• Mesdames et Messieurs,

    Un groupe qui s'appelle Tainted DickMen?

    Un groupe qui intitule son album Tornado Thrashing Bomber?

    Une pochette d'album qui montre des champignons en vision brouillée?

    Des paroles anglaises qui donnent très peu de sens?

    Des bruits d'animaux étranges accompagnés de sons de jeu de vidéo?

    Un guitariste sur une cammionette se cognant le haut du corps? 

    Une vieille paysanne avec un masque de protection récoltant des patates?

    Un bouc qui aime danser?

    Un lama mâchant sa nourriture entouré d'un groupe de musique déchaîné?

    Un batteur tout nu jouant dans un champ abandonné?

    Une dinde qui introduit un solo de guitare?

    Des statues de tigres en plein milieu de nulle part?

     

    Ça ne fait aucun doute: nous avons trouvé la vidéo de l'année 2016!

     

    Bonne écoute et bon visionnement!

     

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  • And Then She Came – And Then She Came

    September 22, 2016 in Reviews by Sebastian Kluth

    evergrey-the-storm-withinAnd Then She Came – And Then She Came (2016)

    Reviewed by Sebastian Kluth

    Krypteria was a gothic metal band from my home region of Germany, and enjoyed commercial success in Asia, Europe, and South America. The group started as a musical project based upon classical and new age fusion, and steadily gained a regular line-up and a heavier sound over the years. After five studio albums, numerous singles, and tours around the world, the band went on indefinite hiatus four years ago when singer Cho Ji-In, daughter of South Korean immigrants from my hometown of Leverkusen, got pregnant with her first child. Some of the musicians got involved in other projects during this break, and bassist Frank Stumvoll was asked to compose the soundtrack for the German-American thriller Bad Trip. Instead of taking on this task all by himself, he brought in long-time allies S.C. Kuschnerus on drums and Olli Singer on guitars. What started as a film soundtrack project became a whole new band when Cho Ji-In rejoined the trio and the quartet recorded its self-titled debut album And Then She Came, which was released earlier this summer. Aside from Chris Siemons, who is still battling health issues, this is the traditional Krypteria line-up. 

    Why do the musicians insist that Krypteria is still on hiatus and that And The She Came is their current main group? The reasons become obvious once you listen to this record. While Krypteria was a gothic metal band with a focus on symphonic structures, And Then She Came is an eclectic rock band with a modern twist, generously employing electronic samples and distorted vocal effects. While Krypteria developed its own signature style over the years, And Then She Came is an experimental band that is tough to categorize. Krypteria focused on relationship issues in most of its lyrics, while And Then She Came tackles diverse topics, including contemporary social criticism. The band members simply felt like taking risks in a fresh way without any barriers. It becomes obvious in recent interviews, as well as in the sound of the enthusiastic album itself, that the band had a lot more fun recording these songs than the last Krypteria album. The group seems to have discovered its own Fountain of Youth with this new band. But just like the behavior of a teenager during puberty, this record is both energetic and immature. The final result is a diverse, entertaining effort that is nevertheless very hit-or-miss and lacks coherency.

    On a positive note, the band really sells itself well on its more commercial tracks, which focus on addictive choruses, catchy guitar melodies, and electronic samples. These could easily get some radio play between Evanescence and Lacuna Coil tracks. I guess this kind of sound would have had even more success when this type of music was really in vogue about a decade ago. Even nowadays, songs like “Why So Serious!” and “Hellfire Halo” work very well by being concise (around three and a half to four minutes) and grabbing your attention with hooky choruses where the singer shows off her undeniable vocal skills.

    Then, we have the more experimental tunes, which I have more difficulty in appreciating. Let’s take “Public Enemy Number One” as an example. This song is dominated by simple modern hard rock “riffs” leading into a powerful yet predictable chorus in the key of modern alternative rock bands such as Billy Talent. However, the group adds hysterically expressive vocal parts sung in French, German, and Spanish in the verses that remind me of eccentric German punk icon Nina Hagen. The verses are supported by repetitive electronic gimmickry and repulsive vocal sound effects recalling the trashier songs of Rob Zombie. This genre potpourri tastes strange and unpleasant.

    Several otherwise solid songs are actually harmed by sudden experiments that just don’t work out. “Like A Hurricane” is most exemplary for this recurring problem. It starts like one of the record’s heavier tracks with sinister electronic samples, fast chugging riffs, and a passionate vocal performance leading into an epic chorus recalling the sound of Krypteria (for once). Everything’s above average until the middle section comes around with another dose of exchangeable and inappropriate alternative rock riffs. Then, mildly amusing male growls that sound as if the singer was vomiting on the microphone kick in. Those harsh vocals are interrupted by spoken word passages in French performed by the main singer. After thirty seconds, this weird bridge is over, and the song continues as if nothing had happened and this passage had only been a strange nightmare. What’s the point?

    To spice things up, this album features two guests. Arch Enemy’s new vocalist Alissa White-Gluz performs growls and manages to ruin an otherwise atmospherically consistent opener called “Five Billion Lies”. Evanescence bassist Jen Matura shows off her skills in the mixed bag “Spit It Out”, which needs a few spins to open up. While I was expecting a longer and more spectacular section for Matura to stand out, she does a solid job on a solid tune. It feels to me as if these guests were only invited for attention-grabbing name-dropping and a stereotypical feminist power image, due to their lack of any real musical contribution. The growls in “Five Billion Lies” could have been performed by the same vocalist that ruined “Like A Hurricane”, and Frank Stumvoll is talented enough to play the same type of bass solo as the one in “Spit It Out”, if we’re being honest.

    Though this slightly metalized alt-rock record is extremely hit and miss, it’s diverse, dynamic, and original enough to perhaps grab your attention and eventually grow on you. If you are able to pardon inconsistency in the song writing department for some entertaining experiments, And Then She Came is worth a try. Krypteria fans should be very careful, since this record doesn’t have anything to do with the group’s symphonic metal sound. Probably a candidate for the musical oddball of the year.

    2.75 // 5

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  • Battle Beast – Unholy Savior

    September 19, 2016 in Reviews by Sebastian Kluth

    Battle Beast 2015Battle Beast – Unholy Savior (2015)

    Reviewed by Sebastian Kluth

    Battle Beast claims to be a female-fronted Finnish heavy/power metal sextet from Finland, and it stirred a lot of attention due to its signing with renowned German metal label Nuclear Blast. That label then immediately started to massively hype and promote the band’s third studio record Unholy Savior. Let’s try to take a look beyond the hype.

     

    Let’s make something clear right from the start: I like heavy metal, power metal, and pop music of the eighties. Battle Beast offers a mixture of these styles. Still, this band isn’t worth the hype and I would even call their new record plain awful. What’s the problem?

    On a forum, somebody compared Battle Beast’s music to a heavier version of pop artist Sandra. This comparison actually comes quite close. The differences are that Sandra had an enchanting voice, and that her music had a unique atmosphere due to the influence of her Romanian husband and producer Michael Cretu (who is the mastermind behind the electronic new age project Enigma). Battle Beast’s frontwoman Noora Louhimo sounds like a cringeworthy mixture of Doro (in the heavier moments of the record) and Lucylectric (in the softer parts). The musicianship is even worse. The artificial keyboards play an important role on this album and might sound too fluffy even for fans of the “softest” power metal bands like early Sonata Arctica. Some keyboard sounds are also surprisingly close to Alestorm. The drums and percussion are mixed powerlessly, and sound even more artificial than exchangeable floorfillers on party islands like Ibiza and Mallorca. The guitar play lacks any of its own identity, and most of the riffs seem to be taken from contemporary Nightwish and Sabaton songs (if you can even say that those bands riff). The bland and stereotypical lyrics call to mind Manowar’s ridiculous and closed-minded attitude. The cheesy cover artwork is the cherry on the cake. While nearly all songs sound plain awful, the worst case is “Touch In The Night”, which sounds like a mixture of a casting pop song and exchangeable elevator music. This combination rehashes music that already sounded dated thirty years ago in a horrible way. What the band has done to W.A.S.P.’s anthem “Wild Child” on the Japanese edition of this coaster comes in as a close second place on my list of the worst tracks around.

    Now, let’s talk about the positive elements. First of all, the songs all have a commercial touch. Each track could be a potential hit single if it had been released thirty years earlier. Second and last, the tracks are so catchy that they will either haunt you in your nightmares or can be used to bawl shamefully along to after consuming three cases of Coors Light. These elements are worth half a point each which explains my generous final rating score.

    Why did Nuclear Blast sign this band? It’s probably because of a mixture of an unhealthy nostalgia trip and the fact that the singer looks cute. Some might now claim that I listen to bands such as Babymetal, which mix pop and metal music, and that I should therefore like this band. These people are all wrong. In comparison to Battle Beast, Babymetal offers a diverse, exciting, and fresh mixture of many different genre elements in addition to original choreographies, concerts, and lyrics with a dose of unique charm and charisma. Plus, they are still teenagers. Battle Beast sounds like Modern Talking meets Freedom Call. I haven’t heard something so bad in quite some time now. Do yourself a favor and forget this band immediately after reading my review.

    1.0 // 5

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  • Evergrey – The Storm Within

    September 15, 2016 in Reviews by Sebastian Kluth

    evergrey-the-storm-withinEvergrey – The Storm Within (2016)

    Reviewed by Sebastian Kluth

    Evergrey’s tenth studio record, The Storm Within, is a solid successor of the comeback release Hymns of the Broken two years earlier. After numerous line-up changes and shifts in quality, the band seems to be back in stability and strength for good.

     

    As with so many Nordic bands, the Swedish progressive metal quintet convinces with a melancholic sound that serves as a consistent theme throughout the eleven new songs. Another constant is the intellectual lyrics that deal with inner struggles and relationship issues. I wouldn’t call this album a conceptual release, but it does have a coherent structure.

    The Storm Within is strong and persuasive on many levels. One must point out the great melodic guitar solos that build climaxes in almost every track. The extensive solo in “Passing Through” is exemplary of the band’s capacity to merge heartwarming guitar with otherwise sinister sounds dominated by cold electronic keyboard samples, simplistic rhythm guitar, low bass grooves, and a steady drum play. Another winning element is the charismatic melancholy vocal performance that manages a good balance between mellower parts and powerful passages. Band leader Tom Englund shows off his talent in the diverse track “Someday”, which varies steady melodic passages in the verses over a calm and fragile bridge, to powerful and emotionally intense sections toward the end. To add even more diversity, several songs feature female choir and string passages. These work particularly well in the epic opener “Distance”. The record also features two guest vocalists. Tom Englund’s wife performs in the smooth ballad “The Paradox of the Flame”, which focuses entirely on the soulful vocal parts that complement each other perfectly. Floor Jansen of Nightwish and ReVamp fame even sings on two tracks and she does a particularly great job on “In Orbit”. Her vocal skills are employed very well in this song, which finds a better balance between smooth keyboards and more determined guitar riffs than in many of the overloaded and pompous tunes of her main band. Another track that sticks out is “My Allied Ocean”, due to its unrelenting heaviness that ventures nearly into thrash metal territory and offers a welcome change of pace and style. Along with the opener and the duet with Carina Englund, this is my favorite song on the album.

    All these strengths aside, this album also has a few weak spots. I must point out the rhythm guitar work. Most songs employ simplistic, chugging modern metal riffs that I might expect from a band like Disturbed, but not from an experienced progressive metal act. The band should try to spice things up and vary its rhythm guitar work a little bit more in the future, since this just seems lazy. A debatable point is the production, which sometimes sounds a little bit clinical and cold in my opinion. This concerns the guitar work in particular. Even though this approach adds to the sorrowful soul of this record, a warmer and more organic production would have added to some songs. As a last point, this album is maybe missing a truly outstanding song despite a consistently high quality level. The record works perfectly as a whole, but at least one catchier anthem would have lent this album a pleasant shade of lightness to ease the overall challenging listening experience.

    In the end, The Storm Within is a strong new album that utilizes Evergrey’s strengths of intellectual moodiness, emotional guitar solos, and soulful vocal performances by the lead singer and numerous guest vocalists. I wouldn’t say that this album is a candidate for album of the year, but genre fans should definitely give it a try. Those who like groups such as Borealis, Kamelot, and even Katatonia should appreciate this very good release.

    3.75 // 5

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  • Dear readers of my blog,

    After a hiatus of eighteen months, Black Wind Metal is finally back for good. The website has published four new reviews in the last four days and today it was my turn with a review of the tenth studio record ''The Storm Within'' by Swedish progressive power metal quintet Evergrey. I hope you like this review. Please support our team and community.

    Visit Black Wind Metal's website: http://blackwindmetal.com/

    Visit Black Wind Metal's Facebook: https://facebook.com/BlackWindMetal

    Visit Black Wind Metal's Twitter: https://twitter.com/BlackWindMetal

    Have a nice day and keep supporting any form of artistic expression,

    Sebastian Kluth

    Evergrey – The Storm Within

    September 15, 2016 in Reviews by Sebastian Kluth

    evergrey-the-storm-withinEvergrey – The Storm Within (2016)

    Reviewed by Sebastian Kluth

    Evergrey’s tenth studio record, The Storm Within, is a solid successor of the comeback release Hymns of the Broken two years earlier. After numerous line-up changes and shifts in quality, the band seems to be back in stability and strength for good.

     

    As with so many Nordic bands, the Swedish progressive metal quintet convinces with a melancholic sound that serves as a consistent theme throughout the eleven new songs. Another constant is the intellectual lyrics that deal with inner struggles and relationship issues. I wouldn’t call this album a conceptual release, but it does have a coherent structure.

    The Storm Within is strong and persuasive on many levels. One must point out the great melodic guitar solos that build climaxes in almost every track. The extensive solo in “Passing Through” is exemplary of the band’s capacity to merge heartwarming guitar with otherwise sinister sounds dominated by cold electronic keyboard samples, simplistic rhythm guitar, low bass grooves, and a steady drum play. Another winning element is the charismatic melancholy vocal performance that manages a good balance between mellower parts and powerful passages. Band leader Tom Englund shows off his talent in the diverse track “Someday”, which varies steady melodic passages in the verses over a calm and fragile bridge, to powerful and emotionally intense sections toward the end. To add even more diversity, several songs feature female choir and string passages. These work particularly well in the epic opener “Distance”. The record also features two guest vocalists. Tom Englund’s wife performs in the smooth ballad “The Paradox of the Flame”, which focuses entirely on the soulful vocal parts that complement each other perfectly. Floor Jansen of Nightwish and ReVamp fame even sings on two tracks and she does a particularly great job on “In Orbit”. Her vocal skills are employed very well in this song, which finds a better balance between smooth keyboards and more determined guitar riffs than in many of the overloaded and pompous tunes of her main band. Another track that sticks out is “My Allied Ocean”, due to its unrelenting heaviness that ventures nearly into thrash metal territory and offers a welcome change of pace and style. Along with the opener and the duet with Carina Englund, this is my favorite song on the album.

    All these strengths aside, this album also has a few weak spots. I must point out the rhythm guitar work. Most songs employ simplistic, chugging modern metal riffs that I might expect from a band like Disturbed, but not from an experienced progressive metal act. The band should try to spice things up and vary its rhythm guitar work a little bit more in the future, since this just seems lazy. A debatable point is the production, which sometimes sounds a little bit clinical and cold in my opinion. This concerns the guitar work in particular. Even though this approach adds to the sorrowful soul of this record, a warmer and more organic production would have added to some songs. As a last point, this album is maybe missing a truly outstanding song despite a consistently high quality level. The record works perfectly as a whole, but at least one catchier anthem would have lent this album a pleasant shade of lightness to ease the overall challenging listening experience.

    In the end, The Storm Within is a strong new album that utilizes Evergrey’s strengths of intellectual moodiness, emotional guitar solos, and soulful vocal performances by the lead singer and numerous guest vocalists. I wouldn’t say that this album is a candidate for album of the year, but genre fans should definitely give it a try. Those who like groups such as Borealis, Kamelot, and even Katatonia should appreciate this very good release.

    3.75 // 5

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