Friday, May 31, 2013

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Raw, cold, evil, grim and blacker than the darkest of night all the elements are here in these two demo tracks  from Andaeroth a black metal horde hailing from Italy who have just released upon an unsuspecting world their first musical offerings. Taking their cue from the northern masters of old and putting their own stamp on proceedings this new black metal outfit are definitely ones to keep an eye on.

Check out the song  ''Save my Soul'' below and to hear another demo for the song ''Satanicide'' then follow the link to their facebook page.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

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I've had this album on heavy rotation for most of the week after I was sent a copy by the band and I have to say it has made my metal week. This is the first album I listen to each day and it just puts you in such a great kickass mood for the day ahead and off you go with a big smile knowing you just had a date with a classic metal album. The whole album is well crafted and goes straight for the kill and holds your attention form the first blasting riff to the last rocking note of the bands cover of L.A. Guns "No Mercy". So for all those new to this band here it is the arrival of sleazy thrash in all it's rifftastic glory with the debut album from Tornado which dropped back in 2011. The band at the time was made up of the core of vocalist Superstar Joey Severance and Michiel Rutten along with three members of the Finnish band Amoral and produced by none other than Peter Tagtgren of Hypocrisy fame, so it goes without saying the production packs quiet a punch with each thrashing riff and blistering lead hitting you with crystal clear clarity right between the eyes. The band themselves play high energy, riff-heavy thrash played with a loose good time attitude and although the lyrics deal with serious social issues they still know when to have a laugh. Never a dull moment and song writhing to boot, you need this band in your life so buy or die!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

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It's hard to believe the incredible work on this album is that of one man Iwen Denayer.  Born out of anger, frustration and sorrow, the feelings and thoughts of one man bleed unto tape. Handling all instruments , programming and song writing except for the final track which is an exceptional cover of "A Spinning Song" by Dax Riggs which is an adapt finish and twist at the end of an emotionaly devastating album. Humanity Defiled are all about brutally honest uncompromising death metal that strangles the life out of the listener showing little or no remorse. Painting a bleak picture of the downfall of man and the hardships of life. The sound of late 80's early 90's death metal drugged up from it's hideous slumber and dragged helplessly through the mud to unleash devastating havoc once more. From short fast deathly attacks to slow grinding riffs laced with intricate guitars solos and subtle touches which go unnoticed at first but fester their way into your subconsciousness, with this album you need to go a little deeper. However it's not all brutal take the somber breeze for reprise that is "Ashes" for a fine example of a band which is clearly more than the sum of it's parts. During the song you can hear the burning of god knows what as the music creates an eerie and thought provoking sound scape. Which brings us to the the song "Exit?" which deals with the topic of suicide in such a realistic and human way that it really leaves a lasting impact on you making you stop and think. The effect this song has on me is something I rarely get from music but it is moments like these where music can truly transcend and convey the unconveyable. An album of great emotion, unrelenting honesty and humanity for better or worse. The album is available from Humanity Defiled's bancamp page as a pay what you want offer so be sure to check it out even if you only download it for free at least go and like the facebook page and show your support for the underground.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

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Design of Chaos play heavy metal loud and proud with a distinct modern edge a streamlined metal killing machine if you will. With this their debut EP the band spew forth their deadly and vicious intent with the voraciousness of a primed warhead. The band have been improving and honing their craft playing many gigs around their homeland of Britain building up a strong and solid fanbase. The music could be described as heavy metal but this has a very modern sound and an overtly apparent Lamb of God influence but this is taken mainly from that said bands peak period which came with their classic"Ashes of the Wake" album thankfully and not their more recent output. The playing is solid and passionate with energetic thrashy riffs delivered with pure unadulterated brutal force and the venomous vocals of a man you clearly do not want to get in an argument with. The only problem with this band and a minor grievance at that  that is they need to find a little bit more of their own identity and stamp on things otherwise things may become tiresome over the course of a full-length.

Monday, May 27, 2013

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Holding the album cover in my hands and looking at the ghostly figure of a woman leading some lost soul  into the darkness of night and a somewhat foreboding house off in the distance shrouded in darkness and the black metal style logo I half expect to be in for a freezing cold black journey through the mind of some no doubt demented and tortured soul. And my preconceived thoughts seem justified when the cold melodic tremolo picked opening riff of  the title track " An Apparition in Nocturnal Splendour"  kicks in and makes me raise my mighty horns and shriek like an orc but as the song progresses it's apparent not only is this well produced black metal their is also a big melodic death metal influence going on here. This is not the type of black metal that Darkthrone perfected in the early nineties with their black metal trilogy this is more in the vain of Dissection than any other black metal band maybe a slight influence of Watain can be heard  in the grandeur of the music and the overall feel. With the second track "Dethroned"  we hear the first major shift in style occurring because this is straight up melodic death in an almost thrashing way, this band clearly have more than one trick up their collective sleeves. As the song progresses so does it's ambiance from melodic death to black and back to some old school death metal to round off the song all bounded together seamlessly and not to mention the dynamic vocals by vocalist Pete Colucci who puts in a great performance showing he can adapt his voice to the various styles on offer. The all too short instrumental piece "Sombre Dream to Gaze Upon" shows the band can spread their artistic wings and leave their comfort zone delivering a beautiful desolate landscape in a few short notes, truly breath taking.  The album is full of great guitar playing and solos bringing out the best in each riff. The band continue their deathly blackened assault and leave a lasting impression on this scribe even after the first listen.

The EP is available for free download through Torn Flesh Records from the link below.

It's also available from the bands bandcamp page.

Friday, May 24, 2013

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Hell Torment from Peru are set to release their next assault in the first week of July called Hell Terror which will be available from the labels: Heavier Records and Espirtus Inmundos Records.
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Bakken for me are with out a doubt one of the best bands around at the moment flying the flag for all that is good and down right blinding about metal, whatever label you want to give it. I prefer to call it the new wave of awesome metal or NWOAM for short. The band play what can only be described as a blend of all that is classic and true about the metal genre. The young band who's debut album"Death of a Hero" has been creating a proverbial storm through the metal underground since it's release in 2012 and was one of the albums of the year for ThePower of the Riff, have
been good enough to take the time to answer some questions for us.

TPOTR - How has the response to the album been so far?
Overall its been great :-) We offered the album as a free download to get our name out there and have sold way more CDs than we thought we would. Reviewers like yourself have have been very kind.

TPOTR - Did you expect to create such a reaction amongst fans, your music seems to have struck a chord with metalheads looking for straight up metal they can get their teeth stuck into and just enjoy the beauty of listening to pure metal flowing.
To be honest no! [laughs] we didn't expect such an overwhelming response, in fact we didn't know what to expect at all, having not released anything previously. All the members of Bakken grew up listening to metal (pretty much exclusively!) and its still a big part of our lives, I probably speak for all Bakken members when I say I was always drawn more towards the classic metal bands like Maiden, Megadeth, Thin Lizzy, Ozzy etc. And that hasn't changed. Most of the modern stuff just doesn't do it for me!
For us there was no preconceived plan to write a strictly 'classic metal only' influenced album, but as a metal fan Ive just been kind of waiting for the glory days of Metallica, Helloween, Priest etc to return and have been dying to hear some new metal that isn't all about shouting and breakdowns! [ha] I guess that was a main driving factor behind forming Bakken, just to make some music that Ive been dying to hear myself for 

TPOTR - Tell us a bit about the history of the band, how did the Bakken story begin?
Actually, its quite a mental story, it even got published in our biggest National newspaper in Northern Ireland :-) In short, I had another life in England as an academic studying birds, but I fell very ill with lyme disease after being bitten by infected ticks. I came back to Northern Ireland (where I grew up) to recover. My old pal Mark-Anthony (who I wasted most of my teenage years partying and learning guitar with) had actually returned back home too after his brother was murdered a couple of years before, I was surprised to see that he still played guitar and so we jammed quite a bit. For me forming the band initially just seemed like a good way of taking my mind off things because I was very ill. We sought out Niall to have a jam with as he was well known as 'the best drummer in town', he was actually trying to sell his drum kit because he was going to give up playing! Just as well he didn't, because my jaw nearly hit the floor when I saw what he could do :-) As I got a bit better we started playing small small gigs in the local area, by that stage we had found a singer (Neil McIvor) and Brian O'Kane on bass. We played a mix of covers, mostly Maiden, Priest, Metallica etc, then I started to write originals. Eventually we parted ways with Neil and I reluctantly stepped up to the mic (basically because we couldn't find anyone else!). Since then we've been playing more and more further afield and of course recorded the album, its all happened rather fast! :-)

TPOTR - What is the scene like in Ireland, do you feel more isolated from the rest of mainland Europe, for example touring opportunities must be harder to find with all of the major festivals in the metal callandar taking place for the most part in mainland Europe?
Its a fairly small scene in Ireland (as with the rest of the UK), but there are a stunning number of decent bands over here. We are isolated from the main touring circuits on mainland Europe, but once our new bass player (Adrian Stockman) is over his surgery we will plan an assault! We definitely will focus on getting to Mainland Europe (e.g. Germany) as much as possible.

TPOTR - Ireland seems to be a country left out when it comes to the history of metal but the island has seen some great bands come and go over the years "Sweet Savage","Thin Lizzy", and "Primordial"  to name a few and now add "Bakken" to that legacy. Why to you think this
is, it's certainly not got to do with the quality of the music?
To be honest I'm not sure but you definitely have a point. If anything I think the quality of grass roots/underground rock and metal here is unrivalled, but its certainly difficult to get noticed by the mainstream media when you are stuck on a thinly inhabited rock on the edge of the Atlantic! [ha] Obviously I'm joking, actually I think its easier for bands now to get noticed regardless of your location with the aid of the Internet, but yes I think Irish bands have generally been overlooked in the past.

TPOTR - You decided to release the album yourselves independently this seems to be the road taken by a lot of bands  these day's, was this your choice or did it come out of necessity?
A bit of both. Obviously 'getting signed' is every bands dream, but record labels are signing less bands now than ever because of lost revenue from illegal downloading. As an unknown new band its difficult to attract attention from mainstream labels, but we will carry on giving it our best shot! Actually going it alone these days as an indie works really well for small bands with all the social media sites available to advertise your music.

TPOTR - I want to ask you about one of my favourite tracks from an album made up of classic after classic, the song is "Voyage of Aodh" which is a sprawling epic metal journey so much so that when I heard it first I had to lift my jaw up from the floor several times? My question is how did the song come about and who is Aodh?
Thanks Austin very kind, glad you liked it, I agonised over that track for months trying to get it perfect! Actually Ive been asked a few times before what its about... Unlike the other tracks on the album which often rant about politics or whatever :-), that one is a simple story about a guy who dreams of leaving in search of a better life, but everything quickly turns bad and he spends the rest of his time trying to get back home. It was partly inspired by the history of the potato famine in Ireland where many people left for America, so we thought it apt to give the guy an Irish name; I guess it's also inspired by the film Cast Away with Tom Hanks (I love that film). In this story, Aodh leaves Ireland but ends up getting shipwrecked and fighting to survive, in the end he is a cast away on a raft and the song ends without you finding out whether he makes it or not. The whole thing is a homage to the saying 'the grass is always greener' I suppose.... Musically, its a bit different to most of the other tracks, the structure is complex (to add to the sense of adventure) and there are some more overtly Helloween influenced parts in the song. I think it was a good way to end the album.

TPOTR - Have you managed to do much gigging in support of the album?
Yes, quite a few, although all of them have been in Ireland. Before the end of the year we are hoping to do some touring in the UK and beyond.

TPOTR - Where are some of the places you have been to and where would you like  to play live in the future?
I'd love to play in Germany, they really appreciate heavy metal there! I'd also really love to get to South America too, they also love their metal and it would be a real experience playing in a hot country for us :-)

TPOTR - A lot of bands these day's release their albums directly to the fans via bandcamp or some other media, you yourself having released yours through bandcamp. Is this the future or is it merely a temporary step needed before you sign to a label and get the much needed backing I suppose every band needs in order to survive?
We all work full time jobs, so financially we can afford to pay to be in the band, because unless you strike it lucky, bands cost a hell of a lot of money! If we get any label attention that would be great, but for now we are happy with everything we've achieved in the last two years and will keep doing what we do and see what happens 

TPOTR - Facebook as well seems to be a new tool for bands to spread their music directly to the fans, kind of harking back to the 80's with bands spreading their music through word of mouth, what is your opinion of the whole facebook thing?
I think its great in terms of your ability as a band to easily reach a wide audience. On the downside, every band under the sun now seems to have a presence on the Internet so its becoming increasingly difficult to find the good ones...

TPOTR - Looking ahead have you put any thought into the follow up to " Death of a Hero"?
Yes! We are writing all the time in the background. We have a timetable for when the next album is going out already, but for now its all about promoting our current release.

TPOTR - What can we expect in musical terms form the band?
I guess more of the same in terms of style, lots of long songs full of riffs and melodies, although its fair to say some of our new ideas are a touch more progressive and technical than before, with a thrashier edge...

TPOTR - That's just about it, thanks for your time and if there is anything you want to add go ahead.
We'd all just like to say a big thanks to everyone who has supported us in any way, it really makes it all worthwhile! A big thanks to you too Austin, guys like yourself have been a major part in us getting our name out there, very much appreciated mate! \m/

Monday, May 20, 2013

Posted by \m/ The Power of the Riff \m/ | File under :

There seems to be just one to many thrash bands these days but man do I love when I get sent an album by a thrash band that just kicks you in the teeth and goes straight for the throat showing no mercy, igniting the fires of the old days and holding the torch high for everything thrash should be. Razor sharp riffs fired at break neck speed with great song writing dynamics. At first I wondered why I had not heard of this band before now and to my surprise they only formed last year and have already released two demos before this. If I didn't know better I would have thought they had been on the scene for a few years such is the tightness and great musicianship on offer. The band deliver the goods ten fold in an all too short but sweet thrash assault. To sum the review up I expect great things to come from this young band. Check 'em out or miss out!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

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Deathknell from India who formed back in 2009 are an unsigned/independent band who on paper play melodic death/ heavy metal but what I hear is more of a slow chugging middle of the road thrash crunch.
Listening to their debut album I get the impression something is missing a certain energy or punch to give the music some much needed impact. It's not that they are particularly good or even particularly bad but they never seem to ignite. There is no jaw dropping moments or what the fuck was that moments. The bands main problem is the predictability, every song follows the same pattern of a slow chugging mid paced thrash riff followed by verse chorus, solo repeat. Except for the two ballads which are badly sequenced one after another. Their impact would have been greater if the were placed in a different order and the ballads themselves aren't really anything special. The last song does pick up the pace and offer something more dynamic but sadly this is a Children of Bodom cover. Each song as a stand alone track is not so bad for example the song "Defining Death" is a great song bringing to mind early Sepultura but when you hear them one after the other it is a bit repetitive. This would be a great album to stick on and do a spot of housework but it's not something to get your teeth stuck into.This is their first release as a band so they still have a long way to go and if I were them I would shop this album around as a demo because my review would have been more lenient but because this is presented as an official debut full-length I have to say it doesn't cut the mustard. The band have potential but they need to find their own stamp and maybe stop emulating their heroes. They can play, they just need to let their metal spirits to be unleashed and let loose.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

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Banned From Hell are an Italian Melodic Death Metal band from Florence who formed in early 2011. This is their first official release and comes as one of the most fulfilled realisations I have heard from a band who present their debut musical offerings in a long time. Their is an apparent black metal undertone in the atmosphere created throughout this release without actually playing any particularly black metalish riffs but yet the dark nightmarish feeling is maintained throughout this E.P. to great effect. Credit goes to the vocalist who displays great versatility from death growls to ungodly shrieks which would scare the shit out of Gollum. The band also display a  progressive edge in the solos and structure of the riffs which twist and turn and are never predictable. After a short eerie intro the E.P. kicks straight into the track ''Hate" where the band display all of their ungodly intent. The E.P's strength lies in the musicianship and interesting song structures which surprise again and again and make this E.P. pass by in what seems like the blink of an eye and before you know it you have awaken from a nightmare and are trying desperately to recall what just happened. Each track goes by in a glorious blur of riffage and tasteful atmosphere enhancing keyboard playing which at times also takes the lead with the guitar playing along to the keyboards which adds a nice touch to the songs. This is one interesting and engaging listen from beginning to end and definitely a band to keep an eye on who are no doubt destined to move on to greater things.

The E.P. is available as a pay what you want release from the bands bandcamp page so be check it out.

Show your support and check out their offical Facebook page.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

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TPOTR: You've just released your album "Man's Last Portrait" which is one of the finest debuts I have heard in a long time and comes hot on the tail of two E.p.s. At this early stage in the bands existence you are already quit prolific. How long did it take to write and gather all of the material for the album because the songs themselves are well constructed and throughout pieces.

Yuriy: Thanks for such positive feedback on the album! Some of the music on this album was written as far back as four or five years ago. I write down a lot of ideas, and this was my chance to incorporate the ones I've been really wanting to put to use. Other parts were written just months before the recording. It all ended up coming together very quickly - this was during a period when I had the time to really sit down and immerse myself in the songwriting process.

TPOTR: Tell us some more about the writing process, do you write separately or as a whole unite?

Yuriy: I write much of the music on my own, or at least the majority of the guitar and keyboard parts. I find it easier to be creative when I can sit down on my own and collect my thoughts. Once I've got some things written, I would show them to Dave and Ivan and get their input and their ideas. Sometimes Ivan and I would get together and jam on some ideas. That's how the piano section for "As Hope Fades" came to be.

TPOTR: Lyrics seem to play a great part in the music with both complimenting each other for example the music conveys the emotion within the lyrics to devastating effect.

Yuriy: The lyrics are a very important part of the album. We wanted to make sure the right message as well as the right imagery gets conveyed so that it all comes together and creates the right experience for the listener. These were also a very collaborative process, probably more so than the music. Everyone worked together on these.

Dave: The lyrics came last in the process, though, and were written after the writing and arranging of the music was complete. That allowed us to really think about how each song either made us feel or what it reminded us of,\ while working within the boundaries of the concepts and ideas behind the songs and the album, and the lyric-writing process went from there. For example,"What lies beyond" made me think of an episode of the TV show The Universe that I had seen about the end of the universe, and the lyrics
for for that song were thus inspired by it.

 TPOTR: The title of the album ''Man's Last Portrait" is very evocative and open to interpretation. How does it tie in with the whole lyrical concept of the album?

Yuriy: The album deals largely with themes of personal loss, as well as the degradation of our world as a whole, and we felt that the encompasses these topics well. It's also the title of the eighth track on the album, which I think is a good representation of the lyrical themes and the album as a whole.

 TPOTR: Back to the beginning of the band, how did you come together?

Yuriy: We were in uni at the time. Two former members of the band and I were walking back from some show - in New York, I think - and we were talking about starting a band. We were all friends already - most of the metal kids at the school knew each other. And we all played a variety of instruments(except me - I only played guitar, so of course I ended up becoming one of the guitarists). So we started to jam, and actually wrote some pretty cool black/folk metal sounding stuff that never got recorded. Anyway, that's how it all began.

Dave: Two of the original four of us lived in the same house during our 3rd year of university, so all the magic happened there.After about a year of jamming together and writing at least once a week, the ''Being Toward Death'' was born.The rest, as they say, is history.

TPOTR: The bands style is hard to pin down ranging from melodic death metal with elements of black metal, post rock, jazz and even flourishes of classical music which is apparent in the piano playing on the album but yet you show no allegiance to any one style. How would you describe the band's music?

Yuriy: At this point, I'd say a blend of black and doom metal is an accurate description. Most of the sites that reviewed our album used those labels. But genres are useful only for giving people an idea of what something sounds like until they get to hear it. What matters is whether you like what you hear or not. I certainly hope people like what they hear.

Dave: I often describe our sound to people as ''Blackened Doom'' metal as well. but at the same time it feels like a limiting definition.I really hope we're able to continue expanding our musical boundaries on our future releases while still hitting you with the proverbial sonic brick in the face!

TPOTR: What inspires you to create the music you do and who were your influences starting out?

Yuriy: Life, I suppose. I feel the drive to write music, so I do. As far as bands go, there's Woods of Ypres, Ulver, Tenhi, Swallow the Sun, Agalloch...I listen to a bunch of different classical/new age piano stuff as well.

Dave: I was largely inspired by the likes of Iron Maiden (my all-time favourite metal act) and the modern Extreme Metal/melo-death movement and was going through a folk/power metal phase when we started the band. It's funny because I had very little exposure to the styles of metal that really influenced Yuriy's writing before I was in FP, so just being in the band has been a very mind-opening experience musically.

The bands debut album can be downloaded for free from their bandcamp page.