A am a bit embarrassed to admit that this is a CD I was planning on reviewing quite some time ago and it completely got lost in the shuffle. Since my review of the band’s previous work, The Rough Path Of Nihilism from 2010, I immediately notice a few things have changed. The production here seems much fuller and the music is a bit more powerful overall, the band still has a doomy feel but the music is much more traditional sounding, yet the songwriting is still very thought provoking and full. The vocals in particular are much more up front, allowing them to compete equally against the music. Lots of atmosphere here (check out the ghostly wails in A Dance With The Dead for instance). Overall the album is solid, though some of it really clicks with me a bit more than others and this album is definitely another step in the right direction for the band, who are on the verge of really turning some heads in the industry. They have one of those sounds that can really speak to quite a few different genres rather well from the traditionalists to the doomsters, to the goth and even the extremists. I still get some Paradise Lost in the music but there seems to be more of a feel of other influences in the music, making this album more well rounded than the predecessor. Doom On!
Choice Tracks – Tragedy, A Dance With The Dead, The Venus And The Moon, Darkness
DEMOLITION TRAIN Unleash the Hordes
(No Remorse 2014)
This Greek quartet is aptly named. Their music really is like a runaway freight train demolishing everything in its path, just as depicted by the brilliant cover painting courtesy of renowned artist Dimitar Nikolov. There is no sublety, no nuance, no pretention on display here, just 11 songs of fast-paced, sledgehammer energetic metal. There’s a good bit of ‘Kill ‘Em All’ era Metallica (a little “Metal Militia” here, a dash of “Whiplash” or a pinch of “No Remorse” there) in the riff structures of the Karakas brothers, as well as some Motorhead, some Riot and some faster NWOBHM (Satan, Jaguar, Avenger, etc.). What makes this ‘Unleash the Hordes’ album shine is that, for all their relentless speed and manic intensity, those riffs frequently manage to be catchy and melodic. And that, really, is the genius of Demolition Train. They take simple straightahead songs, laden with half-shouted heavily accented vocals (the chorus of the title track sounds like “Unleech dee Oars”), and turn them into magic with those speedy, fistbanging, ridiculously old-fashioned guitar riffs.
Demolition Train are the kind of band that a killjoy could slag mercilessly as derivative, one-dimensional, and repetitive. But the critics have it all wrong. ‘Unleash the Hordes’ is not an album meant to be analyzed, dissected, diagrammed and placed under a microscope. No, this album is meant to be consumed in the midst of a wild night at full volume after a few adult beverages. Just rock out, let yourself go, and enjoy the waves of speed and energy as they wash over you. Close your eyes, and you can see the sweat pouring off the band members as Demolition Train rip through these tunes in a small, smoke-filled, ouzo-soaked dram shop somewhere in Athens. Songs like “Wrecking Crew,” “Metal Mayhem,” the band’s namesake “Demolition Train,” and “All Hell is Breaking Loose” may not be innovative or original in the slightest, but they capture the spirit, the power, the energy and the sheer unbridled exuberance of underground, blue-collar, old-school heavy metal. And for that reason, I am quite fond of this ‘Unleash the Hordes’ album (even if a couple of songs like “Hell on Earth” take their foot off the gas pedal with less spectacular results). Calculating, cerebral listeners need not bother with Demolition Train, but for those who just want to crank up and rock out like it was 1983 all over again, you’ve got another “buy-or-die” album to add to your list for 2015.
~ Review by Kit Ekman ~
Demolition Train were formed in 2009 by Apostolis Korakas (guitars), Vasilis Korakas (guitars) Nikos Niavis (drums) and Mich...alis Papadimitriou (bass). The purpose was very very simple..."the only thing we want is to ROCK OUT!!!So...turn the volume as high as you can and MAKE SOME NOISE!!!". The band started composing its own songs but there was something missing... for a long time Demolition Train were searching for a singer! After some auditions Kostas Krommidas (Apolis band) joined the band as a lead singer. Recording process started and soon some demo versions of the songs made their appearance on the internet at the myspace page of the band!A few months later, Kostas Krommidas and Demolition Train separated their ways! The band was about to make its first live appearance and it was decided that Apostolis Korakas should sing in order to save the situation! But unexpectedly, things have gone really well and Demolition Train found their voice at last! In 2011 Demolition Train released their first Demo-EP called "Kill Your Boss"! Vasilis Korakas & Michalis Papadimitriou had to leave the band temporarily for post-graduate studies abroad. Witchkiller from Steamroller Assault joined the band as a bass player. Demolition Train turned into a power-trio and continued to promote their work with live performances...
Complete with traditional folk instruments such as Irish bagpipes and the bodhran and using choir vocals and Greek narratives, Sacred Blood come back with their third album of epic Greek power metal, this time focusing upon the tale of Jason and the Argonauts. What I really love about this release is that despite it having all of the usual aspects of a band that would get really cheesy with the over the top theatrics, it really sounds sincere and heartfelt (maybe since it’s a Greek band and they were singing about Greek mythos instead of Norse Vikings or Tolkien or something along the like. I have to say, not since the early days of Blind Guardian has something sounded so epic and so much fun while doing it! This album grabs your attention from the opening introduction and you are brought in to their tale so fully and completely, you can just about feel the waves crashing down on you and soaking you to the skin as you are sailing to Crete and your destiny! The songcrafting is quite marvelous and the vocals fit everything perfectly. I feel that Sacred Blood has really come of age with this album (and that says a lot since I am a fan of the first two albums as well!) Definitely one I am going to be listening to for some time to come!
Choice Tracks – Hail The Heroes, Call Of Blood, Legacy Of The Lyre, Hellenic Steel, O’er The Tomb
DOOMOCRACY The End is Written
(Steel Gallery 2014)
I don’t suppose I need to begin this review with any kind of description of what style of music this band plays. The name Doomocracy is not very subtle. It proudly proclaims to all the world that these five Hellenic warriors play epic doom metal. In my mind, there’s a vast chasm separating the first tier purveyors of epic doom (the likes of Solitude Aeturnus, Candlemass, Memory Garden, and Solstice) from the many lesser acts treading similar ground. On their debut album, ‘The End is Written,’ Doomocracy make a compelling statement that they are (or someday soon may be) worthy of inclusion in the pantheon of doom elites, particularly now that masters like Solitude Aeturnus and Candlemass appear to be out of the game, at least in terms of new music.
Doomocracy excel at so many aspects of this genre. They know when to lock into a slow mournful plod and when to accelerate the tempos and increase the energy. They have a singer, Michael Stavrakakis, who is blessed with a powerful and charismatic voice. Whatever shortcomings he might have in his English pronunciation he more than compensates for with his rich, emotive delivery that only occasionally dips into screechy territory. Mercy, just listen to how he belts out the line “I am the glory, the sun and the water” in “Emissary of Vengeance,” and feel the chills run down your spine. Tracks like the awesome “Faceless” (with its towering riff and haunting refrain) are nearly perfect in construction and execution. And they know how to avoid repetition and boredom in their songwriting, crafting concise songs and throwing in just enough off-kilter rhythmic changes and progressive twists (think Memento Mori) to keep the listener on his toes on tunes like “Sins,” all the while remaining comfortably within the parameters of classic doom metal. At 8 songs and 45 minutes, ‘The End is Written’ never outstays its welcome or tests the patience of the listener as so many doom albums do. Finally, the suitably apocalyptic cover artwork captures the spirit and vibe of Doomocracy perfectly.
I loved Below’s ‘Across the Dark River’ album that came out last year. I have exceedingly high hopes and expectations for the forthcoming Sorcerer opus, ‘In the Shadow of the Inverted Cross,’ due out on Metal Blade this spring. But Doomocracy have made an outstanding contribution to the epic doom genre on ‘The End is Written.’ It’s not a perfect release, as some songs could be more memorable, but Doomocracy emphatically and resoundingly deserves the attention and support of doom mavens all around the world.
~ Review by Kit Ekman~
UPSM from Greece? That is pretty much what we have here with Sacral Rage’s debut full length effort, following the release of an EP in 2013. With influences containing Mercyful Fate, Jag Panzer, Rush, Annihilator, Judas Priest and Watchtower you get a scope of their wide-ranging musical assault. The band have a heck of a job playing some entertaining music, but overall, the sound is pretty uneven overall. There are moments of sheer brilliance and some pretty cool tunes to be found, but there is also a lot of chaos going on as well. It seems the band is trying too hard to write some extremely epic music and unfortunately this may be a case of too much too soon as their song-writing is not quite up to their ambition at this point. Either way it is a fun listen, though definitely a bit flawed. With one instrumental, one lengthy epic track and a fairly long instrumental, there are only a handful of standard tracks on here with which to build momentum, though, for the most part they are pretty solid. Not a bad effort overall, and the band definitely has a lot of talent and could well use this to build upon going forward
Choice Tracks – Panic In Urals (Burning Skies), Waltz In Madness, Inner Sanctum Asylum, A Tyrannous Revolt
Now we are talking! The artwork on this CD is phenomenal and immediately grabs attention as it just screams METAL. The packaging is all pretty and all that but the true highlight of this release is actually on the music itself! The first few notes of the album let me know immediately what to expect here - Grade A traditional 80s heavy metal! Yes, I know there are quite a few bands that are bringing the old school sound back to the forefront, but many of those bands lack conviction or a true love of the old school and it often shows in their music. On the other hand, these young metalheads play with an energy and fire that is sorely lacking from some of the other, more known bands. Incredible riffs, galloping leads, strong mid range vocals, good melodies and blazing solos are all here in plenty and all trapped within your typical subject matters. Yep, definitely a worthy new addition to any traditionalist's metal arsenal and I get the feeling they are only going to get better!
Choice Tracks - The Seeker, Torment, Martyr, Burn The Witch, Bullet, The Awakening
True Metal Lives
The Voice Of The Underground