Archive for March, 2019

REVIEW: Rise of the Dragon Empire – Bloodbound

Posted in CDs, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , on March 20, 2019 by Sara Hammerzmith

So the time has come. The time has come for Bloodbound to present to us their eight studioalbum, which so also happens to be the continuation of the saga started on the previous two albums, “Stormborn” (2014) and “War of Dragons” (2017). Now, they hand us a newely forged album straight from the blacksmith. And I couldn’t be more stoked.

The album starts off pretty intense in fact. It heads straight into an uptempo song, which also happens to the title track of the album. The song is full of cheerful and interesting melody lines, and it continues like this throughout the album with a few stick-off’s – second song of the album “Slayer of Kings”offers us some heavier battle tunes with an extremely headbang friendly chorus and fast shredding verses, before launching into an epic story about “Skyriders and Stormbringers”. A more magical and mystic approach is being served in “Magical Eyes” which tells the tale of exactly that.

And then, my friends, a new metal anthem and hymn has found the light of day “Blackwater Bay” is nothing short of a massive anthem – the way it’s been arranged musically and the crowd like constant chanting. I could absolutely see this being played with the whole crowd coming along with the song itself. This is one of the highlights most definitely on the album for me.

The album is picked up in “Giants of Heaven” and the rest of the album serves that same sort of purpose – heavy beats with cheerfull melody lines, with “Warlock’s Trail” being the only song to really stand out for me in the end – bringing the thoughts back to “To Hell and Back” with Sabaton, I can see this song being something extremely appreciated by the crowd. It’s a new “Silver Wings”, if you like.

The album is at last round off with a power ballad, giving a more mellow ending to an otherwise very powerful album. The band has had a very strong influence of Nordic folk elements this time around, something I appreciate a lot, as well as an added amount of keyboard accessories, creating hymns and hits that will stick in your brain. But sadly, none of it’s particularly new.

I mentioned “To Hell and Back” above when talking about one song, but I found myself many times thinking the lyrics to various songs by various bands (Sabaton, Alestorm, Serenity and HammerFall to mention a few bands) and while it’s hard these days to write something completely new, I’m not sure how fond I am of the fact that I found myself singing the lyrics to “1741 (The Battle of Cartagena)” when listening to “Slayer of Kings”.

That aside, the band has created yet another solid album which really does follow the line of its preceders. I guess you can tell I have pretty mixed feelings about it. I really enjoy a lot of the tracks, but damn. If the similarities weren’t so obvious…

Favorite song: “Blackwater Bay” I think.
Least Favorite: “Balerion”
Dance-friendliness:  5/11
Headbang-friendliness:  9/ 11
Crowd-friendliness: 7/11

(Label: AFM Records)

CDON I Ginza I Amazon

// Sara

Avatar @ Nöjesfabriken, Karlstad, Sweden 2/3-19

Posted in Concerts, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , on March 2, 2019 by Sara Hammerzmith

I do not think there is a gig this year, boat included, that I’ve been looking more forward to than this particular one. Avatar, all at home. You see, eight years ago, On November 11 – so, 11/11/11, I was at this exact venue, discovering this exact band. My memories from the shows are shallow, my most prominent one being Johannes almost hitting me and Maria in the head with his stick during “Torn Apart”.

But is had passed quite some time since, and now they are here with their Avatar Country tour and I couldn’t be more stoked. Sofia and Toivo had arrived already the day before for some taco coziness, and we spent this day listening to Avatar, watching some old live shows while getting ready and then having a nice dinner at a mongolian restaurant before heading off to Nöjesfabriken to wait in line.

Much to our delight, it was no issue to wait inside the bowlingbar which made this queueing about hundred times more pleasant. There were a few people ahead of us in line, but not a problem nor a surprise.

For this particular event, or perhaps this goes for all events at this venue, but it was new to us. So, at 20, they’d open some sort of cashier where you exchanged your ticket for a wristband for easier entry. However, this way kind of messed up alot. Us who had waited forever no longer had any particular spot in the line, and us who HAD waited started to gather together to push away others.

There was this one particular group of people who tried to jump the queue, and we were very worried they would. As they opened the door we got ready… And they were all stopped in agecheck. All of us internally cheered as we safely gathered the front row spots we’d been waiting for, and watching the jumpers come second. There is a God somewhere, clearly!

With that said, we waited for the first artist to start, and in the blink of an eye (mostly because I was watching Melodifestivalen at the same time) he was on stage.

Dylan Walshe

First act of the night was Dylan Walshe, who is an Irish singer-songwriter. It was simply him, his harmonica, his guitar and a few percussion pieces tied to his feet. He was very very good – I enjoyed the calm before the storm, so to speak. He was also a very funny guy on stage. I liked him.

The Mahones

Next band up was The Mahones, and irish-canadian punkband. And now it was party time. They delivered a very very nice and energetic show, and got us in the mood so completely before Avatar. I’m very happy they were here.

And then… Oh man. The hype was real. Like, we were so excited and SO ready for this. It wasn’t even funny how ready we were. Waiting and waiting, getting impatient and what not… when finally… “Glory to our King” echoed throught the speakers and it was time for us to preach to our King.


The venue is very small, so obviously, the throne was not in place, so it started with the King walking onto the stage. Obviously, the band started the show with “Statue of the King” and the euphoria was set. If that was quite the firestarter, it did not slow down as they continued with “Hail The Apocalypse” straight up. Hello dead neck!

And there was absolutely no rest as the king stepped up the front of the stage to start the plucking intro to “Bloody Angel” and the band has us all ripped to shreds with the song. Seriously, what is it with this band, and absolutely destroying us?!

Johannes started speaking about bathing and painting himself in blood, and any person who has ever witnessed Avatar is well aware what song he’s referring to. “Paint Me Red” was next, I’m absolutely positive at this point that the band simply does anything it can only for the sake of slaughtering our necks.

I’ll be frank and upfront admit that I was foolish enough to believe that perhaps some kind soul would be documenting the setlist properly, or that I could look it up afterwards, which was all in vain. I do remember what songs was played, but I do not remember the exact order. So excuse me for that.

“The Eagle Has Landed” and “For the Swarm” was ripped off, and again – I said just a paragraph ago but I’ll say it again – NECK. MURDERERS.

“Get in Line” and the “Black Waltz” was also performed, the latter one much to our surprise. But the greater and more pleasant surprise for me was when they started off the intro to “Puppetshow”. I wasn’t exactly expecting it, so I was so so happy. One of my favorite songs, it was.

“Torn Apart” was also being played, much to my.. Perhaps not surprised, but my delight. When Maria and I first saw this band live on this venue some seven years ago, this was in particular the song we remembered as Johannes almost hit us in the head with his stick. So it was.. beautiful? In a way to get to experience it again.

And then.. an intro rolled. The intro I know so well from being my favorite song off “Avatar Country”. A song I was convinced was simply a filler, an outro, a song to never be played live (like Sabaton’s “Ruina Imperii”)..

“King after King”.

Unlike Sabaton, Avatar actually played this one live. I got to hear one of my top Avatar songs ever live. I couldn’t even believe it was happening, but it sure did. Holy hell.

There were a quick change of wardrobe before the bubbles started floating all around and they wrapped up their set with “Avatar Country” followed by “Smells like a Freakshow”.

And holy hell what a show. I mean, as someone who has followed Avatar for many many years, and at many times listed them as highlight of the festivals, I am still blown away, BLOWN AWAY with how great of a live band they are. It makes me so happy every single time.

Thank you Avatar, for this evening!

// Sara