Rikard Sjoblom’s Gungfly – On Her Journey to the Sun

A solo album from the frontman of the band Beardfish, takes the listener on quite a journey. This album is loaded with tons of great, memorable vocal melodies and very 70’s prog influenced sections.

Of the Orb: opens the album with over 10 minutes of music. What would a prog album be without that? Lots of cool vocal melodies happening here with some very nice chord progressions. There’s a pretty cool long solo section towards the end that’s very entertaining.

On Her Journey to the Sun: starts off with a bit of a Latin chord progression, followed by some very full and interesting sounding vocal melodies. The vibe I get is that the vocals play a very important role in this music. Everything fits together very nicely. The bridge is very pretty!

He Held an Axe: kind of brings things down a notch, but in a very good way. The story telling vibe really comes through here. Again there’s no shortage of very nice chord progressions here. Very well done, with some nice dynamics

My Hero: If you enjoy 70’s Genesis, well you’ll love this track. I know I sure do. There’s definitely a modern feel thrown in as well. This track really stood out to me.

Polymixia: This is prog done right. We’re just going to leave it at that…

Over My Eyes: is very dynamic, and haunting. The song almost pulls you into it, to the point that you forget where you are and become fixated with feeling. I guess that’s what music is supposed to do. This song adds some nice variety to the feel of the album.

Honeymoon Disease – Part Human, Mostly Beast

As the retro rock revival continues to trigger interest worldwide Swedish rockers Honeymoon Disease are ready to release the sophomore album “Part Human, Mostly Beast” generously packed with healthy rock & soul grooves.

“Doin’ it Again” obviously focuses on energetic guitar driven dynamics characterized by a lovely vintage sound and the song has enough catchiness and vibrant melodic quality to keep the listeners entertained.

“Only Thing Alive” keeps a straightforward electrified vibe with danceable quality as guitars and vocals keep up with the adrenaline infused rhythm that culminates with a readily enjoyable wild rock guitar solo.

The emotional warmth of “Rymdvals” delivers a pleasant change of pace as sincere vocals elegantly flow through guitar melodies that acquire soul tonalities and guitar solos are in charge of providing a wilder retro rock style with fashionable intensity.

With frenetic entertaining rhythmic patterns and lovely vintage lead guitar work “Four Stroke Woman” is another amusing track fueled by the unforgettable hard rock energy that still influences the current music scene worldwide.

Night By Night” adds a hint of melancholy to the raw high energy guitar driven grooves provided by the expected cohesive series of rock riffs and sparkling choruses.

“Coal Burnin” gradually builds rhythmic strength with loads of fuzzy riffs and a catchy melodic core always enhanced by intriguing guitar leads performed in proper traditional hard rock style and charismatic vocals.

At the very first listening “Electric Eel” feels sweaty and gritty as every hard rock anthem should with galloping guitars and thick bass lines focusing on the creation of quite accessible fuzzy rock grooves.

Even if “Part Human, Mostly Beast” doesn’t feel memorable all the way through, it would be enjoyed best if you play it loud with a party mood as Honeymoon Disease certainly demonstrate to have the ability to channel the dazed energy of the glorious ‘70’s.

 

Dawn Of Disease – Ascension Gate

German death metal act Dawn Of Disease has crafted the newest release “Ascension Gate” keeping in mind the band’s primordial extreme metal influences and offering a more modern melodic approach inevitably fueled by introspective melancholy.

At the very first listening “Perimortal” gives you a taste of the melo-death attitude that dominates this album. The remarkable guitar work should never be ignored as the crunchy fast paced rhythm always leaves space for loads of dreadful refined melodies carefully embedded in the entertaining solos.

The title track feels like a melancholic melodic death metal anthem as it begins with solemn atmospheric quality that simply embraces the intense growls cutting through a soulful crescendo of dramatic guitar melodies.

On the darkened track “Akephalos” you can definitely perceive the weight of Swedish death metal influence as the accelerated rhythmic patterns acquire harsh tonalities yet guitars also provide absolutely vibrant melodies.

Staying true to fashionable Nordic melancholy “Fleshless Journey” might be the most emotional song of the album as, despite being filled with extreme grooves, melodic guitars maintain a primary role crafting several contemplative moments with pleasantly impressive musicianship and sonic clarity.

“Mundus Inversus” certainly features a fair dosage of unrestrained rage with massive guitar driven grooves and tight rhythmic patterns yet, as it often happens throughout the album, guitars reach a terrific gloomy acme constantly and confidently creating deliciously sorrowful melodies.

Overall, “Ascension Gate” manages to include some of the brutal fundamental elements of traditional death metal yet Dawn Of Disease skillfully raises the bar introducing epic vibes and exquisite melodic textures.

Zaius – Of Adoration

In the overcrowded metal scene the emerging Chicago based instrumental quartet Zaius deserves to be on your radar as the debut album “Of Adoration” showcases stellar musicianship and intriguing songwriting skills that should not be ignored.

“Phaneron” opens the album with a refreshing modern sound supported by eclectic instrumental passages that channel the ethereal quality of post-metal as well as an undisputable fascination for slick tempo variations with a slight prog orientation. The main core here is rather melodic as elegant distorted guitars maintain polished tonalities but don’t necessarily refrain from occasional heavier accents resulting in an entertaining music blend.

“Sheepdog” begins with a heavier approach yet guitars maintain a charming clarity which inevitably favors a crescendo of convoluted melodic patterns that stand out particularly when the rhythmic section slows down evoking a comfortable serenity.

“Seirenes” is a refined sonic shape-shifter but certainly focuses largely on dreamy melodic guitars that eventually pick up higher dosages of distortion yet never truly leave behind the emotional kaleidoscope that the whole instrumentation strives to maintain through all kind of fancy prog tempo signatures.

“Colin” essentially doesn’t diverge from the mood that characterizes the whole album as guitars effortlessly shift from crunchy somber tones to mellower clean melodies always keeping a balanced harmonious flow and often leading to the exploration of hazy melancholic soundscape.

It must be noted that despite the instrumental complexity on “Of Adoration” there is a profound sense of relaxation in the smooth variations and sound clarity that bear the trademark of atmospheric post-metal and Zaius confidently demonstrates to have a precise music pathway in mind.

The 3rd Attempt – Egocidal Path

Looking for new creative outlets former Carpathian Forest guitarists Tchort and BloodPervertor joined forces to start the new band The 3rd Attempt and the sophomore release “Egocidal Path” is ready to unleash an explosive collection of moshpit friendly black n’ roll grooves.

With such a fitting title you know exactly what to expect from “Blood, Dope And Black N’ Roll”. The 3rd Attempt dwells in a world of pure darkness yet the tight guitar riffs and the upbeat tempo craft many stomping worthy grooves as well as majestic somber tonalities while diabolical screams and cold atmospheric accents channel the depth of traditional black metal.

“Into The Light” continues this darkly epic pathway with eerie atmospheric quality as guitars and drums provide memorable groovy patterns that require immediate headbanging while occasional clean vocals add dramatic vibes.

“Egocide” evokes an extremely darkened mood fueled by the particularly ominous theatrical vocal delivery and massive unrestrained guitar riffs that set in motion a heavier rhythmic approach and borrow the sinister tonalities of raw primordial black metal.

“I’ll Do It Now” begins with undisputed blackened fury with punishing drums and relentless guitar riffing but gradually acquires also a solemn mood with vigorous clean vocals.

“The Oath” still features accessible black n’ roll dynamics as guitars always carry catchy energetic vibes through a ruthless faster rhythmic maze and additional sonic variety comes with a slower mysterious breakdown amplified by passionate clean vocals.

Blackened guitar driven grooves are always entertaining and you will also find plenty of familiar wintry nuances on “Egocidal Path” as The 3rd Attempt delivers a cohesive work of music which aims to conquer new acolytes in the fervent underground metal scene.

Witchery – I Am Legion

Over two decades of existence is already a great achievement but Swedish extreme metallers Witchery still have a lot to say and with a revamped line-up and hard work the new full length “I Am Legion” emerges from the expected blackened abyss.

The sinister lead single “True North” is rightfully Introduced by the massive traditional crunchy blackened metal guitar riffing of “Legion”. With creepy keyboards and absolutely cold vibes “True North” showcases familiar bold grooves with thick black n’ roll riffing galore and diabolical growls that acquire surprising catchy tonalities in the chorus while the refined guitar solo channels melodic nuances.

“Of Blackened Wing” features hints of traditional doom oriented patterns moving at a slower comfortable pace but still favors the expected blackened essence as drums fiercely pick up speed followed by confidently vicious growls and guitar driven grooves.

With ritualistic vibes and devilish growls “Dry Bones” continues to unleash a crescendo of fiery guitar riffs that easily builds entertaining Nordic influenced rhythms and maintains a pleasantly dark mood even when a fancy guitar solo steals the spotlight.

On “A Faustian Deal” the unrestrained black n’ roll whirlwind becomes quite dominant as catchiness and heaviness collide to create a dazzling blend of gloomy melodies and icy cold riffing that deliver several memorable groovy moments.

Instead “Ragnarok” prefers to focus on an old school raw black metal approach that aims for faster rhythmic sections and ravenous galloping guitar riffs while another shredding guitar solo briefly interferes with such untamed blackened fury.

Creating music since 1996 Witchery has established a solid status in the metal scene and while “I Am Legion” might not be classified as an innovative work of music it still confirms that the blackened essence of the band is intact and ready to be unleashed worldwide with a renewed energetic blast.

Butcher Babies – Lilith

Renowned for the intense live performances, Los Angeles based act Butcher Babies continues to evolve triggering mixed feeling among the hard to please metal crowd and deliberately diverging from the biased image of female fronted bands with the third full length “Lilith” which is not just meant to unleash an overdose of pure anger.

“Burn The Straw Man” certainly features some modern trendy metal elements with extremely crunchy distorted guitars and heavy bass lines readily amplified by undoubtedly vicious vocals courtesy of the explosive duo Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey who will lead you into temptation throughout the album.

The title track creates an enjoyable contrast between lascivious clean vocals and fierce screams while subtle arrangements offer atmospheric layers to support the heavier belligerent guitar riffing and the somber catchy melodic vibes.

On the hot single “Headspin” malicious melodies take the lead enhanced by passionate sensual vocals and dreamy atmospheres that reach a modern metal acme with an actually accessible and memorable chorus that temporarily puts aside the usual inflamed fury.

“The Huntsman” is a creepy fairytale featuring softer atmospheres and vocals scattered through the expected brutal instrumental sections and the resulting haunting mood is definitely more appealing than the traditional metal approach.

“Controller” revolves around a series of addictive guitar driven grooves that borrow the extreme angst of decades of metal as well as trendy moments while Heidi & Carla focus on a wicked vocal delivery and impress the listeners with savage screams.

“Look What We’ve Done” still has some straightforward heavy metal punch but Butcher Babies show a more emotive side favoring atmospheric vibes and higher melodic clarity with the right dosage of melancholy infused guitars and a mix of powerful and quite graceful vocals.

Overall, channeling a wide range of music influences Butcher Babies packs “Lilith” with an unrestrained blend of aggressive metal and catchy modern melodies but let’s not forget that the great entertaining value of this album comes from the hard work and undisputed charisma of vocalists Heidi and Carla.

The Ditch And The Delta – Hives In Decline

Emerging sludge rockers The Ditch And The Delta unleash the debut album “Hives In Decline” delivering all kinds of crazy heavy moments and crafting mind-bending grooves.

Those who are not familiar with the essential madness of sludge might find the title track hostile or just enigmatic as The Ditch And The Delta experiment with atmospheric tones, depressing vibes and borderline aggressive rhythmic blasts to generate interest and curiosity but also focus on a monolithic combo of guitars & bass with some hypnotizing quality.

“Fuck on Asphalt” definitely has a more straightforward rhythmic assault where steady guitars keep a properly sludge attitude that rightfully gives way to a series of wild and slightly discordant guitar solos.

The brief instrumental “Dry Land” showcases melodic craftsmanship as guitars acquire smooth sonic warmth with remarkable southern rock edge.

“Dread Spectacle” closes the album maximizing the experimental aspects and spicing up the monotone guitar riffing with sudden melodic breakdowns, dissonant tempo variations and dramatic vocals.

Lovers of sludge metal subgenre will find some entertaining ideas through the sonic exploration on “Hives In Decline” even if The Ditch And The Delta often go beyond such traditional elements attempting to channel a higher degree of unrestrained creativity.

Savage Messiah – Hands Of Fate

British metallers Savage Messiah return with the fourth full length “Hands Of Fate” which definitely focuses on renowned energetic dynamics of classic heavy metal ardently combined with subtle heartfelt melodies and thrash oriented heavier patterns.

The title track is an ideal opener including the major characteristics and mood of the whole album as Savage Messiah fearlessly puts together loads of guitar driven catchy grooves that bear classic metal tonalities embellished by a big memorable chorus and some wilder guitar tricks.

“Blood Red Road” keeps a similar mid paced rhythmic approach with occasional high impact thrash accents but also some pleasantly polished melodic guitars that eventually culminate in an entertaining solo rampage.

“Lay Down Your Arms” tends to slow down as guitars acquire sophisticated melodic quality and the overall mood becomes emotionally darker but there are still plenty of groovy riffs to enjoy.

“The Last Confession” doesn’t necessarily sacrifice the usual heavier riffage but definitely favors an almost dramatic melodic approach with smooth guitar leads and some mellow vocals that acquire higher energy in the memorable chorus.

Despite the scattered chunky guitar riffs “Out Of Time” becomes more atmospheric with a softer introspective mood enriched by a quieter rhythmic section, lavish guitar melodies and a melancholic yet catchy chorus.

With cohesive songwriting “Hands Of Fate” primarily revolves around the creation of widely accessible catchy grooves and borderline ‘happy’ mood that might not sound extremely unique at times nevertheless Savage Messiah will certainly gain more followers with this new album.

Sons Of Apollo – Psychotic Symphony

Probably Mike Portnoy and Derek Sherinian were always meant to create music together and the new band Sons Of Apollo finally sees the reunion of such talented duo joined by worldwide acclaimed fellow musicians Ron”Bumblefoot” Thal on guitar, Billy Sheehan on bass and vocalist Jeff Scott Soto. When five artists of such caliber join forces to compose music it’s hard to fathom what the result could be but a blend of prog metal prowess and a true rock n’ roll essence seems to be quite logical and the debut album “Psychotic Symphony” is not about putting together virtuoso showcases as it is filled with highly entertaining rock grooves besides plenty of exquisite instrumental talent.

Listening to the enticing album opener “God Of The Sun” you will notice immediately the great chemistry and enthusiasm of the band as the whole instrumentation works in perfect harmony to create refined intricate sonic patterns. Starting with middle-eastern atmospheric arrangements this track soon evolves into epic cerebral progressions as the expected intense musicianship just cannot be tamed. On vocals Jeff is always ready to deliver a vigorous classic rock edge that effortlessly flows through the luminous yet crunchy guitar passages and the multifaceted synths arrangements. The kaleidoscopic nature of this song is rather noticeable as, despite the multiple fascinating eclectic tempo signatures, the melodic fluidity feels rightfully cohesive and often carries melancholic nuances.

On “Coming Home” incredibly vibrant grooves take the lead with Jeff’s true rocker vocal delivery and big catchy choruses that are basically surrounded by all kinds of precise keyboards arrangements engaged in the creation of  innovative atmospheric layers, unrestrained energetic bass & drums patterns and absolutely memorable wild guitar antics.

“Signs Of The Time” features a seamless blend of classic rock tonalities and fashionable prog complexity with a fair dosage of creative tempo variations. Throughout the song Derek provides loads of precise technical arrangements and soloing followed by Ron’s utterly majestic lead guitar work yet none of these virtuoso moments sacrifices the catchy rock essence.

“Alive” definitely focuses on more straightforward classic rock melodies including mellower guitar & synths passages as tempo significantly slows down favoring Jeff’s passionate vocal delivery yet there is still space for some dazzling keyboards arrangements and understated refined guitar leads.

“Figaro’s Whore” is a way to give space to Derek’s simply phenomenal performance as he delivers a trippy and a bit avant-garde keyboard solo ‘lead guitar’ style.

“Opus Maximus” aptly feels like its own opus and will inevitably hypnotize the listeners within a sonic maze meticulously crafted to impress and intrigue any audience. The beginning comes with somber atmospheric quality and graceful melodies but, following unpredictable movements in proper prog fashion, the whole band showcases explosive talent deliberately entering a more experimental phase skillfully delivering plenty of technical complexity and incredible variety that might even make you feel dizzy at times. Billy and Mike constantly provide a series of grandiose versatile rhythmic patterns, often powerfully groovy, that offer a solid support for Ron’s guitar extravaganza and Derek’s mind-bending arrangements.

As the band has stated, Sons Of Apollo is not just a side project or a one-off supergroup but rather a priority and a full time band so do not hesitate to join the incredible music journey that “Psychotic Symphony” proudly offers.