Heavy Metal Reviews

Heavy Metal an Rhein und Ruhr

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Ratt - Ratt

Heavy Metal Reviews

1999‘s comeback record, simply titled „Ratt“ showed a new side of the 80‘s glam metal heroes. You might like the old records and love tunes such as You‘re In Love, Round and Round or Heads I Win, Tails You Lose. And you might even be familiar with their (as well) self-titled EP, released back in 1983. But their first comeback record is by far miles away from their signature sound. It is like RATT have slept during the whole 90‘s. This record is not a glam metal record as you might expect it to be. This one‘s more a hard rock record in the vein of „Native Tongue“ by POISON or WARRANT‘s „Dog Eat Dog“. Stephen Pearcy and his gang sound more mature, more blues rock orientated and less party-orientated. While some will be disappointed in that release, others will find some real good songs. Just listen to the blues rock orientated We Don‘t Belong or rockers It Ain‘t Easy and All The Way. These are more matured than any other RATT songs, and maybe they are no huge songs, that will stick around in your head for forever. But they are definitly worth listening to. Don‘t expect a glam record, that‘s all you need to keep in your head before you start listening to „Ratt“. But chances are, if you liked „Native Tongue“ by POISON, that you also dig this record.

Ratt - Detonator

It‘s 1990 and glam metal is still a big thing, but slowly the stardom declines. Even RATT, a band who always got platin awards and played in big venues, recognizes this. Their previous record „Reach The Sky“ was succesful but not as successful as the band and the label wanted it to be. So they hired songwriter Desmond Child, who also helped BON JOVI , KISS or AEROSMITH with some of their biggest hits, to help them creating their new record which eventually become „Detonator“. Well, you easily can tell that „Detonator“ is a matured record with a slightly darker atmosphere than before. It is still a classic RATT release, though. The album‘s opener Shame Shame Shame rocks like you expect it from a song of Stephen Pearcy and the boys. The following Lovin‘ You Is A Dirty Job is even better. The second part of the refrain is one of the most dramatic moments you‘d ever hear on a RATT record - maybe except of Giving Youself Away. That tune is one of the most melodic tracks of the band‘s whole back catalogue - and one of their best! The closing song, Top Secret, rocks like hell and could have been part of the band‘s first two records. Even if „Detonator“ could not sell as much as previous records, it is still a highlight in RATT‘s discography. It features a bunch of real good songs, and you can‘t name one that is not at least certified „good“.


The Ghost Inside - Get What You Give

Moshpits have waited for this! THE GHOST INSIDE from Los Angles are back with their third record, „Get What You Give“. 2010‘s „Returners“ make them breakthrough. They recruited many new fans with strong songs such as Unspoken. They must have felt a lot of pressure during the procress of creating their thrid record. But it‘s by far their best! „Get What You Give“ gives you a lot breakdowns that will get you knocked-out. The band still delivers groovy metalcore with great breakdowns and lyrics about never giving up and that you need to stand for something. Nothing has changed, you might expect. And you need to listen to that record more than twice to see the smaller differences. Obvious are the clean vocals in Engine 45 and Dark Horse, which are two of the strongest songs on „Get What You Give. But there are some more melodic moments and the songs sound more mature and defined. It‘s not just a fast part being followed by a breakdown, the new tracks are more of songs that ever before. You just want to press repeat after the last chords have faded. „Get What You Give“ is one hell of a metalcore record. For sure this will be one of the genre‘s highlights 2012. This record is furious, high-energy and great songs, which easily will stick in your head for a few weeks. If you‘d loved „Returners“, you will admire THE GHOST INSIDE‘s third effort.


Bon Jovi - Greatest Hits

BON JOVI did release as best of compilation back in 1994, called „Cross Road: The Best Of Bon Jovi“. If you like the glam metal sound of the first BON JOVI outputs you should go with this one. If you are interessted what they did since then, 2010‘s „Greatest Hits“ is custom made for your needs. If you pick the single disc edition you get all the hits. Livin‘ On A Prayer, You Give Love A Bad Name, Runaway, In These Arms, Always, It‘s My Life, Everyday and many more. But there are no tracks, which appeared on „7800° Fahrenheit“ (the band‘s forgotten und underated second release), „These Days“ or „Lost Highway“, that‘s why you should buy the two CD deluxe version. If that‘s not enough there are also new songs featured -two on each CD. The new tunes of the first CD are the singles to support this compilation, What Do You Got?, a nice mid-tempo track witch a ballad-like feeling, and No Apologies, a fast rocker, which could have been part of the band‘s comeback album „Crush“. In fact it‘s close to the succesful single It‘s My Life. On the other disc you get This Is Love, This Is Life as well as The More Things Change, which are both solid songs, although they aren‘t as good as disc one‘s new stuff.
„Greatest Hits“, no matter which version you buy, is a real good overview of the band‘s backcatalogue. Of course you will like the stuff until and including „These Days“ most, the new stuff isn‘t bad, though.

Text © by Sebastian Berning


BLACK SABBATH - 13

Meanwhile, any halfway attentive metal fan (ie anyone who is not deaf) knows the new BLACK SABBATH album, and despite a tendency for the positive reactions are different. The hard fans have hardly anything to complain about, but there is also the other side who simply considers “13” as unnecessary.
Approaching from a neutral point of view. the truth is to be foundsomewhere in the middle. "13" is a good album with some highlights, but it is by no menas a classic, an insurmountable rock solid, which every metal fan absolutely must own. The restriction that primordial drum beast Bill Ward was not available for the reunion is not very conspicious, because his replacement Brad Wilk does a quite good job. Toni Iommi riffs are still identifiable right away, Geezer Butler's bass is still one of the best in the scene, and Ozzy Osbourne's vocals are bearable. The biggest advantage of "13" is that band and producer (Rick Rubin!) not have taken on a retro style.
"13"makes the typical SABBATH tone sound up-to-date day and actually sounds like an album from the year 2013. Who would have guessed?
Most satisfied will be friends of the very early SABBATH material. This means the songs are dominated by doom, those who prefer Ozzy's second phase are thought of only from time to time. This is not tragic as numbers such as "God Is Dead" or "Damaged Soul" are still good enough to convince. None of the songs is a classic in the manner of "Paranoid", "Iron Man" and "After Forever", also none of it is a letdown. Above all Iommi demonstrates his value with his guitar playing, the solos, the sound and of course the riffs maee "13" a consistently listenable affair. "Zeitgeist" is reminiscent of"Planet Caravan", is therefore a matter of taste, but stands out and offers the listener a different facet. “13" ends with the same storm and bell that started heavy metal in 1969, a fact taht suggests that something comes to an end with the album, something which began more than four decades earlier. The career of a band that has only enabled our scene to exist, and without which we would not be here today. BLACK SABBATH have changed the world, at least the music world, which is the same thing anyway as we all know. So you can listen to "13" with reverence and respect and enjoy listening to good music, which is authentic and honest for a band of this status.

DARK AGE - A Matter Of Trust

Dark Age from Hamburg for a while were Germany's most important Melo Death offspring, but the musical elements that characterized the band at the time only remain in the form of isolated elements. Those however are emphasized more clearly. The focus on their last album “Acedia” was already on catchy songwriting, the death metal influences were reduced to a minimum, and the electronic features turned the music into a modern yet very pleasent piece of art.
"A Matter Of Trust" continues the chosen path and things such as Death growls or melodic guitar leads are only fragmentary to identify. DARK AGE's new album is basically alternative metal that begins appealing and quickly diminishes in quality. If you can relate to the stylistic direction you will find that above all it is the songs themselves which lack substance and impact.
The start is quite promising: The opener "Nero" is a catchy number with well executed melodies, the musical foundation does not only serve fans of the predecessor, but also the LINKIN PARK or SCAR SYMMETRY target group. "Afterlife" takes in a similar direction, and "Out Of Time" will likely also satisfy those who measure the quality of a song according to the presence of death metal vocals. But then it goes worse. What follows is standard fare, with texts in awkward English, with tunes you already heard a thousand times and with predictable song structures. The step into appealing to the masses was more convincingly done by other bands of the genre.
Yes, "A Matter Of Trust" is excellently produced and DARK AGE provide the reviewers little reason to criticise the implementation of their ideas. But the ideas themselves show a serious lack of creativity, energy and passion, and ultimately, the album is nothing more than a little inconspicuous being in a musical area where it seems increasingly important to attract the masses without caring to much about the songs.

WATAIN - The Wild Hunt

Exceptionally I would like to take the conclusion of this review first: Initially I had a fear that my enthusiasm for the album would set soon, as often it happens with the initial euphoria, when you think you hear something special and soon fins that the music offered is individual, but also short-lived. "The Wild Hunt" is different. "The Wild Hunt" grows and grows and even after the 50th listen it is still exactly the monster that is was from the very first moment on. In the end it leads to the conclusion that the word "masterpiece" is too often used appropriately, but is absolutely fitting in this case.
What the Swedes celebrate on their new album is of course a disaster for the devotional True Black Metal fan, and you can leave that completely unchallenged. For those who want their Black Metal to include art, darkness, courage, passion and versatility, "The Wild Hunt" is a revelation. WATAIN dare what other's don't, and they are of the highest musical value, despite all rumored ideological ambivalence. The evil hellish rides, which you could find on the predecessors, are still there, embedded in a production that meets requirements and an awareness of details that gives the album its brilliance. After the intro of the opening track "De Profundis" crashes with wild obsession and starts where WATAIN have stopped with her last album. "Black Flames March" quotes classic metal, and presents profound gloom that sounds like temples, caves and a depraved world. "All That My Bleed" and "The Child Must Die" cross a border the mob dosen't even want to think about, they hurt and they cut deep wounds, but on the samep page they always remain artfully crafted songs whose sick element never are an act of splurge . The incredibly nasty "Sleepless Evil" is changing from fast descents, threatening severity and vulgar singing os possibly the highlight of the extreme-aggressive side of the album. However, "The Wild Hunt" is strong mostly because of its contrasts, because "They Rode On" is a consistently quiet and highly emotional number that sounds like longing, perseverance and wanderlust, and singer Eric calls for change and personal freedom. The title track, with its epic choruses and melodies make beaty and grace appear amidst all the blackness and darkness, "Outlaw" trembles the classical pathway and surprises with elaborate and intricate solo parts. The closing "Holocaust Dawn" is a tribute to the own strengths and presents WATAINs newfound versatility summarized in a slow-apocalyptic finale. In between all of the claim there is Indian chants, Latin American instrumentation and an accordeon sounding like oceanic romantic. Those experiments will not be liked by everyone, but they are proff that it's first of all the music Watain care about. The will to challenge themselves, and to do what feels right. Exemplary in the sense of artistic freedom, without ignoring the devotion of fans and their wishes and desires. "The Wild Hunt" never too excessively celebrates single moments, requires several listen, mostly in order to experience some great moments again. Because of its musical class and not only a genre highlight of the year, but for a very long time. WATAIN set a benchmark with this album, which will be the measure for not only themselves, but also all the others.

MONSTER TRUCK – Furiosity

Monster trucks music fits well into the present day. And yet they are better than numerous colleagues in a certain point: Their sound is brimming with energy and makes the majority of retro colleagues seem like a column of tired hippies. The Canadians have recently been awarded an underground prize in their home country: "Furiosity" is proof that awareness of classic rock and contemporary production and energetic approach are not mutually exclusive. The best songs of the album recall the BLACK STONE CHERRY debut, which obviously was driven by similar influences. Good news: The guitar riffs are in the foreground, are independent and recognizable, and the Hammond organ, too often used as a dominant instrument, acts pleasantly in the background. "Sweet Mountain River" is a catchy desert rock songst, which could be checked out in advance , because it sets the overall tone of the albu perfectly. MONSTER TRUCK differ from faster to mid-tempo-heavy, but always with a lot of groove and an enormous amount of rock 'n' roll vibes without repeating the same parts over and over again. "For The Sun" is the focal point of the album, a Led Zeppelin-influenced blues number with a lot of emotion and feeling, and "The Giant" and "Boogie" with its towering sludge eruptions is make the listener think of Mastodon. Otherwise "Furiosity" an all-encompassing tribute, there is a lot of ZZ Top, DEEP PURPLE, BLACK CROWES and BLACK SABBATH, and any time not only a little bit but omnipresent independence make the album a real insider's tip.

DEFTONES – Koi No Yokan

To blame Deftones as the only pioneers who have given us LIMP BIZKIT, LINKIN PARK and the early PAPA ROACH would fall short because rap and hip-hop were never part of their music and the band das always distanced from fashion trends. This is also understandable if one listens to the music of the Californians, which relies on very different values since the mid-90s then those of above mentioned bands. Their approach to melt aggression, melody, emotion and atmosphere into one, of course somehow contemporary sound is much more more likely to have been the blueprint for such great bands like Tool or Karnivool. Of course the band has shaped the musical landscape very much, especially in America. "Koi No Yokan" (it is taken from a Japanese term that describes a "Premontion of Love" in the sense of a "premonition of death", ie positive rather than negative associations), the second album in hard drawn bassist Chi Cheng did not take part, now taken over by Sergio Vega (ex-QUICK SAND). And it is one that reaches you so deeply emotional that it can well be described to be the best since "White Pony" can refer to it from 2000. "Koi No Yokan" ignites at the first run, but has that quality which distinguishes truly great albums: It grows and has not yet reached its peak after 20 listens. The album has an impressive suspense and a magnificent flow, which makes the eleven songs sound almost like one big piece of music, without any song suffering in quality. There will be days where you will prefer the riff-oriented songs like the opener "Swerve City" or perhaps the toughest steam hammer "Poltergeist", and then again it will be quiet, atmospheric songs like "Entombed" or "Tempest" - but you're alway impressed by the sense of melody and compositional class that works perfectly well without excessive guitar antics. Human feelings and sensations is at any time the cornerstone of the sound. The music is dark in many moments, with monstrous explosions of color in the deepest levels of fantasy. Rock music, which creates absolutely amazing landscaped that were not there before, it opens wounds and heals them again, and prooves why music is so admired by many people. It is more than entertainment, it is a motivator and dream scene. Chino Moreno sings, screams and whispers and is perhaps the main focus of the typical band sound,. "Koi No Yokan" has no complicated structures, like so many album of the band in the past, but it always remains tangible and obvious. And that exactly is its great strength.

Text © by Heiko Eschenbach