Review: 偏執症者 (Paranoid) – Heavy Metal Fuck-Up!

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Label: The Sign Records

偏執症者 (Paranoid) have built up quite a reputation for themselves over the past few years, with their mix of Disclose-worshiping D-beat grit, Japanese hardcore madness, and heavy metal heroics seeming like a combination that is perhaps an obvious one; but it’s one that few, if any, other bands do quite so well. New album Heavy Metal Fuck-Up!, as its title implies, has a much more metallic edge to it than previous releases, but it’s still recognisable as 偏執症者 (Paranoid) through-and-through. Imagine a combination between early Sodom and Disclose (but with a halfway decent production), and you’re pretty much there; and Heavy Metal Fuck-Up! is every bit as violent, energising, and exciting as that implies. It’s hardly original; but that doesn’t stop it being bloody great.

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August 2018 Blasts

And so, another month, another selection of short reviews. As always, it’s an eclectic selection, taking in a dark abmient soundtrack by Guillermo Pizarro; classic speed metal from Wardance; a reissue of some occult black metal, courtesy of Shaidar Logoth and Sentient Ruin; retro-rock from Wheel in the Sky; stomping hardcore from Peace of Mind; and some crushing death metal in the shape of Skeletal Serpent‘s self-titled EP. Enjoy!

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Review: Lizzies – On Thin Ice

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Label: The Sign Records

You know the old saying about not judging a book by its cover? Let’s apply that to the new album by Spanish hard-rock/heavy metal band LizziesOn Thin Ice might have some of the worst cover art I’ve seen this side of Goatlord, but, as anyone who heard first album Good Luck would surely expect, it contains some of the most kick-ass proto-metal to be released this year (and yes, I’m including the Saxon reissues in that list). Lizzies might be a relatively young band, but they understand all that is good about heavy metal – the riffs, the vocal hooks, the melodies; but more than all of that is the way that Lizzies make the listener feel like they’re on top of the world, with On Thin Ice being a massively empowering and confidence-boosting album.

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Album of the Day: Demon Head – Thunder on the Fields

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Label: The Sign Records

Modern bands playing classic rock place themselves in a precarious position. Sure, their music might be great, but how do you hold the listener’s attention without making them think they’d be better off just listening to the classics by Sabbath/Deep Purple/Thin Lizzy/and so on. The answer, as demonstrated by Demon Head on Thunder on the Fields, is deceptively simple – write songs that are strong, that demonstrate your own character, and are played with enough passion to put thoughts of the old masters as far out of the audience’s head as possible.

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Album of the Day: Lizzies – Good Luck

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Label: The Sign Records

Whilst my tastes in modern metal tend to fall on the extreme side of the spectrum, every now and then there will come along a record that perfectly captures the sound and feel of those classics of old, and I can’t help but be won over by it. Good Luck is one such record, and Lizzies are one of the best bands playing classic metal today.

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Nekrokraft – Witches Funeral

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Label: The Sign Records

Blackened thrash is the kind of genre where less can often be more. It doesn’t need to be progressive, or musically forward-thinking, or risk thinking outside of its box. Instead, the genre is often at its best when bands nail the fundamentals; when the riffs and leads are fast and vicious, the drums a crashing hammer of power, and the vocals utterly unhinged. Nekrokraft tick all of these boxes, and Witches Funeral – a compilation of their early demos, including two previously unreleased tracks – shows that the band were writing top-quality blackened thrash right from their very first days.

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2016 Favourites – Part I

And so here we are, fast approaching the end of 2016, and what a year it has been. Leaving aside all that has happened in the world at large, there have been plenty of worthwhile releases in the world of underground music (and even some decent mainstream ones, too). Over these posts, I’ll be picking out some of my favourites – albums, EPs, and demos that kept me coming back for more, and which have shaped my impression of 2016 in a musical sense. The first few posts will go through records in alphabetical order; it’s only once we reach the end that I’ll assign a ‘top 5’, and also give a brief overview of some releases that didn’t quite make the cut, and even a handful of mainstream highlights. Just because you can buy something in a HMV, it doesn’t always mean it’s shit.

The usual disclaimer applies – these are my favourites, which means they are not necessarily the best records of the year. There’s far more released than I can keep track of, and to hold even 25 records up and say “these are the best” feels dishonest. And, as you might expect, there is some cross-over with my summer ‘best of 2016 so far‘ list. But, whatever. Enough of this. On to the first part of the list.

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