Archive for the CDs Category

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

REVIEW: Dynazty – Firesign

Posted in CDs, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , on September 25, 2018 by Sara Hammerzmith

Finally. You guys know that Dynazty is one of my all-time favorite bands these days, and every time there is a little shed of news about them it makes my heart pop. So ever since I heard of them getting to work on their third album I was beyond stoked. And finally, it is here!

The album starts off great with a heavy, melodic and rather big arrangement in “Breathe With Me” which serves well as an opening track. The only disappointing thing to find here – is the chorus falling a little flat as compared to the rest of the song, but it can’t all be perfect huh?

The album continues with the dramatic yet powerful “The Grey” which got one of those amazing melody lines that I just love, before launching into heavier tones with “In the Arms of the Devil” which got a little different lyrical theme as to what we have become used to when it comes to Dynazty – a love-related song for the first time in like forever.

And it’s after this the first highlight of the album comes for me – “My Darkest Hour”. It is one of those epic, big and heavy tunes that creates a thin line between epicness and melancholy, together with that kind of lyrics. And here, the chorus is what really makes it, in the veins of symphonic metal. I can’t really describe the ultimate feeling, although I try my best.

The album moves on to “Ascension” which is a pretty good tune – it’s a lot less than the previous mentioned, perhaps more raw if you like, with fewer things happening around it.

However, what is coming next is the biggest highlight of the entire album. The title track itself. With electronic elements that bring thoughts more toward Rammstein than Amaranthe, and the melodies we have gotten used to with Dynazty they deliver what is most certainly the best track of the album. The chorus will make ANYONE get out of their seats and jump around, seriously.

“Closing Doors” are following up, but sadly falling a bit flat. For me, this is more of a filler track, especially when it’s being followed up by “Follow Me” which is probably one of the heavier tracks on the album – the chorus is almost like a punch in the gut. Or at least whiplash damages in your neck material. Going back into the electronic elements, we get “Let me Dream Forever” which is a rather sweet song actually. It’s got a very nice and sweet melody to it and a very nice chorus.

The album is wrapped up with the heavy tune “Starfall” and later on the movie-esque epic kind of “The Light inside the Tunnel” which serves as a pretty decent wrap-up. It might fall a little flat compared to the rest of the album, but it feels like a nice ending you know?

Overall, I think this album is really, really good. I can’t get enough of it. Unlike “Titanic Mass”, this album is becoming a very strong contender in the competition to “Renatus”, which I still consider being one of those perfect albums made by a band.

Favorite song: “Firesign”
Least Favorite: Hard to choose, but I have to say “Starfall” in that case.
Dance-friendliness:  6/11
Headbang-friendliness:  10/ 11
Crowd-friendliness: 6/11


(Label: AFM Records)

CDON I Amazon I Ginza

// Sara

 

REVIEW: Lordi – Sexorcism

Posted in CDs, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 20, 2018 by Sara Hammerzmith

So, Ladies and Gentlemen – here we are. Two years, well, not two years perhaps, but finally – a new Lordi album has seen the light of day. I’ll admit I am amongst those fans who have been a bit taken aback by the sudden change in themes from the band, but I’ve always decided to not take anything out in advance. Well, not too much anyway. “Sexorcism” is the ninth studio album from Finnish monster rock band and is said to be their most controversial album yet. I guess we shall see about that huh?

As per usual, I prepare you for potential use of my own names of the songs if I deem the title to complicated for my little brain to process. But you are used to that by now, aren’t you?

So, let’s get to it huh? The album opens with an intro of a priest chanting unhearable verses, like one is performing an (s)exorcism, before launching into a “Demonarchy” like guitarriffs and upbeat, cheerful melodylines, musical accessories and anthemlike chants that makes up the opening track, as well as the titletrack “Sexorcism”.

The track serves as a good opening phrase to what we are about the experience on the album as a whole. “Kittycat” is the second song, which launches us straight back to “Deadache”, and more specifically “Missing Miss Charlene” with some spices from Reckless Love’s “Back To Paradise” in the verses, calling for a very familiar yet different kind of song, but in every good possible way.

Starting from here it gets a little weaker. While “Romeo Ate Juliet” is a heavier and faster song, with the “classic” kind of horror lyrics we are used to with Lordi, it still falls somewhat flat on the album, for me. It feels like a lot could have been done, but wasn’t.

Same goes for “Naked In My Cellar” – the music video song, even though I really DO, for some reason, enjoy Mr Lordi’s newfound Ozzy Osbourne voice. I can imagine this song being real fun live though, despite all.

This continues on with “The Beast is Yet To Cum” – and it finally comes back alive with “Polterchrist”, with an eerie intro sung by a girl named Isabella, evolving into a lowkey, yet rough constipated-sung kind of verse, exploding in a crowdfriendly and adrenaline kicking chorus. The lyrics are haunting as well – precisely the type of thing I’d expect and want from this band.

However, the album really does pick up it’s pace then the intro from heavens appears – it sounds like a perfect mix of the epicness found in HammerFall’s “Crimson Thunder” and anything 80’s. The song itself seem to be a “Sick Flick” 2.0, following a similar theme. I feel this song might be one of those under dog songs that will grow to be very, very popular.

From here it’s a bit of a lukewarm soup. While both “Rimskin Assassin” and “Hell Has Room” has their own shares of comedy as well as musical craftmanship (the solo in “Rimskin Assassin” is marvellous), it leaves much to be wished for.

However, the pace IS in fact picked up a bit for the last three songs – “Hot and Satanned” being a typical revenge kind of song with enough musically erotic elements to make sure I’ll sign up for those damned pole dancing classes come this fall. And if a song makes you do that, you know it’s the shit. “Sodomesticated Animal” follows the line of being very typical Lordi with an extremly crowdfriendly chorus and the whole album is then wrapped up with the calm, eerie and very cosy “Haunting Seasons” which sums up the album perfectly.

Quite frankly, I feel that this album is all over the place. It has some really, and then I mean really, good songs and material, but the bits and pieces that weren’t all too great falls flat. There is most definitely an increase in sexually loaded songs as compared to before, but it’s not quite as bad as I would have expected it to be – so calm down you all. It’s not quite as controversial as I’d have expected it to be, but what is and what is not?

Musically I think it’s going in the same kind of veins as it has previously, with some of the newer elements from “Demonarchy” finding it’s way into the making of this. What I’m very keen on is all the accessories added here and there, which adds a lot more interest to the songs. Well done!

Favorite song: Tie between “Your Tongue’s Got the Cat” and “Hot and Satanned”. For several reasons.
Least Favorite: “The Beast is Yet To Cum”
Dance-friendliness:  6/13
Headbang-friendliness:  9/ 13
Crowd-friendliness: 9/13


(Label: AFM Records)

CDON I Amazon I Ginza

// Sara

 

 

My year in Music – Last FM

Posted in CDs, Music, Uncategorized on December 31, 2017 by Sara Hammerzmith

So, the time has come to make a summary of how I listened to music this year. Obviously, as with all these measuring things, this doesn’t show how much I listen in my car on a CD or at home on a CD to mention a few.

I’ll do it as my normal categories – Artist, album and song.

So, let’s start of with artist, from the back.

5. Twilight Force

On fifth place we found a newfound band for me in Twilight Force. Not bad, not bad, if you ask me, to climb up to fifth spot for being a band I discovered this year. Or perhaps that is the very reason, too. I’ve had the blessing to see Twilight Force no less than six times this year, spread all over (not really) and I can’t wait to see them more in the future.

4. Battle Beast

No major surprise, as this year has been a “Battle Beast” year. Or at least it feels like it. New album released, quite a few shows has been seen – six of them in total, and the WERE scattered all over the place unlike Twilight Force.

3. Art Nation

Art Nation, a band  I discovered on Skogsröjet last year and fell absolutely in love with! They are musically the new hope for the AOR kind of music that I love. I got to see this band twice this year here in Sweden, and I loved it so much.

2. Amaranthe

To me personally, this doesn’t come as a major surprise as this is the band I listen to mostly on a daily basis when I work out and things like that, and I’ve seen them… a few times. Not as many as I would normally perhaps – but the addition of Nils Molin to the roster will ensure I see them a lot more. I was sad to see Jake go really, but I couldn’t think of a better replacement.

1.Sabaton

Well, I guess it would be just too wrong to say I was surprised by seeing Sabatons name at the top, would I? Together with Amaranthe they make my work out playlist, and extensive tours for the band has helped a lot – I’ve seen Sabaton eight times this year, which has you know, had it’s impacts I guess.

And I will mention the honorable mentions:

6. Lordi
7. Powerwolf
8. Epica
9. Alestorm
10. Beast in Black – this one is remarkable considering I started with them in November.

So, let’s move on to albums then.

5. Beserker – Beast in Black

Like mentioned above, this one is quite the joker seeing I only listened to them since November. But this album is just so good, pure genious, and I can’t wait to see them next year at Sabaton Open Air really.

4. Liberation – Art Nation

The newest album from Art Nation, no wonder this is being spun a lot. The new material is just perfection, even if I at first was a tad bit disappointed.

3. Heroes of Mighty Magic – Twilight Force

If Twilight Force is on the list, they better have an album here too, right? No wonder or surprise for me that they are here, in all honesty.

2. Bringer of Pain – Battle Beast

Flawless album release of 2017, it’s no wonder this one has been going warm, especially considering the tours and all.

1.The Last Stand – Sabaton

Still, a year later, I love and blast this album as much as I did when I got it. I still love it just as much.

And the honorable mentions:

6. Maximalism – Amaranthe
7. Queen of Witches – Crystal Wipers
8. Tales of Ancient Prophecies – Twilight Force
9. Revolution – Art Nation
10. Monstereophonic (Theaterror vs Demonarchy) – Lordi

And lastly, my top ten songs of 2017:

1.Wiktoria – As I Lay Me Down

2. Sabaton – The Last Stand

3. Brothers of Metal – Yggdrasil

4. Art Nation – The Real Me

5. Twilight Force – Battle of Arcane Might

6. Battle Beast – Familiar Hell

7. Corey Heart – Sunglasses at Night

8. Michael Bolton – How Can We Be Lovers

9. Beast in Black – Blind and Frozen

10. Sabaton – Gott Mit Uns

So there you have it. My year in music, 2017.

// Sara

Epica – The Solace System

Posted in CDs, Music, Uncategorized with tags , on September 28, 2017 by Sara Hammerzmith

One year after the release of ”The Holographic Principle” Epica releases a six track long EP called ”The Solace System”. The six tracks featured are songs that got left over from the writing process of the last album, yet songs they did not want to go to waste. And now, we have this EP.

The EP opens quite powerfully with the opening track ”The Solace System”, which is somewhat what I’d expect of any Epica album. The EP continues with a heavier and rougher track in ”Fight Your Demons” Before exploding in the epic and greatness that is ”Architect of Light” before going back into the heaviness and roughness. There’s a beautiful little breakdown with ”Immortal Melancholy” to break off the pounding before tying up the album with ”Decoded Poetry”. It’s following the same theme of quantuum physics kind of lyrics, so no real new surprises there.

I like the EP. I think it’s a nice break off from The Holographic Principle, and I understand that they had a hard time not releasing this, and I’m glad they did as I really enjoy it. It’s very much the same old that we are used to with Epica – epic arrangements, bombastic song and catchy melodylines. Sadly, as far as this EP goes, nothing really new for them. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it, now does it?

Favorite song: Now You’ll Never Know
Least Favorite:
Dance-friendliness:  2/6
Headbang-friendliness:  4/ 6
Crowd-friendliness: 1/6

// Sara

REVIEW: Serious Black – Magic

Posted in CDs, Uncategorized with tags , , , on September 8, 2017 by Sara Hammerzmith

Serious Black – probably one of the most productive bands in metal today, is out with their third album in just three years – and their career has been going nothing but up. Starting out with a few tours with HammerFall and Gamma Ray, they then continued on to have successful headline tours – and are currently out on one more as we speak. “Magic” is their first attempt at a concept album – fitting concept, seeing the name is inspired by Sirius Black from Harry Potter. Aside the concept, the band hoped to achieve a diverse and organic- feel album, without too much production.

So how about the album then?

As mentioned, this is a conceptalbum. Throughout the album, lyrically, we follow the story of Mr Nightmist and his journey to unravel the secrets and mysteries of the world. The lyrical theme follows through on each song, binding it all together. The lyrics are well made – you can follow the story quite easily, and they all link together.

Musically, the album starts off with a, at first spoken, intro that moves into instrumental, launching you into the first song of the album, “Binary Magic” which carries and in-your-face kind of intro, and then calms down for the verse only to pick up the speed again, merging into a pretty powerful chorus. The album then continues on with an aggressive second song, “Burn! Witches Burn!”, which sadly falls a bit flat at the chorus for me personally.

And the album moves a bit up and down like this – the catchy “Lone Gunmen Rule” to the very sentimental “Now You’ll Never Know” which quickly grew into be one of my favorites off the album. While the album is quite diversed, they still link together nicely, with the common Serious Black sound we have all gotten used to.

The final ending of the album is a more calm and hidden song called “One Final Song” which I find very interesting – consisting of hints toward “Bohemian Rhapsody” it quickly becomes the most interesting song on the album, and also personally for me, the only song that actually grasps the context of magic.

Because that is what I felt was missing. The songs linked together, the lyrics was fine – but I missed some sort of ‘magical’ or ‘carnival’ kind of accessory to keep the concept up, making it a red thread, which shouldn’t be an impossibility as we’ve seen bands like Lordi and Avatar do it before – and even the band themselves in their last song.

The album is, all in all, pretty good though. Certain points as mentioned would have made it even better, but songwriting wise it was really good. All that is missing is the whole feel of a concept.

Favorite song: Now You’ll Never Know
Least Favorite: Serious Black Magic. But it’s hard to pick.
Dance-friendliness:  4/14
Headbang-friendliness:  8/ 14
Crowd-friendliness: 3/14


(Label: AFM Records)

// Sara

 

Alestorm – No Grave But The Sea

Posted in CDs, Music, Uncategorized with tags , on June 2, 2017 by Sara Hammerzmith

Scotland based Alestorm were bein’ formed back in 2004 originally as a simple power metal band, but th’ success o’ “Heavy Metal Pirates” made them adapt th’ pirate theme completely, and incorporatin’ some folk elements in their music – th’ music we today be knowin’ as pirate Metal, by Davy Jones’ locker.  At th’ time, they were active under Battleheart, but changed th’ name as they signed with Napalm Records, and in 2008 their debut album “Cap’n Morgans Revenge” were bein’ released. Now, several years and three additional albums later, they be back with “No Grave But the Sea”

th’ album starts off with an epic and adventurous, yet energetic and heavy openin’ track, which also happens t’ be th’ titletrack. It continues on in th’ exact same vein with th’ single “Mexico” until it falls into th’ more… Yo-ho-ho, pass the grog! I dern’t be knowin’ exactly what th’ word I’m lookin’ fer be, but melancholic kind o’ songs, ye scurvey dog. Lowkey songs which gives ye th’ feelin’ o’ sittin’ below deck chattin’ about tales told o’ pirates long gone. They be very detailed, in fact, just as we remember them from previous albums. Elliot be back screamin’ in “Alestorm”, which be great t’ hear, even though it saddens me a bit that th’ shanty seems like a watered down version o’ “Drink” from their previous album.

After bein’ “serious” fer a while, we get another one o’ those “give fucks all” kind o’ shanty in “Fucked with an Anchor”, and dinna spare the whip! I’ve come t’ grow very, very fond o’ this shanty, which surprises meself a lot, seein’ I dern’t have a lot o’er fer songs like this. After this, we get back t’ th’ tales o’ ancient pirates and th’ whole album be beautifully wrapped up with th’ almost eight minute long last shanty, “Treasure Island” which be an euphoric and adventurous shanty, bringin’ thoughts back t’ bands like Bloodbound, wrappin’ up all th’ quests we have already been through.

Musically, th’ album be very similar t’ previous works, but has gotten th’ extra spice as far as th’ arrangements goes, avast. It’s bigger, ’tis bolder and it feels like there’s been a lot o’ thought put into it, and dinna spare the whip! I’m in complete love with all th’ sudden violin breakdowns that happens throughout th’ album, avast. Overall, I think ’tis a good album. At times, it gets a bit… same barnacle-covered same barnacle-covered, I guess ye could say, but o’er all ’tis really good.

And swab the deck, and a bottle of rum! Filled with many crowdfriendly anthems, aggressive songs t’ mosh t’ and tales t’ barrel o’ rum t’, we’ll keel-haul ye! And not t’ mention: An entire album dedicated t’ dogs, avast. What a time t’ be alive.

Ahoy me hearties!

Favorite shanty: Fucked with an Anchor
Shanty makin’ me wanna walk the plank: Alestorm
Dance-friendliness:  5/10
Headbang-friendliness:  7/ 10
Crowd-friendliness: 9/10

// Sara