Heavy Metal Reviews

Heavy Metal an Rhein und Ruhr

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Fate – If Not For The Devil

Fate – If Not For The Devil

The Danes of FATE publishtheir seventh studio album "If Not For The Devil". The band, which was founded by MERCYFUL FATE guitarist Hank Sherman, has always been playing melodic hard rock. Their latest work will not break with this tradition.
"If Not For The Devil" is the second album in the current line-up in which only bassist Peter Steiner has the status as a founding member. The changing of personal did not have any influence on the concept of keyboard-heavy and always melodic hard rock. Someone could claim that this melodic hard rock track has spawned a bunch of same-sounding bands - and they are not really one. A little glam here, many keyboards , plus, of course, always heart touching songs which thrill the hearts of women.
There is not even much to complain about, but likewise it is also not much to be praised. "If Not For The Devil" runs an hour does not really hurt. Melodic rock, which was implemented competently. Some vocal melodies can be remembered, such as 'Man Against The Wall' or the fleet opener 'Reaping'. On the whole, however, FATE has nothing EUROPE have not done better with "Out Of This World" and "Prisoners In Paradise" ages ago.
The average FATE fan will get what he wished for with "If Not For The Devil". For me personally the Danish group provides, however, a bit too little. I really miss great songs that touch and carry me away.

Saitenfeuer - Kein Zurück

Famous bands are known to pull copies. So also Saitenfeuer members seem to have dealt intensively with the discography of BÖHSE ONKELZ. Whether the idea was particularly new or excitingduring the time of the band's formation in 2008 , everyone can decide for themselves. 2005, shortly after the dissolution of one of the most successful and at the same time most controversial bands in Germany, there were many clones. Saitenfeier would have certainly done well in the wake of the disbanding of ONKELZ.
"Kein Zurück" is the second album by the German rockers. The attention of the listener can be caught by the hard rocking opener, when the line "We need weapons" echoes from the speakers. Brave, brave to choose such a thing as an entry. The controversy, as with just about every band in this genre, is already pre-programmed. Fortunately, the rest of the material is not so much of a riot. Especially not musically! Thirteen mid-tempo rockers without any protest, musical rampage or anything similar.
A bit ONKELZ here, a bit Tote Hosen there and finished is "No Way Back". But I should also say that I am not very interested in all this German rock box of Onkelz, Hosen, die Ärzte, Frei Wild etc. For me, the only really interesting German-language rock band is Tomte and sounds more like OASIS and England as Frankfurt, Berlin or Dusseldorf. Saitenfeuer. "Kein Weg zurück". That's thirteen times German rock, going through something harder and rougher, but also consistently unspectacular. The ONKELZ fan can certainly like this band, the rock fan not so much.

Thousand Foot Crutch - The End Is Where We Begin

So far, the Canadians from THOUSAND Foot Krutch seem to have completely passed me by. A look at the discography of the band reveals that it was already active at the time of the great Nu-Metal hype. Since they previously could not get through to me, the band is simply examined by me a good ten years after the last successful foothills of the genre. Either it is a nostalgic trip to my early teenage years or a waste of time.
Probably the latter. 2013, to combine rap and rock, this really is anything but contemporary and a far cry from "cool". Even if the conventional singing dominates, these rap passages are very disturbing. This is exactly what has devalued the current FALLING IN REVERSE album for me. From time to time I like to listen to the first two LINKIN PARK-discs where I can cope with the rap style - yet, it is not anything I want to hear in today's publications. LIMP BIZKIT for example is now too much to me, even if I liked the band very much in 2000. Accordingly, I can not listen to the Ameicans any more. But enough of my old nu-metal preferences and current listening habits. THOUSAND Foot Krutch luckily does not play pure Nu Metal, as could be heard around the turn of the millennium by countless other bands. Maybe it was the times, but "The End Is Where I Begin" was an alternative metal band that is aware of its past. Overall, the panel is fairly smooth and there are no tantrums or the interplay of hard and quiet, which distinguished bands like the Deftones, Korn or Mudvayne. The Christian lyrics are also a disturbing element, and it surprises me as to why Bible fanatics at once love Nu Metal so much. Popular examples are LOVE & DEATH, SKILLET or RED. The one thing about "The End Is Where We Begin" is the fact that this music was a lot better ten to fifteen years ago. Meanwhile Alternative Metal / Nu Metal acts simply overplayed and dead. THousand Foot Krutch should have developed years ago. For some, this standstill is certainly a sign of loyalty to themselves. All others can stay away from "The End Is Where We Begin”.

The Darker Shadows - Autumn Still...

While Rockabilly and Psychobilly marked the first release of DARKER SHADOWS, the troupe seems now turn to new horizons. The latest work "Autumn Still ..." opens more to pop sounds and the 80s: New Wave, Pop and Gothic merge into a single sound. But can they score with it? Singer Brigitte Handley is certainly the flagship of this formation. Her voice fits really well with the dark (Pop) numbers. Musically, especially the meaner compositions like 'The Boy From Berlin' or 'Emergency' are quite good. Even the cover of the German New Wave hits 'Polabär', originally by Grauzone is fun - at least more than the OOMPH! Version from the late 1990s. However, in the present version it is the singer's accent that gives the song a special charme. Generally one can say that the songs were not as interesting without Handley's voice. THE DARKER SHADOWS really provides nothing many bands of New Wave, post-punk and Co. Have not done better 20 years ago - THE CURE's materpiece "Disintegration" for example. Especially the ballads 'Still Alive' and 'Scissors' are absolutely unnecessary. Ballads are not always highlights, THE DARKER SHADOWS proves this impressively. Goth fans could certainly have their fun with the Australians. The rest may prefer to resort to the true 80s New Wave heroes.

Front Porch Step – Aware

Pop punk and 90s Emo have become a trend in the U.S. again for several years now. Bands are not as commercially successful as they used to be, but it's a fine scene that has formed bands like THE WONDER YEARS, MAN OVER BOARD or THE STORY SO FAR. Labels like No Sleep, Pure Noise or Revolution Records are very successful again. Of course, then no singer / songwriter Emo may be missing. INTO IT. OVER IT. is certainly one of the addresses for this particular sound that drew the first two Dashboard Confessional albums. Front Porc Step is a similar one-man project. Acoustic guitar, vocals and emotional lyric that remind of the aforementioned Dashboard Confessional albums in their early creative phase. This is precisely the path that Jake McElfresh goes with his project FRONT PORCH STEP. "Aware" is the debut album by the solo artist and is released on Pure Noise Records, which already released albums by respected bands like THE STORY SO FAR, I CALL FIVES or TRANSIT. To be honest: There is really not much happening on “Aware”. There is only acoustic guitar, vocals and emotional lyrics. The quality of Dashboard Confessional is of course never reached, because McElfresh apparently misses the sense of great tunes. There is no really snappy and no really slow numbers. The models or current projects such as CITY AND COLOUR have much more to offer. For "Aware" the listener should make people aware that he has not much to expect. Singer / songwriter Emo without any highlights, but a lot of inconsequential material which has an effect similar to Valium. Too bad, I have promised myself much more of FRONT PORCH STEP.

Islander – Pains.

Victory Records must find a way to survive. That is why they sign bands like DESIGN THE SKYLINE, A HERE A FAKE, SNOW WHITE'S POISON BITE or ISLANDER. All draft horses like ATREYU, A DAY TO REMEMBER, TAKING BACK SUNDAY, THURSDAY, HATEBREED HAWTHORNE HEIGHTS, TERROR, BURY YOUR DEAD or SILVERSTEIN have left the record company. Once they were a quality label for Hardcore, Emo and Metalcore, now they have become a focal point for all bands, Rise Records, Fearless and Epitaph do not want to sign.
ISLANDER is the latest example of this. Combining Nu Metal and Metalcore is not really new since BRING ME THE HORIZONS "Suicide Season". Victory seems to have slept through a trend. Too bad, because in the past they created them. Unfortunately ISLANDER have many rap influences which I do not like very much. Either Nu Metal or Metalcore, but please do not mix metalcore with rap.
And since this is an important part of ISLANDER and their debut EP "Pains." , I d not relly get along with the band. I am fopen,or different sounds but this is too far beyond. Here, the vocals are actually quite good, especially the melodic vocals can convince me, but ISLANDER loses me when it is then changed to chanting,. Especially 'Glass' is a good song, because it is very melodic and only has few rap influences.
Surprisingly, Victory Records has again succeeded in signing a passable band. If the four numbers had no raps, then Islander could have certainly convinced me more. For young people of this group of Metalcore could still be worth a listen.

Black Flag – What The...?

Rarely has there been as much gossip in the hardcore scene as in advance of the seventh album by the reunited BLACK FLAG. Court disputes over the naming rights, various reunions in several constellations and under different band names ... Shortly before the release of "What The ..." singer Ron Reyes departs. With all the hustle and bustle one may almost forget that we finally have new music from the hardcore / punk legends after 28 years.
Guitarist Greg Grinn has written 22 new songs for this album. Sounds like a lot, but mathematically it is not even one song a year. The band takes about 44 minutes to think of their old and new fans. In 28 years they have accumulated quite some new and young followers, because BLACK FLAG never seem to go out of fashion. So the legendary band logo is printed repeatedly on t-shirts - even those of other bands. But can the hardcore grandpas make ponts with "What The ...?” Can they meet up with classics such as "My War," "Damaged" or "Family Man"?
In a nutshell: no. "What The ..." is miles away from the classics of the band - classics that have affected an entire scene and still make teenagers start a hardcore or punk band. The production of the album destroys much: The guitar sounds pretty dull, as if you would hear the disc from the outside of a room, but through the closed door. Also, the song material would have only have been acceptable during the band's early career stages. Often the songs are just way too weird. 'Down In The Dirt' sounds pretty crazy and reminds more of PRIMUS' theme song for South Park than of aggressive hardcore. During the entire playing time I miss the aggressiveness, anger and wit that distinguished the old releases of BLACK FLAG.
Much acts like a retrospective of the band's history: The experimental passages that took place during the Henry Rollins-era can be heard as well as the slightly slower BLACK FLAG numbers that have been published on "My War". But everything seems pretty attached and uninspired. You are always waiting for the band to finally get going. It's hard to believe that "What The ..." is an album by a band wrote that firecrackers and timeless classics like 'Fix Me', 'Nervous Breakdown', 'Black Coffee' or 'Rise Above'.
What were those old guys thinking when they decided to publish a new album after nearly three decades? Their flawless reputation has slightly soiled with "What The ...". The album offers too few grip numbers and too little variety, and even less anger. Maybe some bands should better rest and do not try any reunions.

Text © by Sebastian Berning / Heiko Eschenbach