Hydraform Continues Its Growth On Its Self-Titled EP

Courtesy: Dewar PR

Independent hard rock band Hydraform is scheduled to self-release its new self-titled EP Friday.  The three-song record is the Denver, CO-based band’s debut EP and second overall studio record, coming approximately three years after the band released its debut album Dark Adder.  While it runs not even 20 minutes (17 minutes to be exact), the record deserves its own share of applause.  That is due in part to its musical content, which will be addressed shortly.  The lyrical content featured in the EP adds to its interest, too.  It will be addressed a little later.  The EP’s production and mixing rounds out its most important elements and will also be addressed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the EP’s presentation.  All things considered, they make Hydraform an interesting addition to this year’s field of new EPs.

Hydraform’s forthcoming self-titled EP, scheduled for release Friday, is an intriguing new addition to this year’s already packed field of new EPs.  It is a presentation that is worth hearing at least once.  That is due in part to the record’s musical arrangements.  The EP is composed of just three songs, but all three are new presentations from the band.  What’s more, they display the band’s growth when set against the band’s 2016 debut album Dark Adder.  The EP’s second entry ‘Chained,’ which the band debuted recently through v13.net, is the most notable of its offerings.  Front man Carter Pashko’s vocal delivery joins with Matt Gotlin’s polyrhythmic drumming, the subtlety of John Jarvinen’s bass line and the cutting guitar line of Jacob Streifer to make the arrangement really stand out.  It takes elements of Tool’s dark prog metal, crosses that with some post-grunge influence and some groove metal to make the whole.  Given, one would not initially think that on paper, such an amalgam of styles would gel, but it surprisingly does here, and does well.  As a matter of fact, the combination of those elements makes ‘Chained’ the EP’s most accessible work.  The band obviously knew that, having debuted it as the EP’s lead single, too.  It is just one of the EP’s notable works.  ‘Parasite’ deserves its own share of attention, too.

‘Parasite,’ opens with a gentle, flowing piano line that shortly gives way to a heavier, guitar-driven sound complete with Maynard James Keenan-esque vocal delivery from Pashko in the verses.  Pashko changes things up in the choruses with a more guttural almost death metal style vocal approach, while his band mates keep the arrangement’s Chevelle meets Disturbed meets Disturbed sound progressing.  Again, it sounds like an odd combination of influences (and it is) but it still works here in its own unique way.  It is not as accessible as ‘Chained,’ but is still an interesting work in its own right, and closes the EP on a strong note.

Hydraform opens just as strongly as it closes if not more so thanks to ‘Born of the Sea.’  This song’s arrangement is best described as a metalcore style presentation that will appeal to fans of bands, such as Killswitch Engage and As I Lay Dying.  That is due to the pairing of Streifer’s guitar work and Jarvinen’s bass line.  The elements create a harmony and intensity that when they are joined with Gotlin’s precision behind the kit, makes it another surefire hit for the band.  Keeping that in mind along with the attraction of ‘Chained’ and the interest generated through ‘Parasite,’ all three songs come together to show why this EP’s musical arrangements make for such interest in the record.  While the EP’s musical content will ensure listeners’ engagement and entertainment, it is only a portion of what makes the record worth hearing.  The EP’s lyrical themes present their own interest.

‘Chained’ is just one example of the importance of the EP’s lyrical themes.  This song’s lyrical theme comes across as centering on the issue of dealing with our own personal issues.  This is inferred over the course of the song’s nearly seven-minute run time (six minutes, 40-seconds to be exact).  The song opens with Pashko singing about wearing a mask and night and how that is supposed to protect us from the “demons lying under your bed.”  As the song progresses, its subject wonders “when I will see you again” and “when I will become free.”  Later in the song’s run, he says, “What does it mean/To embrace insanity/We all just abide…What will they do/When they get the best of you/Getting under your skin/Just start again.”  It really makes for an interesting, unique take on the familiar topic of taking on our inner issues.  Again, this is all just this critic’s own interpretation.  It should not be taken as gospel, though the wording – metaphorical as it may be – certainly points to the inferred matter.  To that point, this is sure to keep listeners just as engaged as the song’s musical arrangement.  It is just one example of the importance of the EP’s lyrical themes.  ‘Born of the Sea’ is one more example of that importance.

‘Born of the Sea’ comes across as a far cry from ‘Chains’ at least in its lyrical theme.  Unless this critic’s interpretation is wrong (which is possible), the song seems to be one of those fantasy style works about someone living at sea.  It comes across as being that simple.  This is inferred right from the song’s outset as Pashko sings about black sails, the sun hitting the subject’s eyes “as the anchor” pulls from the water.  As the song proceeds, there’s even mention of “the deep blue water turning black” and “the deep abyss/never coming back.”  So apparently, someone died at sea?  If in fact this is really the basis of the song’s lyrical theme, then it definitely stands out against the song’s musical arrangement.  More often than not, such content is accompanied by like-minded music from perhaps the likes of Alestorm and other similar acts.  To that end it definitely stands out.  It’s just one more way in which the record’s lyrical themes stand on their own merits here.  ‘Parasite’ is sure to engage listeners with its lyrical content just as much as its counterparts.

‘Parasite’ comes across as a statement about someone who just lives to make others miserable, metaphorically sucking them dry.  Or in another fashion, it could be a focus on that part of us in our minds that we combat so often.  This is inferred in the lines, “Free/Free to spread my mange/Free to burn this…/Free to sow terror in our souls/Try/Try to cut me out/try to kill yourself/Try to purge this part of you, you hate.”  Considering this, it would seem the latter of the two interpretations is likely the more likely case.  As the song continues, there is also mention of “A little boy’s inside my head/Telling me/Screaming at you.”  Even more here, it would seem that the song is centered on the matter of dealing with one’s own emotional and mental health issues.  Keeping that in mind, it becomes another song that will connect with listeners that much more, and one more example of what makes the EP’s lyrical content so important.  Together with its companion musical content, the record’s overall content gives listeners reason to hear Hydraform.

The content featured within Hydraform’s 17-minute run is certain to engage and entertain audiences with its accessible and relatable musical and lyrical content respectively.  For all that said content does for the record, its production and mixing puts the finishing touch to its presentation.  Sylvia Massy, known for her work with the likes of Tool, System of a Down, and Red Hot Chili Peppers, was responsible for bringing everything together for the finished product.  Massy is to be commended for her work as each element – instrumental and vocal – is so well-balanced within each song.  What’s more, Massy’s guidance with the band also played into the way in which each song was arranged as part of the production and mixing.  It might explain the balance between the piano line and heavier elements in ‘Parasite’ and the balance in the EP’s metalcore style opener.  No one pat outweighed the others there or even in ‘Chained.’  In other words, Massy’s work behind the boards and with the band served to help give audiences the best product possible from the band.  The result is a record that while short packs a big punch.  That punch, together with the content, makes this record a very real candidate for a spot on this year’s list of top new EPs.

Up-and-coming independent hard rock band Hydraform’s new self-titled EP is a record that will appeal to a wide range of audiences.  Its mix of musical styles and influences plays into that appeal.  There are prog-metal influences, as well as hard rock and even metalcore influences audible throughout the three songs featured in the record.  They will generate plenty of engagement and entertainment for a wide range of listeners.  The mostly relatable lyrical themes featured in the record strengthen the record’s appeal.  Together with the production and mixing, all three elements combine to make it a positive new offering from the still young band.  All things considered, it is a valid candidate for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new EPs.  More information on Hydraform is available along with all of Hydraform’s latest news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://hydraformmusic.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/hydraformband

Twitter: http://twitter.com/hydraformation

 

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Battle Born’s Self-Titled Debut EP Is A Pure Power Metal Presentation

Courtesy: Dewar PR

Power metal is among the most interesting subgenres of the vast sea that is the hard rock and metal community.  Unlike say thrash metal, death metal, black metal and other more aggressive subsets of hard rock and metal, it is not quite as respected as its noted counterparts.  Sure, great bands, such as Judas Priest, Sabaton, Dragonforce, and Metal Church have served to make the genre at least somewhat respectable.  However, thanks to bands, such as Manowar, Stratovarius and Freedom Call, the genre has also continued to maintain its place as the proverbial red-headed stepchild of the hard rock and metal community.  That is due to the grandiose and over the top nature of the genre’s musical arrangements, what with its soaring guitars and operatic vocal delivery styles.  The genre’s lyrical themes, which often focus on elements of fantasy – dragons, wizards, magic, etc. – also play into that reputation.  Even Judas Priest has fallen victim to this, having crafted a song about the Loch Ness Monster, of all things, on its 2005 album Angel of Retribution.  Ironically, even with the reputation that it has developed, power metal still has its audience, and that audience does not seem to be waning any.  The forthcoming release of fledgling power metal band Battle Born’s self-titled debut EP supports that statement.  The five-song record is a presentation that fans of that unabashedly cheesy side of power metal will appreciate in part because of its musical arrangements.  They will be discussed shortly.  The lyrical content featured alongside said musical arrangements adds to that appeal for the noted audiences.  It will be discussed a little later.  The record’s overall production and mixing puts the final touch to its presentation and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here does its own unique part in making Battle Born an appealing record for the most devoted power metal fans.  All things considered, they make the record a hopeful start for what is just one of the latest additions to the power metal community.

Battle Born’s self-titled debut EP is a positive start for the up-and-coming power metal band.  That is because in part, the 24-minute EP takes on all of the musical trademarks of the genre.  The warp speed drumming, orchestral keyboard line and guitars, to the over-the-top chants of “bring the metal back” and even the use of the harp in the EP’s come together to serve as a clear example of that familiar musical style for which the genre has come to be known.  The same applies with the guitar and drum-driven arrangement at the center of ‘Man of War.’  It takes itself so seriously that it is just gloriously cheesy.  It takes itself so seriously that one can’t help but love how absurdly cheesy it is, like something from a 80s hair metal band.  ‘For Our Home,’ the album’s penultimate song, is just as saccharine in its so serious its comical approach.  The Manowar influence oozes from the steady driving drum beat, vocals and contemplative keyboard line.  Now keep in mind, this is not meant to speak disrespectfully of Battle Born.  Rather it is meant just to point out the fact that the EP’s over-the-top musical presentation is everything that power metal fans have come to expect and appreciate about the genre.  Much the same could be said of the EP’s opener, ‘Battle Born’ and its finale, ‘Sovngarde Awaits.’  It is an approach that fans of the genre will appreciate.  What’s more, the band – Jack Reynolds (vocals), Will Kerr (guitars, keyboards), Tom O’Dell (guitars, vocals), Chris Beattie (bass) and Charles Lamacraft-Perett (drums) – has crafted five arrangements here that while are trademark power metal opuses, are still unique compositions to the band.  The band worked to make the EP’s songs sound unlike arrangements from its power metal counterparts.  They are not wholly unlike works from other power metal bands, but do still boast their own identity.  To that end, it’s one more way in which the EP’s musical arrangements will appeal to the most devoted power metal fans.  The EP’s musical content is just one way in which the record makes itself appealing to the noted listener base.  Its lyrical content adds to that appeal.

The lyrical content featured in Battle Born’s self-titled debut EP is important to note because it is another way in which the record meets the norms of so much power metal.  The record, for the most part, is centered on elements of Bethesda Game Studios’ popular fantasy game Skyrim.  The fifth installment of the popular Elder Scrolls role-playing game series, Skyrim, follows the story of The Dragonborn in its effort to defeat a dragon named World-Eater.  This focus on a fantasy story from a video game is unique in its own right, even as the connection between power metal and fantasy stories is in the bigger picture, more common place.  It stands out from say, the fantasy story at the center of Unleash The Archers’ forthcoming album Abyss and even more so from, say, most albums from Blind Guardian in its matter, but more closely to works from perhaps twilight Force and Rhapsody.  The only seeming break from the fantasy stories in this record comes in the EP’s second song, ‘Bring The Metal Back.’  This song, which is certain to be a live favorite for fans, just touts the positives of metal music.  Other than that one moment, the rest of the EP’s lyrical theme stays in the fantasy realm.  Keeping all of this in mind, it should be clear by now why this EP’s lyrical content is just as important to its presentation as the record’s musical arrangements.

The musical and lyrical content featured in Battle Born’s self-titled debut EP does a lot to make the record a work that the most devoted power metal fans will appreciate.  That has been hopefully clearly pointed out here.  For all of the impact that it has on the EP’s presentation, it is only a portion of what said audiences will appreciate.  The record’s production and mixing makes that noted musical content work as well as it does.  The EP’s opener and title track is a prime example of the impact of the production and mixing here.  The song, which lends itself to songs from Sabaton in its arrangement, balances very well, the steady time keeping of drummer Lamacraft-Perett, the guitar work of Kerr and O’Dell and the keyboards with Reynolds’ vocals.  Reynolds’ delivery is expertly balanced with the instrumentation from his band mates.  The punch of the drums as the EP’s second entry, ‘Bring the Metal Back’ is a pivotal moment for the song.  Between that and the chanting, the two elements together make it a key moment that really is the song’s biggest accent.  In the same vein, the balance of the vocals, keyboards and drums in ‘Man of War’ makes for its own impact.  The vocals lead the way, but the drums are so well-balanced with the vocals while the keyboards add just enough punch to the song to keep listeners engaged.  The addition of the bass and guitar to the song is handled just as well as the song progresses.  The end result of all of these elements being combined is a work that is just as powerful and engaging as any of the EP’s other songs.  When it is considered with the result of the production and mixing in the other songs addressed here and that of the EP’s other two songs, the result is a clear picture of why the EP’s production and mixing is so important.  The result of the EP’s production and mixing makes it a presentation whose sound is just as appealing for audiences as the record’s overall content.  Keeping all of this in mind, all three noted items come together to make the EP a presentation that the most devoted power metal fans will appreciate.

Battle Born’s self-titled debut EP is a work that the most devoted power metal fans will appreciate.  It doesn’t necessarily break any new ground within the genre.  That is the case in examining the record’s musical and lyrical content.  At the same time though, that it is everything that the noted audiences have come to expect from the genre will still appeal to audiences.  Add in that the arrangements are unique despite being comparable to works from the band’s more well-known power metal counterparts, that makes the EP more appealing to the noted audiences.  The record’s lyrical themes are everything that audiences have come to expect from the power metal world, but are still unique in their own right, too.  The production and mixing makes everything noted sound good.  All three items noted here are key in their own way to the whole of this record.  All things considered, they make Battle Born a record that while maybe not a groundbreaker in the power metal realm, still a record that fans of said genre will enjoy.  It will be available Friday direct from the band.  More information on Battle Born is available along with all of Battle Born’s latest news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://battlebornuk.bandcamp.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/battlebornuk

 

 

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Lord’s New EP Is A Strong Second Helping Of Its 2019 Album ‘Fallen Idols’

Courtesy: Dewar PR

Independent hard rock band Lord is giving its fans a bonus from its recently released album Fallen Idols.  The band is scheduled to release its new EP Chaos Raining is scheduled for release Friday.  The three-song record is an intriguing record because while it is being marketed as an EP, it is technically another of those records that is in reality more single than EP.  That is not to say that the record is a failure for the band.  Rather, its track listing does serve as something of a negative for the record’s presentation.  This will be discussed shortly.  While the track listing is undoubtedly an issue for Chaos Raining, it is the record’s only negative.  The EP’s musical content is very much a positive worth noting, so it will be addressed shortly.  The lyrical themes that accompany the EP’s musical content is notable in its own right and is also deserving of attention.  It will also be addressed later.  All three noted items are important in their own way to the whole of this EP.  All things considered, they make Chaos Raining a presentation that hard rock and metal fans will find worth hearing at least occasionally.

Lord’s forthcoming EP Chaos Raining is, for the most part, an enjoyable new offering from the independent hard rock band.  That is due in part to the record’s musical arrangements.  The arrangements in question are powerful, guitar-driven works that will appeal to fans of bands, such as Judas Priest, Dragonforce and Firewind.  That is evident through the combined guitar work of the band’s front man “Lord Tim” and fellow guitarist Mark Furtner as well as through “Lord Tim’s” operatic vocal delivery style.  Even the extended take of the EP’s title track deserves attention, with its keyboards and semi-industrial metal approach.  That element takes precedence in this song, but the original work’s guitar and drums are there.  The choral approach taken with the vocals gives the song a touch of an 80s hair metal sound.  This all seems like a lot, and it is, but somehow, the band manages to balance all of those elements for a whole that despite being nearly 10 minutes long, is still wholly entertaining in its own right.  Keeping that in mind along with the engagement and entertainment that ‘Chaos Raining’ and ‘A World Insane,’ the whole of the EP’s musical content offers audiences plenty of motivation to take in this record.  While the arrangements do echo the style of arrangement that the band has presented in its past works, the actual sound is different from those works.  In other words, the style is the same as in previous works, but the songs overall are not identical in their sound.  They are original in their own right, in layman’s terms.  Even set against one another, the arrangements here are original in their overall sound.  That makes the EP that much more worth hearing.

For all that the arrangements do to make Chaos Raining a positive new presentation from Lord, the songs overall are somewhat problematic.  As with so many other records that have been released this year, one can argue that considering the EP’s makeup, is being improperly marketed.  The EP is in fact more single than EP.  That is because the record’s title song is itself from another album.  The one extra original is likely a b-side that did not make the final cut for Fallen Idols.  The extended remix of ‘Chaos Raining’ is basically just a bonus track.  So while it is original in its own right, it is still just a remix of one of the record’s two original songs.  In other words, the EP is essentially a single from the band’s bigger 2019 album that also features two extra works.  One of those works is likely a castaway from the original sessions for that album while the other is just a re-worked version of the single.  Keeping that in mind, the record is still enjoyable to hear, but is still more single than EP.  Since it is being marketed as an EP, it still deserves its own spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new EPs even despite everything noted.

While the makeup and marketing of Lord’s new EP is questionable, it does not make Chaos Raining a failure by any means.  It does impact the record’s place in any critic’s list of the year’s top new EPs, but is still a work that will appeal to hard rock and metal fans.  That is due in large part to the record’s musical content, though the musical content is just one part of what makes the record worth hearing.  The lyrical content that accompanies the musical content adds to that engagement.  The EP’s second song, ‘A World Insane’ comes across as a social commentary of sorts.  “Lord Tim” sings in the song’s chorus, “A world gone insane…we cry out in vain/And now with open arms/We carry on and try to find our way.”  Now while much of the song’s lyrics are indecipherable sans lyrics, just enough is understandable to make an inference about the theme.  “Lord Tim” mentions in the song’s second verse about looking around and seeing no one around, adding mention about being on the precipice.  In other words, the seeming statement hints at things being in a very bad state right now.  When this is considered along with the note of carrying on with arms wide open, it leads to the assumption that the song focuses not just on how bad things are, but of people’s resilience and determination to get through all of the bad.  This in itself is certain to generate interest and discussion among audiences.  It is just one of the ways in which the record’s lyrical content proves so important to its presentation.  The EP’s title track will generate its own interest with its seemingly more personal story.

“Lord Tim” sings in the lead verse of ‘Chaos Raining,’ “You cast your gaze upon my form/Into cold eyes that once were warm/Hardened by sorrow, I still bleed/I will arise from bended knee.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “The days loom grey/Forever seem/My mind engaged in pain unseen/Suffer the past/Onward I roam/Through severed ties I walk alone.”  He adds in the song’s chorus, “Say goodbye/I’m lost forever/The storm, it rages on and on/I’m stronger/For every day that dies/I’ll wonder/The chaos raining down/I’m drowning under.”  As the song enters its third verse, “Lord Tim” sings, “The years estranged/Like endless waves/Our time is gone/Now swept away/Torn down/Rebuilt in iron gleam/This broken man becomes machine.”  At this point, the song returns to its chorus once more with its statement about being stronger despite everything.  It can be inferred between that statement and the commentary in the verses that this song focuses on someone who is pushing on even as the world seems to fall down around him; a person who has been mentally and personally “rebuilt.”  As always, this is just this critic’s interpretation. Hopefully it is close to being a correct interpretation if not completely correct.  That aside, it is content that is certain to generate its own share of discussion among audiences, especially when it is considered alongside the song’s musical arrangement.  All things considered, the song’s thought provoking lyrical content is just one more way in which the EP’s lyrical themes prove to be just as important to its presentation as its musical arrangements.  Those arrangements and the lyrical content together make Chaos Raining a record that while maybe not the purest example of an EP, still a record that heavy rock fans will appreciate.

Lord’s forthcoming EP Chaos Raining is a work that will appeal to a wide range of hard rock and metal fans.  That is due to its musical arrangements and its lyrical content, as noted here.  The musical arrangements are everything that audiences have come to expect from the band.  The riffs liken themselves to works from the like of Judas Priest, Firewind and Dragonforce at the same time.  The lyrical themes presented within the record’s two original songs will generate their own engagement among audiences as they are certainly thought provoking, as also noted here.  The one downside to the whole thing is that it is being marketed as an EP.  This is important to note because the “EP’s” title track is itself a single from the band’s 2019 album Fallen Idols.  Other than that one track, there is only one other original and then an extended take of the record’s title track.  Keeping all of this in mind, this record is really more a single with two extra tracks than an actual EP.  Even with that in mind, it is not enough to prevent a person from wanting to listen to this record.  It is just something to note, and taken into consideration with the record’s overall content, it proves itself to be a work that will appeal widely to hard rock and metal fans.  It will be available Friday.  According to a post on the band’s official Facebook page, the record’s physical copies are already sold out in pre-orders, so right now, only digital pre-orders for the record are available.  More information on Chaos Raining is available along with all of Lord’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.lord.net.au

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lordofficial

Twitter: http://twitter.com/lordofficial

 

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

‘The Winter Way’ Could Be Atavistia’s Breakout Record

Courtesy: Dewar PR/Atavistia

Independent symphonic metal outfit Atavistia is scheduled to release its new album The Winter Way Friday.  The seven-song record is the group’s sophomore outing and will be self-released by the Canadian quartet.  It is a work that will appeal to fans of similar acts, such as Ensiferum, Wintersun and Dialith, looking solely at its musical arrangements.  The lyrical themes that accompany the noted musical content add even more to the engagement that the 61-minute record ensures.  Together, the noted elements make The Winter Way a work that holds its own against its more well-known melodic metal counterparts.  That is proven in part through the record’s first full song, ‘The Atavistic Forest.’  It will be addressed shortly.  ‘Eternal Oceans’ is yet another example of what makes Atavistia’s latest album stand out, and will be discussed a little later.  The album’s closer and title track is one more example of how the record proves its strength in the overall melodic metal realm.  When all three of these songs are considered along with the LP’s other songs, the album in whole proves to be the record that could help Atavistia become one of the genre’s next big names.

Atavistia’s new album The Winter Way is a record to which melodic metal fans will quickly warm up upon hearing.  That is proven from start to end of the 61-minute record because of its combined musical and lyrical content, as is proven in part through the album’s first full musical/lyrical track, ‘The Atavistic Forest.’  The musical arrangement at the center of this song forms a strong foundation for its presentation through itself and its production.  The balance of front man Mattias Sippola’s screams and clean vocals couples with the song’s backing choral vocals to make for its own powerful impact on the song.  The juxtaposition of the string arrangements and the song’s heavier, guitars and subtle drumming of Dalton Meaden and Max Sepulveda respectively adds even more punch to the song’s arrangement.  Sepulveda’s work is balanced expertly throughout this work, serving as more of an accent to the whole than its own entity, yet it works so well.  Meaden’s guitar work meanwhile works with the strings and bassist Dwayne Murray’s own work to flesh out the arrangement even more.  The whole of these elements makes the song itself such a powerful musical presentation that succeeds on its own merits.  It is just one part of what makes the song stand out, though.  The song’s lyrical content works with its musical counterpart to make the song’s impact even more so.

The lyrical content featured in ‘The Atavistic Forest’ will ensure its own engagement among audiences.  The writing here is rather cryptic, coming across like some sort of work having fantastical roots.  This is inferred as Sippola sings in the song’s lead verse, “From the ancient stones/I walk through the shadows/Orchestrations of life/Deemed a separate path/With my hands I embrace the circle of life/Caressed by spirits once through death/Haunting silence dwells upon this starlit forest/Creatures from the dark soon bear witness to the sun/Condemn those without my whisper by their side/Release my mind from echoes of madness/This cold layer of ice shall never thaw/My ark embrace will never die.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “The hourglass of time follows us through the stars/The howling winds of old carried through the misty trees/My eyes behold no sign of life/Staring down to darkness/Dreams besiege the fallen star among the dead/We are reclaiming this land/For the transcending matter/No more relinquishing worlds/Calling us to our home/Fallen stone/Take my throne/I am the past/I am the future/Lost in my chambers/Now treading behind/Falling back to shadows/Where no light survives/Drifting realms beneath my surface.”  It should be noted here that this song comes in at just under nine minutes, and it continues in much the same fashion lyrically as it progresses as presented here.  There is a lot of very goth-esque language used throughout the song, including in the noted lines and those not noted.  To that end, such content will appeal to a very targeted listener.  Even with that in mind, the song’s musical arrangement will still find its own wide appeal, making up for the targeted appeal of the lyrics.  Keeping this in mind, this song shows in its own way, the ability of The Winter Way to connect with listeners.  It is just one of the songs that serves to show why The Winter Way proves to work just as well as albums from Atavistia’s more well-known counterparts.  ‘Eternal Oceans’ is another way in which the album proves its strength.

‘Eternal Oceans’ stands out because its arrangement is so distinctly unlike that of the album’s other songs.  It is a work that even with its orchestral addition, feel more like it adds a progressive metal element to its whole.  The use and balance of the guttural vocals and the clean singing adds even more impact to its whole.  Between all of that and the way in which the drums were once again incorporated in to the song, the arrangement in whole makes for another very powerful musical presentation that, as with ‘The Atavistic Forest’ will reach a wide range of metal fans.  Now the matter of the song’s lyrical content is another issue.  It will create its own unique share of interesting.

Sippola sings in the song’s lead verse, “Ice forms beneath the stars/Blind reflections clear/Forsaken lands under the moon dying/Howl from the wolf/Soon to be silent/With no air to inhale/Requesting to lay dormant/Beyond the ever fading light/Follow us through the stars/With our sorrow/Drowning us far below/Beyond the light/In the darkness I fall/With no ending/tearing out from the stars/Into eternal oceans.”  He continues from there, “Forever to wander/I feel its presence like never before/The sorrowing oceans rains down around me/Tearing out from the stars/Along the cosmic sea/One by one/The branches fell/Calling forth/The observer of life/In the ancient kingdoms/Where the souls lay void by fire/Cosmic entities of yore shall rise once again.”  As the 10-minute-plus song continues through its second half, Sippola continues his highly metaphorical language, which leads to plenty of its own interest and discussion.  Considering the engagement and discussion that the song’s lyrical content will generate and the interest that the song’s musical arrangement will ensure, the combination of the elements makes the song in whole yet another example of what makes The Winter Way proves it strength.  It is just one more of the songs that serves said purpose, too.  The album’s closer, which is also its title track, is one more way in which the album shows its potential.

‘The Winter Way’ opens with a very soft, melancholy style approach that is driven largely by its keyboard and string lines.  That brooding opening gives way quickly to a full-on orchestral metal approach that wastes no time capturing listeners’ ears.  That powerful, yet still melancholy instrumentation continues through to the end of the nearly 10-minute opus.  Coupled with Sippola’s vocal delivery, which lends itself ironically to comparisons to Fear Factory front man Burton C. Bell’s more melodic vocal performances, the whole of the song’s arrangement offers its own unique presentation that a wide range of audiences will appreciate.  That melancholy sound couples with the song’s equally moody lyrical content to make that element engaging in its own right, albeit to a very targeted audience, once again.

Sippola sings in the song’s lead verse, “For so long/I have become so cold/So cold far down below the icy fields of snow/Silence follows me through the night/When the ice beneath my feet breaks away/Will I go with you now/To forever walk your path of snow/You are the starlight/The everlasting memory/And I will follow you/In darkness/To our destiny/As I lay awake/I feel your presence near/And if I am to fade tonight/Having you brings me no fear/When we close our eyes/Nothing’s left behind/Now I’ve come for you/And your cold winds pass through my mind.”  The song continues very much in the same fashion from here, lyrically speaking.  It is very much a goth type work in its approach that again will appeal to a very targeted audience.  Together with the other songs addressed here and the rest of the album’s works, the album proves in whole to be a work that given the right support, will become potentially become a breakout work for Atavistia.

Atavistia’s sophomore album The Winter Way is a record to which metal fans across the board will likely warm up when they take in its 61-minute body.  That is due to its musical arrangements, which actually cover much ground within metal’s various subgenres.  The lyrics will have a much more distinct appeal with a more targeted audience.  That is proven through all three of the songs addressed here.  When those songs are considered along with the rest of the album’s works, the record in whole proves to be an interesting work from Atavistia that, given the right support, could make the band one of metal’s next big names.  More information on The Winter Way is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

 

 

 

Websitehttp://atavistia.bandcamp.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/OfficialAtavistia

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/atavistia

 

 

 

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Solar Flare’s Self-Titled Debut Gives Hope For The Band’s Future

Courtesy: Dewar PR/Solar Flare

A solar flare is, by definition a mass ejection of energy from the surface of the sun that, when it reaches Earth, causes disruptions to the planet.  Keeping that in mind, it leaves one wondering how the independent rock band Solar Flare developed its name.  While the band’s forthcoming self-titled debut album – due out Friday – is an interesting offering from the quintet, it is not a work that will disrupt the music industry.  It is a good first effort from the band, though.  That is due in part to the record’s musical arrangements, which will be addressed shortly.  For the good that the record’s arrangements do for its presentation, its production adds its own unique touch to the presentation and will be addressed a little later.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.  Together with the production and the songs themselves, the album proves itself a presentation that maybe won’t make a major impact with its release, but will still impress listeners in its own right.

Solar Flare’s self-titled debut album is a positive start for the Ohio-based hard rock quintet.  Scheduled for release Friday, the 37-minute record features seven songs that old school metal fans will appreciate.  That aspect forms the foundation for this record.  The arrangements featured throughout the album will take listeners back to another age of hard rock and metal.  ‘Medieval,’ the album’s opener is a power metal type work that instantly lends itself to comparisons to works from Iron Maiden in its youth.  The same can be said of the album’s second offering, ‘Under The Sun.’  ‘Born to Burn’ is more akin to early works from perhaps Deep Purple.  ‘Pharaoh,’ the album’s midpoint, is easily likened to works from Judas Priest, while ‘Nous Sommes’ is another Iron Maiden type work.  ‘Taken To The Other Side’ could easily be compared to so many power metal works, including those of Iron Maiden and other well-known bands as could the album’s closer, ‘The World in My Head.’  Simply put, listening to this record, the arrangements will take listeners back in time and remind listeners fondly of the old school metal songs that served as the foundation for so much of today’s music within the metal and rock realm.  At the same time, the arrangements also serve to display the band members’ own talents without just being a bunch of rip-offs of music from the band’s influences.  Keeping that in mind, the record’s arrangements serve as a good starting point for the album.

While the arrangements that make up Solar Flare’s body serve as a good starting point for the record, the album’s production adds its own positive to the record’s whole.  What audiences will appreciate about the record’s production is the DIY approach that was obviously taken with said work.  The sound is largely clear, but at the same time, in listening to the mix of front man Ethan Jackson’s vocals, the trash can sounding snare of drummer Jordan Cavalris — that snare drum sound is the only down side to the entire record.  It sounds just like the equally horrible snare that Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich used in that band’s now infamous album St. Anger – the double guitar attack of Mark Greene and Garian Perry and even the keyboards and strings, that less than perfect overall sound adds a certain special touch to the album.  ‘Under The Sun’ is one of those moments when the garage style production is evident.  The general effect from the production here lends itself to comparisons to the production of Metallica’s – not to intentionally bring up that band again – debut album Kill ‘Em All and one of Iron Maiden’s early albums.  Much the same can be said of the production at the heart of ‘Nous Sommes.’  That is another clear example of the old school approach even taken here even though this is a 21st century band.  Audiences get even more of that minimalist recording approach in the album’s closer, which adds even more to the general effect for listeners.  Between these songs and the production used in the album’s other works, the overall efforts put into the album’s production paid off and makes the album that much more appealing to old school metal fans.  It’s just one more way in which Solar Flare stands out.  The album’s sequencing puts the finishing touch to the presentation.

As already noted, Solar Flare starts on a strong note in ‘Medieval.’  From there, the album’s energy never really is depleted at any point.  It changes slightly as the songs move in different directions from one to the next, but even when the energies do pull back, that reservation is only temporary, as it doesn’t take any of the songs very long to pick back up.  In other words, from start to finish, the record maintains its energy.  That is even as the songs make the slightest change in stylistic approaches.  That stability in the record’s energy even as the arrangements change style adds that much more engagement and entertainment for audiences.  When this aspect is considered along with the record’s arrangements and the album’s sequencing, the elements collectively make Solar Flare a record that might not make a major impact on the music industry, but is still a start that gives the band hope for the future.

Solar Flare’s forthcoming self-titled debut album is a positive start for the independent rock band.  That is proven in part through the arrangements that make up the record’s body.  They lend themselves to comparisons to works from some of the most respected names in the history of rock and metal.  The production of said songs gives audiences just as much of an old school experience as the arrangements.  The album’s sequencing puts the finishing touch to its presentation, ensuring its energies never falter at any point.  All three elements are key in their own way to the whole of this record.  All things considered, they make Solar Flare a work that gives hope for the future for its namesake.  More information on Solar Flare is available along with all of Solar Flare’s latest news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://solarflareofficial.bandcamp.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OfficialSolarFlare

Twitter: http://twitter.com/solarflarecincy

 

 

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

‘Ursa Minor’ Is An Intriguing Start For Holden

Courtesy: Dewar PR

Independent hard rock/metal act Holden is scheduled to release its debut album Ursa Minor Friday.  The five-song record is a hard-hitting work from the Richmond, VA-based band.  The musical arrangements presented in this record will appeal to fans of bands, such as Crowbar, Mastodon and High on Fire.  Its lyrical content will keep listeners engaged in its own fashion.  ‘Sparks Between Teeth’ is just one of the songs that serves to support the noted statements.  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘Emperor of Maladies’ shows what makes this record stand out, too, with its musical and lyrical content.  It will be addressed a little later.  ‘After The Fact’ is one more example of what makes Ursa Minor so engaging.  It will also be addressed later.  All three songs are key in their own way to the whole of this record.  All things considered, they make Ursa Minor a work that metal and hard rock purists will find is worth at least one listen.

Ursa Minor, the debut album from independent metal outfit Holden is an intriguing outing for the band that metal and hard rock audiences will find is worth at least one listen.  That is proven through the record’s musical and lyrical content, as is proven in part through the record’s second song, ‘Sparks Between Teeth.’  The song’s musical arrangement is a heavy, blistering work whose heavy guitars, pummeling drums and fuzzed vocals create an overwhelming sound that fully envelopes listeners.  It is a presentation that leaves listeners knowing they have experienced something significant by its end.  It is just one part of what makes the song worth addressing.  That pummeling musical arrangement works with the song’s lyrical content to make the song overall even more impacting.

Front man Palmer Sturman sings in the song’s lead verse, “Red and constantly rising/Flames spark between clenched teeth/Smoke that churns from a pariah/Torching sensibilities/Pissing it all into the dirt/Bleeding it out/Feeling the hurt/Tortured souls are the first ones to hit the ground/Grip/As I dangle from the edge of the world/A casualty of hate/Like a black tar seeping through my veins/A saving grace/Blind dogs foam from their teeth/While you tremble ‘round.”  He continues as the song progresses, “Splayed and stretched ‘till you’re breaking/Hounds gnash your flesh when weak/Extinguishing the spark that once burned between your teeth.”  One of the song’s possibly most important lines comes even deeper into its seven-minute-plus run time, with Sturman singing, “Bottled it all/Drawn straight from the dirt/Keeping it in/Churning the hurt/Absorbing the pain/Feeling it win/When does it stop/How did it begin/The only point to these dogs is to chew the fat.”  This is all extremely deep metaphorical speak that no doubt will leave listeners having plenty to discuss after the song is over.  It continues in similar fashion from here, ensuring just as much, listeners’ engagement.  Ultimately, the lyrical content is so deep in its metaphorical that it leaves even this critic guessing as to its message.  That very fact is actually good in its own right because it will create so much discussion.  That discussion, coupled with the engagement and entertainment generated through the song’s musical arrangement, makes this song a key addition to the record. It is just one of the album’s most notable works, too.  ‘Emperor of Maladies’ stands out in its own fashion.

‘Emperor of Maladies’ presents an arrangement that also boasts a certain wall of sound effect with its absolutely powerhouse guitars drums bass and vocals.  The sound is its own, but stylistically, it uses the same type of approach as that used in ‘Sparks between Teeth.’  That arrangement works with the song’s lyrical content to make the song in whole even more striking.

Sturman sings in the song’s lead verse, “Hello child/Your face looks so hollow now/How can you rest inside such a shell/There’s a vacant aura ‘round your soul/A black source inside/Brittle bones hold your hull/Cracking, breaking, penetrating/Sin of skin/Buren decays/Living mound unto the fray/Grotesque molding formed around you/Face is there/But eyes are gone/Windows shut before the dawn.”  He adds in the song’s second verse, “I will take you into the eart/You can close your burdened eyes/’Take my pain’ you finally cry/Radiant waves flushed before you/Pouring from the salted skin/All that ends must now begin/Cracking, breaking penetrating/Ripples out in agony/Any less is blasphemy/No more sharing/Humbled body/Focus now and rid yourself of parasites/That cling to cells.”  Once more, here is something that is extremely metaphorical, and in turn, left to plenty of interpretation.  On the surface, it seems rather nihilistic, and maybe it is.  Either way, the discussion that again, will be generated through this along with the engagement from the song’s musical arrangement adds even more power to this song’s presentation.  Together with ‘Sparks Between Teeth,’ the two songs together show even more why this record deserves at least one listen.  They are not the record’s only notable works.  ‘After The Fact’ does its own share to show why the album deserves a chance.

‘After The Fact’ is quite the intriguing work, as exhibited in its arrangement.  The song is a blatant doom metal piece at its base.  What is so interesting is that even with the doom metal sound, Sturman’s vocal delivery comes across this time as more of a death/black metal sort of approach, which is completely unlike his delivery style in the record’s other songs.  The grinding, pummeling sound of the instrumentation, coupled with that distinct vocal style makes for quite the engaging listen to say the least.

The lyrical content that accompanies the musical content featured in ‘After The Fact’ makes it well worth the listen, too, as it is just as deeply metaphorical as the content in the album’s other songs.  Sturman sings in the song’s lead verse, “I’m feeling sick/Your voice is  in my throat/I can smell your taint on my body and in my clothes/Know this rapture claimed/All those that you’ve left exposed/And there’s nothing left to give/except those holy notes.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “Lilted and brown/Like roses after the fact/sweet smelling with sneering lips, split and cracked/Keystrokes pumping out/Answers plain as day/Pixels shredding hope/That’s been left stripped away/Spread your written word/You soapbox coward/Every character/Stalked and registered/Gaze on with the flock/See who gives a f***/Digital imprints/Sold in bargain bins/Fall in line/Stay in line/tacked in time/All online.”  This comes across as Sturman addressing someone with whom he has quite the issue.  That final line about the “soapbox coward” spreading the written word” and the mention of the “keystrokes pumping out answers plain as day” leaves one to wonder if he is referencing the so-called keyboard warriors who take it on themselves to sit in front of their computers and spew their own anger-filled comments from the safety of their basements, etc.  Of course, that is just this critic’s own interpretation.  It could very well be wrong.  Regardless, the fact that the song’s lyrical content can generate such thought and even more discussion makes even more clear why the song is worth examining in the bigger picture of the record.  When it is coupled with the song’s powerhouse musical arrangement, the whole of the song becomes even more powerful and more proof of the record’s strength.  When it is considered along with the other songs addressed here and the rest of the album’s works, the album in whole proves itself worth at least one listen among the hard rock and metal masses.

Holden’s debut album Ursa Minor is a work whose musical and lyrical content cuts with the power of a grizzly bear.  It is a start that hard rock and metal audiences will agree is worth at least one listen as a result of that, as the songs addressed here prove.  When they are considered along with the album’s other two songs, the whole of the album proves to be quite the engaging and intriguing work that deserves at least one listen.  The record is scheduled for release Friday.  More information on Ursa Minor is available online at:

 

 

 

Website: http://judgeholden.bandcamp.com/releases

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/HoldenBandOfficial

 

 

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Stoner Rock Sound, Sci-Fi, Horror Lyrical Themes Make The Hyss’ New EP An Intriguing New Musical Offering

Courtesy: Dewar PR

Independent stoner rock band The Hyss released its new EP Extraterrestrial Monday.  The five-song record comes less than a year after the release of the band’s most recent release, Hound.  It is a work that with its stones rock sensibilities in its musical arrangements and sci-fi themes in its lyrical contents, will appeal to a wide range of listeners even within its targeted audience range.  That is proven right from the record’s outset in the form of the record’s title track, which will be addressed shortly.  ‘Disco Frankenstein,’ which immediately follows that track, is another example of the interest that this record is certain to generate.  ‘Wolf Spider,’ the record’s closer is just one more example of what makes Extraterrestrial such an intriguing offering.  When each of the songs noted here is considered alongside one another and the record’s other two songs, ‘Panther Slide’ and the John Prine tribute that is ‘In Shadows,’ the whole of the EP presents itself as one of the most uniquely intriguing records to be released so far this year.

The Hyss’ brand new studio recording Extraterrestrial is one of the most unique and intriguing records to be released so far this year.  As noted, that is due to the combination of the EP’s stoner rock arrangements and the sci-fi themes presented in its lyrical themes.  The EP’s opener and title track is just one way in which it proves to be such an attention-grabbing presentation.  The song’s arrangement presents a familiar stoner rock composition that even with its clear comparison to works from the likes of Clutch, still has its own unique identity through its stylistic approach.  Drummer Mike Scales’ work behind the kit works alongside that of guitarists Dave Fitzgerald and Pat Kennedy and the low end from bassist Bill Sullivan to make the arrangement in whole a strong, fuzz-filled intro for the record.  While much of the song’s lyrical content is difficult to decipher, information provided about the song infers that the song focuses on people’s obsession with unidentified flying objects (UFOs).  That is illustrated in the song’s lead verse as Fitzgerald makes mentions of chem trails, “experimenting to the Nth degree,” a “bug-eyed b*****” as well as mentions of swamp gas being used as an explanation for sightings of the so-called otherworldly craft.  The second verse even seems to make a hint at people trying to escape possible abduction as Fitzgerald notes them trying to be the last one out alive.  As if all of that isn’t enough, there is even a mention of “teenagers from Mars” at one point in the song’s third and final verse.  These lyrics and the aggression in their delivery couple with the fire in the song’s musical arrangement to make the song in whole quite the unique presentation that will keep listeners engaged and entertained in its own fashion.  For all that this song does to show why audiences should take in this record at least once, it is just one of the EP’s most notable works.  ‘Disco Frankenstein’ is another important addition to the EP’s presentation.

The musical arrangement at the center of ‘Disco Frankenstein’ is another fuzz-filled stoner rock opus, but thankfully is not just a rehashing of the record’s opener.  It presents an energy and sound that is different from that of ‘Extraterrestrial.’  It is more of a down-tuned work, and is even heavier than said work.  Ironically, it works just as well as its predecessor for what can so easily be envisioned as a really bad b-movie about Frankenstein with a chainsaw.  Yes, Frankenstein with a chainsaw.  The whole of the song, with its steady yet creative time keeping, keyboards and guitars is a work that will entertain audiences just as easily as that of ‘Extraterrestrial.’  It also works quite well alongside its companion lyrical content, which is in fact about a Frankenstein monster with a chainsaw, according to the previously discussed information provided about the EP.

Fitzgerald sings in the song’s lead verse, “Into the graveyard night/A fresh prowl with a shovel I need/A strange body with the mind of a child…everybody ran for the door to the street/Escape blocked…And they say/Nobody wants to dance with the Disco Frankenstein…”  As the song enters it’s second verse, there is more mention of Frankenstein’s monster being brought to life.  Yet again, much of the song’s lyrical content is difficult to decipher.  That is due in part to the song’s production, as at various points, the vocals are somewhat washed out by the instrumental portion of the song.  Again, the information provided about the song is to thank to certify that this is a full-on cinematic piece that takes the classic Frankenstein tale and turns it on its ear in a nearly b-movie style presentation.  Such a terrible movie would be great to see nowadays though, today as a means to escape from the misery caused by the unnecessary government-imposed lockdowns across the nation.  Considering this and the infectious groove in the song’s musical arrangement, the whole of the song proves that much more why this song is another example of the strength of Extraterrestrial.  It is not the last of the EP’s most notable works.  ‘Wolf Spider,’ the record’s closer is one more important track to note in examining the record’s overall presentation.

‘Wolf Spider,’ yes another creature-based work, stands out in part because its musical arrangement does not bear the standard stoner rock trademarks of songs from its counterparts.  It is a stoner rock song, yes, but it leans more in the direction of old school hard rock sounds than stoner rock.  It doesn’t have that typical fuzz approach of said genre.  It is just a good, unique work. What’s more, the song clocks in at just over three-and-a-half minutes, but because of the work and thought clearly put into the opus, it really does leave listeners wanting more in the best way possible.  That adds more strength to the song’s presentation.  When this is considered along with the song’s clear creature feature lyrics, the song gains even more traction.

Fitzgerald sings in the song’s lead verse about someone being followed by something “with ten thousand eyes” in the song’s lead verse, clearly setting the stage for the story here before launching into the song’s chorus, which describes the horrific creature that is the wolf spider.  The rest of the song is relatively basic, finding Fitzgerald talking about the spider terrorizing camp sites.  It is the basis for yet another great b flick that is so bad that it’s great.  Of course, such a movie has been done more than once, what with the likes of Tarantula (1955) and The Spider (1958).  Even with that in mind, this song would still make for a great soundtrack piece for either movie.  Considering the enjoyment that Wolf Spider is sure to bring audiences, and that from Disco Frankenstein and Extraterrestrial, this seemingly fully tongue-in-cheek record proves itself a nonstop enjoyable ride for horror and sci-fi movie fans and for stoner rock fans.

The Hyss’ new EP Extraterrestrial is a unique offering not only among the year’s new field of EPs, but as the year’s field of new independent music offerings.  That is due in part to the stoner rock musical arrangements that make up the majority of the record.  The lyrical content, which takes on a handful of classic horror and science fiction tropes couples with that content to add even more interest to the record, as has been evidenced here in all three of the songs featured here.  When they are considered along with the rest of the record’s works, the result is a presentation that definitely deserves at least one listen from the noted target audiences.  Extraterrestrial is available now.  More information on this EP is available online along with all of The Hyss’ latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://thehyss.bandcamp.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thehyss

 

 

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.