Metal Shock Finland‘s team member and IRON KNIGHTS and ex-BLAZE BAYLEY drummer, Larry Paterson has teamed up with film-maker Kris McManus for the documentary project “Scars – The Third Reich In Ruins”.
Review By Larry Paterson
Artist: DEF CON ONE
Label: Scarlet Records
Release Date: 19 February 2014
1. H8 Ball
3. Soul Possessed
4. Scarred For Life
5. Debt To Society
6. Skinhead Shaped Dent
7. Need A Reason
8. Die Again
9. Damned Disgrace
10. Drag Me To Hell
I like DEF CON ONE. After hearing “Warface”, hearing and reviewing “Brute Force and Ignorance” and seeing the band live several times I was pretty confident that I was going to like this new full length album too. But, then again, I’ve been wrong before as a fan of bands who were once on a winning streak before heading in a direction that left me behind. Fortunately, this is not the case with the Newcastle crunchers. The aptly named “II” (yes, it’s their second album) opens with ‘H8 Ball’ playing to DEF CON ONE’s strengths right from the word go. With a riff from Johnny Hunter that plays across the ‘alternating accent’ drum line laid down by Antton Lant, it heads straight into the kind of über heavy groove metal that DEF CON ONE have made their own. Davey Meikle’s vocals shine as always and Steve Miller’s bass line nails the whole thing together into one mighty wall of punchy metal.
Suffice to say, the entire album is rock solid with a stylistic thread running through all of it that never crosses the line into repetition but keeps each song tanking along at the right pace and feel. Third track – and the one that the band released as a sampler for the album – is ‘Soul Possessed’ which opens with some tasty clean guitar and vocals before crashing back into full-on driving Defcon-ness. It’s got a particularly interesting structure and Davey’s voice showcases some more of the diversity that he really started to use to greater effect than ever before on the “Brute Force And Ignorance” EP. Here it leaves an annoyingly catchy chorus line stuck in my head for hours. Job well done. ‘Die Again’ is another track that starts quietly, running for half its length at a perfect atmospheric pace – complete with a hint of keyboard – before Johnny comes in with some inspiringly emotive guitar work. In fact, this track may well be my current stand out favourite (though that’ll probably alternate with another one in about half an hour!)
Simply said, this is a great album that once again shows the way that the band are constantly evolving and pushing themselves forward. There are many bands in the UK currently that are – to my ears at least – receiving plaudits for recycling riffs and ideas that made the 80’s a great decade for metal: DEF CON ONE are not one of these and have carved their own identity and sound. If the metal scene has any justice in it then they should be forging ahead professionally to match their artistic progress. They have excelled themselves with a bloody great album that show the band moving along an ever inclining upward trajectory they began with the excellent “Warface”. I cannot wait to see this new stuff live on stage because, ironically perhaps considering the strength of the band on album, they are a live animal: you may see bands on stage as good as DEF CON ONE, but you won’t see better. Onwards and upwards!
Davey Meikle – Vocals
Johnny Hunter – Guitars
Steve Miller – Bass
Antton Lant – Drums
English metallers IRON KNIGHTS have announced some UK tour dates for 2014, check them out below:
The band, with Metal Shock Finland‘s Larry Paterson on drums, are currently recording their new album, which will be released early 2014 and to promote the forthcoming album Iron Knights will be out on the road in February.
For more information visit www.ironknightsband.com
Review by Larry Paterson
Artist: DEF CON ONE
Album: Brute Force and Ignorance
Label: Night Of The Vinyl Dead Records
Release Date: 16 October 2013
1. Brute Force And Ignorance
2. Caving In
3. Weapons Of War
4. No More Hate
DEF CON ONE have been around since 1998, albeit on hiatus for some of that time while lineups were finalised and band members busy elsewhere. Fortunately they have been hitting the live UK circuit for some time now and issued their debut album ‘Warface’ in 2012. Their blend of various shades of metal and hardcore hit the spot and saw the band playing the length and breadth of the UK. Now, while waiting for the arrival of their second album, we have been given a four track vinyl-only EP to fill the gap, which, in my opinion, shows the band improving on what was already a winning formula.
Title track ‘Brute Force And Ignorance’ opens fast, seeming to almost pick up where their debut album left off. Johnny’s guitar and Steve’s bass riffing lock in perfectly with Antton’s drums , both Johnny and Steve also providing genuinely meaty backing vocals on the chorus. Likewise, the downtuned guitar sounds so heavy it may well be tuned to ‘H’. After Davey pummels you with the first two verses it is the impeccably melodic vocal line that begins at 1:39 (and is repeated later)that not only sticks firmly in your head but provides a perfect counterpoint to the full-on aggression usually in the voice. It fits perfectly and showcases the evolutionary strides forward that DEF CON ONE are making after years of hard gigging.
‘Caving In’ follows with more solid guitar/bass riffing meshing perfectly with Antton’s kick drum driven groove. It actually stood out to me that Antton’s powerhouse drumming on this EP was rooted firmly around his kick drum and snare grooves, rather than using many tom rolls, which locks the rhythm of the tracks so tightly in place that you just know it is a result of the constant road work that the band have put in.
‘Weapons Of War’ clocks in at 6:10 and is the longest track on the EP, starting with a mid-paced riff that gets the head moving straight away. Yet again the trademark synchronisation of guitar, bass and drums gives Davey a chance to pour some killer vocals on top, backed by the ever mighty backing vocals of Johnny and Steve.
‘No More Hate’ rounds off the EP; a whispered intro leading into a savage pummeling of riffing and double bass drums. As much as I actually don’t like the term (it’s a personal thing – I’m sick of tiny nonsensical pigeon holes that people seem to want to stick every single metal band within), this is perhaps what people mean when they describe something as full on ‘groove metal’; this is the track that perhaps reminds me most of ‘Warface’.
Unfortunately this seems a slightly repetitious review – the same comments can apply to all the tracks: great ‘in your face’ vocals with melodic counterpoint; solid full-power drumming; tight and ‘hook-laden’ riffing; well constructed songs. But don’t let that fool you because fortunately, though the same points may apply to all, each track here has its own unique identity and ultimately they have added four more killer tunes to DEF CON ONE’s formidable reputation. The band has its own voice that sounds like no other – a genuine compliment in a metal world that sometimes thrives on rehashing what went 20 years before – and they are certainly a major force in UK metal. Having seen them live several times I can also safely say that as good as this EP is….wait until you hear this stuff on stage! Get hold of this EP now and support one of the UK’s finest.
Album Rating: 9/10
Band Members: Davey Meikle – vocals
Johnny Hunter – guitar
Steve Miller – bass
Antton Lant – drums
Review by Larry Paterson
Album: Knuckle Duster
Label: Bad Omen Records
Release Date: 7 October 2013
1. Dead Set On Livin’
2. Cash Whore
3. Sheep In Wolf’s Clothing
4. Trash Talker
6. Shoot Ya Down
7. Wrecking Ball
8. Knuckle Duster
9. Final Hour
11. Hangman’s Rope
ASOMVEL. What does it mean? Whatever you want it to. Named years ago by a highly inebriated bass playing lead vocalist – the late Jay Jay Winter – ASOMVEL are indeed, as they say, ‘a dream to some…a nightmare to others’. A three piece heavy metal band from Yorkshire, they have been blitzing there way forward since 1993 when the aforementioned Jay Jay Winter and guitarist Lenny Robinson teamed up with ex-Acid Reign drummer Mark Wharton. Since then the band have had a long list of drummers come and go but the Winter-Robinson duo remained intact and admirably durable as they released the 10” ‘Full Moon Dog’ in 2007 and their debut full-length album ‘Kamikaze’ in 2009. However, on 18 October 2010 the unthinkable happened and Jay Jay was killed in a road accident. For many bands that would mean the end of everything; either splitting up or lapsing into a perhaps understandable – but destructive – backwards looking attitude that would also spell the end of the band as an ongoing unit. However, I am pleased to report, that is clearly not the fate of ASOMVEL.
Due for release in October 2013 ‘Knuckle Duster’ sees them still destroying speakers the way they started twenty years ago. The first thing that is apparent with ASOMVEL is that they are indeed familiar with the mighty Motörhead, something in the past that may have seen some people accuse them of being mere clones. Do they sound like them? Yes…and no. There is no doubt that they wear their affection for the ultimate heavy metal/rock and roll trio on their sleeves but what has always saved ASOMVEL from being a copy is that the similarity is based on pure honesty. Lenny Robinson is clearly influenced by the same rock and roll that pushed Lemmy and Fast Eddie to make some of the (in my opinion) greatest music of the 70s (yes…I speak as a HUGE Motörhead fan), so rather than copying Motörhead they share the same inspiration both musically and lyrically. Throw in Jay Jay’s Venom fixation and a desire to be a non-contrived, head-cracking metal band and you had the template ASOMVEL sound.
So that’s enough of the band’s history…how does the album sound? Well, I love it! In a way it’s exactly what I was expecting, but somehow bigger and better. The addition of Jason Hope on drums has kicked the music squarely in the ass and he does a great job of hammering his kit with just the right amount of finesse and balls. New vocalist/bassist Conan’s delivery and playing is eerily similar to Jay Jay, which actually works perfectly for ASOMVEL. It must be a difficult line to walk: paying homage to his predecessor, keeping the ASOMVEL vibe, while also stamping your own mark on a band. Thankfully, he walked the line perfectly.
The album is solid from beginning to end and if your taste in metal is for heads-down, headbanging and bruising, non-pretentious, no-bullshit tunage delivered as if the band were playing in your living room, then this is one for you. There are highlights aplenty: opener ‘Dead Set On Livin’’ has that annoying ability to stick in your head all day; ‘Trash Talker’ oozes the kind of attitude that will make it a perfect live song; ‘Hangman’s Rope’ swaggers its way to the album’s end. ‘Waster’ may well be my standout favourite, a slow bluesy cruise that smells of Special Brew and bourbon.
ASOMVEL have provided the antidote for the disease many bands seem to suffer from: an obsession for click tracks and autotune to polish everything until it is as bland as a slab of marble. Instead you have a tight band playing a style they clearly love and have also clearly mastered. ASOMVEL are what they are, and they fly in the face of whatever trend happens to be floating through the UK metal scene. I have a feeling they will always be a band people either love or hate, but to paraphrase Winston Churchill, at least that means they’ve stood up for something. Long may they continue to do so.
Album Rating 9/10
Conan – Bass/Vocals
Lenny Robinson – Guitar
Jason Hope – Drums
Review by Larry Paterson
Label: NoiseArt Records
Release Date: 30 August 2013
1. Winter’s Call
3. Quest For Glory
4. No Turning Back
5. Dawn Of Despair
7. Ruins Of Defeat
8. Unwritten (Engraved In The Stars)
A four piece (they don’t appear to have a permanent bassist), FROSTTIDE hail from Jyväskylä, Finland and describe themselves as a Melodic/Folk Metal band. So, before I begin the review (my first for MSF as I am a new boy), I’d like to point out that I have no particular love for squeezing bands into tiny sub genres and generally I actually have no idea what the sub genre actually means. For me, I like metal….and as sacrilegious as that may seem to people that basically goes from AC/DC to Sepultura, stopping at all good points in between.
So what do we have here……
‘Winter’s Call’ opens the album; a truly beautiful piece of music that would not out of place on the big screen providing a soundtrack to imagery from Lord Of The Rings, or perhaps more appropriately, the viking film Pathfinder. Which makes the arrival of ‘Awakening’ all the more spectacular. Huge riffing from both guitars and bass, coupled with tight drumming to punctuate and accentuate every beat, kicks proceedings off. The keyboards sit in the background providing an orchestral vibe throughout the album, occasionally coming to the fore for some of the instrumental passages, but never overpowering the sound. Vocally, Joni Snoro has the kind of snarl that may not appeal to everybody, but fits the feel of this band perfectly and helps to keep the feel dark and intense. There is not huge variety in the vocal delivery, but with so much going on around them they never outstay their welcome and as they fit so well, they become a strong point of the band. Guitarist Juho Patinen provides backing vocals that match Joni’s and beef up proceedings here and there.
‘Awakening’ is well constructed and atmospheric and leads perfectly to ‘Quest For Glory’ which has a main riff that perhaps showcases the folk element of FROSTTIDE’s style. ‘No Turning Back’ follows with a small drum intro and at 2:44 has my favourite tempo break on the whole album. Yet again the riffing has perfect precision, the slower orchestral passages never outweighing the weight of the faster parts.
‘Dawn Of Despair’ provides an interlude of more atmospheric soundtrack style music, before ‘Siege’ kicks in with swelling riffs and solid double bass drums. Probably my favourite track on the album; tons of atmosphere and perfectly played. I also can’t claim to be able to follow the lyrics on all the tracks, but can hear them best here on ‘Siege’, bringing the album’s theme story to life more for me. The entire album is a concept piece, according to vocalist Joni, telling the story of a group of warriors who go to the aid of a village facing an enemy invasion (this is taken from the NoiseArt Records website). ‘Ruins Of Defeat’ comes next, with its stronger hints of folk in the main riff again. Love the riff/drum interplay that sit either side of the vocal passages. I’m guessing with a title like that, that things may not have gone so well for the group of warriors.
They save their longest track until the end, ‘Unwritten (Engraved In The Stars)’ clocking in at over 14 minutes (although the last minute appears to be silence…unless my battered hearing is missing something). Personally I am not always a fan of extremely long tracks unless they have something special to say. It seems that since the days of Metallica’s ‘Justice’ album many bands have felt the need to pad tracks out and make them longer when a more direct ‘trimmed’ version could work better. However….this one does indeed work. A song of many parts; blast beat drums alternate with tasty progressive bits of unusual time signatures, but all moving the song forward rather than feeling like an exercise in cleverness. Mass melodic vocals, tight and interesting riffs, time changes, orchestral keyboards, acoustic guitar, an achingly emotive piano piece….all combine to give a brilliant end to a great album.
FROSTTIDE formed in 2009 and released their first EP, ‘Dawn Of Frost’, the following year. ‘Awakening’ is their debut full length album and it bodes incredibly well for their future.
Joni Snoro (Vocals, Guitar)
Juho Patinen (Guitar, Backing vocals)
Joonas Nislin (Drums)
Felipe Munoz (Keyboards)
Lauri Myllylä (Bass player in Heidenfest 2013)
Metal Shock Finland’s partners at ADL Management And Promotion, have issued as follows:
Metalkast co-host Larry Paterson has a break in touring and joins Paul “The Rog” Rogne for another fantastic episode of METALKAST. This episode features Tony Palermo of Papa Roach and Sixx AM plus single plays from Sixx AM, Texas Hippie Coalition, and Five Finger Death Punch.
Episode 145 is now live at this location.
Five Finger Death Punch:
Texas Hippie Coalition:
Opening background music:
Purify The Horror
Larry Paterson: http://www.lpdrums.net
Larry Paterson Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/larrymapex
Iron Knights: http://www.ironknightsband.com
Sabbath Judas Sabbath: http://www.facebook.com/sabbathjudassabbath