

8 axes

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


After a much prolonged wait all three of Saint’s first releases have been gloriously remastered and reissued with original artwork. As part of Retroactive Records ‘The Original’ series Warriors of the Son and Too Late for Living join the already issued Time's End to complete this metal tri-fecta.

Warriors of the Son was originally issued in 1984 on Morada Records, prior to Stryper’s Yellow and Black Attack. Actually Saint issued this 6 song EP independently on Rotton Records. The cover art was different and had some different mixes, particularly the vocals on Vicars of Fate. Retroactive has reissued the Morada version. (This EP was re-recorded in 2003 with 2 extra tracks. A solid find if you can snatch a copy)

The recording hasn’t aged quite as well as one would hope, but according to Saint mastermind Richard Lynch they spent about $1000 on the original and that was 25+ years ago. Even though I fondly remember this EP as a metal masterpiece only Vicars of Fate and Legions of the Dead have transcended the years gracefully. The songs at times are a little too simplistic but laid the groundwork for what would come later. I dig this disc but if you’re a new comer to the Saint catalog I might suggest some of their other releases first. The elements of Judas Priest had yet to spring forth in this field.

J Powell at Steinhaus oversaw the remastering and was able to bring the bass drum back into the fray. The guitars still have a little more bite than they probably should (at times almost shrill) but chock that up to source material. Remaster from vinyl if my information is correct, again far and away better then what was previously available.

Warriors of the Son is still a headbanging feast, just a little primitive compared with Too Late for Living. Too Late… is the third release for Saint and was their second release for Pure Metal Records back in 1988. Light years ahead of WOTS in the production department and song writing as well.

Too Late for Living was the follow up to Time’s End and in many ways delivered the proverbial goods. Starting with the rather Accept like mid tempo title track, things seemed to move in a faster heavier direction with Star Pilot. An up-tempo metal anthem that highlights a stellar guitar solo from Dee Harrington. Accuser delivers some of the heaviest material on this release but clocking in at 1:59 it is far too short.

The next two tracks The Rock and On the Street feel almost commercial in their fast hitting choruses and short running times. Good songs but the vibe is just a little to polished. A thematic 4 song end of day’s story line next greets the listener, Returning, The Path, Through the Sky, and The War is Over.

Returning is a solid metal instrumental highlighting the guitar histrionics of the aforementioned Harrington, but not to be outdone by drummer extraordinaire John ‘The Machine’ Perrine. Through the Sky is Saint at their most powerful and fastest, double kick courtesy of Perrine but the vocals of Josh Kramer with his Halford like screams put this track in the stratosphere. Why more fans don’t recognize the brilliance here is beyond me.

The remastering brings greater clarity and power to an already powerful album. Metal like Priest, Armored Saint and Accept. The one flaw here is that this album is far too short, clocking in at only 33 min! Commercial considerations? Based on the costuming the band posed in for their promo shots that is a fair assumption.
It just seems to me that there should’ve been two more tracks to get this close to 40 minutes. Perhaps that is why this album takes a back seat to Time’s End.

Traditional metal of the highest order, both of these releases deserve to be in your metal collection. Leather jackets, bullet belts and denim jeans harken back to the time when heavy metal meant songs that stuck with you and you screamed your lungs out in unison. Both of these albums provide that in spades.

Warriors of the Son 7 axes

Too Late for Living 9 axes