Sunday, December 21, 2014

Desma-Identità Anonime

Atomic Stuff Records
2014

Brescia-based, with local rock influences such as Litfiba, Timoria and Afterhours working side-by-side with the classic rock/hard rock scene of old (Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin), the Italian band Desma was formed back in July of 2009 with this recently-released LP . acting as their full-length debut. The album title roughly translates to "identity anonymous " 
and for this electronically-enhanced Italian rock band that would seem to be as much a reflection of this album's mysterious ways as it would be the notion that I am all but lost given the national stance that this release takes (ie: it's all in Italian and as I'm struggling enough with my own country's take on English these days it stands to reason that I'm quite helpless when it comes to lyrical content on an album like this!). Still, music is a universal language and for this particularly band that was emotionally energized and really stirred into action in September of 2012 thanks to winning a national "Battle of the Bands" and getting the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to open up for Iggy and the Stooges in front of a frenzied crowd of 10,000(!) it was a case of don't look back and keep on keeping on! The members of Desma include vocalist Alberto Gobbi, guitarist Diego Gualtieri, bass guitarist Simone Pedrali and brothers Emanuele and Maurizio Torri (keyboards/synths and drums respectively) and as it was actually keyboardist Emanuele Torri who first conceived of this project it should not be all that shocking to discover that Desma does indeed lean heavily on the keys and the aforementioned electronic elements. The electronic part of the equation would seem to come by way of early Subsonica (one of Desma's many local influences), but for other comparisons one could look towards a more iron-clad, lean, mean and leather-wearing Depeche Mode! That's just so here and there though as
radio rock, classic hard rock, some modern and/or alternative rock and even prog influences get throw into the proverbial mix! And despite the use of keys and synths there are plenty of heavy guitar solos to even matters out thanks to the apt playing of Diego Gualtieri. So, what am I exactly getting at here with Desma's first studio offering? Well, bypass the whole "sung in Italian" aspect of this Brescia-based band and you are still looking at a steady/ready band which seems more than capable of balancing the keyboard parts with the guitar rock parts while also displaying melodic vocals and catchy, radio-friendly pieces. As that sure sounds an awful lot like some popular bands these days (say Coldplay and/or Muse!) there is most certainly a built-in market for this kind of magical rock. Time will time though if a band like Desma can conquer more then just their native country....  

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Can Of Soul-Hearreality

Atomic Stuff Records
2014

Can Of Soul is the new solo project from Tomas Toffolo (otherwise known here as "Tomrocker"). As one of the resident vocalists of Rock Against Cancer and a founding member of both the doom thrash metal band Stygma and the hard rock band Why Out this well-traveled and extremely seasoned musician has already covered a lot of ground. He performs in a Black Sabbath cover band and was also the co-founder of the hard rock cover band Black And Purple. For Tomas, who incidentally enough also studded classical piano for some 8 years(!), it sure seems as if nothing is out of reach and that includes Can Of Soul's debut release which was produced by Tomrocker himself! A well-thought out and down-right compelling concept album the story behind "Hearreality" is as follows: A world dying because of the solar radiation hosts a civilization that is looking for new habitable planets to preserve its species. Once identified a “Land”, very different compared to our continuum, the aliens get ready for the invasion by extracting and preserving the “souls” from the bodies to accomplish the space leap without damage. On this assaulted planet there are also mystical entities with supernatural powers who will fight alongside the humans to fend off the invaders whose commanders, once defeated, will be imprisoned. As colorful and rich as that story-line is it would be a real disservice if the music at play on "Hearreality" was anything but exceptional. To that end Tomrocker is backed up by mainstream and underground rock and metal musicians including;

Silvio Masanotti www.silviomasanotti.com
Alex "Dynamitale" Motta www.facebook.com/dynamitale
Alessandro "Ajeje" Petrone www.ajeje.it
 


And yes, I snagged that bit off of the band's Facebook page (www.facebook.com/canofsoul ) as the actual list of guest musicians that is included with this CD's promo pamphlet is quite long and varied all but ensuring the expansive nature of this large-scale project! As referenced above our main man Tomas Toffolo has seen and done it all which is an important thing to point out given the various genres at play here. On the debut release from the Italian band Can Of Soul it's hard not to feel a little overwhelmed when it comes time to describe the sounds at work on "Hearreality". Though listed as a hard rock band or even as a alternative hard rock act the fact is Can Of Souls is so much more. Everything about Tomas Toffolo's past comes into play with individual tracks offering pieces and parts of doom metal, classic rock and hard rock. That is just the tip of the iceberg though as electronic elements creep in the mix as well as the aforementioned alternative rock and hard rock additions! To be sure it is a crazy thing to try to decipher everything going on here as more than one number had me envisioning a bizarre mash-up of Last Crack, Voivod, Deep Purple and the primitive origins of  both rock and roll and black metal! Minus the black metal shrieks that is! It all sounds offensive I realize, but Tomrocker and his guests pull the rabbit out the magician's hat and in the process have ended up making a fantastic and fully adventures LP that all metal fans with an eye set towards creative innovations should grab hold of! Released back at the end of November, "Hearreality" is a real winner on all fronts except for perhaps it's rather dull album art. Actually, "Hearreality" might very well suffer indifference as a result of this Italian band's name. In no way whatsoever does Can Of Soul hint at what's in store when it comes time to play this phenomenal recording! Thankfully the label's YouTube channel allows interested parties the chance to listen to the samples of "Bette Davis Eyes" (http://youtu.be/PYpRlU6tsjI) and "Mystic' (http://youtu.be/X3e6lfVrv_Q). What? You say I didn't mention the cover track? Well, the choice to cover "Bette Davis Eyes" might seem a tad weird at first, but it REALLY works in this context. And it simply is fantastic! For the record here is the official track listing of this inspired debut album from the soon to be legendary Can Of Soul:
01. We Hate the Sun
02. This Order #5
03. Mystic
04. Solid Conviction
05. My Queen
06. Bette Davis Eyes
07. Demon Eater
08. Peaceful Snake
09. Dealing
10. Beyond My Wayward Zen Garden
11. Outro
12. DGRZ (bonus track)

When you add all of these songs together the result is a near masterpiece for the ages! Both dark and moody, "Hearreality" is a Sci-Fi story with the perfect soundtrack being provided from a band that pays homage (musically at least) to artists as diverse as Black Sabbath is to Goblin! This is one album that needs a bigger audience especially one outside of the group's native country! Be sure to head over to the group's Facebook page for more information or head to Atomic Stuff's online page here: www.atomicstuff.com/canofsoul.html As a wrap-up to this report I'd just like to point out that "Hearreality" is (digitally) available on both Amazon and iTunes.




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Monday, December 15, 2014

Greensleeves-Inertial Frames

Self-Release/Independent
2014

Active since 1993, with this hour plus release offering proof positive that when it comes to high-quality progressive metal Europe and North America do not have the market cornered(!), Brazil's Greensleeves makes their triumphant return to the heavy metal scene with the Victor Schmidlin-produced album, "Inertial Frames". No strangers to the writers of Heavy Metal Time Machine (or for that matter to fans of top-tier progressive metal of the melodic persuasion!) this skilled five-piece previously appeared in these very pages thanks to their full-length debut-album, "The Elephant Truth"*. That particular album offered a unique mash-up of all things hard and heavy with the added benefit that it fell under the blanket of progressive/power metal and it was reviewed here by the one and only Metal Mark. The thing is that was way back in November of 09! Incidentally that was also the last time that fans of Greensleeves were able to wet their whistles with new studio material. So, naturally this new album is a long time coming. But, thanks to talents of guitarist Victor Schmidlin (ex-Dynahead) and his overall exceptional band-mates the long wait appears to have been well-worth it as this band has returned with a fine example of how to make a progressive metal album that is immensely technical while simultaneously hard-hitting and down-right enjoyable! Sounding for all the world like a heavier Dream Theater or possibly even Symphony X (only with a bit more attitude and more of a sense of urgent energy), "Inertial Frames" offers everything fans of the genre could ask for from well-thought out and moving passages to thunderous riffs and even some hearty take-downs that border on power metal! Unfortunately very few things in life are absolutely perfect and to be fair there are a few faults to be found with the band's sophomore album. On occasion there are ideas that don't sound as if they were thoroughly followed through but this could be attributed to the time off between albums and the fact that even the best of bands can be rusty right out of the gate. Also the mix on album number two can be a bit uneven at times with the vocals of one Gui Nogueira all but suffering as a result. Again, it's not a every-track occurrence but when it happens you notice it. For a self-produced affair though it's a minor complaint as this album certainly comes across as a labor of love from Greensleeves to their fans. And trust me when I say that the good times far outnumber the bad times on "Inertial Frames". There is way more to love about Greensleeves these days and man alive it is just so good to see that this band is still going at it after 20 or so years! For more information on this Brazilin act and to find out how to secure a copy of their new album for yourself be sure to head over to the link that follows! 
 https://www.facebook.com/greensleevesfb

*http://metalmark.blogspot.com/2009/11/greensleeves-elephant-truth.html

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Black April-Lunitics-Demo 2014

Self-Release/Independent
2014

Local artist alert. And by local I mean Ohio local! Because it's all about the home-pride as I always preach.  In this case it's Black April from Cleveland Twinsburg, Ohio with their "Lunitics-Demo 2014". And no my friends and fellow lovers of all things loud and proud that is not a misspelling. If anything it just points closer to the overall insane aspect of this raw and ready death/thrash four-piece that has thus far shared the stage with the likes of Vindicator, Eternal Legacy, Arsis, Exmortus and many more! Featuring the mad skills of vocalist/bassist Sean Kratz (Benighten Empire, Lucian The Wolfbearer, ex-Eviscerated ), guitarist/vocalist Josh Nally, lead guitarist Max Zotti and drummer Nathan Karns (Benighten Empire, ex-Eviscerated) and taking their cue from bands as wide-ranging as Carcass is to Carnivore the guys in Black April take no prisoners as well as no shit on songs such as "Archwing ( Political Warfare and Damned )" and "Balls Deep". A live version of "Gravedigger" rounds out this late October release and for a band that sounds as if it really only came together in late 2013 with the arrival of lead guitarist Max Zotti they sure seem promising!  Rage-worthy and gnarly enough to peel the wallpaper right off of your bedroom walls at any given moment, "Lunitics-Demo 2014" is one of those lovely recordings that recalls they heyday of tape-trading when underground heavy thrash/death metal like this* was worth it's weight in gold!


Gloriously it's a name-your-own-price download, but as always why not throw a few coins in the fountain as it were? If for no other reason then maybe just to buy this motley lot a few beers? I'd wager a bit or two myself that performing this kind of extreme metal makes one mighty thirsty for blood an adult beverage! Either way here's hoping that this isn't the first and last that we hear from Black April as who doesn't love skull-splinting death thrash like this!!!!!

https://blackapril.bandcamp.com/releases

*You know the kind of late eighties/early nineties metal where Slayer was worshiped on the exact same alter that had previously served as a sacrificial area to Chuck Schuldiner's Death? Here it is kiddos. Only difference is Black April is unmistakeably Cleveland thrash and proud of it! 

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Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Wrong Era-The Wrong EP


Atomic Stuff
2014

"The Wrong EP" is the debut offering from Italy's freshly-assembled Wrong Era. Formed earlier this year out of the remains of Italian hard rock band Sutuana, with this recently released EP containing four new tracks in addition to two remakes of old Sutuana songs, Wrong Era is made up of bassist (and now lead vocalist!) Marco "Sappa" Nicoli (Sutuana, Instant Karma, ex-Midnite Sun, ex- The Unripes), guitarist/vocalist Lorenzo Zagni (Sutuana, Lola Stonecracker) and drummer Gianluca Montanari (Sutuana). Recorded and mixed at SappaLand RockLab by band member Marco "Sappa" Nicoli, "The Wrong EP" is being promoted by the fine folks over at Atomic Stuff in another win-win situation for artist and record label! This match made in hard rock/heavy metal heaven has only helped to establish the key factoid that this very slick, six track EP is available for free download and streaming directly from Wrong Era’s YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/wrongeraofficial. Though it was initially presented to me as "rock in Italian" there is
a lot more to be said of this talented trio than that simple description or the above black and white artwork might suggest! A crackling fusion of heavy rock, alternative, post-grunge and the 1970's hard and heavy sound-scape, "The Wrong EP" is clearly in the right with this Italian rock band energized and amplified
by the presence of electronic elements! As much as the "lyrics ooze of discomfort" the music at hand is often times just as unnerving (if not more so!) with distorted vocals and studio trickery paving the way for band's one and only track "Wrong Era" to all but frighten the listener on an emotion plain! To be fair that bit of heaviness is the more extreme side of Wrong Era, but it does exist and it carries it's own distinctive attitude thus giving this rock trio's first piece of studio recording a fine and frightful edge upon which to build a more solid (and hopefully long-term!) foundation. You can find more information about Wrong Era at: http://www.facebook.com/WrongEraOfficial

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Heavy Metal Time Machine is closed until further notice....

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

It is not easy for me to write this, but as of now I am stepping down and taking time away from Heavy Metal Time Machine. I wish that I had better news to post today, but alas this is something that I feel I must do as fatigue and exhaustion has crept into my life. As our more faithful readers will recall I took over this blog from Metal Mark and as much as I have loved it from the very start I know feel the need to bow out until further notice. Due to a myriad of health problems brought on from being born with only one (dinky and deformed!) kidney I have found myself at a all-too familiar point in life where once again my weakened immune system is wrecking havoc on day to day activities. As such I need time away to sort things out and (lord willing) find my strength and drive again. I won't be gone for good as I hate to say never again and there are still a few bands that I will continue to throw my support behind and try to help out from the sidelines. After all I have always said that I am a fan first and a writer second. But otherwise friends I am afraid that Heavy Metal Time Machine will be closed until further notice and that's just how it's got to be. With that said folks always keep it loud and proud.....

-Andy

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Heavy Metal Time Machine is under quarantine!

11/13/14

OK, it's nothing that serious, but I've been under the weather for the past couple of days and I'm not my usual perky self! After attempting to write up a couple of reviews over the last two days I've seen the error of my ways (the articles were a hot mess kids!) and it's back to bed for yours truly. I'm hoping to be up and about by the weekend, but at this rate I'm still super tired and feeling the effects of what has been a nasty bug. Granted it does not help when your immune system is all but shot, but either way it's bed rest I need and bed rest that I shall get! In the meantime be sure to keep it heavy and keep it loud friends! As Arnold says "I'll be back"!!!!!!!

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