tirsdag 19. november 2019

Subterranean Noise on Spotify

Almost every band that I receive promotional material from have their music available on streaming platforms. Spotify is perhaps the most recurring and accessible of them all, and being an avid user myself, I decided to create a playlist where I add one or two tracks from each of the releases I have had the pleasure of writing about.

The number of additions depend on whether I am reviewing a single or an album, as well as the duration of a song. If a band has a ten minute epic added to the list, another band will have two tracks that make up an equal playing time. You get the idea.

This is only meant to be my way of saying thank you to the bands that trust me to consider their music and publish a written verdict, and to try  to help present their music to my readers. Currently the list counts 49 tracks with almost four hours of playing time, and I am very proud to present it.

Subterranean Noise on Spotify

Let it be known, I am not an educated writer, nor is English my native tongue, but I sincerely enjoy listening to new music as well as trying to develop and improve my writing.

I hope you enjoy the variety of bands that have been featured on these humble blog pages. I have very much enjoyed getting to know all of them, and they all seem to have appreciated my work the same way as I appreciate theirs.

Thank you for reading, and feel free to subscribe and share the playlist wherever you like.

Sincerely,

Håvard Lunde
Founder and writer
Subterranean Noise - Underground Rock and Metal



SINGLE REVIEW: First Revival - Twisted Mind


FIRST REVIVAL (Sweden)
"Twisted Mind"
(Independent)
Release date: June 2nd 2018
Genre: Heavy rock, heavy metal
Links:
Facebook
BandCamp
Instagram
YouTube
Website

From Luleå in the north of Sweden comes a four-piece band that has endured several line-up transformations during its short existence. Initially a quintet, the band that was later to become FIRST REVIVAL was formed in the spring of 2016 with another name and a different line-up, and released an EP that had a more modern sound than what they have today.

FIRST REVIVAL's first release with the current line-up was the single we're having a closer look at today, "Twisted Mind". It shows a band that is clearly inspired by 70's heavy rock, but chooses to honor it in a more modern sounding manner.



A quick description of the track could be that it is like listening to Motörhead playing an Anvil track with Tom G. Warrior (Hellhammer/Celtic Frost/Triptykon) on vocals. Never really a demanding track to lend the ears to, but the riffs are sharp and to the point, and the song as a whole is well arranged and has a catchy drive.

The band is currently recording their first full-length album, set for release some time in the spring of 2020, and if FIRST REVIVAL maintains the sound and quality that their debut single has, then I dare to predict they're heading for success.

★★★★★★★★★☆

Tracklist (*added to the "Subterranean Noise" playlist on Spotify):
1. Twisted Mind*

LINE UP:
Hasse - vocals and bass
Simone - guitar
Kristoffer- guitar
Johan - drums

ALBUM REVIEW: Ibridoma - City of Ruins


IBRIDOMA (Italy)
"City of Ruins"
(Punishment 18 Records)
Release date: October 27th 2018
Genre: Power metal, melodic metal, hard rock

Links:
Facebook
BandCamp
Instagram
Website
YouTube
Spotify

Italy is frequently featured on these blog pages. The majority of the bands that have appeared so far are mainly based in the power/melodic metal genre, and IBRIDOMA is no exception.

Initially formed in March 2001 by drummer Alessandro Morroni and singer Christian Bartolacci, the band participated in a number of music competitions and festivals during their early years. Their debut EP was released in 2005, for which the band harvested favorable reviews in the Netherlands, France, Portugal, Brazil, Germany, as well as in their own "Bella Italia". After "Page 26", their second EP, IBRIDOMA went on tour to support Uli Jon Roth, Richie Kotzen and Blaze Bayley's Italian tour in 2009.

2012 saw the release of "Night Club", their second full length album, which led the band to play live with Rhapsody of Fire, Secret Sphere and Almah, and the following year played a headlining tour in several major cities in Greece. After 2014's release of "Goodbye Nation" the band supported Sabaton on their Russian tour, and even Queensrÿche during their visit in Rome in 2015.

2016 presented IBRIDOMA's fourth full length, "December", which featured guest appearances by Paul DiAnno and Blaze Bayley, two gentlemen who I doubt would need further introduction to this blog's readers.

This is not the first time singer Christian Bartolacci appears on these pages. In addition to IBRIDOMA, he is the lead singer in Scala Mercalli, who presented the conceptual "Independence" earlier this year. You can read about the album here.

Apart from the lead voice that fronts them, these two bands have very little in common. Whereas Scala Mercalli's music is faster and incorporates symphonic elements, IBRIDOMA is more based around power and melody. Slightly Anthrax-like thrashy moments do occur, especially on the opening track "Sadness Comes", and "T.F.U." and the title track are examples of pure hard rock delight.

"Angels of War" and "My Nightmares" have a more powerful drive to them, and Primal Fear and Saxon are references that are tempting to mention. Bartolacci's voice often reminds me of Ralf Scheepers when it reaches certain notes, and the rest of the band never misses a punch throughout the ten tracks on "City of Ruins", which in total turns out to be a very strong seventh effort by IBRIDOMA.

★★★★★★★★☆☆

Tracklist:
1. Sadness Comes
2. Evil Wind
3. T.F.U.
4. Di Nuovo Inverno
5. City of Ruins
6. Angels of War
7. My Nightmares
8. Fragile
9. Terminator
10. I'm Broken

LINE UP:
Chriastian Bartolacci - vocals
Marco Vitali - guitar
Sebastiano Ciccale' - guitar
Leonardo Ciccarelli - bass
Alessandro Morroni - drums

mandag 18. november 2019

ALBUM REVIEW: G.R.I.M. - Descensus ad Inferos - Shades of Sheol


G.R.I.M. (Norway)
"Descensus ad Inferos - Shades of Sheol"
(Flap A Scale)
Release date: November 1st 2019
Genre: Doom metal, atmospheric metal

Links:
Facebook
Spotify
Website

G.R.I.M. is a fairly new ensemble from Oslo, Ås in the Akershus municipality and Askim, which is located in the Østfold county. The group is a constellation of members from various bands that belong to a conglomerate they call "Neverton United", and was put into existence in 2017 when singer Lars Martin Gimse and guitarist Dan Are Rui Christiansen found out they both had material that wouldn't fit into any of their other respective musical playgrounds. After completing the song writing process they reached out to the other members from said conglomerate of bands, and G.R.I.M. began recording their debut album in Christiansen's home studio last year.

The result of this process is the album we're having a look at today, and "Descensus ad Inferos - Shades of Sheol" is a four track album filled to the brim with dark, atmospheric epics that are collectively branded as "a philosophic exercise" and "the soundtrack to armageddon". The lyrics are mainly based around misanthropy, hopelessness and despair, and are therefore a perfect fit to the band's overall expression.

G.R.I.M.'s music is presented with a lush production that tempts the listener to sink into the dark ambience. A rich variety of riffs and melodies turn these four tracks into more than just the average doom metal record, and in terms of tempo there is a lot more energy present during the album's 41 minutes of duration.

A very enjoyable first meeting with this quintet from the south/eastern part of Norway, and if you're into dark atmospheric music I am convinced that you'll find "Descensus ad Inferos - Shades of Sheol" just as pleasurable as this writer did.

★★★★★★★★★☆

Tracklist:
1. Diary of a Misanthroposophist
2. The Decline of Society
3. The Age of Misology
4. Push the Button

LINE UP:
Lars Martin Gimse - vocals
Dan Are Rui Christiansen - guitar
Øystein Koppang - guitar
Hand Marius Haukedal - bass
Knut Martin Myklebust - drums

lørdag 16. november 2019

ALBUM REVIEW: Ditchwater - Never Say Never


DITCHWATER (USA)
"Never Say Never"
(Independent)
Release date: October 25th 2019
Genre: Modern heavy rock, modern heavy metal, melodic heavy metal
Links:
Facebook
BandCamp
Instagram
Website
YouTube

From Chicago, Illinois comes a five piece band that has been active since it formed back in 1993. DITCHWATER has released six albums between 1996 and 2018, all of them having received a re-mastering treatment and re-released at various points in time during 2018 and 2019.

Lead guitarist Mark Anderson is the only member of the band who has appeared on all releases, and despite numerous line up changes he has made sure that DITCHWATER has kept consistent in their making of heavy, powerful, catchy and above all honest music.

In late October this year the band released their seventh studio effort. "Never Say Never" (a title suggested by vocalist Mike Meadows that seemed fitting as a motto for a band that has had its share of ups and downs) is a natural continuation on DITCHWATER's list of merits, both in terms of songwriting and production.

In essence a band with a somewhat aggressive approach, but always with its heart on the outside. The aggressive aspect is greatly enhanced by the thick and massive production, but the thing that DITCHWATER does to differ from a lot of other similar bands is that their aggression is positive and honest.



"Enemy of the People" is the opening track that immediately grabs the listener by the collar. Bouldering riffs, catchy hooks and a chorus that proves there is a fine, melodic side to the band as well. "My Last Breath" and "Against" My Better Emotional Reasons" are more downtempo than the opener, but provides the same energy.

That being said, DITCHWATER keeps the energy consistent throughout the whole album, with the exception of the heartfelt and open "All About You", which is the first track to feature clean guitars. "Hands Held Out" presents even an acoustic side of the band that I feel works very well, and concludes DITCHWATER's presentation of new, original material in a tasteful, yet rather unexpected manner.

"Never Say Never" ends the same way that it started 35 minutes earlier, with a furious blast. DITCHWATER's version of Motörhead's "Iron Fist" doesn't stray far from the original, but the best way a band can honor classics like this is to give it their own touch without losing the respect that the original deserves.

As mentioned earlier, "Never Say Never" is the latest release from a band that has kept going through 26 years of existence, and it showcases a great deal of emotions built up from the highs and lows throughtout their career. Power and aggression remain as relevant keywords to describe DITCHWATER's music in 2019, but good melodies, skillful songwriting and the band's positive energy makes "Never Say Never" a genuine and enjoyable experience.

★★★★★★★★★☆

Tracklist:
1. Enemy of the People
2. My Last Breath
3. Against My Better Emotional Reasons
4. The End
5. This Pain
6. The Way You Are
7. All About You
8. How Many Times
9. Hands Held Out
10. Iron Fist

LINE UP:
Mike Meadows - vocals
Mark Anderson - lead guitar
Kevin James - rhythm guitar
Mason Brown - bass
Mike Tignino - drums

søndag 27. oktober 2019

ALBUM REVIEW: Projekt Gemineye - In the Year 3073 - Book I


PROJEKT GEMINEYE (Canada)
"In the Year 3073 - Book I"
(Reficul Records)
Release date: October 25th 2019
Genre: Progressive rock, melodic heavy rock
Links:
Facebook
BandCamp
Website

Not more than just a few weeks have passed since PROJEKT GEMINEYE were featured on these humble blog pages, when the single "Magic World" was released. The song was the first of two teasers from the album we are having a look at today, and marked a slight change in this Canadian solo project's sound.

Mark Anthony K., who is the primus motor and sole member of PROJEKT GEMINEYE, has been an active musician for many years and was also part of bands like Reckon With One and The Exalted Piledriver before founding his solo effort.

Just over two and a half years have passed since Mark Anthony K. released his solo debut "An Ordinary Day" in March 2017. The album helped him gain a faithful group of supporters that are thriving within the Projekt Gemineye Facebook group where the maestro himself keeps his fans updated on anything relevant to his project. "A Brand New Day" came out towards the end of 2017, an album that along with the debut could be considered a soundtrack to a series of personal events.

Just a few months after the follow-up was released, Mark Anthony K., or Mark Kopernicky as is his real name, announced that he had already started working on his third album.
Said Kopernicky: "It is not a concept album, but a collection of songs, and the lyrics are based around two kind of topics. One is the approach of science in the world today, and the other about people who are looked at as dreamers, and what approaches they have in bettering the world."

"Man of Science, Man of Dreams" came out in November 2018 and featured five compositions that all had all the basic ingredients that early on were determined as the very essence of PROJEKT GEMINEYE's music. Heavy riffs, melodic and harmonic lead guitars and a lot of 70's synth patches that create a fuller and atmospheric expression. As from the beginning the songwriting was still in constant development, the tracks were longer and experimental, but on "Man of Science, Man of Dreams" PROJEKT GEMINEYE had an overall darker, warmer sound than before.

A christmas single was released just a month after, and as a special surprise to his followers Kopernicky announced a four track EP with leftover tracks from the "Man of Science, Man of Dreams" sessions. As was the christmas single "The Lost Science Files" was only released in digital format, but there are some great tracks on there that I am very sure any PROJEKT GEMINEYE supporter would appreciate on a physical format as well.

Not even a year after "Man of Science, Man of Dreams" came out, Kopernicky is back with his fourth album effort, "In the Year 3073 - Book I". Even though every album up until now has either had a storyline or been directed towards certain topics, but this is the first to actually be of a conceptual nature.

This tells the story of a group of scientists and military people who are being forced to leave Earth due to the disastrous concequences of mankind's behavior. The year is 2073, and the end of the world as we know it is imminent. A thousand years later a group of their descendants decide to head back to Earth to document its fate, and this is where the story takes a rather dramatic turn.

The album's first track is the ten minute "Let Your Spirit Fly". The first few seconds send this writer's thoughts towards Vangelis and Alan Parson's Project before the introduction of acoustic guitar chords and the essential harmonic lead guitars that became a PROJEKT GEMINEYE trademark already on "An Ordinary Day". Eventually the album's production becomes more apparent, and especially the drums sound tighter, clearer and crispier than ever before.

Kopernicky has brought with him a couple guest musicians on "In the Year 3073 - Book I", the first appearing already in the first chorus. Joe Bailey is a UK based solo musician with a number of releases on his list of merits, and operates within the fields of alternative/neo-progressive rock. He should therefore fit very well with the style that PROJEKT GEMINEYE represents. He adds a voice that sounds right at home in a project that has never had any outside input to it, and out of the two guest appearances on the album Bailey's appearance becomes the most prominent one.

As mentioned earlier "Magic World" was the first single from the album, and was reviewed somewhere else on this blog. You can read more about it here.

"Heavy Hearts" could be the heaviest PROJEKT GEMINEYE song to date. The guitar tone is thick and aggressive, and the riffs provide a solid and steady foundation for the lead guitars and keyboards to swell upon.

"Children of Hope" is the ballad alternative among the six tracks on the album, and features the use of piano, another contribution of Bailey's vocals, and also David Donley's guest appearance on bass guitar. Donley has worked with musicians affiliated with David Bowie among others, and is a well-renowned musician in the UK.

"The Keepers of the Past" was the second song to be presented prior to the album's release. A seven minute track with a bass and drum intro that develops into a song with clear references to late 80's early 90's Rush. Catchy verses and choruses, and a middle section that suddenly turns the track into an odd-time signature frenzy. Another solid track that is the third and last on the album to feature the vocal talents of Joe Bailey.

As on the first two albums, "In the Year 3073 - Book I" also concludes with an instrumental track. "No Turning Back" is an uptempo feast of harmonic guitars and guitar solos, and provides a very strong closure to an album that allows the listener to experience new details with every spin.

★★★★★★★★★★

Tracklist:
1. Let Your Spirit Fly
2. Magic World
3. Heavy Hearts
4. Children of Hope
5. The Keepers of the Past
6. No Turning Back

LINE UP:
Mark Anthony K. - all instruments, vocals, production

Guest appearances:
Joe Bailey - lead vocals ("Let Your Spirit Fly', "Children Of Hope" and "The Keepers of the Past")
David Donley - Bass ("Children Of Hope")

torsdag 24. oktober 2019

ALBUM REVIEW: Decrowned - Weight of the Dark Sky/Hansel's Nightmare



DECROWNED (Finland)
"Weight of the Black Sky"
(787406 Records DK)
Release date: February 5th 2018

"Hansel's Nightmare"
(787406 Records DK)
Release date: July 30th 2019

Genre: Power metal, modern metal, melodic metal

Links:
Facebook
BandCamp
Instagram
Spotify
YouTube

Both Finland and its closest neighbor in the west, Sweden, have always been a great source of melodic metal of the powerful kind. The Swedes were probably a bit more death metal oriented at times, but the Fins certainly have produced a decent amount of melodic death metal bands as well.

DECROWNED is a fairly new addition to the list of Finnish melodic metal bands, and despite the fact that they have only existed since 2017 their discography already counts two releases in EP format. Last year saw the release of the first one, "Weight of the Dark Sky", which showed a seemingly very experienced band. I have not been given any information about what the members of this quartet have done prior to forming DECROWNED, but I suspect that neither of them are newcomers within the Finnish metal scene.

In terms of style the debut sounds like a lightweight version of Nightwish mixed with Sentenced, Amorphis, Tiamat and even Pagan's Mind. In other words, it is very clear that DECROWNED has found inspiration within their own national borders. The basis is always modern melodic metal, but they incorporate Nightwish-like symphonic elements for a certain dramatic effect. The vocals are for the most part clean, but on occasion they turn more harsh and hoarse, not unlike Johan Edlund (Tiamat) has done. Listen to "The Sleeping Beauty" from 1992's "Clouds", and you'll see what I mean.

"Weight of the Dark Sky" came out in early February of 2018, and helped DECROWNED get picked as "Demo Band of the Month" in the Finnish Inferno Magazine.

Almost a year and a half later the band returned with their second EP "Hansel's Nightmare", which shows a more refined sound than on the predecessor. The basis is still as was on the debut; melodic modern metal with symphonic elements, and I dare say the Pagan's Mind reference is still very much valid. The production is slightly more polished than on "Weight of the Dark Sky", but all in all "Hansel's Nightmare" is a natural step further from where DECROWNED debuted.

There are four tracks on each of the EP's, all very strong compositions with great riffs, powerful drums, electronic effects to add texture, and certain symphonic elements that just makes it all a bit theatrical. Top it all off with a skilled, Finnish touvh, and you know you can't go wrong.

"Weight of the Dark Sky"
★★★★★★★★☆☆

"Hansel's Nightmare"
★★★★★★★★☆☆

Tracklist:
"WEIGHT OF THE DARK SKY"
1. Lament
2. Bridges Burning
3. Buried With My Enemies
4. The Everturning Wheel

"HANSEL'S NIGHTMARE"
1. Hansel's Nightmare
2. Darkwaltz
3. Delirium
4. Fortress

LINE UP:
Miikka Hulmi - lead vocals and bass
Jaakko Kauppinen - guitar and backup vocals
Simo Puustinen - guitar and backup vocals
Antti Venäläinen - drums



Subterranean Noise on Spotify

Almost every band that I receive promotional material from have their music available on streaming platforms. Spotify is perhaps the most re...