• Black Infinity - The Illuminati of Love and Death I (2014)

    Black Infinity - The Illuminati of Love and Death II (2014)

    Black Infinity's 666 Metal was an interesting release mixing melodic death metal with gothic metal and occasional folk elements. The ambitious follow-up consists of two albums, entitled The Illuminati of Love and Death I & II. The Vietnamese sextet offers twenty-two songs with a running time of eighty-six minutes.

    The obvious risk is that such a release includes too much filler material which is certainly the case here. That isn't the only issue though. The band has shifted from its melodic death metal roots that can only be found in a few tunes such as the atmospheric ''Burning All Sunday'' that recalls the works of In Flames one and a half decades ago. 

    Most songs on the two releases however opt for a more commercial sound including pop elements. In a few cases, this works out well enough such as in the heartfelt ballad ''You and I, We'll Kill the Love Tonight'' which is a wonderfully romantic tune to listen to with your girlfriend, A similar tune like ''Heart2frozen'' on the other side makes me think of a poor copy of HIM ballads twenty years ago with weak guitar sound and aqualung vocals.

    The band also includes numerous electronic elements on this album. This works well in the instrumental title track ''Illuminati of Love and Death'' thanks to its diversity, changes and atmosphere. In songs like ''Suicide Romance'' however, these elements become so dominant that the song ends up sounding artificial, cold and exchangeable even though the emotional vocals try their best to breathe some soul into an otherwise vapid tune.

    The most disappointing tune is probably ''The Secret II'', a direct sequel to the creative melodic death metal tune with folk elements that put the band on the map five years earlier. The new track incorporates similar elements and the keyboards sound decent enough here as well. However, the song is simply a pale copy of the original tune and fails to be as catchy, energetic and surprising. It's actually one of the least memorable tracks of the bunch.

    In the end, Black Infinity's The Illuminati of Live and Death I & II convinces with entertaining diversity but disappoints with lots of filler material. The progression towards more electronic elements and pop melodies might appeal to wider audiences but should certainly disappoint fans of the previous output. The singer actually ended up recording rap tunes soon after this record's release which is quite revealing in that regard. Black Infinity hasn't released any new material in more than six years at this point. If the band came back, the sextet should go back to its roots to rekindle with the unique sound that made it known in the first place.

    Final rating: 60%

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  • Paul Di'Anno - Hell over Waltrop - Live in Germany (2020)

    The idea to release a live album recorded thirteen and a half years ago might not sound like a great idea at first contact. However, guitarist and producer Thomas Mergler had put so much hard work and genuine passion into this project that he thought it was too good to be shelved. He had rearranged tracks messed up by the monitor crew but otherwise didn't use any overdubs to keep the record as authentic as possible. With the permission of Paul Di'Anno, who has had his share of personal and medical issues and who will only play one final concert before calling it quits for good this year, the man behind the project submitted his hard work to a label that has now officially released the record. And to keep things short, it was worth to put so much effort into this stunning release.

    Paul Di'Anno sounds sharp on stage and is clearly enjoying himself. His vocals are aggressive, expressive and versatile. His communication with the crowd is direct, entertaining and sympathetic. The musicians involved are also doing a more than decent job. The guitar play in particular sounds sharp yet melodic. The rhythm section is the solid backbone of the release. The crowd must also be mentioned since it makes quite some noise even though this concert took place in a really small town in Germany.

    The set list works surprisingly well as Paul Di'Anno's own songs work as well as his classic Iron Maiden material most fans want to hear. Highlights are the energetic ''Impaler'', the rhythmic ''Marshall Lokjaw'' and the sharp ''Faith Healer''. Among the classic material, eerie ballad ''Remember Tomorrow'', playful, diversified and atmospheric heavy metal epic ''Phantom of the Opera'' and tight closer ''Sanctuary'' manage to stand out.

    Paul Di'Anno was in excellent form back in the days and it's sad that health has let him down as time went by. Honouring this excellent concert with a unique singer backed up by talented youngsters manages to hold him in high regard. Fans of Iron Maiden and Paul Di'Anno should certainly pick this release up since it isn't an uninspired cash grab but a product filled with genuine passion for energetic heavy metal music.

    Final rating: 90%

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  • Lycanthro

    Rock Engine

    Ross the Boss

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  • Ottawa on a cold winter night in January 2020

    Ottawa on a cold winter night in January 2020

    Ottawa on a cold winter night in January 2020

    Ottawa on a cold winter night in January 2020

    Ottawa on a cold winter night in January 2020

    Ottawa on a cold winter night in January 2020

    Ottawa on a cold winter night in January 2020

    Ottawa on a cold winter night in January 2020

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  • First game of the Ottawa Senators in 2020: Vegas Golden Knights versus Ottawa Senators on January 16th 2020

    First game of the Ottawa Senators in 2020: Vegas Golden Knights versus Ottawa Senators on January 16th 2020

    First game of the Ottawa Senators in 2020: Vegas Golden Knights versus Ottawa Senators on January 16th 2020

    First game of the Ottawa Senators in 2020: Vegas Golden Knights versus Ottawa Senators on January 16th 2020

    First game of the Ottawa Senators in 2020: Vegas Golden Knights versus Ottawa Senators on January 16th 2020

    First game of the Ottawa Senators in 2020: Vegas Golden Knights versus Ottawa Senators on January 16th 2020

    First game of the Ottawa Senators in 2020: Vegas Golden Knights versus Ottawa Senators on January 16th 2020

    First game of the Ottawa Senators in 2020: Vegas Golden Knights versus Ottawa Senators on January 16th 2020

    First game of the Ottawa Senators in 2020: Vegas Golden Knights versus Ottawa Senators on January 16th 2020

    First game of the Ottawa Senators in 2020: Vegas Golden Knights versus Ottawa Senators on January 16th 2020

    First game of the Ottawa Senators in 2020: Vegas Golden Knights versus Ottawa Senators on January 16th 2020

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