Metallian Heavy

ARMAGEDON, the Polish death metal band, will release its new album, Death Then Nothing, on May 17th through Mystic Production. The album was recorded at Studio X.

After many line-up changes and delayed plans ACHERON has thrown in the towel. ACHERON will perform the Rites Of The Black Mass shows for the rest of the year however.

ARCH ENEMY has been confirmed for the Magic Circle Festival IV @ Metalcamp. Other confirmed acts include MANOWAR, HOLYHELL and CROSSWIND. Magic Circle Festival IV @ Metalcamp takes place this summer in Tolmin, Slovenia on July 11th.

DECREPIT BIRTH has completed work on its new album Polarity to be released on July 27th. Drums were recorded at Sharkbite Studios (EXODUS) with producer Zack Ohren (ALL SHALL PERISH, SUFFOCATION and IMMOLATION) while all other tracking was handled by Matt Sotelo before being mixed by Ohren at Castle Ultimate Studio.

ORDER OF ENNEAD has picked up guitarist Shannon Hamm (DEATH and CONTROL DENIED) for live duties this coming year.

Singer Bruce Hall has been asked to leave AGENT STEEL. The former singer complains of having to walk in the shoes of original singer John Cyriis from the ‘80s.

SAWTHIS (called SOTHIS until recently forced to change names because of the American band with the same name) has signed with Scarlet Records. The band’s new album, Egod, is out now. It was recorded at Petemkin Studio with producer Paolo Ojetti. The group is touring with VADER, a band which had a release called SOTHIS.

KATAKLYSM will play at this year’s version of OzzFest. The second stage also features GOATWHORE, SKELETONWITCH and DROWNING POOL. OZZY OSBOURNE and MOTLEY CRUE headline the main event.

Gore metal band NECROPHAGIA has completed the songwriting for its new album, Deathtrip 69. The band will mark its return on June 26th by headlining the FireWalk Fest in Milwaukee.

DARK TRANQUILLITY will undertake a tour of Mexico and South America in June. The trek begins on June 3rd in Mexico City. THREAT SIGNAL and MUTINY WITHIN will support the band in North America in May.

BLINDED BY FAITH, from Quebec City, Canada, has announced the addition of bassist Michaël Beaudoin.

Swedish band CRUCIFYRE, which features former members of CREMATORY, MORBID and AFFLICTED, has signed a deal with Pulverised Records. The band’s full-length debut is due in late 2010.

Another CONSTRUCDEAD member has left. CONSTRUCDEAD has parted ways with founding guitarist Christian Ericson.

Xaphan of KULT OV AZAZEL will record guest vocals for the song Oath Of Blasphemy on an EP by Pennsylvanian death metal band NELDÖRETH called Invert Christ.

LAMB OF GOD played its first show in China on Sunday, April 11th at Star Live in Beijing. A planned Shanghai show was never licensed.

Israel’s AMASEFFER has picked When The Lions Leave Their Den as the title for the second part of its Biblical trilogy. The band will enter the studio in June with THERION singer Mats Levén in tow.

MALEVOLENT CREATION’s Invidious Dominion is out on August 27th through Massacre Records. The album is released by Nuclear Blast in America. The band is touring the USA in July.

Apocrypha Records is announcing the UK and Ireland release of USA-based thrash metal band BLASPHEMOUS CREATION’s Diabolical Kingdom. It features a cover version of the song Of Fire originally by DISMEMBER.

Spain’s AS MY WORLD BURNS has a new album called Letters From Alaska through Noisehead Records out in September.

HEAVEN SHALL BURN will release a new album, Invictus, through Century Media Records this month (June for Canada). Tue Madsen engineered the record. DEADLOCK´s female vocalist Sabine Weniger and guitar player Sebastian Reichl are featured on the duet Given In Death.

EXODUS will play two album release shows with HEATHEN in Los Angeles and San Francisco before the band flies to Europe to tour the festival circuit. The shows are on Friday, June 11th in Los Angeles at Key Club with HEATHEN, BONDED BY BLOOD plus two local openers and on Saturday, June 12th in San Francisco at Slim’s with HEATHEN, ANVIL CHORUS and PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE.

KILLEM is back with Reflections Of Decline, the band’s second album and first with Austrian label NoiseHead Records. It was recorded at Ultrasound Studio.

Hungarian thrash metal band MORBID CARNAGE recently completed the recording of its debut full-length, Night Assassins, which will be released through Singapore-based Pulverised Records later this year. Night Assassins features seven tracks.

US sludge band KYLESA has signed with Season Of Mist. The band is in the studio.

EMBRYONIC DEVOURMENT and I, YOUR LIEGE have signed on with Salem Rose Music Publishing for publishing rights.

Switzerland’s BREACH THE VOID (previously known as ETNA) has a debut album called The Monochromatic Era, which will be released by Coroner Records on 11th of October 2010.

EVOCATION has picked Apocalyptic as the title for its third album, which is due in October through Cyclone Empire Records.

AMON AMARTH bassist Ted Lundström will miss the first three shows of the band’s North American tour this month. Steve Drennan of ENGEL will take his place.

DESPISED ICON has thrown in the towel in order to focus on the members’ careers and home lives. The band will tour for the rest of the year however.

Atlanta’s “party death metal” band ATTILA released its Artery Recordings/Razor & Tie debut, Rage, on May 11th. The band, made up of Fronz (vocals), Nate (guitar), Chris (guitar), Sean (drums) and Paul (bass) is the fourth addition to the Artery/Razor & Tie joint venture.

Panoptic Records has announced the signing of Montreal’s thrash/death metal band ABSOLVE for its first EP. Produced by Kim Gosselin (BLACKGUARD) at Silver Wings Studio, Sadistic Crown is out this summer.

Drummer Håkan Jonsson has left Sweden’s DIE HARD in order to focus on his family life, but will continue in WATAIN. His temporary replacement for upcoming shows is an E. Forcas. Simultaneously, DIE HARD has signed a new deal with Agonia Records for two EPs and a full-length album.

MOUTH OF THE ARCHITECT has a new EP entitled The Violence Beneath.

RATO RARO, one of Spain’s veteran grindcore bands since ’92, has come to an agreement with Xtreem Music for the release of the band’s second full-length album, AcideTHC.

Panoptic Records has signed Montreal’s “melodic death metal” band INCARNIA. The band’s album is called Proclamation. A release date has not been announced.

Wisconsin’s ORWELL is preparing for several months of touring this summer in support of its full-length demo Endeavors, which is out now on its own Zero Budget Records. The band’s website is at http://www.zerobudgetrecords.com.

Pulverised Records has announced the signing of ’90s avant-garde metal band CRYPT OF KERBEROS. The band’s follow-up to 1993’s World Of Myths album is tentatively due before the end of the year.

EYEHATEGOD has announced a tour beginning in June, following an appearance at this year’s edition of the Maryland Deathfest. The 18-date trek begins at Blackbooth in Orlando, Florida on June 3rd and will travel through 16 more cities before coming to a close in Chicago, Illinois at the Empty Bottle where they play two nights. To prove its elitism and pocket more cash EYEHATEGOD and the promoters will offer “VIP packages” for shows in South Carolina, Kentucky and Maryland. NACHTMYSTIUM is supporting.

FACEBREAKER has signed with Cyclone Empire Records. The band’s third album, Infected, is due this summer.

Germany’s LIFELESS will issue an album called Beyond The Threshold Of Death through Ibex Moon Records on June 8th. The same label will issue CARDIAC ARREST’s Haven For The Insane.

SEVERE TORTURE‘s Slaughtered album will be released on June 28th through Season Of Mist.

FATAL EMBRACE will release a new album, The Empires Of Inhumanity, on June 7th through Metal Blade Records. The album was recorded at Music Lab Studio in Berlin with producer Mathias Wendt.

Mumbai, India’s DEMONIC RESURRECTION has signed a deal with Candlelight Records for the worldwide release of its third album, The Return To Darkness. It was initially a demo.

Inspired by KEEL? Sweden’s WITCHERY will release a new album, Witchkrieg, in July through Century Media Records. The album will feature the voice of new vocalist, Legion of MARDUK fame.

Belgium’s FRACTURED INSANITY has signed a deal with Xtreem Music for the release of its upcoming second album, which was recorded in Poland at Hertz Studio. Mass Awakeless will feature the band’s new singer, Fafa.

State secret! Guitarist ZYKLON-A has decided to leave GRAVEHILL due to “personal reasons.” The band is looking for a replacement and is warning away posers, wimps and rock(cock)stars.

Australia’s FROZEN DOBERMAN return for one more show in Sydney at The Annandale Hotel on Saturday June 5th.

GRAVE has completed its newest album, Burial Ground, which is out on June 14th through Regain Records.

Los Angeles black metallers THE FUNERAL PYRE will release the Vultures At Dawn album on June 8th 2010 on Prosthetic Records.

BALFOR has lost guitarist Agnarr. He had to quit the band because of a recent injury that hindered the guitarist from performing. Dragon-T, formerly of thrash metal band HELL:ON, has replaced Agnarr.

BURDEN OF GRIEF has completed work on its new album, Follow The Flames, which will be released in August through Massacre Records. The band’s last album was 2007’s Death End Road.

San Diego deathcore band BURNING THE MASSES will release its second album, Offspring Of Time, on July 20th through Mediaskare Records.

PRIMORDIAL’s Alan Nemtheanga, former MAYHEMster Blasphemer, BENEDICTION and CRADLE OF FILTH drummer Nick Barker, EINHERJER’s Frode Glesnes and THYRFING’s Patrik Lindgren have formed a BATHORY cover band called TWILIGHT OF THE GODS. The band is looking for shows.

GLORIA MORTI has signed a deal with Cyclone Empire Records and will issue its third album, Anthems Of Annihilation, some time this autumn.

Alberto Campuzano of Toronto band WARMACHINE has joined ANNIHILATOR as a touring bassist. He will remain in his main band.

PATHOLOGY will release a new album, Legacy Of The Ancients, on July 6th through Victory Records. The album was recorded by Jeff Forest (AS I LAY DYING and BLEEDING THROUGH) at Doubletime Studio and was mixed and mastered by Erik Rutan (CANNIBAL CORPSE, etc) at Mana Recording Studio in St. Petersburg, Florida. The band features second guitarist Diego Sanchez (ex-DISGORGE) and bassist Oscar Ramirez (TO VIOLENTLY VOMIT).

FUCK THE FACTS will release a DVD called Disgorge Mexico: The DVD this month. It features the entire set from the Disgorge Mexico CD-release show. It is limited to 500 copies.


Metallian Hard

Swedish doom metal band CANDLEMASS will release a new DVD, Ashes To Ashes - Live, on June 29th through Nuclear Blast Records. The video will contain footage of the band's performance at 2009's Sweden Rock Festival in front of 30,000 people as well as an October of 2009 concert in Athens, Greece and other extras. The band had to cancel its April 17th Roadburn festival appearance due to the Icelandic ash cover. CANDLEMASS also cancelled its appearance at this year's Keep It True XIII festival on April 23-24th because members needed to be back at work and on the job on Monday.

BE’LAKOR has been selected to play at Germany's massive Summer Breeze Festival in August of this year. The Australian band is looking to schedule additional European dates as well.

AC/DC: Iron Man 2 the collection of the band’s material used on the film has landed at position #1 on several charts including Germany.

Salem Rose Music Presents has teamed up with Vegas Star Bookings to bring a music festival to Las Vegas. Doom In June Fest, which will be held Saturday June 5th at The Cheyenne Saloon (3103 N. Rancho Blvd., Las Vegas, NV 89130), is intended to be an annual event every June that will kick off the summer with some of the best names in doom and stoner rock music. Fifteen bands will be coming to Las Vegas to perform including FIREBALL MINISTRY, BLACK COBRA, SLOUGH FEG, THE GATES OF SLUMBER, RADIO MOSCOW and SASQUATCH. For details visit http://www.myspace.com/doominjune.

DEEP PURPLE/former BLACK SABBATH singer Ian Gillan and BLACK SABBATH/HEAVEN & HELL guitarist player Tony Iommi have initiated a project band named WHO CARES for raising funds for reestablishment of music schools in Armenia. In 1989, within the framework of Rock Aid Armenia, the British rock stars recorded DEEP PURPLE's classic Smoke On The Water and also released a disc called Rock Aid Armenia.

The Netherlands' occult rock outfit THE DEVIL'S BLOOD will be returning to North American soil in September, as part of the Noctis IV: Thrones Of War Metalfest And Conference, at the MacEwan Hall Ballroom in Calgary, Canada. THE DEVIL'S BLOOD will showcase on Saturday, September 25th. Other bands confirmed for the fest include ROOT, INCANTATION, EX DEO and MIDNIGHT with many more still being confirmed.

Y&T, featuring Dave Meniketti and Phil Kennemore, will release its first studio album in 13 years on May 21st through Frontiers Records. The band, and openers ICARUS WITCH, are touring the US of A this summer.

ILLNATH has had even more changes within its ranks. New are keyboardist Danny (HEIDRA) and drummer Huhle (ex-VICTIMIZER, DEADLY SINS and BLACKHORNED).

Inspired by KEEL? WILD DOGS has reformed. The band is booked at the King Kat Theatre in Seattle, Washington on July 24th.

Inspired by KEEL? HELLHOUND has recruited SICK CELL/D-TRAIN lead singer and guitarist Joe Liszt as a replacement for departed vocalist Mike Walish. The band just played at Keep It True XIV festival. The band’s drummer Wayne De Vecchi has replaced IMAGIKA drummer Henry Moreno.

PRETTY MAIDS has lost bassist Kenn Jackson after 19 years in the band. No replacement has been announced. The man first joined the band for the SIN DECADE album of 1992.

LANFEAR members Markus "Ulle" Ullrich (guitar), Alex Palma (bass) and Richard "Richie" Seibel (keyboards) have formed an instrumental project called A COSMIC TRAIL. The band's demo, The Outer Planes, is available at http://www.acosmictrail.com.

BLOODBOUND has parted ways with vocalist Urban Breed due to "musical and personal differences." He has been replaced him with a Patrik "Pata" Johansson.

In American white metal news, founding bassist Mike Giordano and lead guitarist Anthony Wayne McGinn have recently exited CAGE, with Mike departing due to medical reasons and Anthony for family reasons. Replacing Mike is bassist Steve Brogden who is the lead guitarist/vocalist for the thrash metal band HOWLER. Replacing Anthony is lead guitarist Garrett Peters of the death metal band CLIMHAZZARD and punk metal band SAYAKA.

Elitist VIP packages so unmetal! ICED EARTH has announced four North American dates for the autumn of 2010. Meant as an ‘Escape From The Studio’, these dates will also get people the chance to see Jon Schaffer's new political project SONS OF LIBERTY on stage for its first live performances. Richer fans can pay for so-called VIP packages.

CIRRHA NIVA drummer Tommy White has been forced to leave the band due to health problems. Temporary drummer Eelco Van Der Meer, who has played many of the recent gigs, will help out for the time being. Candidates may contact the band at cirrhaniva [at] home.nl.

The Cynic (UK) track, No Time at All, from the B Side of the 1983 Suicide Single vinyl release, has been selected to be part of a 12-track promotional CD (which also features TYGERS OF PAN TANG, WITCHFYNDE and RAVEN amongst others) has been issued with the Slam Media GMBH magazine special, The Roots To Metallica. The band claims a similarity between the Suicide Single and METALLICA’s Master of Puppets.

Guitarist Martin Haglund has left Swedish metallers ASTRAL DOORS to focus on his family. A replacement is not sought.

Phlegethon, the fifth album from the Italian progressive metal band KINGCROW, will be released on May 17th through Scarlet Records. The album was mastered at 20Hz20Khz in Naples by Davide Barbarulo.

With daddy’s support Scottie LePage, the 17-year-old son of HADES guitarist Scott LePage, has formed a metal band called PALISADES. The group is based in Dallas. HADES itself reunited last year. HADES Bassist Jimmy Schulman, however, was recently taken ill and hospitalized. He was promptly replaced by NON-FICTION bassist Kevin Bolembach.

Rob Halford has confirmed that his solo band HALFORD will perform on July 24th, 2010 at Montreal, Canada's second Annual Heavy MTL Festival. More information can be found at www.heavymtl.com.

SG Records will release the second solo album by IVAN MIHALJEVIC, guitarist from the Croatian band HARD TIME. Destination Unknown was recorded in Croatia and alternately features sung and instrumental pieces.

Season Of Mist has signed the first South American band of the label's history, Chile's MAR DE GRISES. The band's third full-length album should be released later this year.

NARNIA has thrown in the towel. The band will soon perform a farewell gig.

Due to professional differences ICARUS WITCH has parted ways with vocalist Matthew Bizilia and replaced him with Christopher Shaner. The group recently acted as singer PAUL DI’ANNO’s backing band.

Jordanian oriental ‘metal’ band BILOCATE has signed with Italy’s Kolony Records. The first step of the co-operation will be to re-issue the band’s second album, Sudden Death Syndrome, which was originally released on Daxar Music in 2008. The reissue is planned for mid-July and will be available from the band while touring Europe in July. BILOCATE has already been confirmed for appearances in Slovenian Metalcamp, Hungarian RockMaraton and Austrian Hell Over Vellach festivals.

BLACK MAJESTY will release its newest album, In Your Honour, on May 14th through Limb Music. The album was produced by Roland Grapow at his Grapow Studios in Slovakia.

OZZY OSBOURNE will release a new album called Scream on June 15th through Epic Records. Ozzy’s tenth album is produced by Kevin Churko. The band will headline Ozzfest.

L.A. GUNS’ Shrinking Violet is the debut signing of Steve Vai’s Favored Nation’s new hard rock division. This Shrinking Violet deluxe reissue also includes live, never before heard bonus tracks, featuring completely repackaged new artwork.

TYPE O NEGATIVE and CARNIVORE singer Peter Steele died of apparent heart failure on Wednesday, April 14th at 18:00.

TSM has signed Swedish melodic hard rock band GRIFFEN for the release of its CD, Life - A Way To Die.

Inspired by KEEL? The reunited Greek band NIGHTFALL — featuring singer Efthimis Karadimas, guitarist Evan Hensley, bassist Jörg Uken and drummer Stathis Kassios — has signed a deal with Metal Blade Records. The band's new album, Astron Black And The Thirty Tyrants, will be released later in the year.

ACCEPT has signed with Nuclear Blast Records. Recorded at Backstage Studio in England with producer Andy Sneap, ACCEPT’s reformation studio album, Blood Of Nations, is the debut of new vocalist Mark Tornillo formerly of New York’s TT QUICK. The album is due in September.

After suffering a brain hemorrhage (subarachnoid hemorrhage) and being in critical condition POISON singer and solo artist and TV actor Bret Michaels has improved. He recently had an appendicitis surgery as well. He is 47.

Peter Orullian, HEIR APPARENT’s singer during its 2006 reunion tour in Europe, will sang for FIFTH ANGEL at the Keep it True XIII festival in Lauda-Königshofen, Germany on April 24th. Orullian replaced Tim Branom who was not able to attend or sing due to throat issues.

FIREBIRD, featuring CARCASS guitarist Bill Steer, will release its new album, tentatively entitled Double Diamond, in July through Trooper Entertainment of Japan. The album features ten songs recorded at Graveland Studio in The Netherlands in January.

Nightmare Records has signed Florida-based female-fronted SEVEN KINGDOMS. The power metal band’s self-titled album is due in June.

THE GREEN EVENING REQUIEM has finished its second full-length album, Decomposer. The new album will be released this month by Anthropic Records. Recorded at Audiolux Studios in Philadelphia, Decomposer consists of seven tracks.

SHADE EMPIRE has left Dynamic Arts Records. The band is writing songs for its next album.

CIRCUS OF POWER singer Alex Mitchell and Billy Tsounis of FAT NANCY have a new project called CAPTAIN ZAPPED. The band’s sound is described as space pop. Hear for yourself at http://myspace.com/plasticgatormachine.

Original EXXPLORER guitarist Kevin Kennedy has replaced Ed LaVolpe in the New Jersey band. The band is still writing songs and hopes to record an album this year.

SYMPHORCE Guitarist Cédric "Cede" Dupont will independently release an instrumental solo album, called Melodrama, on June 21st.

Actor CHRISTOPHER LEE (Star Wars, Lord Of The Rings, etc.) has released his symphonic metal album Charlemagne: By The Sword And The Cross in the USA and Canada on the 20th April, 2010. The production of the full-staged musical and worldwide touring will follow. Sir Christopher will be involved in the theatrical direction and will also be lending his voice to the character of the ghost of Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor. According to the “Heraldic College” in Rome, Christopher Lee is a direct descendant of Charlemagne.

Phil Sadler, Charlie Bagarozza, and Steve Blaze have launched a new label called Love & War Records. with links to LILLIAN AXE (Blaze is the lead guitarist/founding member of the band, while Sadler promoted the group’s shows in the Midwest area), the label’s first-ever release will be the group’s tenth album overall, Deep Red Shadows. The album - produced by Blaze and mastered by Ty Tabor of KING’S X - will be released on July 20th, 2010. The label is seeking band solicitations and has a website at www.lovenadwarrecordsllc.com.

SNEW’s We Do What We Want CD is now out.

VIP tickets to metal shows is unmetal, anti-fan and greedy, but very capitalist.


Metallian Demos

TODIO – SIXTEEN
Wow, this here girl clued in to the presence of a female singer only after reading the band’s biography, checking out the line-up and after at least four listens to the Sixteen CD. The man (that I had thought) was a woman singer. Well… she is darn good!
Unfortunately, my disc keeps cutting off in the middle of track six, for whatever reason, but what comes through of this full-length presents a compelling multi-faceted band whose strengths and weaknesses are really that aspect. The group has keyboards, but could be considered hard rock and a proficient one at that. According to the band it has been making the rounds for 18 years. No wonder, the sound is so tight. Slightly strange that no one knows this band though. Perhaps the band’s shorthair image is to blame, but singer Barbara may alleviate that.
The sound is quite respectable and so is the musicianship. From my disc the band does cover an array of harder sounds though. It is all performed well, but the well-done diversity shows a slight lack of focus. Still, opener Wild Road is a strong mix of Dream Theater influences. Wet Day tilts towards Scorpions with Barbara doing something Klaus Meine might have tried. Sixteen, the title track, tilts towards Living Color. It is funky, commercial and comprehensible. Then comes Rules and it is a hell of a Cult wanna-be. Just hear the strumming. Before my disc disobeys my audio system Prayer is a beautiful ballad that once again is an indication of what this band can do. Very interesting.
Hop over to www.todio.com or connect with the band through max@todio.com. - Sheila Wes Det

DOFKA – HUMANITY BLEAK
This was the definition of power metal before some European wimps hauled out the keyboards from the closet, cut off their manhood, lobotomized their brains, got on the cover of something called Metal Hammer and still, somehow, got to take over the description!
Dofka is the genuine article though. No keyboards, no female crooning opera, no lipstick, no girlfriends cooking on the tour bus (and later doing female backing vocals/cello/violin/triangle) and a real heavy sound. The band’s music is a tribute to the US metal sound, albeit with melodic vocals and could be described as being related to Icarus Witch. The analogy is an easy and obvious one since the bands hail from the same area and Jim Dofka has worked with his state-mates, but the music obviously also bears it. Like IW, Dofka keeps its metal under restraint and barely moves up the speed dial. Both opener Tragedy Remains and Evocation keep a firm grip on the tempo, while delivering a solid offering. The former has atypical backing vocals, while the latter tune, with its morbid lyrics, carries some evil growls. The song though starts with a riff Ratt would have loved to make its own circa 1984. Pure glam. The rhythm section, though, soon establishes itself as the group’s heavier half with drummer Mike Barnett executing some mean fills. This man knows the value of doing something different, not to mention heavy bass drums. Unfortunately, the production ruins his tom sound. The Bitter End is up next and rips more than the preceding songs. The drumming is fabulous. The songs are well above average and a definite insider’s tip for heavy metal fans. Beginning song six, Second God, the level is slightly lower however, but nothing of which the band should be ashamed. Jim Dofka, by the way, is an underrated guitar man. His dexterity and chops display a penchant for sounding like a cross between Andy La Rocque and Alex Skolnick and that is no joke.
Like the sticker in Iron Maiden font says, this is ‘true metal.’ And Andrew DCagna might channel Rob Lowe once in a while, but this isn’t epic doom metal. More like epic metal metal.
Yes, a demo, but the round thing and its wrapper probably has better packaging and sound than most established releases. Hopefully, the band will now focus on itself, stop wasting time, cease playing cover versions and get some credit. Just a little more speed next time please. – Ali “The Metallian”

BATTLESOUL – Same
“Celtic fucking thrash” is perhaps one description, at least this quartet thinks so. This self-titled five-song EP is basically an attempt to be heavy but somehow have Celtic and folk segments just for the sake of it. The question, as always, remains if these two approaches belong to the same band, same album or same song. The only defense available out there seems to be one of ‘keeping an open mind’ and ‘we do what we like’. If the aforementioned is taken out Battlesoul are a good heavy band and the song titles, which are very much none folk-like, are not bad either. Songs called like Battlesoul, Dance Of Vengeance, Discipline In Blasphemy, The God I Defy and Divinity Defiled have the band with even further explaining to do as to why samples, why folk and even why Celtic? Check out the band at www.myspace.com/battlesoulmetal. - Anna Tergel

LEO BIOLLO – FROM THE DEPTHS OF HELL TO THE GATES OF HEAVEN
This Mr. Biollo here is apparently a Canadian and exercises his thrashing metal muscle where the Wolverine is, that is Northern Alberta. Now, he looks good with his long hair and strikes a fine pose, but what is his music all about? That is a mixed bag with a tilt to the positive. The music is thrash metal the likes of which Jeff Waters and Annihilator are known for. Nothing wrong with that. The man shreds with substance and heaviness and, for a solo project, does a fine job of keeping the attention of whoever is spinning his disc. The problem is right there though as well. Biollo plays all the instruments and at some point the songs become nearly one. A shorter disc and more variety would have helped, although the same length CD with an actual band would have been even better. The man should not be sitting in the tundra. He should be amalgamating his forces with a talented team of players. That way, he could have avoided the trap of using the drum compute with its tedious implications. Again, not all is bad, and far from it, because songs like Demonic Abduction and The Gates Of Heaven punish with thrashing metal; it is a fact however that some potential is lost when one man handles all the instruments and vocals. Bottom-line, this is an impressive full-length and if one hears the 11-minute long The Gates Of Heaven with its Slayer-ish start, acoustic middle and riffing ending the man’s capacity becomes easy to hear. For more information visit www.leobiollomusic.com or e-mail publicity@justrockpr.com. - Sheila Wes Det

THE LAST ACT - STILL STANDING
Perhaps people should buy this disc just for the skeletal fighter on the cover. He is spewing bullets out of his machineguitargun. It looks berserk. Too bad the music is not quite as action-packed. The Last Act - presumably because its mascot terminated everybody else - is not a bad band, but the cover gives one a... heavier, thrashier impression than the band’s actual delivery. The music is a little bit of Corrosion Of Conformity musically, some early Iron Maiden guitarring, a few NWOBHM rhythms and a singer whose vocals are a little but smoky, a little but grungy and definitely unhappy. It is a tight band that has its act together, but the Canucks would do themselves a favour by letting it rip a little. The guitarist has it in him. He just needs to let loose and let the music rip. The band has new music out soon as of April of 2010 so head out to www.thelastact.com. - Ali “The Metallian”

HEDDA – THE CALM BEFORE...
Hedda is a corny play on the phrase ‘ahead of’ and the name of a new hard rock and heavy metal band from Milwaukee down in the US. The band is new, but the group is made of veterans of several more progressive bands like Dimension X. The artwork of the disc takes one back to Diamond Head’s Borrowed Time. This stands for both the colour scheme and theme.
Interestingly, the four tracks on offer are straightforward and have little complexity aside from a modicum of backing and harmonized vocals. The pace is medium and the heaviness moderate with the four-piece focusing on a controlled version of what could be described as a mixture of Crimson Glory, Firewind, Manowar, Queensrÿche and Eden. The keyboards are banished mostly lest real metal fans fret and the group is rather competent in all regards. Guitarist Kent Herman, in particular, can throw in a ripping lead should he want to, although he often does not. The bass is present and serious, as is the drumming of Jef Jaeger. His snare could be a little louder though. The vocals are adequate and fine, although much backing vocals are added. Whether others contribute those or the man himself is not clear to this writer.
It is just too bad that the band believes fervently in good and evil. This corrupt way of thinking is the basis for the mind control exercised by religion and the powerful on the masses. In fact, the perpetuation of this myth makes the American concentration of wealth in the hands of a few possible. Make the people believe in evil and they will remain ignorant to be abused as they fight amongst themselves. Classic divide and conquer. The real divide is between the powerful who want to control and the have-nots that must be kept in line. For this to happen, the masses need to see evil and be scared at all times.
A general feeling of dedication and conviction offsets a few pompous moments. That is stating the obvious. For who would engage in playing this style of music in a world overrun by synthetic and jaded pop fluff that insults and abhors music? Jamie Mac can be reached at 6751 S. 19th Street, Milwaukee, WI 53221 USA. The band’s website is at www.heddatheband.com. - Ali “The Metallian”

SIPHER – ONE REMORSE
Judging by the band’s discography this Finnish group has been around a few years. The band has apparenty also changed its style for its biography alludes to the current style fitting it best. The style is referred to as ‘symphonic metal.’ The description is probably not apt for there is little going on here that is symphonic. Yes, the band sadly has keyboards and uses a drum machine, but is that enough? Of course, not. A better name for this music is ‘gothic metal.’ Time and time again the twelve tarcks referenced Germany’s Crematory in my mind. The vocals do change, although not by much always taking on the tack of a croaking snarler. The music is best served as speedier and faster something the band does on tracks like Cause And Effect, Revenge and late on the disc on Sever Forever. The appeal of the songs picks up when the band drives harder and at one point the group approaches the sound of the extreme end of the metal genre. Unfortunately, however, for the majority of the time the band is a middle-of-the-road Finnish keyboard rock band whose vocals are noting to write home about. For variety’s sake, the last track on this extra-long demo is called Kalman Silmä and is sung in Finnish. The band’s web presence is on the corporate websites of www.myspace.com/sipherweb, while it can be reached at sipherweb@lycos.com. - Ali “The Metallian”

NAPHOBIA – OF HELL
Florida’s Naphobia has recently been getting quite a bit of underground attention courtesy of its successful promotional campaign and Internet activity. And so I was glad to see this CD, with its interesting cover art, in my mail. The band deem and label themselves ‘Cybergrind’ and along with the Internet presence and song titles like America AD and Technical Fool I expected something bordering on futuristic to pop out of my speakers. It was, therefore, a surprise to note, after a couple of listens, that the Florida quintet is more reminiscent of ‘80s bands like Infernal Majesty in the way they mix their basically thrashy foundation with harsher death metal overtones.
The sound, unfortunately – rendered by long time metal man Keith Collins – is not as sharp as it should be. However, the resources of an unsigned band being what they are, one does not have much room for complaint. The solos shine though and for metal guitar fans into solo trade-offs Naphobia is a good bet. In fact, I wish there were more of those solos. All in all, even if not the last name in American metal, I commend the band for its energy and effort. Club Fear, PO box 677001, Orlando, FL. 32867 USA. – Ali “The Metallian”