Thursday, April 30, 2015

Broken Rain-Here Comes The Pain

Self-Release/Independent
2015
 

Listen up everyone as introductions are in order. Broken Rain is a hard rock/heavy metal band Banská Bystrica, Slovakia that is comprised of Martin Rybár (lead vocals), Filip Prašovský (guitars, backing vocals), Imrich Šimig (keyboards, guitars), Vladislav Gális (bass, backing vocals), and Branislav Končír (drums). The 12-track "Here Comes The Pain", which was produced by Ľubomír Lichý (Hematit, Liquid Boogie Roll, Metalinda, Clear, JB...) and is proceeded by a 2009 demo, is Broken Rain's debut full-length album. Formed in 2006, Broken Rain initially started out as a cover band before making the gradual move over to original material. As their early set-lists featured material from the likes of Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Judas Priest it is not exactly difficult to pinpoint Broken Rain's influences. At the very least these four bands make for a good starting point of reference even if Broken Rain's sound is quite a bit more in tune with 2000-era rock radio than their cover band roots suggest. Available on CD or as a digital download, "Here Comes The Pain" is a great first step for Broken Rain. It's uplifting and catchy and it is a release that gets better with each new spin! At the end of the day "Here Comes The Pain" works as well as it does because this band's fusion of heavy guitar rock, classic hard rock and straight-ahead heavy metal is both steeped in traditional and modern and relevant. For more information on Broken Rain and their full-length album "Here Comes The Rain" be sure to check out the group's online site right here.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Dogbane-When Karma Comes Calling

Heaven and Hell Records
2015

"When Karma Comes Calling" is the latest release from Greensboro, North Carolina metal band Dogbane. At just under 36 minutes it follows the group's sadly overlooked debut album, "Residual Alcatraz", and it once more finds this largely unknown New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal act channeling the spirits of many a great doom and N.W.O.B.H.M. band that came before them. Four or so years removed from "Residual Alcatraz", "When Karma Comes Calling" was recorded and produced by Dogbane bassist Kevin Davis and the rest of the gang at Studio 5 in Greensboro, NC. Lead as always by the Rob Halford-esque voice of Jeff Neal (ex-Steelwolf) and featuring guitar performances from Jeff Rinehart and Mitchell Allred that should make fans of Trouble, Pentagram and Black Sabbath weep with joy, Dogbane is about as close as you can get to having the perfect combination of doom metal (Witchfinder General, Trouble, Pentagram, Black Sabbath, Witchfynde, The Obsessed, etc.) and classic metal/N.W.O.B.H.M. (Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Satan, Pagan Alter, Manilla Road, Brocas Helm, Savage, Motörhead, Saxon, Thin Lizzy, etc)! With drummer Jerry Cloer (Crucifice, ex-Rictus Grin) rounding out the line-up, Dogbane is one traditional/doom metal band that deserves every bit of good fortune that could possibly come their way. For a band that was formed way back in 2010 it is a little bothersome that Dogbane are not more well-known within the metal community. Hopefully this spirited follow-up to "Residual Alcatraz" changes all of that as Dogbane is far too good to be kept under wraps for any longer! Mastered by Gary Long (King Diamond, Solitude Aeturnus), "When Karma Comes Calling" picks up where this band's debut album left, but for comparisons sake let's just say that album number two from these North Carolina merchants of metal would get a ***** rating if "Residual Alcatraz" was a *** release. In other words, "When Karma Comes Calling" has the same calling cards but it is a more focused and mature affair. But, you don't have to take my word for it. Right now (and mind you this is for a limited time only so go here right now!) you can download "When Karma Comes Calling" for only $1! You heard me right friend. For only one measly dollar you can pick up a digital copy of this killer album so that you can see what all the fuse is about for yourself! And let's face it, $1 is literately a steal for an album like this! Especially seeing as (heavy metal-wise) "When Karma Comes Calling" is (if nothing else) a straight-shooter of an album where speed rock ("Warlord") gets the same kind of special treatment as a slow, Black Sabbath-like number does ("Devil by the Horns"). That means whether you are a fan of Trouble of Tytan there's just got to a better than 50-50 chance that at least one song on this one dollar download should appeal to you. Although I've got to think that more than a few of you will appreciate this band's doom metal approach to traditional heavy metal. Need more info on Dogbane? Be sure to check out the group's Facebook page then and we'll you're at it be sure to snag a copy of "Residual Alcatraz"!

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Pneuma Hagion-Trinity I

Self-Release/Independent
2015

Formed at the start of 2015 by R. (The Howling Void, Hordes of the Morning Star, Intestinal Disgorge, Tethered to a Dying Animal, Serpentine Tunnels, Endless Disease, etc.), Pneuma Hagion is a one man black/death/doom band from Texas. Written, recorded, mixed and mastered by the "band" itself, "Trinity I" is Pneuma Hagion's first demo and it was actually released back on January 28th. For those of you who are keeping count at home that is indeed a remarkable turnaround time as Pneuma Hagion went from it's official formation to finished product in less than a month! To quote the old TV show of the same name, "That's Incredible!". High fives all around! Wait, what was that you said? You say you want more information before you take a huge bite out of this three-track demo? That's fair enough. How about we start from the beginning then? Good? OK. "Trinity I" was actually first sent to me back in mid-February by my good friend and fellow blogger, Metal Mark. Incidentally, Mark received the demo from the mysterious R himself and it came with the heading "Beherit meets Teitanblood". As to the question of why I didn't knock out a review of "Trinity I" back then? Who knows? I have no idea why I do the things I do anyway so who bloody knows why I'm just now getting around to this ghastly beast of blackened death doom. Besides, it's not like it's important to the story at hand. So anyway, I was told by the forwarded e-mail to "Imagine a blend of Beherit's "Drawing Down the Moon" and Teitanblood's "Seven Chalices" mixed with a touch of Coffins". So I did as the email requested and you know what? "Trinity I" is all of that and more. But, it's also none of that but rather a horrific sneak peak into the nightmare world of R. That's an odd response to this demo I realize, but "Trinity I" isn't your typical black/death/doom release. For sure it's plenty sick and twisted and main man R does a good job handling everything from the vocals & instruments to the demo's production. So yeah, "Trinity I" is every-bit the apt descriptions it's been giving. And yet there is something more here that I can't quite put my finger on. Even with it's short length the demo has plenty character and Pneuma Hagion's mixture of all things dark and oppressive produces quite the emotion response from the listener. The demo is atmospheric and most certainty evil in all the right ways. "Trinity I" is creepy and it paints the picture of a man that is being hunted and haunted by something otherworldly and assuredly unholy. It's all these things, but still I feel as if I'm missing a huge piece of the puzzle. Maybe you can find that missing piece for me? Head here
if you dare try!

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Rockstar Frame-Rock 'n' Roll Mafia



Musicarchy Media
2015

Every bit as hotblooded and a hundred plus times as sexy as it's artwork suggests, "Rock 'n' Roll Mafia" is the soon to be released (to great fanfare and widespread joy no doubt!) debut LP from Rockstar Frame. It was not even a week ago (last Wednesday to be precise) that I first introduced you to this hot new hard & heavy rock band and their even hotter single, "She's Hot". That pulse-raising piece of rebel rock was just phase one of this band's plan for world conquest. Now this Milan five piece is back in black and ready to finish the war that they started with "She's Hot" and I for one welcome our new conquers with open arms and raised first! To paraphrase The Ramones "I'm all revved up and ready to go" and I've got this band's first studio release all but CRANKED up as loud as if can be in the background so that every living soul can experience the next evolutionary & revolutionary leap in female-fronted hard rock for themselves! Or at least all the living souls in my little corner of the world as they are the ones getting rocked and rolled all over by what some people have been calling the "New Guns N Roses with killer female vocals"! That's not entirely unfair as Rockstar Frame do strike a similar pose to Axl Rose and company. Well, later day Axl Rose and his pals (as in G 'N R "Use Your Illusion I" and "Use Your Illusion II") as this Italian hard rock band also likes to utilize the winning combo that is screaming guitars and flashy keys! Still, Axl Rose comes across old and cranky when compared to Rockstar Frame's sultry lead singer Faith Blurry! A killer artist all her own, Faith has a set of pipes on her that can't be beat and her range is quite impressive (to say the least). There's a red hot fire burning deep down inside her that keeps the music of Rockstar Frame blazing! Faith Blurry could easily strike gold on her own as a singer so having someone this talented behind the mic gives this hard rock/heavy metal even more bite! There's also enough attitude in feisty front-lady Faith Blurry alone to make the Misfits' number "Attitude" sound like a silly love song! In other words she is the perfect weapon for these smooth criminals! But, let's take a step or two back as "Rock 'n' Roll Mafia" is actual the end of a journey that was first started back in 2012 by founding member and drummer extraordinaire Max Klein. At it's core,  Rockstar Frame is very much a tale of how one man's unfortunate accident would transform the lives of many in a truly healthy and positive way! The story begins with Rockstar Frame's Max Klein taking a nasty tumble down a cliff. That bit of misfortune left Max in a coma. While his loving and supportive family stayed by his bedside they played him rock music. As he lay unconscious Max soaked up all the good vibes that the music had to offer and when he eventually woke up he found that he was now inspired to create great music of his own! To that end the talented Max went out and recruited equally skilled musicians and with one thing leading to another we now find ourselves staring down the barrel of a gun named Rockstar Frame! That might be oversimplifying the whole history of this female-fronted heavy rock/hard rock band a wee bit, but just as Max believes that it was the rock music that his family played for him that helped to bring to him back around to the waking world I have to believe that it was more than just mere coincidence that these five musicians found each other. The music of "Rock 'n' Roll Mafia" suggests as much as this kind of band chemistry doesn't pop up everyday! As for the other key players involved? They would be guitarist Morris Steel, bass guitarist Andy Di Bella and keyboardist Ace Wave. Collectively these five good friends have turned a simple vision into a spectacular reality where eighties hard rock, blues rock and sleazy/pop metal are smoothed over by the sounds of heavy rock radio. It's a place where this band's colorful influences (from Guns 'N Roses to Aerosmith) are touched up and turned inside out in order to give all the dearly faithful something fun and catchy to scream and shout about! With it's electrifying material, "Rock 'n' Roll Mafia" is primal rock and roll from a one-time-in-a-million/billion hard and heavy act. Needless to say you are going to want this one for your own collection friends!

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Monday, April 27, 2015

White Mantis-Fukkin' Demo

Self-Release/Independent
2014

Charmingly-titled as it just might be, "Fukkin Demo" is the first release from Germany's White Mantis. It was self-released in mid-November of 2014 and the four-song demo opens with a rocking little number called "My Favourite Chainsaw". The other three songs on this short but sweet EP are "Singularity", "The Seer" and "Nuclear Assassin". If you had to make a guess as to what this band's specialty was what would it be? I know it's a stab in the dark and all, but what you guess? If your answer was thrash metal and/or speed/thrash then congratulations are in order! Pat yourself on the back as you my friend are spot on! This is thrash metal 101 from a Munich-based band whose first and foremost aspiration in life would have to be thrashing out! Sounds simple enough I know, but believe it or not there is much to love about this four-piece band and their take on speed metal/thrash. Besides the kookiness that is "My  Favourite Chainsaw" that is! For one thing White Mantis is old-school through and through. And it's not just the band's style of thrash metal we're talking about either! Without sacrificing quality,  "Fukkin' Demo" has a production job that is straight out of the mid-late eighties and it turns this recording into another fun trip back to a time when things were a bit more simpler. "Fukkin' Demo" rewinds the clock to a scene that was still young and growing and yet every-bit as hungry and aggressive as today's bands are. Even more so some would say and I for one would gladly stand up for that argument as this demo's vintage vibe is right in line with everything that special about yesterday and all the days that proceeded it. White Mantis, which for future reference is comprised of vocalist/guitarist Matthias Pletz (ex-Lurid Trace), lead guitarist Andre Krimbacher, bassist Stefan Weihe and drummer Boris Kannowski, reminds me more of the early U.S. thrash and speed metal sound than the German scene and the name that I am going to throw out next might be lost of many but I have to use it. Kindly keep in mind that this band reference is also more about said band on the live stage, but nonetheless "Fukkin' Demo" reminds me the Christian thrash metal band Sacrament! As crazy as that sounds I actually saw Sacrament open for Deliverance on their Weapons Of Our Warfare" tour and White Mantis here sounds insanely close to what I remember Sacrament sounding like live! Hold your horses friends as that is actually a compliment! At the time Sacrament was breaking in new singer Robert Wolfe and their live set was nothing but rough and rugged thrash metal with slightly punkish vocals and the occasional melodic/technical moment. It was raw and aggressive and in the same environment that I was in everything bounced around frantically before it went straight into your eardrums in order to DESTROY you inside! The night I saw Sacrament they came across dark and frenzied and I was left thinking to myself if this was a normal thrash band it would be cooler than shit! White Mantis are all of that (aggressive thrash that is slight raw yet just technical enough to keep everything interesting), but on a larger scale and they are way more evil in everyday imaginable. For a first recording this shows promise and it makes you want to hear more. Good times are ahead for this lot if they can stay the course and I for one hope they do just that!









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"Thunder And Steel Down Under"-A Tribute To Riot

Skol Records
2015


It's another fine Metal Monday so check this one out my friends and fellow metalheads. It's way past the point of being long-overdue, but Skol Record's "Thunder And Steel Down Under" is the first ever Riot tribute album. The fact that it has taken so long to put one together is wrong on so many levels, the least of which is A) how universal Riot's form of U.S. power metal is and then (as heard on this limited edition CD) B) how easily it lends itself to being covered. Thankfully this 14-track compilation not only addresses this gross negligence, but it does so in grand fashion and with the exact kind of style and grace befitting of such a classic band as Riot! And speaking of classics, "Thunder And Steel Down Under" features more than a few golden gems from Riot's amazing back catalog and they are given the royal treatment by many a great band that has already been featured here on Heavy Metal Time Machine! We're talking about the likes of Crystal Viper, Night Demon, October 31 and Rocka Rollas  (to name just a few) and here on the limited-edition "Thunder And Steel Down Under" these four bands join up with ten other great artists in order to pay homage to one of heavy metal's true unsung heroes! Obviously not all tribute albums are created equally and compilations in general can be so hit or miss. We all know this to be a sad fact of life. But again, we are talking about Riot and if any band has a back catalog that is perfectly suited for covering it would be this one. And it should go without saying, but on "Thunder And Steel Down Under" the list of bands that Skol Records assembled for this project is impressive. Besides those mentioned we have Savage Master, Attacker, Dexter Ward and Axel Rudi Pel (again just to name a few!) and it all adds up to one album that was so damn-near perfect that I had to stop and ponder the fact on more than one occasion! So, without further adieu let's jump right into this Riot tribute album! Produced by the one and only Bart Gabriel (Sacred Steel, Crystal Viper, Jack Starr's Burning Starr), "Thunder And Steel Down Under" is indeed a rare specimen in that it offers a tribute album that is actually worthy of the band of which it covers! Crazy right? Well, as strange as that sounds its the truth. We start things off with Ferdy Doernberg's brief instrumental take on "Soldier" before we are bowled over by Axel Rudi Pell's version of "Warrior". So far so good right? It only gets better friends as "Fire Down Under" sounds great in Attacker's hands! Already we see how right Riot's music can sound in the hands of those who share a true love and appreciation for the band and their remarkable brand of traditional and power metal! It should be noted at this point that income from the sale of this special album will be given to Sir Tony Reale (father of the late Riot guitarist and founding member, Mark Reale) so we're talking about great metal music for a great cause! It's win-win time all around! But anyway, Walpyrgus is up next with "Outlaw" and if you haven't figured it out for yourself by now let me just say again how well-suited this band is in regards to being covered! Wow. Riot is really something in regards to their back catalog and how many killer songs they have and it's a treat to hear how easily it transforms into straight-ahead metal and heavy power metal/thrash! When we are talking about Riot we are talking about the kind of traditional heavy metal  band that should be huge! Their form of power metal is absolutely slamming and yet it's so well-written and constructed that it can be turned on it's head and still sound fantastic! Few bands can stake that kind of claim, but then again Riot is in a league of their own. All of which begs the question why it hasn't happened sooner? Why has it taken so long for this classic American band to get a tribute album all their own? I wish I knew. Anyway, Savage Master is on board now with "Swords And Tequila" and it's at this point that we hear one of the only so-so tracks on the compilation. It's not that Savage Master is bad or anything. In truth I happen to love the band and their debut album received high marks for all of us here at Heavy Metal Time Machine. Even so I will admit that their cover of "Swords And Tequila" sounds coldly hollow when compared to the original. And that's a shame as "Swords And Tequila"is an absolute classic in it's own right. But hey, they can't all be winners right? From Savage Master we turn to  the neoclassical style of Angelo Perlepes' Mystery. I enjoyed their cover of "Sign Of The Crimson Storm" as it has a Dio flair to it. Next up is October 31 and they take on "Loanshark". Now the guys in October 31st are no strangers when it comes to cover songs so finding them on a Riot tribute album isn't all that surprising. What is surprising though is how little their cover of "Loanshark" sounds like the original. It's more of a punk thrash take on Riot and depending upon whether you are a fan of October 31or not you will either love it or hate it. I like it quite a bit as it is different in a good way and it offers a unique perspective of the music of Riot. From there we are served up one choice cover after another from band's here in the U.S. and bands from over in Europe. To save a bit of time and space the remainder of this tribute album looks something like this:

Alpha Tiger- "Flight Of The Warrior" (A solid cover that is a nice mix of flash and fury)
Stallion-"Rock City" (Good even if it can't touch the originals appeal)
Rocka Rollas-"Riot" (Nothing fancy or anything it's just the Rocka Rollas doing their thing)
Evil United-"Altar Of The King" (A Straight down the middle of the road shooter that hits it's target dead on)
Night Demon-"Road Racin'" (One of my favorite Riot numbers done by one of my favorite new bands)
Dexter Ward-"Running From The Law" (Totally kicking cover choice done right)

Crystal Viper feat. Todd Michael Hall-"Thundersteel" (A nice way to end this tribute)

As they are all really good covers there is no reason to get too technical about each track. Still, highlights for me (band-wise) would have to be: Rocka Rollas, Evil united, Night Demon and Dexter Ward. Especially Night Demon. Their cover selection has always been a guilty pleasure of mine so having one of my new favorites cover one of my old favorites was simply cool. And that's really what this tribute album is all about
when you get down to it! "Thunder And Steel Down Under" is all about a great group of bands and artists (both new and not so new) coming together to celebrate one of metal's finest bands and the life of one of it's finest members (Mark Reale). If the actual music isn't enough to sway you though then consider the fact that this compilation comes packed with a nice booklet with notes from each band. Consider it a little bonus if you will. In the end "Thunder And Steel Down Under" makes up for a great deal of lost time. It addresses a  gaping hole that previously existed and it honors not only Riot, but the bands that Riot influenced. As it is limited to a mere 1,000 copies I would definitely recommend that you not wait too long to buy this fantastic CD. It's worth every penny and it's for a good cause. What more could a Riot fan ask for?

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Free Metal Monday: False Prophet-Murder or Mercy Live 1990

Heaven and Hell Records
2013

Formed in 1988 during the height of  the thrash metal explosion, False Prophet is a Greensboro, North Carolina band whose 1991 album, "The Second Death", won me over a long time ago thanks to it's wickedly raw take on death-laden thrash! Bootlegs of said album seem to pop up every now and then, but this digital-only(?) release is officially sanctioned by the band. "Murder Or Mercy" is a live EP from a band that should have been at least somewhat bigger than they were and it is available as a name-your-own-price download here. It includes four tracks of heavy thrash/death and with a run time that is over the twenty minute mark it is the perfect thing to get you up and going on this Monday morning!






With it's memorable artwork and heavy thrash/death metal sound "The Second Death" is a hidden gem!

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Friday, April 24, 2015

French Metal Friday: Dygitals-Dynamite

Mausoleum Records
2015

First formed in 1984 by vocalist Hervé Traisnel, Dygitals is a French hard rock/heavy metal that was originally active until 1990 or so with their last release during that initial time period appearing in the form of a 5-track demo. That special event took place in 1987 all but assuring this band's well-established link between the past and the present. Now reformed (and as slick as ever!) and with original members David Dugaro (guitar) and Alain Clouet (drums) also in the fold, Dygitals will release this brand new 10-track album on May 5 in North America and on May 21 in Europe. And it's all thanks to the awesome folks over at  Mausoleum Records. This energetic and enthusiastic hard rocking band (which also features bassist Jack Gayffier and guitarist Jean-Marc Lavayssiere in it's current line-up) is most certainly a sight for sore eyes especially as they are no strangers when it comes to my ears! Thanks to the nifty 1985 "French Connection" split that they did with Steel Angel, Vytal and Yuggs and the inclusion of their great song "Stars Of Life" on the 2CD compilation "Revolution Hard-Rock" I was already somewhat familiar with Dygitals. I knew the score when it came these French metal rockers. Or at least I thought I did. Having just recently acquired a great deal more of their music (including 2012's excellent "Avé..."* which I've had a copy of for some time now) I can honestly tell you there was much more to the picture than I first thought possible when it came to this French act and the French metal community in general! After being away from the scene for a total of 19 years (!) these guys proved had tons of magic up their sleeves on the highly-related and highly-recommend "Avé..." so needless to say I was madly anxious for the release of "Dynamite"! When it comes to this lot and this (likely to knock your socks off!) new album let's just say they did not disappoint!
The highly-regarded Hervé Traisnel packs a real wallop on "Dynamite" while his fellow bandmates crank out the kind of high-energy heavy metal that used to rule rock and roll radio way back in the day and has been sorely missed! That's not to say this French band is retro or that their music is old and dated. Far from it! An album like "Dynamite" gives us even more reason to love good old fashioned heavy metal especially seeing as this band likes to emphasis the ROCK part of hard rock! This cult French metal act offers up a list of influences** a mile long the on their official Facebook page and fairly enough their sound has been compared to every one from AC/DC to Accept and even Quiet Riot to Iron Maiden! But, that's just what makes this French heavy metal act so much fun! Dygitals is everything you love about hard rock and traditional heavy metal only better! Occasionally bluesy around the edges, "Dynamite", which is indecently enough the band's fourth full length album and second since the band came back together in 2009, is commercial enough to appear on the radio and yet the band's new album is most definitely a metal platter for those of us who still hunger for the real thing! Produced, engineered and mixed by Didier Chesneau at MII Recording Studio in Forainvillier Dreux in France, "Dynamite" needs to be heard by a much wider audience. Here's hoping then that the disc will do as well here in the U.S. as it will do in the band's home country where they still retain a loyal following. Granted it's not much, but you can hear a bit of the title track by checking out this video:




*Be sure to check out the spot-on review of this album over at Two Guys Metal Reviews. Fellow bloggers and all around cool friends, Two Guys Metal Reviews is one of my favorite sites and they have turned me onto more great music than I can count!

**AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Accept, Judas Priest, UFO, Scorpions, MSG, Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, Kiss, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Trust, Warning, Ratt, Thin Lizzy, Gary Moore, Malmsteen, Van Halen, Y&T, Dio, Foreigner, Black Sabbath, Whitesnake, Quiet Riot, Dokken, Pretty Maids...

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Pyramaze-Disciples Of The Sun

Inner Wound Recordings
2015

Seven long years have passed since Pyramaze's last album, "Immortal". Now armed with a new lead vocalist in Terje Harøy (Teodor Tuff, ex-Memorized Dreams) and having been blessed with the good fortune that is guitarist/bassist and producer Jacob Hansen (Invocator, ex-Eidetic, ex-Jacob Hansen, ex-Beyond Twilight, ex-Anubis Gate, ex-Maceration, ex-Broomshanka, ex-Guffe & Jacob) this Danish power metal band marks it's return with the excellent "Disciples Of The Sun". Initially founded in 2002 by guitarist Michael Kammeyer, with such top-tier vocalists as Lance King, Matt Barlow and Urban Breed having helped make this melodic power metal act the popular band that they are now, Pyramaze made their debut in May of 2004 with the well-received full-length album "Melancholy Beast". Since that fateful moment the band has seen more than it's fair share of line-up changes with today's version featuring sole original members Jonah Weingarten (keyboards) and Morten Gade Sørensen (drums). Despite all of the shake-ups Pyramaze has remained a rather consistent band with both "Legend of the Bone Carver" (2006) and "Immortal" (2008) receiving similar high praise as this band's debut album. With guitarist lead Toke Skjønnemand rounding out the band's line-up on "Disciples Of The Sun" and guests like Joost Van Den Broek (ex. After Forever, Star One),
Kim Olesen (Anubis Gate) and Henrik Fevre (Anubis Gate) stopping by to lend a hand
the band's forth full-length album is one that should appease fans and newcomers alike! New lead singer Terje Harøy proves his worth well before "The Battle of Paridas" wraps up and from the album's brief instrumental opener, 
"We Are the Ocean", to this album's last call (the sublime "Photograph") there's seldom a dull moment! "Disciples Of The Sun" offers one splendid cut after another and thanks to the production job of Jacob Hansen (Volbeat, Amaranthe, Epica, Evergrey) everything sounds clean and clear! Making a case for this album is an easy task as both the songwriting and the individual performances of each band member falls remarkably close to phrase "Absolute Perfection"! And thanks to the vast amount of "exotic" ingredients that went into the making of Pyramaze's latest release (heavy rock, hard rock, melodic metal,
progressive rock/power metal, U.S and European power metal and even heavy power metal/thrash!) this is an album that keeps on giving with each new spin! "Disciples Of The Sun" was a pleasant surprise on this snow-covered day in dreary old Ohio and it's one release that I plan to come back to soon enough! 

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Witchingseason-"The Healer" Single

Hey! Hey! Listen up!!! All you hard and heavy alt-rockers look this way. You're going to want to place a huge X on April 27th. Why? Because that is when Witchingseason will release their brand new single, "The Healer"! With a full-length album due for release later in 2015 this single is a nice treat for hardcore fans of this UK act as well as those who just love to watch rock and roll get consumed by the fires of the night! Now, I first heard this band back in August of 2014 when I covered their single "Spiders" and later on in October of that same year I had the extreme pleasure of reviewing their self-titled EP. Given the band's oddly cool and collected (dark arts of rock) approach to what was then some of the tastiest post-grunge/heavy garage rock even I couldn't help but feel a little tinge of happiness in this black heart of mine! With "The Healer" my heart has grown too big to describe as this band's songwriting and overall performance seems to get better the deeper Witchingseason goes underground! Featuring vocals from Leogun's Tommy Smith, "The Healer" is jingle jangle trash rock for a naive generation that likes to think that they've heard it all when it comes to post-grunge, hard rawk and stripped to it's core garage metal. If this trio's new album is anywhere as good as this is then we are all going to be dancing in the darkness together and having a wonderful time!

 www.facebook.com/witchingseason


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Cyrence-The Hospital

 Self-Release/Independent
 2015

Started in 2006 as a solo project of vocalist/rhythm guitarist Tim Grathwohl (ex-Gatecrusher, ex-One More Day), Cyrence is melodic thrash metal band from Munich, Germany. Just released last month, "The Hospital" is Cyrence's first EP and it follows in the footsteps of the 2011 demo "Endtime Stories". Readily available for download on the group's bandcamp page as a name-your-own price deal, "Endtime Stories" is reportedly a concept album about a 20-year-old girl named Jesse who tries to survive in a world that has devastated by nuclear war. While it is a fair enough demo, "Endtime Stories" was only the group's first step toward perfecting their sound and it pails in comparison to what this band has accomplished on their new EP! Now rounded out by lead guitarist Dominic Millett, bassist/backing vocalist Chris Hammer (ex-As Mentioned Below, ex-Know Your Foe) and drummer Thomas Goldberg (e-Deathfear, ex-Undead Funeral), Cyrence returns with a EP chock full of top-tier thrash! Musically-speaking, Cyrence seems perfectly suited for fans of Metallica, Megadeth, Testament, Exodus and Anthrax as well as all those fans who seem to transfixed by the new wave of thrash metal. To be sure, "The Hospital" owes more to the eighties Bay Area thrash scene than it does the likes of Destruction, Sodom or Kreator. All the same Cyrence is nice and lethal and that is largely due to the combination of rhythm guitarist Tim Grathwohl's wicked voice and this band's ability to whip up thrash that is familiar in nature while assuredly unique to this Munich four-piece. With a production that is next to perfect this EP is a must for thrash fanatics and I for one cannot wait to see what Cyrence does when they are given the opportunity to record a full-length album! 

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

New Blog- Let there be rock shirts


 I just started a new blog focusing on rock shirts including mostly metal, hard rock, punk and classic rock. Check it out if you get a chance.

Let there be rock shirts

Rockstar Frame-"She's Hot" Single

Let's not mince words friends. What the word needs now is another killer female-fronted hard rock band. That's where Milan's Rockstar Frame comes in and let's all just stop what we are doing now, drop to our knees and thank the God of Rock that reigns supreme above for gifting us these gifted rockers! And now that we've paid proper homage to the Lord of all things Loud let us have a little talk about these crazy (wild child) rock n' rockers and why it is that this band's upcoming new album, "Rock 'n' Roll Mafia", might just be one of 2015's finest hard rock moments! They've been described as "New Guns N Roses with killer female vocals!" and their red hot music is as fierce and independent as their lead singer's fiery red hair is! They've won national contests in their home country and rocked the stage from one end of Italy to the other! And now they have given us a fantastic single in "She's Hot"! As you can see I've linked the single's official music video below and it is every bit as hot as the song's title! And the answer is a firm no! I'm not just talking about front-lady Faith Blurry when I say the video's red hot (even if she is a very lovely lead singer). Instead I'm talking about "She's Hot" as a total package deal. When you take this band as a whole a song like "She's Hot" has it all! The vocals offer a great deal of punch, but then again so does the music! Given the influences of Rockstar Frame that's not all that surprising. They range from the likes of Guns 'n' Roses and Aerosmith to more straight-forward and traditional classic rock, but what really makes this band special is the fact that there is even some classical music tossed into the equation! All told this band has the looks and the sound to take it as far as they want and with their full-length album reportedly every bit as good (if not more so!) as this rock-solid single there's no time like the present to be a fan of high-class hard rock! Stay tuned for more! 

PS: Bonus points awarded for the Motörhead shirt!


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Angel Martyr-Angel Martyr

Self-Release/Independent
2014

I'd like to start off this short post by first apologizing to Angel Martyr for missing their April 11th post on Heavy Metal Time Machine's Facebook page. Next I'd like to apologize to all of our readers who have thus far missed out on the band's solid five track demo here. All of you deserved better treatment then that. For you see, Angel Martyr is the real deal! There's nothing fake or trivial about this band or their name-your-own-price demo here. These guys are the genuine article! Originally formed in 2006 as Wraith'sing, with hella cool guitarist/vocalist Tiziano "Hammerhead" Sbaragli (Etrusgrave, ex-Harvest) the sole original member left from that band's short existence, this N.W.O.B.H.M.-influenced heavy/speed metal three-piece from Italy thrashed their way back into existence in 2010 as Angel Martyr. Now rounded out by such equally skilled players as Dario "Destroyer Rostix" Rosteni (bass) and ex-Etrusgrave member Francesco Taddei (drums) this tried and true heavy metal band looks forward to the day when the world bows before the might of all that is Angel Martyr! Between the wicked singing and dangerous shredding off Tiziano "Hammerhead" Sbaragli and this band's boiling hot to the touch rhythm section that Earth-shaking event should be sooner than later! Especially seeing as how this trio's old-school approach to heavy/speed metal is not to be trifled with! In all seriousness though, "Angel Martyr" is a great first step for this Italian band and seeing as it is technically free you have very little to lose by checking it out over on the group's bandcamp page. If you live in this band's neck of the woods then by all means check them out live! It's usually all or nothing when these kinds of metal bands hit the stage and I'd bet my last dollar that Angel Martyr tears the roof down when they perform before a metal hungry crowd! Much thanks indeed to Angel Martyr for contacting us about this demo and for our readers please remember to support your local metal scene whether in Italy of here in the States as that's where the real magic is!

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Dirty Shirt-Dirtylicious

Promusic Production 
2015

Anyone remember Dirty Shirt? I sure do. How could I not? It isn't every day that you get introduced to one of rock and roll's most pioneering, unconventional and innovative bands! "Crossover Folkcore Metal" might just be this Romania band's official tag, but I know it's only rock 'n roll and I like it, like it, yes, I do! Oh snap! Here I am getting ahead of myself once again (once more for like the billionth time!) so let's rewind the old VCR tape and hit pause when we get to this point where we first meet Romania's Dirty Shirt. It was actually back in December of 2013 that I covered the group's third full-length album, "Freak Show", and had a interview with band member Mihai Tivadar. Self-described as one of the most original and active rock bands in Romania, the award winning Dirty Shirt is based in Seini and their far out (as in WAY FAR OUT THERE!) style combines folk music with hard rock and heavy metal. In and of itself that might not sound all that unique as there are plenty of folk rock and metal bands making the rounds these days. Truth be told the group's use of traditional instruments like the violin, clarinet, accordion and cimbalom (dulcimer) isn't that innovative either. On paper it sure sounds like a case of been there done that right? The key phrase there would be "on paper" as the truth of the matter is when it comes to "Dirtylicious" we're talking about non-stop craziness where all that you can expect is the unexpected! I'd love to be able to use the term "punk" when it comes to the music and lifestyle of Dirty Shirt, but the only thing punk about this band would be their refusal to conform to convention folk metal standards. On their past releases Dirty Shirt would toy with punk rock just as much as they would toy with everything from electronic rock to funk. With "Dirtylicious" the band still splices and dices the folk with other styles of music but mostly it's just spoonfuls of rock, hard rock and (most importantly) metal. In a way it's a more "traditional" or "straight-forward" sort of album. Or better yet it's a more focused effort. Because really Dirty Shirt is still Dirty Shirt. This is still the same group of funtastic rockers who can make armageddon look and feel like a well-orchestrated, black tie event. And yes, Dirty Shirt is still capable of clearing out a room chock full of the fuddy-dubby faster than you can say "Ladies and gentlemen I'd like you to put your hands together now for the comedic stylings of Pope Francis"! In other words Dirty Shirt is as wicked and wild as they were on "Freak Show" only now they are out there on the streets dealing a more pure product. And what a trip that product produces! Three cheers and free beer all around for the makers* of the marvelous album! Produced by band member Mihai Tivadar, "Dirtylicious" is not to be missed! You can order Dirty Shirt's new album over at the group's bandcamp page and if you haven't had the chance to read either my review of "Freak Show" or the interview that I did with band member Mihai Tivadar then be sure to head right here friends!


*In addition to band members Dan "Rini" Crăciun (vocals), Robert "Metalistu" Rusz (vocals), Mihai Tivadar (guitars, synths), Cristian Bălănean (guitars), Dan Petean (guitars), Pál Novelli (bass) and Vlad "X" Ţoca (drums) the album "Dirtylicious" featured the following guests:


Assica Jelba-additional synths on "Dirtylicious" and "Dulce-i vinu"

Transylvanian Folkcore Orchestra: Marius Sabo (violins), Andrei Oşan (clarinet), Leonard Negrea (cimbalom), Ciprian Ghiaţă (accordion) and Cserey Csaba (percussion).


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