EP stream: Isolert – Isolated Soul


IsolertTwo Greek guys, Nick S. and Panos T., dropped us a line about their demo EP, now available from Bandcamp. These two guys are the complete line-up of Isolert, and they work at the speed of light.

They formed Isolert earlier this year. Already they’ve completed their three-track demo and had the cover art completed for the EP. Geez, it takes me three weeks just to decide I need to buy more coffee.

Their music is atmospheric, melodic black metal that makes me want to slap my speakers. Both speakers look so pleased and smug when Isolert is coming out of them, the superior little bastards. If I did that I’d also have to slap my eardrums for looking so smug and satisfied when Isolert goes into them.

Panos T. (full name Panagiotis Tsiglifis) is the guitarist. Nick S. (Nick Sidiropoulos) plays the drums. They both do vocals. Together they sound like five people. That may mean I’ll have to go to Greece and slap all five of both of them if they’re not already well into the planning of their debut album, because I want more of their music.

Meet Isolert on Facebook. Their page on Bandcamp where you can listen to the full demo offers the EP for “name your price”. May I gently suggest that if you like them enough to download them, you give them some money too. They won’t object.

Album Review: Crooked Doors by Royal Thunder


Crooked DoorsA couple of years past one of our readers suggested I give a listen to C.V.I. by Royal Thunder and pretty much right after the first spin I was absolutely in love with it.  It is unlike anything I had heard.  It encompasses the attitude of metal, the psychedelic tendencies of prog, the soul of blues rock, and the heart of Americana folk.  Yet, if one were to pin it to one or a mix of those genres, it just wouldn’t fit in too well.  It just sits there on its own doing its own thing.  Now the Georgian quartet are here with a sophomore release to one of my favorite modern records and it does not disappoint.  In fact, it quite surpasses any expectations I had.

As with C.V.I., a big driving force throughout the entirety of Crooked Doors lies within the singular voice of Mlny Parsonz.  Exuding soul, emotion, and gravitas on every single note her bluesy vocals float effortlessly through whatever color or mood her band mates throw at her.  Whether the personifying that snarl of grunge on ‘Time Machine’ or channeling her inner-Billie Holiday on ‘The Bear’ Americana suite, she will find a way tug at your heartstrings in some shape or form.  And her lyrics just amplify the passion put into the singing.

Capitol Photography ParntersRoyal Thunder is a band and not the Mlny Parsonz show however, and with such a notable voice like hers, you better believe the rest of the crew are no slouches.  There’s no superfluous solos, crushing rhythms, or show stealing riffs going on the record.  What the real talent here is how all four member work together to lift the other up and create interesting and concise songs.  On ‘Ear on the Fool’ a bright sounding ominous riff weaves through a serpentine rhythm creating this delightfully dizzying effect while the vocals keep the twisty turbulence in check.  On ‘Forget You’ the doom metal riffing feels right at home with rock and roll vocals and on ‘The Line’ the fuzzy guitar tone melds perfectly with the Mars Volta-like passages of proggy psychedelia.  There’s even a rather unique take on the ballad with ‘The Line’ delivering a grungy/country concoction. The record is filled with endless moments of one complimenting the other, and not only is it engaging but also makes repeat listens that much more enjoyable.  This is a band that really feeds off of each other and it’s a pleasure to listen to.

Starting with a bang and ending on a solemn and uplifting note, Crooked Doors is a complete package.  Whether you’re a fan of metal, rock, blues, prog, folktechbabbledethsludge-coorz, if you dig on simply damn great music this is a must listen.  Not wanting depreciate their outstanding debut, this album is the outcome of hard work and honing a craft.  There wasn’t a single moment I found my attention meandering from the music which is a testament to the strong songwriting and performances throughout its hour-long run time.  The highest of recommendations. Peace love and metal!!! 5/5

Videogames: Free Stuff on Xbox for the Month of April (2015)


According to the article on Yahoo! Games, since Xbox launched the Games with Gold program, there has been over 100 million downloads.  People seem to be enjoying the Games for Gold deal.  Currently, Xbox gamers can download…for free…Rayman Legends and It Draws a Red Box for the Xbox One and Bioshock Infinite on the Xbox 360.  Not a bad deal at all even if you just download Bioshock. It’s a great game.

April’s new download list should excite some gamers simply for the sheer volume of games that will be available during the month of April.  Six this time.  Of course, this should appeal mostly to those still hanging on to that 360 since there will be more games available for that system.

For the Xbox One during the entire month of April 2015, you will be able to download with your Gold subscription:

Pool Nation FX.  Personally not much for these games, but I do like billiards.  I may squeeze this one on to my hard drive.  Try not to giggle when she says you can “play with your balls.”

Child of Light.  Based on the trailer, it looks like this game is uniquely challenging.  Read the rest of this entry

Album Review: Subterranean Masquerade – The Great Bazaar


SubMasq-TheGreatBazaar-CoverLocation: New York, USA

Genre: Symphonic progressive metal

Release date: 13 January 2015

Label: Taklit Music

Previous releases: Temporary Psychotic State (EP, 2004); Suspended Animation Dreams (album, 2005); Home (EP, 2013)

Tracks: 7

Length: 39 minutes

Recommended to: Prog metal fans of Orphaned Land, Haken, Leprous, To-Mera, and Oriental and Middle Eastern metal; neo-prog rock fans of  *Frost, Blind Ego, Galahad.

Mammal’s rating: 5 out of 5

Visiting every corner of “The Great Bazaar” is an experience of unfolding wonder and amazement. Subterranean Masquerade are purveyors of musical splendour and delight. Their integration of any number of metal and prog rock styles is constantly unpredictable, varied, and jaw-droppingly delectable.

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Album Review: Forgotten Tomb – Hurt Yourself and the Ones You Love


colour coverAlbum:  Hurt Yourself and the Ones You Love

Release Date:  17 April 2015 (EU); 21 April 2015 (North America)

Label:  Agonia Records

Songs:  7

Length:  51 Minutes

Genre:  Doom/Black/Stoner

Location:  Italy

Previous Albums:  Songs to Leave (2002); Springtime Depression (2003); Love’s Burial Ground (2004); Negative Megalomania (2007); Under Saturn Retrograde (2011); …And Don’t Deliver Us from Evil (2012).

If you tried combining black metal, doom, stoner, and a bit of 70s style hard rock, do you think you could do it?  What could possibly go wrong?  Well, a lot could go wrong.  While stoner rock/metal tends to lean on the hippy, happier, beer drinking side of metal, doom is rather moody and laced with melancholy.  Not always, but mostly.  While black metal is extreme, 70s hard rock is far from it.  Combining all of those elements seems hugely challenging to me and seems like it would be difficult to process as a listener.   Read the rest of this entry

Stream of the Week: Pyramids – A Northern Meadow


a4095720660_10With equal parts avant-garde, black metal, ambient and industrial music the second album from Pyramids is quite an adventure. Pyramids favourite thing to do is experiment with collaborations (too many to list here) and remixes, on this release we find artists such as Colin Marston (Gorguts/Krallice), Vindsval (Blut Aus Nord) and William Fowler Collins. Fascinating and endlessly beautiful, “A Northern Meadow” embraces you warmly with floating clean singing and a claustrophobic touch in the melodies, as if it desperately tries to hold you close while slowly pushing you towards the edge of a deep, bottomless shaft. As strange as it might seem, that really appeals to me. Give it a listen!

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Exploring New Things: Jakub Zytecki, guitarist


11050769_942665402440912_702368348222306337_nSome of you might know this young man as “the shred-master of feels” in the Polish prog band DispersE, or from his channel on Youtube, as he’s quickly becoming a well known name in prog rock/metal circles. Jakub Zytecki has the talent, the skills and the charm, all of which he’s ready to show off to the world in his upcoming solo debut, released next week. Today the second single was presented to us, and in similar fashion to the first one, it left me deeply impressed and excited for what’s to come. Easy flowing interesting compositions, a great vocalist and dreamy guitar work – the songs freshness and complexity exceeded my expectations by far. Have a listen!

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Mystery, intrigue and inception: Michael X


I was present at the birth of my son. I was there when numerous litters of puppies and kittens were born, and when my Harpactira tarantula, Miss Piggy, kept guard over an egg sac until about 100 baby tarantulas emerged. This is the first time I’m following a music project from its beginning.

So far it is just one song, “Michael X”, from an EP, album or maybe some other type of production currently named “Michael X”. The man behind the adventure is named Michael X. All the vocals are sung and all the instruments are played by Michael X. All he has on his website so far is what you see in the YouTube video, below. He also has a Soundcloud page where you can get the song.

What I know from Michael X is that the project will be introspective and self-exploratory. His ideas for making his own music have been germinating since he was barely larger than a Harpactira. The first song of “Michael X” offers clues about the theme. The news item at the beginning is part of the song.

That is the inception. The mystery will be how the theme develops and what it’ll eventually become. The intriguing part was trying to figure out what sort of music Michael X composes and plays. Is it prog metal, heavy prog rock or art metal? I’d say it’s all of those plus prog/metal electronica. This X-man had better keep me briefed as his further work unwraps itself.

Tales From Bandcamp: Beware the Sword You Cannot See by A Forest of Stars


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120 years before our age, there is a Gentlemen’s Club of A Forest Of Stars, an exclusive brotherhood of Victorian Englishmen who consider themselves representatives of their era, an era as glorious and splendid as it is decadent. This collective finds its musical expression in hypnotic and ghostly Black Metal, expertly streaked with elements of Ambient and Psychedelic.

Yaaaa, with a band description like that on their Bandcamp page I couldn’t resist for a moment to not click the play button to hear what 18th Century Black Metal sounded like.  Well, imagine if you will, a freshly brewed cup of Earl Grey tea…. spiked with opium.  You raise the porcelain cup to your lips and while sipping take in the aroma.  Since the tea is still hot you really don’t get the subtlety of the citrusy bergamot, just the relaxing touches of the base black tea.  It’s nice, comforting.  You sit back and relax.  Then as the flavor cools down and starts to build across your palette you take another sip, this time the essence of those little, green, Italian oranges tickle your nasal cavity and leave a light and pleasant aftertaste for you to contemplate on.

The soothing effect seeps into your being even deeper.  The clanging world around you just soothes as seemingly random and abstract sounds dance melodies from one ear to the next.  Structure and waves, ebb and flow, anger and serenity, it all comes together in harmonious, chaotic glory.  Oh shit, that must be the opium kicking in.  Enjoy the ride.  And my oh my what a ride.  A trip to hear a small group of chamber musicians, see recital of poetry, feel the pattering of a London shower on your back, smell the pungency of the cod coming in from the docks.  All your senses are heightened and carefully kneaded into a tasty cottage loaf.  And damn does this aroma of little, green, Italian oranges leave a nice sensation.

So, ya, Beware the Sword You Cannot See basically starts out as a rather traditional post-black metal affair and then descends into an odd and unique trip of Eldrich psychedelia unlike anything out there.  Yet somehow for how strange and chaotic the record can get it flows masterfully and is incredibly listenable.  If trippy turns on black metal is your fancy, do check out A Forest of Stars.  I promise, you will be delighted.

Roundtable Review: Run with the Wolf by Drakkar


Drakkar coverLabel: My Kingdom Music

Release Date: March 16th, 2015

Songs: 10 + 5 Bonus Tracks

Genre: Power Metal

Studio Albums: Quest for Glory, Razorblade God, When Lightning Strikes

Location: Milan, Italy

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