Heavy Metal Reviews

Heavy Metal an Rhein und Ruhr

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LACUNA COIL - Broken Crown Halo

LACUNA COIL - Broken Crown Halo

Italy's most successful metal band releases "Broken Crown Halo", an album that certainly delivers mainstream music, but is sophisticated enough to continue to establish itself as a serious artistic act . The band's Gothi past is too long gone to still be a reference and thedirection of the predecessor "Dark Adrenaline" was not very much varied as expected. . Also, " Broken Crown Halo " offers modern and contemporary alternative metal that thrives on the melodic male/female vocals of Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro. The repeatedly interspersed electronic sounds are typical of 2000s Linkin Park, which is present in many of today's productions. The lack of instrumental virtuosity is balanced by the band's incomparable sense for hit songwriting . Those who attach their expectations accordingly , will therefore hardly be disappointed by "Broken Crown Halo".
Not typical for an Italian band , but probably exactly the secret of success of the band has always been the international approach which radiates the sound. Lacuna Coil would not hesitate to pass as American band , especially their music clearly bears the signature of its major U.S. models. The riff oriented and melodious songs are best for the Disturbed target group , the production sounds like a lot of money and a lot of airplay . "Broken Crown Halo " is perhaps missing the preeminent single hit , but the material is consistently appealing and free of excessive letdowns . In The End "In The End I Feel Alive" may be closest to be a leading highlight, the opener " Nothing Stands In Our Way " or the rousing " Zombies" are hardly weaker. Lacuna Coil allow themselbes the luxury and spice up their songs again and again with a reposing level of demand . This applies to the hooks that sometimes also are a bit more subtle and not immediately jump to the listener ( "Cyber Sleep" , "Victims " ). The closing number " One Cold Day" with its slightly epic width is opened by an orchestral keyboard intro , and several bridges and middle parts always surprise with some atmospheric twists.
"Broken Crown Halo" is thus an album that will live up to expectations and underpin Lacuna Coil's status as one of the most important modern metal bands in Europe.

Gotthard - Bang!

To speak of a "clearance" would certainly be a bit too euphoric choice of words , but the new , unfortunately, very cliched titled album "Bang!" is at least in part, a very important step for the siwss Gotthard. After the death of their frontman Steve Lee, the new disc is " in parts much more open and nonconformist compared to maybe a little staid predecessor " Firebirth . "Firebbirth" was an attempt to close the gap of the lost singer compulsively. With "Bang" it is above all the compositional influence of the new singer Nic Maeder, which is noticeable . His influence makes Gotthard suddenly sound modern and contemporary without lacking the trademarks . It is thus even more regrettable that the band can not keep up to the expectations and does not manage to obtain the newfound self-confidence.
The album's beginning is well chosen with the title song. The number indicates the new direction: Gotthard do not necessarily have to serve the mainstream audience'. "Bang" is representative of the wll produced two-thirds of the disc. A large part of the album consists of edgy rock songs, in which the energy is more important than the mass-market hook, and have a certain powerful vibe above all because of their riff-oriented approach. The band has not abandoned their melodic style of composition, but idemonstrates their talents more subtle, so that many of the numbers are reminiscent of the first two albums - with a more melodic feel compared to "Dial Hard" . "Get Up N 'Move" is even better and makes you think of Gotthard keeping up that vibe. But then Gotthard are beginning to orient towards mainstrea far too early, present a disappointing radio single in the form of "Feel What I Feel, which is then already followed by the first truly soppy ballad - " C'est la vie" is a predictable soft rock number , Gone is the new-found enthusiasm . Besides the unimpressive creative power within the songs it is above all a problem of song order: No rock fan , whether he likes ballads or not, does not want to hear a band that already loses its energy after two songs. The impression is reinforced by the fact that Gotthard then in fact have put several of their really good songs onto one another - but this seems like a completely new start . Nevertheless, in this phase "Bang! " is most convincing . "Jump The Gun " is a catchy rocker, " Spread Your Wings" , a midtempo -heavy groovy track, and "My Belief" is even a real highlight , because it is herer where the contemporary orientation connects best with the melodic understanding of the band. "I Won't Look Down " fits stylistically, but is too unimpressive.
The second ballad " Maybe" is the better of the two. With "Red On A Sleeve" the race car is moved from the shed then again. "What You Get" sounds like a leftover from old sessions with Steve Lee, strangely familiar, and already is the next chumming , which the band could have been gone out of the way if they had not blown up the album to one hour playing time . "Mr. Ticket Man" is nice, the ten-minute closing epic "Thank You" , accompanied by strings and (of course) again a ballad only offers ideas for five minutes. Not a successful experiment , sprawling prog numbers are not the profession of the band.
"Bang!" could thus have been a good work, but Gotthard too often lose their courage. They either present the wrong fabric softener at the wrong time, or the ideas a are bit too unconvincing. In some moments you want to call "Bang!" better than its predecessor, but you can not really justify that looking at the overall balance.

Samsara Circle - Sanctum

Samsara Circle - Sanctum Samsara Circle from Dusseldorf go the right way and release their first sign of life as a compact EP with 30 minutes of playing time, thereby avoiding the risk of untimely supersaturation. Their music is a modern type of metal whose combination is classified by heaviness and melody between melodic death and metalcore. The keyboards are used as a melodic element and not so much as an effect, which means that although the song have the usual melody / bellow interplay clichéd songwriting is avoided. The band designs their songs almost with a progressive touch0
Almost all the songs have surprising twists and details, Samsara Circle's sense for the right melody is remarkable. The band is always best when they provide their talent as composers and their ideas free and fresh. The songs do not seem cluttered, but thought out and fresh despite the elaborate arrangements. Guitar solos are also part of the professionally produced debut , as unpredictable stop-and-go songwriting in which all band members serve the song itself. The calbum closer "A Fire On The Ocean's Ground" is an extremely harmonious seven minute epic, whose only drawback lies actually in the fact it does not open the disk. Samsara Circle are among the bands that can dare such a statement.
A promising German newcomer who stands out from the monotony, and of which we will certainly hear more in the future.

Hindsights – Cold Walls/Cloudy Eyes

British newcomers Hindsight play music that would have been quite likely to be successful five to ten years ago. Typical for a debut that is not made by one of those rare bands that open up new worlds already with their first sign of life, the song material is good and stylistically familiar, but also not quite spectacular. The songs are moving towards more melodic Funeral For A Friend, in which the melodic punk influences of US bands like Blink 182, Green Day and Co. Are hinted at, but never pulled completely. Hindsight prefer the more leisurely version and build their music on a manageable number of chords. The voice is a little labored in places, above all in the middle pitches, but all in all it is good. Typical of this sound is also the lack of depth. Although the band is trying to address the problem of uniformity by intensity changes between verse and chorus, the result is not really convincing. It is too early to count on outstanding hits, so it does not deserve any other enthusiasms except for an appreciative nod. "Cold Walls / Cloudy Eyes" is a nice album for the target group, but the songs are average in all respects.

See Through Dresses

On their self titled debut, See Through Dresses sound o a bit like The Cure, if they had been founded in the nineties, ie without the great despair and the post-punk aspect of the early phase, but with the same degree of detachment, which also makes up songs like for example, "Lullaby". They do not reach the quality level of their models, nut it is also clear that Robert Smith and co are not the band's only influence. The guitar sound makes for an ostensibly quite dark atmosphere reminiscent of numerous post-rock bands. Various short noise eruptions then also provide a decent level of aggressiveness. The vocals are shared by Mathew Carrol and his female counterpart Sara Bertuldo, which makes for a bit of variety. The negative mood yet certainly is depressing not only for the faint-hearted, where bands like The Cure somtimes lighten up their sound with a positive note, See Through Dresses only hint at hapiness, like in "Glass". That's why the band's debut is a permanently quite tiring affair, because genuine sellers or outstanding moments are also missing. However, the consistent mood is also an advantage that can be expanded on later albums for privilege when the band retains the album flow and consistency in construction. "See Through Dresses" is certainly not a high flyer that will make history, it is however a promising statement in any case.

Heat - Labyrinth

Unlike their Swedish colleagues with the same name this band from Berlin is one of the currently so fashionable retro-rock bands. They do it right in most points. The sound is pleasantly dry and transparent, so that the attractive twin leads of the two guitarists can form the foundation of the sound. Heat sometimes remember of Thin Lizzy or Black Sabbaths middle phase with Ozzy, but are never guilty of plagiarism.
In some songs, such as the eight-minute "The Golden Age", a progressive approach is added that enhances the songs immensely. The band slows down, uses acoustic guitars and tribal drums like Deep Purple in their early years, but never inflates individual parts too long. The song seems ambitious, in some places may be a bit too much. The German accent is quite clearly perceive. But that does not matter because the sound at any time feels authentic. The numerous guitar melodies and solos are likely to be fun for every fan of the 70s.
The band can still imorve their songwriting aibility, but perfectionsism in that point should not be expectes from a debut. A few structured songs with catchy melodies or the like are missing on the overall sludgy album. However, there is potential for the Berlin residents, so that heat might actually establish themselves as the second important retro band from Berlin next to Kadavar.



Text © by Heiko Eschenbach