Friday, September 19, 2014

Crucified Barbara - In The Red (2014)

It is always nice to see women in this male dominated world known as metal, and it is even nicer to see a full band of them. Crucified Barbara is a Swedish hard rock band consisting of 4 women known as Mia Coldheart, Klara Force, Ida Evileye and Nicki Wicked. With names like that, you can be sure that this all female band will create some head banging rock that is both heavy and catchy.

And sure enough, "In The Red" is a perfect continuation on what the band did on the 2012 release "The Midnight Chase". It is good solid hard rock with a little sleaze rock vibe, nice riffs and a Mia Coldheart that once again shows that she has one of the toughest voices in metal. And it also feels like the band has grown on several aspects since the last album. The band chemistry is at an all time high and the song writing is both versatile and dynamic. It is a good old punch that has the same strength as a amazon woman.

Don't believe me? Just check out "I Sell My Kids For Rock'N'Roll" and you will see the band's capability. fast and edgy riffs, tough drum beats and butt loads of attitude. However, that track is not the only track in the album that contains those elements. "Don't Call On Me", "Lunatic #1" and "Follow The Stream" are all songs that show both speed and toughness that out matches most of what their male equivalents can come up with.

Then we have the slower tunes that breaks up the album perfectly so it does not feel like one big blob. My favourite of those would probably be "To Kill A Man" that is about the urge to commit murder against men who abuse women. A great track with strong lyrics. Other slightly slower tunes that you should check out are the classic rock song "Electric Sky", the melodic "The Ghost Inside" and the simplistic "Do You Want Me".

The only real problem with "In The Red" is that there is no song that really stands out as a true winner. The album is very, very solid as a unity and most of the tracks can also stand on their own two legs, but it is very unlikely that any of the songs on "In the Red" will top the charts as one of the best songs of 2014. I also think that the production could have been a little better, but that is a very minor issue since the band plays as well as they do.

"In The Red" is indisputably Crucified Barbara's best work so far. It is a great hard rock album that shows a great variety and awesome musicality. There is no doubt in my mind that Crucified Barbara is the current leaders of the women rock movement and they carry that title with pride and honor. Do not miss this album out, it is one of the better hard rock albums that has been released in 2014. Female power at its best.

Songs worthy of recognition: To Kill A Man, Electric Sky, Don't Call On Me, Lunatic #1

Rating: 8,5/10 Shadows

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Slash - World On Fire (2014)

It is pretty safe to say that Saul "Slash" Hudson has had a pretty successful career. From founding Guns N' Roses and Velvet Revolver to guest appear in a Super Bowl half-time show, the man in the top hat has made himself a name for his guitar skills and his stage presence. And since he joined forces with Alter Bridge singer Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators, Slash has done some great things on his solo albums.

"World On Fire" is album number 3 for Slash (the second one featuring Myles & The Conspirators), and to no one's surprise, "World On Fire" is a album that is filled with good clean rock where Slash and his guitar playing is on the center stage. And when I say it is filled, I really mean it. "World On Fire" consists of 17 tracks and has a total play time of 1 hour and 17 minutes. Two numbers that is way too large for most listeners, and even for yours truly. It is nice to see that Slash has a lot of inspiration and so, but that does not mean that he can cram in every single song he wrote into one album. Slash really needs to learn how to "kill his darlings" so the album doesn't suffocate under all these tracks, or he just needs to save them for a future album.

One upside with having 17 songs to chose from, is that it is not that hard to find at least 2 or 3 songs to find a liking to (if you have the stamina to listen through the entire album). Some of you will probably prefer the Soundgarden vibes in "Wicked Stone", or perhaps the technical and swinging "Beneath The Savage Sun" is closer to your musical taste. Maybe the slow, but heavy ending song "The Unholy" speaks to you, or the fast and catchy opening title track. There is a lot of different styles and types of songs to chose from in "World On Fire", so it is just up to you to search through it and find your favourites.

Then there is also the fact that it is extremely hard to make a huge album without cutting corners with some fillers. The low point of this album is still fairly high, but it has its weak spots. The instrumental track "Safari Inn" does not add anything useful to the album while songs like "Bent To Fly" and "Battleground" just makes me bored. Fortunately, the fillers is a minority in "World On Fire", which makes the album much more enjoyable than what it could have been.

The big question however is if this so called bromance has already taken its toll, that it has already reached its high note. I think it is too early to tell right now, but since both "Apocalyptic Love" and "World On Fire" was such huge albums and that they had the same type of music, it is no wonder that one could be fearing that Slash will not get much more out of this cooperation. I would definitely love to see Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators in Slash's next solo album since they are very skilled in what they do and they seem to enjoy working with the main man, but I would not be surprised if Slash had found new henge men to cooperate with to the next album.

The huge play time and a loss of dynamics makes "World On Fire" inferior to its predecessor "Apocalyptic Love", but that doesn't mean that Slash, Myles and The Conspirators has made a bad album. "World On Fire" is still a good album for those who search for good hard rock with nice and unique riffs. It may not set my world on fire, but this album certainly makes me warm inside of the goodness it brings.

Songs worthy of Recognition: World On Fire, Beneath The Savage Sun, The Unholy

Rating: 7/10 Avalons

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Black Sabbath - The Eternal Idol (1987)

After all the confusion that "Seventh Star" brought, the next Black Sabbath had to be clear and straight for the band to gain back their reputation. And that is exactly what the band did in "The Eternal Idol", but they did it in a more unexpected way than I imagined.

"The Eternal Idol" is actually very much alike its predecessor "Seventh Star". The music is oozing of classic 80's rock that might work better on acts like Whitesnake and Deep Purple. However, this time the music actually feels like something Black Sabbath could do, and not something from a side project. But saying that "The Eternal Idol" is Sabbath to the core would be a lie, it does not have any of the darkness that personalized the early albums and the Iommi riffs are more in a normal fashion, although they are still interesting and nice.

A new singer named Tony Martin Harford started his Black Sabbath career in "The Eternal Idol" and he is so far the second longest running vocalist in the band (after Ozzy). His voice fits this type of music well, and he does an overall good job as the lead vocalist. Other wise, there are no new additions to the band in this album, but a couple of drop offs from their last efforts, including Ray Gillen, Geoff Nicholls and Dave Spitz (Dave is credited in the album but does not actually appear in it).

What I like most about "The Eternal Idol" is that it has more bite to it. The songs are tougher and feels more like hard rock, something "Seventh Star" never did. It kind of reminds me of the Dio era of Sabbath, only without the fantasy lyrics. But it also have some of the classic Sabbath vibe in it, especially in the ending track "Eternal Idol" where we hear some of the darkest riffs Iommi has made after the Ozzy era. A stunningly awesome piece that ends the album in a remarkable way.

There are a good amount of good picks from this album. "Lost Forever" does not only impress with its drive and heavy attitude, but also a fantastic guitar solo and a strong and epic ending where Harford shows his range. The opener "The Shining" does also have a good drive, but it also shows some sensitivity with its slower parts. A good diverse track that is also catchy. Finally, we have the more groove oriented "Hard Life To Love", a song that catches my attention thanks to its interesting song structure and infectious main riff.

However, if there is one thing I am missing from "The Eternal Idol", it is the fact that the overall song quality is just okay. No horrible song, but no real killer either. The record is filled with fine songs that does a good job in entertaining the listener, but it is highly unlikely that some one would chose any of the songs from "The Eternal Idol" as some of Black Sabbath's best works because either the band has done similar songs that are better, or the  song just does not have that attraction to it. In other words, together the songs in "The Eternal Idol" creates a good album, but they would not be strong enough to be able to stand alone.

"The Eternal Idol" is definitely one of those Black Sabbath albums that does not get the recognition it truly deserves. It does a pretty good job mixing the band's entire career, from the early days and the Dio era to the more recent outputs. It is a album that feels good, fresh, and most importantly, it feels like it belongs in the Sabbath discography. Nothing is truly eternal, but "The Eternal Idol" is a album that has a long enough life span to entertain several generations of metal fans.

Songs worthy of recognition: Eternal Idol, The Shining, Hard Life To Love

Rating: 7,5/10 Glory Rides

Monday, September 8, 2014

In Flames - Siren Charms (2014)

I honestly feel sorry for In Flames. The amount of shit they have gotten from the metal community the last decade has mostly been uncalled for. Sure, they started off as one of the leaders in the Swedish melodic death metal scene and has now developed their music into something different, but I still feel like they have done several right choices in moving their music into another dimension. I will always commend a band that is willing to move forward with their music and not rely on staying in a small range of the musical spectrum. I still think classics like "Clayman" and "The Jester Race" are the band's best work and that their newer material is not near the same quality, but they have not really created any horrible albums so far in their career (except for the horribly uneven "A Sense of Purpose").

But after hearing "Rusted Nail" and "Through Oblivion" (the two first singles from the album), I was tempted to do like many other metal heads, and call "Siren Charms" one of the worst releases this year without even hearing the entire album, but that would ultimately be stupid. After hearing the album, I still think "Siren Charms" is a big step backwards compared to the 2011 release "Sounds of A Playground Fading", but it is not a album I would consider as the worst of the worst in 2014.

However, there are several points in "Siren Charms" that bugs me out. The singer Anders Fridén sounds more like Korn singer Jonathan Davis for every album, and it is obviously not a good sign. Nothing against Jonathan, I just don't think this style of singing fits very well with the music In Flames is playing. It is especially bad since it seems like neither the harsh or clean vocals works out for him. Then the overall song quality is pretty much substandard, especially since most of the songs sounds like bad copies of any song from "SoAPF". "Rusted Nail" is a perfect example of that. It has an interesting riff and the verse is intriguing, but the chorus is so boring that I fall asleep. At the end of the day, it is the fact that "Siren Charms" contains too much electronic sounds and not enough guitars that makes me despise the album. A small hint of electronica is fine, don't over do it please.

It is hard for me to just chose a couple of bad songs to rant on, because the album is filled with them. Worst of them is probably "Through Oblivion" that feels like a bad indie track that only a hipster could love. Might be the worst song the band has ever created. Other bad moments in "Siren Charms" are the bland ballad "With Eyes Wide Open", the boring torture device "Dead Eyes" and the bad "Where The Dead Ships Dwell" copy "Monsters In The Ballroom". I also wished that the two bonus tracks "The Chase" and "Become the Sky" would at least try to lift the album, but to no avail.

Luckily, there are a couple of tracks that makes me endure this record. "Everything's Gone" impresses with its heavy riffs and aggressive attitude (it is the only song in the album that even is some what close to the "old" In Flames), while the title track does have its moments with its interesting structure and overall good vibe. We also have "When The World Explodes", that might be considered as a metal core song, but it is well made, and the opera singer Emilia Feldt does a nice job putting her touch to the song. In my opinion, "When The Worlds Explodes" is the only song in "Siren Charms" that is both innovatory and good. I also find "In Plain View" pretty satisfying.

For those of you who in the last minute hoped for the band to return to their death metal roots, there is nothing for you in "Siren Charms" that you will have any interest in. And for those of you who liked the last couple of albums that In Flames has put out, you should also enter with caution. Because even if "Siren Charms" is a logical follow up to "Sounds of A Playground Fading", it just reeks of bad decision making. Too much electronics and an overall stale production and song writing makes "Siren Charms" unpleasant. Therefore I think the name is pretty fitting. It lures you in, making you think that you will reach some sort of paradise, only to eventually stab you in the back.

Songs worthy of recognition: When The World Explodes, In Plain View, Everything's Gone

Rating: 4/10 Dead Eyes

Friday, September 5, 2014

HammerFall - (r)Evolution (2014)

After about 15 years of constant touring and song writing, Swedish heavy metal band HammerFall decided to take a break in 2012 to focus on other things, like writing a biography or act in rock musicals. Now the band is back after its two year long hiatus, and judging from the album cover, Hector has been reborn after the zombie phase known as "Infected". This was an obvious sign that HammerFall would go back to their power metal roots, a rumour that was ultimately confirmed by the band. They even confidently said that this is their best record up to date.

Now, I would not go as far as saying that "(r)Evolution" is HammerFall's best effort ever, but it definitely feels like the band has found the spark again after a couple of lack luster efforts. "(r)Evolution" is definitely a step back to the band's roots, but it still takes some elements from their later records, like the heaviness from "Infected", and also from other sources, like Rhapsody of Fire and the popular book/television series "Game of Thrones" (this is not the first time though the band has taken inspiration from it). This certainly makes "(r)Evolution" a well diverse album, but it is not enough revolutionizing to lure in any greater amount of newer fans.

As I already mentioned in the live review I did on the band's gig at Gothenburg, a big fan favourite can be found in the opening track "Hector's Hymn". Not only is this a celebration to the band's mascot, it is a epic track that takes a lot of pieces from the band's career and mentions it in the lyrics, like the templar's of steel (also known as HammerFall's fan base) and unbent, unbowed, unbroken (of course taken from the album with the same name). Speaking of taking things from earlier material, I think it is weird that the single "Bushido" ends with the opening riff from "The Way of The Warrior". The song itself is fine, but far from mind blowing.

It is clear that the first half of the album contains most of the better songs. The title track does a good job in mixing the classic HammerFall beat with a chorus that almost uses the same hockey quire as Accept does, while "Ex Inferis" is a nice dark, heavy track that works very well with its slow tempo. The other half of "(r)Evolution" is more uneven in its performance, but it does not only contain fillers, it actually contains two tracks that are surprisingly not typical HammerFall, but is still power metal gold. "Origins" is more or less a typical neo-classical power metal song that still impress with its epicness and a fantastic solo, while "Wildfire" is just as the name suggest. A song that captures the apocalyptic feeling that Rhapsody of Fire can do so well, but also contains a drive and speed that would make Kai Hansen proud. It is definitely the song that surprised me the most in this album, and I thoroughly enjoy to hear that HammerFall keeps on evolving in their song writing.

Unfortunately, HammerFall still puts out some fillers to make a complete album. The obligatory ballad "Winter Is Coming" is not the worst ballad by the band, but I could live without it, and songs like "Live Life Loud" and "Tainted Metal" just feels out of place in this record. Such a shame that HammerFall's usual problems are still there, because I believe that this album could have been something extra ordinary if these fillers was more polished.

"(r)Evolution" is not the best album HammerFall has ever created, but it is a huge step forward compared to the band's latest releases. The album is typical German heavy metal from Sweden, but it does also have a vein or two where it is obvious that the band wants to keep on developing their music. However, I would not consider this a full on revolution. No matter what, the hiatus has done the band good and I am looking forward to how the future will treat the band.

Songs worthy of recognition: Hector's Hymn, Origins, Wildfire

Rating: 8/10 Bushidos

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Opeth - Pale Communion (2014)

Like many other fans of the Swedish progressive band Opeth, I was a little hesitant about approaching their 2011 album "Heritage", a album that once and for all left the band's death metal roots to instead focus on more mellow music and inspirations from the world of jazz and fusion. When I eventually took the courage to listen to the album, I found that it actually was another solid effort by the Swedes, but I also felt like there was something missing to really lift the album. So now that Opeth is back with its 11th effort, I was hoping that they would further develop their style even more to create a album that was truly worthy of belonging in their legendary discography.

So first let me say this, I would not really consider "Pale Communion" to be a metal album. Mikael Åkerfeldt only uses his clean vocals in this album and there are only a few spots where an electric guitar is heard. This is more or less a continuation on what the band did on "Heritage", but it feels more cohesive this time around. There is a clear red line that goes through the entire album, but you can also easily extinguish individual tracks by themselves, a attribute that I sort of missed in "Heritage" and gives "Pale Communion" an upper hand.

But the one thing I really love with "Pale Communion" is that the classic Opeth sound is still there. The progressive melody loops, the constant development that keeps you guessing, and the fine detail work on the instrumental department. And the song that shows all these parts the best is the 10 minute song "Moon Above, Sun Below". The song may lack some epic qualities, but it makes up for it by being a diverse track that shows tons of emotions and styles. You are thrown back and forth through almost everything between the sky and earth, which is just a fantastic feeling.

Another very interesting attribute that Opeth is known for and that most of the songs on "Pale Communion" have is that they build up to a unique and marvelous ending that makes your neck hair rise. The endings on "River" and "Eternal Rains Will Come" have a fantastic ability to build up from the ground and ultimately blossom out fully at the end. I would love to see this being used more by other bands, since it is a great way to capture the listener.

Besides from the already mentioned songs, we also have the simplistic "Cusp of Eternity", the soothing "Elysian Woes", the instrumental "Goblin", the sort of oriental "Voice of Treason and the finishing song "Faith In Others". This means I have mentioned all of the songs in the album, and they deserve it. There is not a single song in "Pale Communion" that deserves to be forgotten since they all have something in them to make them memorable. And together they create a album that shows good variety, while still keeping a certain focus point.

Even if "Pale Communion" is a fantastic album, it could still be considered as one of Opeth's weaker albums up to date, but comparing this album to such classics as "Blackwater Park" and "Ghost Reveries" would be unfair. If "Pale Communion" should be compared against something, it should be "Heritage", and I personally feel that this album is a much more organized and well thought out album than its predecessor. This new era of Opeth may not have much metal in it, but it still sounds awesome, and it will be very interesting to see how far the band can take it in the future.

Songs worthy of recognition: River, Eternal Rains Will Come, "Moon Above, Sun Below", Voice of Treason

Rating: 9/10 Goblins

Monday, September 1, 2014

Live review: HammerFall at Liseberg, Gothenburg, Sweden

We all have that one band that originally got us into the wonderful world that we call metal. For me, that band was HammerFall, and not surprisingly, it was their super hit "Hearts On Fire" from the album "Crimson Thunder" that helped me being what I am today. So why it took over ten years for me to see the band for the first time is beyond my knowledge.

Anyway, the concert was held the 29th of August at the famous amusement park Liseberg that is located in Gothenburg. You might think it is a weird location for a heavy metal show, but Liseberg has experience when it comes to live shows. Just this year, the amusement park have had famous act like Flogging Molly, Snoop Dogg, Graveyard, and later this fall also Ghost. It is also not the first time HammerFall has made an appearance at Liseberg's grand stage (they even recorded a live DVD from one of those shows, entitle "One Crimson Night").

The show started roughly around 8 pm with a furious tempo with the trio "Heeding The Call", "Any Means Necessary" and "Renegade". A little surprising since I expected the band to go with a similar set list they had at Wacken this year (where they played "Glory To The Brave" in its entirety), but at the same time, it was good to know that they were going to bring something from almost every album (only "Threshold" was left behind in the set list).

The show kept on going in a good tempo, only doing a small breather in the intro of "Blood Bound", and you could definitely feel that the band was pumped up for this show. Besides from the show at Wacken, this was the first show after the band's 2 year long hiatus and the first show on their tour. Then again, HammerFall was conceived in Gothenburg, so I can imagine that it felt a little special for the band to play for their home audience.

Then suddenly, disaster strikes. After "Let The Hammer Fall", Joacim says that he needs to take a 5 minute break because he suddenly lost control of his voice. The first thing that went through my mind at that moment was that this was it, that the band's Gothenburg curse once again showed its ugly face. For those of you who don't know, HammerFall have had some bad luck on previous shows in Gothenburg. It was either vocal problems from Joacim or just sound issues that held back the band from performing at a maximum level. Luckily, after the 5 minutes, the band came back and could continue the show. It later proofed to be the pyrotechnics that was the cause of Joacim's sudden problems, but it ultimately worked out, and the show could continue on as planned.

If the sudden break did anything, then it certainly made the audience even more committed, because the volume became incredible on the last three songs before the encore, especially the last song "HammerFall" had some great sing-a-long moments from the audience. I do not think any word in the song did not get left unsung. The end of the normal show also included a world premiere of "Hector's Hymn", one of the new songs from the new album "(r)Evolution". It is certainly one of the better songs from the album, and you could hear that the audience was excited to hear the song in the set list. It definitely got a better reception than "Bushido", whom also comes from "(r)Evolution", but that is nothing surprising since "Hector's Hymn" is much more live friendly than "Bushido".

The encore set only contained 2 songs, the first one being "Bushido" and the other, of course, being "Hearts On Fire". I definitely hoped for another song on the encore set, but I was still pleased with the overall set list, even if it felt like a "best of" set list with few surprises. I would have loved to see songs like "Steel Meets Steel", "Fury of The Wild" and "666 - The Enemy Within", but I cannot be too picky when it comes to the set list.

The night ended with a signing session where you got to meet the band in person and get your stuff signed (and also a picture taken if you wanted to). I got to wait like over an hour to reach the band, but it was worth it, because it was an overall successful late summer evening. Decent weather, great audience that was mixed with both old and young fans, and a band that obviously has missed playing live in front of the fans. The only miss hap was the unexpected break in the middle of the show, but other than that, I can without a doubt say that HammerFall delivered, even if Hector was not heavily involved in the show itself (only his hammer and helm was present, which was just weird).

Set list:
1. Heeding The Call
2. Any Means Necessary
3. Renegade
4. B.Y.H
5. Blood Bound
6. Child of The Damned (Warlord Cover)
7. The Metal Age
8. Let The Hammer Fall
9. Last Man Standing
10. Hector's Hymn (world premiere)
11. HammerFall

Encore:
12. Bushido
13. Hearts On Fire

Best: "HammerFall" and the band's enthusiasm

Worst: the pyrotechnician did not bring his A-game

Rating: 8/10 Renegades

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Halcyon Way - Conquer (2014)

The video game Rock Band has helped me discover tons of bands, one of those bands being the Atlanta group Halcyon Way. Their song "Desecration Day" got me interested in the band and the album which said song was in, "Building The Towers", was just as good as I hoped it would be. The band is playing an interesting style of progressive metal that has some hints of both thrash and melodic death, but the music itself is still very catchy and easily digested. The band is one of a kind, and since the last full length album was released back in 2010, I have waited a long time for this release to see the light of day.

Unfortunately,  I do not think that the wait was worth it for this release. "Conquer" is album number 3 for the band and I hoped that they would take what they did in "Building The Towers" and further develop it. Sadly, they just kept a template and then ran it through the copy machine just enough time to make an album out of it.

The songs are catchy, I will give it that, but since all songs has a length between 3:50 and 4:50 and they all have the same or similar structure, I still cannot remember most of them. This also makes it very hard to sit through the album in one sitting, since it feels like you are listening to the same song over and over again. So you have to search through the details to find tracks that stands out, like the slamming drums in "Home" or the grand keyboards on "Web of Lies".

However, "Conquer" has one strong point, and it is that it is very even in its performance. Besides from the weak "The Poisoned Apple", the album does not contain any particularly bad songs. It is an album that is filled with okay songs, songs that may have gotten more recognition if they had been in a more diverse album. But just to give some reference, take an extra look at the songs "Conquer", "Every Second Counts", "Home" and "Eviscerate The Morning Sun", and you will have experienced some of the best sides of "Conquer".

"Conquer" is ultimately far from an impressive record. It clearly shows Halcyon Way's unique style, but it does it in a not so unique way. If the band would have taken some more time to create more diverse songs, then this album would not feel so suffocated. Halcyon Way will still be a band that is worthy of having an eye on, but I surely hope that they show a lot more variety in their next album. They came, they saw, but they did not conquer.

Songs worthy of recognition: Home, Web of Lies, Eviscerate The Morning Sun

Rating: 6/10 Militants

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Slipknot will be fine without Joey

I am a little surprised that so many Slipknot fans has acted like their whole world fell apart when the news about Joey Jordison's departure came through. Sure, he was one of the founding members of the band and one of the main song writers, but he is an overrated drummer. He certainly knows how to pound the pig skin, but there is enough talented drummers in the world that can take his place.

The only thing about this situation that could disturb Slipknot is the fact that there was much uncertainty about the departure. Did Joey leave the band himself or was he sacked? I am afraid that this drama will take up too much attention from the album itself. The Joey lovers will most likely despise the album without even listening to it, especially since the album mostly acts like a tribute to their bassist Paul Gray, who died from an overdose of morphine and fentanyl in 2010. Nothing wrong with that, but some people could take it like "Slipknot never really cared for Joey, screw them", which is just stupid to think like that.

The band is about to release their 5th album and so far, 2 songs has been released. The first song was "The Negative One", a chaotic track that represents the typical Slipknot sound and anger. The other song however, is more laid towards being commercially attractive. "The Devil In I" sounds like a mix of Korn and Papa Roach that is weird, but works out without any embarrassing mistakes. The one thing these two tracks have in common is that the drum work is fine, not extraordinary. However, I do not think that Joey would have made the songs any better if he was behind the kit

My expectations for the album that has gotten the title ".5: The Gray Chapter", named of course after their deceased band mate Paul Gray, are not that high. All I hope for is that Corey Taylor and Jim Root learned from the mistakes in "All Hope Is Gone" and separate Stone Sour and Slipknot from each other. If they do that, then the album will be a very interesting listen.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Accept - Blind Rage (2014)

The second era of the German heavy metal band Accept has now reached its third album, and if you expected something else from the band than what they showed in both "Blood of The Nations" and "Stalingrad", think again. "Blind Rage" is another album filled with heavy riffs, catchy melodies and a Mark Tornillo that still sounds frighteningly similar to Udo Dirkenschier.

I highly enjoyed both "Blood of The Nations" and "Stalingrad", so I was not worried at all over "Blind Rage" being a bad album, but I had some concerns over this album being a bad copy of its predecessors. And even if my concerns did not fully come true, "Blind Rage" is still a weaker album. But it still packs quite a punch with several songs that keeps this era of Accept going strong.

The single "Stampede" is a typical steam roller that opens the album in a furious tempo, a tempo that I thought would be more present with the album title in mind, but only a few tracks has some speed in them, like the earlier mentioned "Stampede", "Final Journey" and "Trail of Tears". Instead of relying on pure speed and force, Accept focuses on creating good riffs and making songs that fits those riffs, which is ultimately what Accept does best. Two songs that I think can become future fan favourites are the heavy and groovy "Dying Breed", and the slow, but sing a long friendly "Fall of The Empire". Just two of the songs to listen extra carefully on in "Blind Rage".

The biggest strength with this Accept era has been the amazingly high low point on the records, a low point that unfortunately has been lowered on this record. Besides from the plaintive "The Curse", there is no song that is actually bad, but there are more songs in this album that just feels bland. Songs like "Wanna Be Free" and "From The Ashes We Rise" just swipes through without me noticing them. Sure, it is more or less impossible for a band to go through a career without putting out some fillers, so I am not surprised that they came on this album.

Despite being a slightly worse album than its two predecessors, "Blind Rage" makes sure that Accept keeps their status as one of the hottest old bands out there today. Hoffman and co. does another great job with delivering true heavy metal to the people and doing it with such style and confidence. You simply do not have to be blind to see that this album is another fine quality piece from the experienced Germans.

Songs worthy of recognition: Dying Breed, Stampede, Fall of The Empire

Rating: 7,5/10 Bloodbath Masterminds