Mind Scans

Mind Scans Volume 8

 

As 2012 hits its final quarter there’s still so, so many releases we wish we could inform you guys about, and with a pretty heavy October to December release schedule we’ll certainly have our hands full trying to keep up. The glory of this Mind Scan section is that you guys can still find out about plenty of releases even if we haven’t had time to give them the full review treatment. So here we go for another round, open your mind and scan away….

 

 

01. TOMMY SKEOCH – BRAND OF METAL    (self-released)

When TESLA as a group decided to go clean and sober, guitarist Tommy Skeoch just couldn’t do it. It eventually ended up costing him his place in the band back in 2006. One year later his solo career began with the release of FREAK BUCKET. Since then he has been pretty quiet, but now he releases his second solo effort BRAND OF METAL. Well, unfortunately I have to say that the album is pretty much a turd pile. Tommy certainly has his supporters, and as far as I can tell he’s a pretty nice guy, but musically he is one of those guys just needs to be in a band. Musically this album sounds like one of those shitty grunge/metal hybrid albums that a lot of eighties bands released in the nineties…you know the type. Also, Skeoch can’t sing at all. His out of key, gruff voice is closest compared to Lemmy from Motorhead minus any semblance of melody. The guitar work is lazy and uninspired throughout too, with simply single-string guitar solos, and detuned chugs-chugga riffs sounding like they were borrowed from BODY COUNT b-sides. It’s rare that I get this nasty about any album released by former bug guns of the rock world, but I have to be honest….BRAND OF METAL is horrendous!     3/10

 

02. PRAYER – DANGER IN THE DARK    (escape music)

Six years is a long time between albums for any band. When you are a second-rung AOR/Melodic Rock band it’s basically career suicide. There’s a lot of good bands in the genre these days pumping out album after album so it’s easy to get left behind. With DANGER IN THE DARK, PRAYER are back to try and remind everyone that they are still around. It won’t help them to break through to the next level, but the base is there for something pretty good in the future. As with the band’s previous efforts it’s the vocal accent that holds them back, because any band that is to thrive in this genre MUST have a world-class frontman…that is the minimum requirement. That being said though I did enjoy the songwriting style on DANGER IN THE DARK which at time reminded my slightly of the METROPOLIS album POWER OF THE NIGHT (one of my personal favourites of all-time). Seriously, if this band got together with an accent-free and highly skilled vocalist, and also get themselves a beefier production then they could really be onto something here.  It’s classy AOR that is unfortunately under-performed.     5/10

 

03. SCYTHE – BEWARE THE SCYTHE  (primitive reaction)

There have been many bands called SCYTHE throughout the years of metal music, but this one is a new one. While the band itself may be fresh on the scene, it was actually born from the ashes of one of the most under-rated American Blackened Thrash bands USURPER, who were known for their brutal approach and also their always excellent cover artwork. SCYTHE is a similar beast in many ways, taking the Blackened Thrash approach and also adding a certain amount of brutal-ish Death Metal too. Just like Rick Scythe’s previous band USURPER were, I expect SCYTHE to make some huge waves in the underground metal scene. As soon as the album gets going the ball-tearing begins and it doesn’t let up for even a second throughout. The Doom-ish verse vocals in title track BEWARE THE SCYTHE took me a little by surprise, but they actually fit in quite well. My personal pick here is closing number PLANET OF THE HUMANS which features a very full, brutal sound. Riff-wise it’s a little slower than a lot of the other tracks on offer and is more steeped in traditional Death Metal, but it just kicks some serious metal ass, I just wish it didn’t finish on a fade-out….An album closer should never, ever fade-out, it should finish with a BANG! A very small complaint though for what is essentially a guaranteed underground cult-favourite.      8/10

 

04. LOVERBOY – ROCK N ROLL REVIVAL   (frontiers records)

Oh how disappointing this album is… Five years ago when LOVERBOY came out of a decade long hibernation period they released a ripper of an album for Rockstar Records titled JUST GETTING STARTED which managed to successfully bring their classic sound into the modern age. This album however is a severe step backwards. For starters there are only three original tracks here, all of which are drab, modern soft-rock sounding duds. The rest of the album is made up of recent re-recordings of the band’s biggest songs including WORKING FOR THE WEEKEND, TURN ME LOOSE, THE KID IS HOT TONIGHT and other classics of eighties rock. Problem is though, every single one of them is inferior to the original versions, and a modern day production simply isn’t enough to save them or make this release worthwhile. I really hope the band go back to the sound they were tinkering with on JUST GETTING STARTED, they were onto something there…this new page is not very good and if it’s a sign of things to come then it’s definitely a worry.     3/10

 

05. HAIDUK – SPELLBOOK   (self-released)

SPELLBOOK is the self-released debut album from Canadian band HAIDUK. Well, maybe ‘band’ isn’t exactly the correct term as this entire album is a one-man project. Luka Milojica is a pretty smart fellow and every instrument and all the vocals you hear were done by him alone. At its roots SPELLBOOK is a pure Death Metal album, but the intensity of some of the drumming and guitar riffing give it an occasional Black Metal feel too. I was initially concerned when I noted that Luka had used programmed drums on this album, and while I would have definitely enjoyed it more with real drums, his programming skills are very good and it’s a pretty close match. The album is pretty short too, with its ten songs being over and done with in less than 35 minutes, but the intensity is relentless and the half-hour is filled with some really tough sounding tracks like LICH, HEX, FIRE WIELD and my personal favourite MAELSTROM. I would love to see what Luka could create If he got together with a few other high quality Death Metal musicians, but as far as solo efforts go, SPELLBOOK is something he can be very proud of.        8/10

 

06. DREADLINK – ZERO ONE   (massacre records)

Not too sure how to take this album actually… DREADLINK are being promoted as “Modern Thrash Metal”, a tag which doesn’t really suit them if you ask me. ZERO ONE definitely has a modern sound that at times slightly tips it’s hat toward the metalcore/deathcore feel of the current metal era, but there is also a strong tie to the Nu-Metal feel of 2000’s metal and also some of the late nineties groove metal. It gives the band an interesting sound that recalls at time MACHINE HEAD and SEPULTURA and a lot of PANTERA, especially in the groove-riff area. It definitely makes for a much more enjoyable brand of metal than most of the ‘core stuff you hear these days and the album should definitely get a look in from those that came through the metal world with those all-important PANTERA albums. The production is very fat too which adds another element of groove that makes the album sound very tough and bordering on pure Death Metal at least half-dozen or so times throughout the running time.   7/10

 

07. THE FRIDAY NIGHTS – THE FRIDAY NIGHTS    (self-released)

THE FRIDAY NIGHTS is a new venture and side projects that features ECLIPSE/W.E.T frontman, vocalist extraordinaire Erik Martensson. While Erik’s main band ECLIPSE have just recently released what is sure to be among the very top albums in the Melodic Rock/Aor genre for 2012, this release is a different beast all-together. There is still a slight element of Aor to be found on this album, but overall it’s much more of a modern pop-rock feel. Maybe if you are into the generic type of music that is released into the charts these days THE FIRDAY NIGHTS will have something to offer you, but I personally thought it was pretty ordinary. I can’t help but feel that this was a bit of a rush-through project too because even Martensson’s vocals are long, long way off the quality that we have all come to expect from him…Good on him for doing something a little different I guess, I just wish it wasn’t rubbish.     4/10

 

08. IN VAIN – IN DEATH WE TRUST   (self-released)

In the promo material for IN DEATH WE TRUST, the second full-length album from Madrid band IN VAIN, they talk about bands like HELOWEEN and RUNNING WILD as being big influences, and once you begin to listen to the record itself those influences are right up front and centre. What IN VAIN do a little differently from the norm though is add a more aggressive edge to the usual power metal formula that almost comes across as some sort of Thrash Metal hybrid. It’s an interesting approach and one that should help the band stick out from the pack, but there seems to be just a little bit more work needed as far as wrapping it all up in a tidy package. The more straightforward Power Metal elements are great, and when the band go full throttle with the aggro it sounds pretty good too, but on the occasions where they mix the two elements together it can get a little messy. But the vocals are grat, the guitars are punchy and the production is nice and sharp so it’s definitely an album that is worth a quick look in. IN DEATH WE TRUST didn’t blow me away, but IN VAIN are certainly a band that I would like to hear more from in the future.   7/10

 

09. MONUMENT – ROCK THE NIGHT E.P   (self-released)

Attention to any and all NWOBHM fans….MONUMENT are going to be your new favourite band!!! Okay so maybe that’s a little bit of an exaggeration, but I can say one thing confidently… There hasn’t been a better true representation of that classic British sound released anytime in the last decade or more. ROCK THE NIGHT is only an E.P, but in these four tracks MONUMENT definitely show enough to get any fans of classic style of Heavy Metal very, very excited. The band is fronted by ex-WHITE WIZZARD singer Peter Ellis, a man who has one of the most listenable higher register voices I’ve ever heard….A bit of Bruce Dickinson mixed with some Rob Halford for good measure. The twin-guitar attack of yesteryear is also in full-swing throughout this E.P, and if you are into the days of old where shredders ruled the earth then you will love some of the individual moments of brilliance to be found on ROCK THE NIGHT. MAIDEN, PRIEST, DIO, SAXON….If these names are of any relevance to you then I suggest you seek this little E.P out…Damn I can’t wait to see what these guys can do with a full album.  9/10

 

10. SEVEN DEADLY – THE ALLEGIANCE E.P   (self-released)

A couple of years ago now I was quite blown away by an album I received from U.K Groove Metallers PANIC CELL. The genre isn’t one of my favourites and I wasn’t expecting much, but I came out the other end a definite fan of the band. At the end of last year they unfortunately called it quits, but now through the ashes a new group has appeared featuring ex-members of PANIC CELL joining ex-members of DENOUNCE. TO be totally honest, a majority of the Modern Groove Metal vibe on this E.P isn’t much different from what PANIC CELL were doing, but that is a good thing really. BLOOD ON YOUR HANDS is the highlight moment here and is one of those modern sounding Metal songs that is both melodic and brutal at the same time. If you were a fan of PANIC CELL, then SEVEN DEADLY are a a great replacement..check the E.P out right away!   8/10

 

11. HAEMIC – FIELDS OF SANGUINE     (self-released)

Symphonic Black Metal as a genre is one that has suffered over the last few years due to a whole load of over-produced albums that sound way too polished and safe. This is where HAEMIC can fill a gap because this album does have a very raw and dirty sound similar to the feel of the demo-tape trading era when Black Metal was still classed as dangerous. I personally don’t like programmed drums, but at least they aren’t too bad on this album, and they do in a way suit the overall rawness of the rest of the product. Tracks like AWAKEN THE COLOSSUS and A MACHINE SELF AWARE show some very strong songwriting from this band, who interestingly enough have never met each other in person due to HAEMIC being an online collaboration of sorts. The Symphonic elements aren’t as prevalent as most releases in this style which once again contributes to the rawness here. It’s an interesting sound and in an odd sense the tight budget production is actually one of the albums strongest points. Check it out if you like your Black Metal dirty and risky.  7/10

 

12. BULL-RIFF STAMPEDE – SCATTER THE GROUND   (self-released)

First off let me just say…BULL-RIFF STAMPEDE is a fucken awesome name for a metal band, well done on that one boys. And just as the band name hints at, these guys play a no-bullshit, straight to point brand of Deathy, slightly-Blackened Thrash Metal of the highest order. SCATTER THE GROUND features no acoustic interludes, no moody melodic patches, no progressive elements and no clean singing either, from the get-go this is foot-to-the-floor metal for those who like to snap their necks and jump around like crazy flies all over shit. It’s short and sharp too with the twelve songs seemingly over before you know it, but it’s a perfect run-time which ensures the one-dimensional pace never wears out its welcome. To hear the cream of the crop head to tracks like THRASHING MACHINE, MASK OF FIVE SKULLS and NO REGRETS, but really it’s one of those albums that can be saely played from cover to cover if anything on it strikes your fancy.      7/10

 

13. CLAIMED FOR DAMAGE – BLACK GHOST    (sliptrick records)

For a debut album I must say that there was a lot to like about BLACK GHOST. The band claims their main influences as PANTERA, LAMB OF GOD and TESTAMENT. I must admit that I can’t hear any PANTERA really, but LAMB OF GOD I hear a little and definitely getting a TESTAMENT vibe throughout. The vocalist here sounds a little bit like Chuck Billy did during the LOW era, which is just fine be me, it’s an aggressive and heavy sound that still allows for clear understanding of the lyrics, a win-win really. BETRAYAL is the track the band is using to promote the album and why not, it’s a Thrashy, mid-paced, groove-laden number with plenty of punch. Other highlights include title track BLACK GHOST, PEACE OF MIND and TIME TO MAKE PEACE. While definitely modern feeling overall, there’s also a great underlying late-nineties thrash metal vibe here that will help the band stick out from the pack.     8/10

 

14. UNSOLVED – TABULA RASA    (sliptrick records)

The Alternative Metal genre is one we don’t cover a whole lot here at MyGlobalMind. Not because we think the style has nothing to offer, but simply because there is such a constant flood of bands that all sound exactly the same all releasing boring records and it’s just too much work to wade through the crap. While this is true for a majority of the genre, there are a few bands that get it right…Bands like TRAPT, BREAKING BENJAMIN, CROSSFADE and EVANS BLUE are the main ones that come to mind, and just recently I have been listening to TABULA RASA, the second album from a relatively new act to the scene called UNSOLVED. Right off the bat I have to say that these guys sound a LOT like EVANS BLUE to my ears right down to vocalist Martin Persson reminding me of original EVANS BLUE frontman Kevin Matisyn.    I will say that a couple of the songs here like I HATE YOU and IMPOSSIBLE suffer a little by being too genre generic both musically and lyrically, but this is made up for with a few real gems like WALK THE LINE, COLD and ANGEL, all of which sound just as good as anything else released in the genre so far this year. The lead guitar work is a nice surprise in places and does a good job of giving the songs some real individuality and the vocals are so, so close to being awesome. I see a bright future for these guys for sure and I know I’ll be very happy to check out whatever they may release in the future. Fans of modern Alternative Metal need to get on this one now!       8/10

 

15. DEADLINE – HEADING WEST    (sliptrick records)

Once country I have been constantly surprised and pleased by this year is France. I know there is a strong cult following for the French metal scene of the eighties, but up until this year there weren’t many other bands of any real consequence. Lately I heard a new E.P from a French group calling themselves DEADLINE that once again impressed me a fair bit. The E.P has a distinct eighties sunset strip Glam Metal feel to it for the most part and sounds as tempting as anything of a similar ilk released this year. In the guitar work I hear clear SLASH influences and the vocals of front man Arnaud Restoueix give off plenty of nods to Axl Rose, but oddly enough they don’t really sound like GUNS N ROSES too much. There’s also a little bit of a classic blues rock vibe here too and a few times I reminded of a slightly heavier LED ZEPPELIN or KINGDOM COME. I do think though that in this day and age a three track disc hardly warrants being called an E.P. Times have changed and E.P’s are usually good for a minimum of four songs and usually up to sex or even seven, so on that note it falls short a bit. But as far as HEADING WEST being a good way to sample what DEADLINE are trying to do, then I can’t fault it for that as it does a great job. Time will tell if these guys have what it takes to break out and start playing with the big guns, but there’s definitely enough here to suggest that they are on the right track. I personally think they would be better off refining their sound a little and heading a bit closer to APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION era GNR, that’s definitely an unplugged hole at the moment just waiting for a suitable group to fill the role.      6/10

 

16. SKYDANCER – WINTERKILLER    (self-released)

A lot of metal bands stumble and fall tragically when they try and incorporate too many styles into their sound, and because most metal fans have their specific sub-genres of choice, varied albums struggle to find a following. SKYDANCER are one of those rare bands that seem to able to make it work. At the base of their new album WINTERKILLER you can find a pure Melodic Death Metal, but it’s infused with clear influences from Thrash Metal, Traditional Heavy Metal, Black Metal, Progressive Metal and also some Doom Metal. How do they make it work then?  Well for starters these guys are all great musicians and vocalists. Secondly their songwriting chops are stellar. The album is an epic slice of aggressive metal inspired by the harsh Galician Winters of their homeland, and even though the tempo changes constantly throughout the disc there is a constant feeling of weight on your shoulders and the ever present vibe of impending doom that really does make you feel both uncomfortable and excited at the same time. Obviously I think Melodeath fans will enjoy this album, but I also think it’s a great gateway disc for fans of other types of metal to come and have a look at what others are into without totally leaving behind their preferred choices.     7/10

 

Well, that’s it once again folks. My apologies for the slightly negative vibe that runs throughout the first half ofthis Mind Scan, I just want to make sure that you guys are getting the truth about some of the AOR and Melodic Rock releases that are falling flat lately. Still some great stuff to check out above though, until next time….

 

This edition of MIND SCANS brought to you by ZeeZee.

 

 

Tell Us How You Feel

Comments