Lunarium-"Journeys, Fables and Lore"-2008

Ohio would probably be the last place you would expect a band like Lunarium to hail from, as their Celtic-tinged Folk Metal style has more in common with the likes of Tyr, Blind Guardian and Falconer than with the usual Emo/Screamo slop currently being passed off as "Metal" in the states. The bands` debut is a 15 track affair that positively radiates quality and class, from the music [which is, of course, the main concern] to the CD booklet and inlay, it is clear that much thought and care went into "Journeys, Fables, and Lore". Lyrically, the songs are rife with tales of history and mythology, though perhaps in a more upbeat delivery than some of their peers. Another plus is the fact that Lunarium are among some of the finest musicians of this particular genre; Vocalist/guitarist Cinnead Loreweaver, guitarist Rygon Riffaxe, bassist Jarloc Darkstar and drummer Justyn Van Stokken [cool names or what?] are all high-calibre players who give life to their ale-soaked tales of yore, with a strong accent on melody and catchy riffs. Really, an album like this is meant to be taken as a whole, but twist my arm and I could point out choice cuts like "Warcry", "The Waymen", "1066", and the bawdy "Ale", a tune that should go down a storm at Ye Olde Local Taverne! All told, Lunarium have released one of the most original Metal discs of 2008, a welcome relief from the more pedestrian fare currently taking up space at the local record shops. And I have no doubt that there are MORE great things to come from these guys. So pour yourself a nice mug of mead and crank this one up good and LOUD!! [Many thanks to Datis and Lea at Farvahar Records for sending me the CD!]


Ten Man Push-"S/T"-2007

Most of my regulars readers will notice that I make no bones about my negative feelings towards most of the so-called "Modern Rock" bands out there nowadays. I said MOST, as there ARE some bands of this style that do things right. Such a band is Ten Man Push. Hailing from ny neck of the woods [Central New York], TMP is made up of some of the best in the business: John West-lead guitar/backing vocals [yes, BACKING vocals!], Lonnie Park-lead vocals/guitar, Nate Horton on drums and Dave Hoyt on bass. Most Modern Rockers are fair-to-decent musicians, managing to compensate, mostly through luck, in the songwriting department. But with the wall-to-wall talent in Ten Man Push, you KNOW that their take on the genre is gonna be head and shoulders above the majority of their stylistic peers. The bands 10-track debut was produced by both Park and West, so you won`t find any slipshod production HERE. And the production on the CD is clean and uncluttered, VERY loud and clear. Both in the lyrics and vocal departments, the band manages to avoid the temper-tantrum delivery and self-pitying drivel usual associated in in Modern Rock [tell me, how long does Modern Rock STAY "Modern"? Just curious......]. Definitely aggressive, but not overly so. No pointless musical excursions, no wasted notes, just catchy tunes delivered in a simple, direct and to-the-point manner. Assuming the lead guitar duties has obviously given John West a chance to showcase musical talents other than his vocal work, and his axe work shines on every track. After working with some of the best guitarists in the world, some of it HAD to rub off! The interplay between the musicians [particularly West and Park, who have worked together for many years] is what makes this CD such a pleasure to listen to, but in the end it`s the songs that count. Choice cuts include the opener "In The Dirt", "Idiot", "New York Night", and "Kingdom Of Fools". Much care was put into not only the songwriting but also the way the album itself was structured. There`s a flow to it that many albums of ALL styles seem to lack. And any of the aforementioned tracks are tailor-made for radio ariplay, given the chance. All in all, a fine debut from a band of seasoned pros whom we will doubtless be hearing more from! Highly recommended! [HUGE thanks to John West for the review copy!!]

Ten Man Push

Evarest-Promotional EP-2008

Prague-based Evarest are a 6-piece Power Metal machine featuring Evka on lead vocals, Olaf on bass and backing vocals, Pepa on lead guitar, Tomas on guitar, Honza on keyboards and Zdeno on drums. This 3-track EP was released for promotional purposes, and serves as a bit of a teaser for their upcoming full-length CD entitled "Fear" [Summer 2008; mark your calendars!:)]. If this promo is any indication, we are all in for a real treat! High velocity riffs, melodic vocals and catchy compositions are stock-in-trade for this band. Want proof? Check out "Fear", "Hero´s Fate" and what I consider to be one of the best Metal songs I`ve heard in a while, "For Goddamned Love". This song pretty much sums up what Evarest is all about, and it`s easily my favorite cut. Definitely one of THE bands` to watch, and one that will certainly have a few of the more established bands looking over their shoulders. Thumbs up! [Thanks to Farvahar Records for supplying the promo!]


InDespair-"No Escape"-2007

"No Escape" is the first official release from InDespair, a 5-man strike force from Poland. The EP features three re-recorded songs from their previous demo as well as two newer tracks. Sonically, the band leans more towards the Power/Thrash end of the Metal spectrum, though there are clearly other influences, also. The EP is a high quality affair, production-wise, and this gives the well thought out compositions here an even more aggressive edge. Of course, it helps that InDespair are fine musicians, as well! The songs are: "No Escape", "Virus", "Seduction Way", "Nie Widzial Nikt", and "Glowa w dol". Some of the more pominent influences in these songs include Megadeth, Iced Earth, as well as more Prog Metal stylings and a bit of Bay Area Thrash. But these guys manages to put their own personal stamp on each track. One can imagine what this band could do with a bigger budget and a full length CD; but considering the obvious talent on display here, I don`t think we`ll have to wait very long! A band with a bright future ahead of them, and a rising star on the Eastern European Metal scene. Recommended!! [Special thanks to Farvahar Records for the EP!]


Gallows End-Promotional EP-2008

When a band describes itself as "Pure Fucking Heavy Metal", what else is there to say? Of course, it`s good if the band can actually back up that claim, and Swedens` Gallows End back it up in spades!! Originally a one-man project started by guitarist/vocalist/producer Thord Klarstrom, Gallows End has blossomed into a full-blown band and is poised to make a name for themselves in the Euro Metal scene. This 3-song promotional CD was recorded at Thords` 7th Gate Studios, and features the songs "The Unborne Flag", "Set The World In Flames", and "Kingdom Of The Damned". The band derives their sound straight from the `eighties, though less nostalgic than many of their peers. Crunching guitars, flashy riffs and neck-snapping tempos, it`s all here! This is but a taste of things to come; however, we`re gonna have to wait `til Winter 2009 for the full-length CD! Hopefully, we can hold out that long! [won`t be easy] So for now, just crank these tunes up and play them over and over and over again!! [Thanks go out to Farvahar Records for sending me the promo disc!]

Gallows End
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