DARK TRANQUILLITY, SOILWORK, HYPOCRISY and MNEMIC will tour North America in April and May...Drummer Cory Grady (formerly of THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER) has joined PREMONITIONS OF WAR. THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER will begin recording a new album, entitled Miasma, in March and will tour with KING DIAMOND and NILE after the sessions...VEHEMENCE vocalist Nathan Gearhart has stepped down due to family obligations. The band is looking for a replacement and can be contacted at email@example.com....CATTLE DECAPITATION's Human Jerky album will be released on 12" vinyl picture disc through Accident Prone Records...TERROR 2000 has joined forces again and will record a new album in March. Bjorn Speed Strid (SOILWORK), Klas Ideberg (DARKANE), Nick Sword (EL MAGO), Erik Thyselius (CONSTRUCDEAD) and Dan Svensson (HATELIGHT) are still writing new songs announced as "the most neck-breakin', fast and aggressive" recorded by the band. No title for the new album is yet confirmed, but the release date is planned for June 2005 through Scarlet Records...AGENT STEEL's live DVD is out now. Live @ Dynamo Open Air features live footage from band's appearance at Dynamo Open Air 2004 festival in Holland and also a few songs from the warm-up show at the Effenaar in Eindhoven and some bonus material. The band is planning on releasing a new album this year as well...BEHEMOTH and SUFFOCATION are touring North America this month...Sweden's NAGLFAR, has signed a new worldwide multi-album contract with Century Media Records. A new album, tentatively entitled Pariah, is currently being recorded at Ballerina Studios in the band's hometown of Umeå...KRONOS will play at the Killer Fest in March near Paris with bands such as TANKARD, INQUEST and OUTCAST. The band will record a DVD on this occasion...Circulation Records has signed COMECLOSER. A new album is due in March...Canadian deathcore six-piece DESPISED ICON has signed a worldwide deal with Century Media Records. DESPISED ICON's, The Healing Process, which was produced by Yannick St-Amand is currently set for an April 5th release. The group's first album, Consumed By Your Poison, was released in October, 2002 on Galy Records...THE RED CHORD's new album Clients is currently being recorded at Planet Z with engineer/producer Zeuss. The new album is slated for release on May, 17th through Metal Blade/BMA...GOD FORBID is currently writing material for a new album, IV: Constitution Of Treason, set for an autumn release. The group will enter the studio on May 1st...INCANTATION's first U.S. tour in support of Decimate Christendom was January's The Winter Migration Broootality '05 tour featuring MORTICIAN, INCANTATION, THE CHASM and ARSIS...KATAKLYSM has parted ways with drummer Martin Maurais due to "personal and professional reasons." Replacing Maurais in the group's line-up is returning drummer Max Duhamel who was recently re-recording older material with the band...Candlelight Records has confirmed March 8th as the US release date for the new MARDUK album. It is called Plague Angel...Canadian Band PENETRATOR has signed with Sonic Age Records...GOD DETHRONED's The Lair Of The White Worm album is now out...BLOOD RED THRONE's Altered Genesis will be released this month by Earache...Conquer Records will soon release DEVILYN's 11 full-length...NEAERA has just finished recording of its debut album, The Rising Tide Of Oblivion. The album features 13 crossover songs...HEATHEN has made its entire Breaking The Silence and Victims Of Deception albums available for free download on www.heathenmetal.com
FACES OF BLACK - same
It is a surprise to me that the West Coast's Faces Of Black grabbed my attention. The trio of singer/bassist Christine Apro, her brother and guitarist Norm Apro and drummer Adam Hancock have an interesting band which, as much as the guitars rock and the drums wallop, is mostly due to the vocals. Christine - who has previous band experience - is not the typical boring yawn of a female vocalist. Her delivery was intense enough to make me search out the band's site at www.facesofblack.tk, but alas the site is to information what scrooge was to money. No matter, Christine somehow fits the band like a glove. She manages to hold her own in a world full of female ersatz rock-opera moaners. She is not one of them and tweaks her singing from soft to rough and back depending on the requirements of the moment. There is a big heavy guitar sound throughout the eight tracks, although on the flip side there is little intricacy and no solos. The drummer hits hard without overwhelming the larger message and the big picture. This is interesting and rocking music. It is both contemplative and loud at the same time for fans of Black Sabbath, punk rock and Monster Magnet that nonetheless remains metal-oriented without ever admitting it. Just check out the band's biography.
The best song on the disc is Log Jam because it is energetic, expressive and tender all at the same time. Faces Of Black comes across as honest and organic right now. One hopes they never become the typical music industry jerks for as things stand there is something inherently cool about these guys. Visit the website, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or write to 545 Judah Street, Victoria V8Z 2J8. - Ali "The Metallian"
MILES BEYOND - same
Miles Beyond might be based in the god forsaken town of Flint in Michigan, USA, but its heart (as indicated in its name) really lies far away in London, England. The band is clearly sold on the Iron Maiden school of heavy metal with song after song showing some influence from the British heroes. The band's biography may also list influences such as Metallica, Judas Priest and Thin Lizzy, but it is Maiden which drives the band's sound. There really is nothing wrong with the band's inspiration, for Iron Maiden is clearly one of the better bands anywhere. Then again, this level of influence might be too much.
Listening to the 12 songs on the disc one easily detects a medley of riff, rhythm and melodies from albums like Piece Of Mind, Iron Maiden and even Fear Of The Dark. More specific to the band, the mid-paced and faster segments really gel, while the slower ones seem to plod. The band needs to abandon the slower segments in favour of a little more gallop. With twelve tracks on the disc these boys are really delivering value for money; alas the lengthy repertoire (for a demo anyway) is somewhat damaging to the quality of the demo. Check this band out and catch the not so subtle riff from Metallica's Seek And Destroy embedded on the disc. Also listen for the historical and epic lyrics which are probably, once again, as a result of influence from Iron Maiden. The band can be reached at email@example.com or by visiting www.milesbeyond.net. - Ali "The Metallian"
OF INFINITY - THE ESSENCE OF INFINITY
That the San Antonio, Texas band has an affinity to the word and concept 'infinity' is not in doubt. The band's name, the demo's title, the song It's Only For Forever and the presence of the symbol for infinity on the CD's jacket make that clear. Whether the band's music has an everlasting character is another story.
In my opinion, the trio (the jacket's photography) or the quartet (the band's biography) has a wonderful goth/Classical demo here. Singer/pianist Alessandra Zinicola has a wonderful voice which is obviously trained, lucid and emotional. Her phrasing is nearly impeccable, as are her lyrics if my reading of them is correct. Although such idealism are probably a waste in the sands of the most regressive state of the most regressive country in the world, United States Of America. The guitars too harmonize well with the rest of the band and back the instrumentation non-obtrusively.
The only snag is the band and the press' insistence on categorizing the act as a metal one. This is as metal as Budweiser is the king of beers. Seriously, The Essence Of Infinity is suggested only for fans of image-oriented goth/opera music, that has a great vocalist and a professional production. Either write to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.ofinfinity.com. - Ali "The Metallian"
ETERNAL DEMENTIA - THE VIRGIN, SEDATED AND SEDUCED
Andreas, Stig, Tor Erik and Robert are a cold-hearted four-piece from a frozen land where the wind sings harsh symphonies of madness. Picking up pieces from early Cradle Of Filth and Dimmu Borgir, as well as a sense of riffing and dynamism from Dissection the psychotic four bash out three songs, The Virgin, Sedated And Seduced, Prelude: The Birth and Set Out To Die (great title) which were it not for the synth would have been excellent. I guess the guys are showing their age, but putting the silly keyboards aside the mad rhythms and the horrific screams are damn effective. Put poison to paper and write email@example.com or head to www.eternal-dementia.tk to see more. - Anna Tergel
KAMINARI - FARADAY'S DAYDREAM
When lord of the Metallian Towers, the Metallian himself, handed me the new disc by Germany's Kaminari (Japanese for thunder and storm) the band's region and promotional photograph whispered the name Primal Fear into my ears. The genre might be the same, but the sounds are in fact different. The ten songs on the band's completely professional and all-out demo bear allusion to Saxon, Iron Maiden and Sinner. Some songs works, while some do not. In general, the band needs more fast parts because those are the group's more interesting instants. The sound - as mentioned the band must have sunk a lot of money into this - is flawless. All the same, the band or the producer has decided to let the voice of Roland Seidel lead the charge. Contact the boys at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the band at www.kaminari-music.de. - Sheila Wes Det
SKUMRING - DEMO 2004
Information on the band is scarce as a bio did not arrive with the demo. Regardless, and despite myself, this is an agreeable band. What started to turn me off was the appearance of female vocals. "Oh no more goth masquerading as metal," were my immediate thoughts. Then the music kicked in and it was forlorn. It was wretched. It was sad and it was doom. Then the vocals fit perfectly. In the end, Skumring (ha?) turned out to be a fantastic listening choice for fans of doom and while the band might not be as destructive as Esoteric for instance, it will appeal to that band's fans as well as lovers of Disembowelment and Winter. The three songs, Søvn, De Glemte Tider and Forførelse I Natten, span some 43 minutes. That might help you imagine the band's music better. It is good stuff. Write to email@example.com or visit www.skumring.no for more information. - Ali "The Metallian"
PHOENIX REIGN - SAME
New York-based metal band Phoenix Reign lash harmonies verging on 90's metal to a newly updated sound of standard rock music. Straight edged rock with some fancy guitar work and rhythms creates the foundation of the band's music. Founding members Billy Chrissochos (guitar) and Chris Pollatos (bass) have a visional groove as to where the band is going to be, but the band's latest release might not prove that. Song Shredder is the band's power shining guitar works displaying creativity in that area. One More Rendezvous is another story of a lover relationship gone badly and wanting the love to be back where it used to be. Please, there is more to life than relationships! Other than that the song is way to whiny for metal standards. Major downfall aside from the lack in recording is vocalist Theresa Gaffney. If she added some vocal power the musical demands of the band might be met. If interested check out the website at www.phoenixreign.com. - Jussi
PSYCHOTRON - OPEN THE GATE
Psychotron's professional demo CD runs for 56 minutes and has both long and average length tracks. The band's music is certainly not conventional which becomes apparent right after an intro, simply called Intro, which is reminiscent of Rush's 2112. The music is often offbeat and the vocals are usually doubled-up, layered and theatric. Aside from the German spoken interlude, the music can be innovative with parts which work and parts which are plain stuffy. The heavier moments are usually supplied courtesy of chugging rhythm inclusive of pronounced bass guitar. This balances the sporadic complex arrangement and unique chord progression. The song Beauty Of Sadness is probably my favourite, but the band has an array of material that can be of interest should they gel better. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. - Ali "The Metallian"
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