Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Lucifer’s Hammer: Night Sacrifice (Demo MMXII)

Band: Lucifer’s Hammer
Album: Night Sacrifice (Demo MMXII)

Ever wish to take a time machine back to the early eighties when Heavy Metal was kicking ass, especially the bands from England like Iron Maiden, Diamond Head and Saxon? Well, I am noticing you really don’t need a time machine to find that classic eighties metal sound because their are plenty of young bands taking the old school sound and continuing the ass kicking legacy. Here we have yet another classic NWOBHM sounding band, this time from Chile, appropriately called, Lucifer’s Hammer. Without question the band strictly follows the classic metal blueprint on their debut three song demo, Night Sacrifice (Demo MMXII).
    If I were to play some Lucifer’s Hammer for a metal fan who had never heard of them, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were to think that the band was from the eighties. This demo contains fast guitar riffing, intense drum rhythms and high shrieking vocals. The singer in Lucifer’s Hammer sounds like Rob Halford from Judas Priest mixed with Kai Hansen from Helloween. Lucifer's Hammer raw intense sound is similar to how Helloween’s first full-length album, Walls of Jericho, sounds. The music is full of pure heavy metal passion and the lyrics are very catchy. Each song is constructed with solid main guitar rhythms that are accompanied by wicked melodic lead guitar parts. There is a bit of early Iron Maiden in their sound too at times with that raw aggressive sound yet still melodic in certain areas.
    The opening track, “Wolf,” begins with a very Maiden like guitar lead that slowly build’s up to the fast driving main riff. Once the drummer begins smashing on the cymbals the song kicks into maximum overdrive, and the singer comes in screaming. His vocals are not extremely high like King Diamond or Halford, but he does get the pitch close a couple times of this demo.
    Track two, “Shadows,” is another Maiden like song with the grand sounding intro and relentless main driving guitar riff. I really like this band’s consistent rhythms and their sound is really tight. Once the solo hits everyone seems to know where to go, and the lead guitar playing fits perfectly into the song. Lucifer’s Hammer knows how to keep it aggressive and to the point. They are not going off in multiple directions trying to show how technically insane they are as musicians.
    The last track on this three song demo, “Night Sacrifice,” is a ripping old school sounding piece of metal music. From the dark verses to the fist raising chorus the song is well structured both musically and lyrically. I will say that the lyrical themes of this album are not anything I haven’t heard before from a young old school metal sounding group, but hey, the dark lyrics do make for an enjoyable listen. One final not on this track is that it contains some catchy lead guitar fills, but they are not as explosive as the leads on the last couple tracks. Maybe the group decided to tone it down a bit to emphasize the main chorus that is still stuck in my head.
    Overall what we have here is another young band creating consistent old school metal because they like playing the music that they enjoy. If you are looking for the next innovative thing in metal, you still need to do your searching. However, if you want a solid band who plays music similar to Iron Maiden, Diamond head, Saxon, Judas Priest and early Helloween, I recommend checking out Lucifer’s Hammer. People from South America love their metal music, and this three song demo definitely displays a band who loves metal to the point where they sound very similar to the bands who probably influenced them.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Coms 210 Assignment #2: Memorable Concert Moment with Gabriele Mazzola

Coms 210 Assignment #2: Memorable Concert Moment with Gabriele Mazzola

    Standing upon a lighted stage with the adrenaline pumping and the crowd roaring, one cannot begin to imagine the unbelievable experience of performing in front of a live audience. Live shows give bands a chance to really connect with their fans. Metal shows especially are a place that can offer many memorable experiences not only for the insane mosh pit loving fans, but also for the guys on stage who are pouring their sweat and blood into each song. Live shows are a great chance for young bands to begin building a loyal fan base and start getting their music heard. Bands like Morbid Angel to Carcass had to start out from somewhere, and their live shows definitely helped establish their current icon roles within the metal community.
    In the case of younger metal bands beginning to build up their careers, one band right now from Palermo, Sicily is beginning to gain some attention in the extreme music world. Golah, a technical death metal band, pushes the typical extreme music blueprint by altering the straight forward death metal formula. Their 2013 EP titled, “Cerebral Collision,” was a small glimpse into the band’s creative musical minds.    
    Singer Gabriele Mazzola, who is also involved in two other bands, Screams from the Garage and Wlorg, expressed how playing music live in the area can be very difficult compared to just recording. “We try to play live but the music system here in Italy almost did not allow us,” said Gabriele. He went on to explain how most bands “don't want to share or expand his music, but want to earn above it.” His comments back Golah’s creative driven nature to take extreme death metal to new places. Reaching world wide Led Zeppelin rock star like success does not seem to be a priority for Golah right now. “We don't want to be rock stars, we want to just play what we really like,” says Gabriele.
    Now, even though Golah struggles to find gigs in their country, one show stood out to Gabriele which he went on to further elaborate. “My most memorable live performance is the live show I did with Golah in February 2013. We played at MOB (Palermo,Sicily) in the “Rise of the Underground II” with Dr.Gore (Rome),Throne of Molok (Palermo) and Cromia Oscura (Catania).”
    Gabriele explained how this show, put on by V.o.V events, really brought some great extreme bands together. When asked what stood out about that show in particular he replied, “There was a fantastic atmosphere” and “I loved when people were moshing and singing with us.” The night seemed to go really well and Gabriele went on to further talk about how he felt comfortable singing the songs live, but does not like announcing the songs. He tends to like the “adrenaline rush” from simply singing.
    This showed seemed like a special moment in the band’s young history. When asked about the special experience of performing live he summed it up with this statement, “From the preparation of the instruments to the beer, from the feeling you can't describe to the view of the headbanging crowd in your music, to the distro's(underground label) stand at the entrance of the concert.”
    Maybe one day the band will do a world tour and offer metal fans across the globe a chance to be in the pit headbanging to Golah. As for now, the band continues to work on new material challenging themselves to be creative with each new recording. Hopefully more memorable moments will come for Gabriele and Golah in the future as band continues to keep working hard. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Album Review: Dark Forest "The Awakening"

 Band: Dark Forest
Album: The Awakening

England is a land rich in history, especially musical history. Dark Forest is band from the "Black Country" of England with a sound that could very well add onto the country's lengthy musical history. This talented group of up and coming musicians are in tune with their historical roots on a very spiritual level. For their third full-length album, “The Awakening,” the band delivers an epic tale of passionate Heavy Metal music and strong thought provoking lyrical themes. Dark Forest mixes the New Wave of British Heavy Metal sound with some Folk and Power Metal elements to build these uplifting and extremely powerful musical landscapes.
    The production on this is album is very impressive. The guitar tone has just the right amount of distortion to compliment the relentless pounding drum rhythms. On the vocal front, the lead singer’s strong melodic voice fits perfectly with fast paced musical compositions. He does not try to push his vocal range to ridiculous heights, but instead maintains a great vocal delivery that allows for the lyrics to clearly stand out. The musicianship all around is flawless and everyone offers an equal amount of talent. I find that Dark Forest focuses on songwriting first and this group does not seem to care about showing off how technical they can be as musicians. The way each verse sets up each triumphant chorus is simple and emotionally moving at times.
    The opening track, “The Awakening”, begins with lines from Percy Shelley’s poem, “The Mask of Anarchy.” This short piece of poetry sets up the fast paced epic driving guitar riff and thunderous drum attack. The Folk Metal elements make the song sound very empowering and the lyrics carry a tremendous amount of substance. Each verse is clearly expressed by Dark Forest’s lead singer while the guitar harmonies help reinforce the music’s call for attention. Right away the following track, “Sacred Signs”, continues the quick rhythmic style that was established on the opening track. Dark Forest tends to not stray far away from the intense Folk/ Power Metal style which I think helps give this album a distinct musical identity. Now, the track “Turning the Tides” begins with a bit of a deviation from the usual style because the opening double bass drum part is really aggressive. With his double bass abilities the drummer could easily play in a Death Metal band! Again, the guitar leads sharply emphasize certain parts to give the music a high pitched emotional boost. “Immortal Remains” is probably my favorite song on this album and simply a great triumphant piece of music. The climatic main chorus and guitar riff sent shivers down my spine when I first listened to the song.
    The album ends with the final track “Sons of England” which offers a final epic call to unite. This track is one of those fist raising anthem like metal songs that gets everyone in the crowd pumped. The songs fades out with an acoustic guitar piece and church bells ring off in the distant while birds are softly chirping. After the noises disappear I feel like I have just experienced a spiritual awakening.
    With this album Dark Forest creatively combined Folk, classic NWOBHM and Power Metal, to present strong uplifting music with an inner spiritual quality. The lyrics are written to evoke deep meaningful thoughts about society and one’s inner self. Trust me, you will definitely not find this type of deep meaningful music on any techno pop album. From the first uplifting track to the last you will walk away after listening to this album with a more positive attitude than you had before. If you like continuous triumphant Heavy Metal music, you will really enjoy Dark Forest’s “The Awakening”. All Metal fans unite and listen to this album! Let the spirit of Metal live on forever!