GENUS ORDINIS DEI – THE MIDDLE (Target/Mighty Music Records)
This band started in 2009, some say it only begun in 2011, in the Crema region of Italy. They wanted to write Symphonic Death Metal but with an own musical identity. Things turned out very well, and the band entered the recording studio to release their debut album ‘The Middle’ around 2013. The band received critical acclaim in their Italian scene and one year later, they teamed up with Mr. Marco Coti Zelati (Lacuna Coil) as producer. February 2015 was another important move in the career of the band as they entered the studio for the second time for the recordings of their next EP. Things worked out well again, so they got signed by Target/Mighty Music Records, which will re-release both works, starting with ‘The Middle’ in 2016.
I believe that this re-release has no extras on board, but I noticed that the 3 last songs on this release have a different playing time, compared with the original recordings. A little odd, and I have no clue how comes.
Let’s start with the opener ‘And Then…’ that gives a perfect atmosphere to this album. It’s very impressive, very bombastic and cinematic, so shortly spoken, a very good start of the album. When ‘The Fall’ continues, we get a different taste in the mouth (and ears). The vocals of Nick K result in a kind of shock effect. Do they fit in this musical style? Are they capable to lift the songs to higher levels? I’m doubting, but I must confess that after a few spins, I’m getting used to it. I guess that Nick will have a mark on his forehead: Love it or hate it… Some of the material on this album has a mechanical touch like Fear Factory usually adds to their songs. But above this industrial layer, we hear a lot of keyboards, played by Tommy Mastermind who takes care of the guitars as well. I wonder how he manage this live, as the keyboard sound is explicitly provided.
The whole band is rather special and their sound underlines the whole thing even better. I would dare to say that Genus Ordinis Dei is a very technical band as the guitar solos in the songs are above the average. They add a heavy dose to the album! ‘Word Of God’ leaves me behind with a Within Temptation feeling with male vocals, mixed with some Rammstein influences. ‘My Crusade’ tends to boredom, but luckily there is an instrumental passage ‘Thoughts’ that gives the necessary variety to ‘The Middle’. When ‘Path To Salvation’ continues, I hear an old school Sepultura sound, so I can only conclude that Genus Ordinis Dei (means “Kind Of Order”) offers an album with a special touch and atmosphere but with only one question mark: will you love or hate the voice of Nick? http://genusordinisdei.com/ order at: http://ww.w.targetshop.dk/uk/370640/Genus_Ordinis_Dei/The_Middle/
My rating: 79 / 100 (Decent but best previewing)
Review by Sloof
A new Finish melodic Hard Rock band, presented by Pure Steel Records, sharpens my hunger, especially when they tell us that half of the lineup is also active in Stargazery, a band that I personally like a lot. This is the third output of Ghost Machinery and ‘Evil Undertow’ should be capable to please the fans of melodic metal.
Opener ‘Arms Of The Strangers’ is a very melodic track with a lot of attention to the keyboards and an Aldo Nova/Bon Jovi approach, and with a chorus line that has a very commercial twist. ‘Fatal’ continues and can be considered as comparable with the opener. The same style in composing and although the vocals of Pete Ahonen are really excellent, they don’t succeed to drag my attention for the whole time. Same goes with the song ‘Kingdom Of Decay’ and that’s how this album is continuing its path. ‘Go To Hell (It’s Where You Belong)’ is a song where the pace is increasing but despite all efforts of the bands, I can only say that this is, again, a very standard composition.
Nothing new, nothing fresh, nothing to look out for. This is an album that I can enjoy while sitting in a metal bar or pub where you have a chat with friends and relatives. Having Ghost Machinery playing in the background won’t give you any disturbing feelings, but it remains mediocre. All songs have a bit of the same problem. They aren’t bad at all, but you won’t be agitated by the arrangements as they all sound like heated porridge. The vocals of Pete Ahonen are really good, but we need stronger choruses and more elaborate structures of the songs.
Every track sounds repetitive and that should be avoided in the future. A few members of this band also play in the band Stargazery and if you compare the writing talent, you will agree that there is a huge gap to take. A track like ‘No Easy Way Out’ can be mentioned as a filler, as it adds nothing to the quality of the album, and bands should avoid this!https://www.facebook.com/ghostmachinery/
My rating: 73/100 (Between 70 and 79: Decent but best previewing)
GOATSODOMIZER – THE CURSE RINGS TRUE (Iron Shield Records)
Review by Sloof
I expected totally over the top grind or extreme² Metal, but the surprise was very pleasant when ‘Graveyard Bitch’ opened the album. Very intense Heavy Metal with understandable lyrics instead of grunts and a lot of attention to the guitars of Per Lindström. The songs are Heavy Metal in an Overdrive mode and is slightly comparable with the material from Sharlee D’Angelo’s Witchery. Some songs have a lot of Rock’n Roll attitude with a Punk effect (‘Sidewalk Sinner (Gary Glitter)’), while others go into a Stoner Rock direction (‘Tombstone Riot’).
The vocals of Gustaf Browall are mean and dirty and underline the message from the band really clear. The topics are mainly underground (literally) with topics like rape, murder, tombstones, and they define their musical direction as Thrash Metal. Perhaps that’s more applicable to the demos “This Mean War” from 2000 or “Rapin’ My Graveyard” from 2002. The band became more mature (what a funny remark), and focused more to the original R’n R style. Even the cover is fitting in between the own material, as they bring their version of ‘Going To Brazil’, originally performed by Motörhead.
This is a band that adds humor to their songs, and that’s always a good move. I’m sure that they have their local fan base in Sweden where the songs are shouted out loud and where ribald pubs will love to play their material. They are the harbingers of Satan Rock’n Roll and are meant to stay underground, the place where they reside best! Additional info at:https://www.facebook.com/Goatsodomizer-545563572133884/
My rating: 76/100 (Decent but best previewing)
GODSLAVE – WELCOME TO THE GREEN ZONE (Green Zone Music)
Review by Sloof
A Thrash Metal band that likes States Quo? Possible, but rather rare.. Godslave is, and they even recorded an EP with 6 original Quo singles in their own Godslave twist. This release was an idea to fill the gap since their previous full length album ‘In Hell’ (2013), but now we move on with the fourth full length ‘Welcome To The Green Zone’. It seems like the band started their own label (Green Zone Music), to get their albums to the fans, and I’m always enthusiastic when a band decides to do so. It means that they want to hold all strings in own hands, that they want to be independent and that they want to point their stretched middle finger to those labels that uniquely sign major acts. The promotion of this new release is done by Gordeon Music Promotion and Management, and that’s how this album arrived at our desk.
Godslave is a German band, and active since 2007 in the Saarbrücken area. Before that time, they played as Slavery, so we can easily say that they exist since the year 2000. The musical direction changed a bit from Power/Thrash Metal to pure Thrash Metal, so prepare your neck and muscles for a heavy attack! Godslave promises that you will bang away all worries and anger of everyday life during the 11 tracks that feature this release.
When you push the play button, you will get a direct attack, which can be described as a frontal assault on the eardrums. Vocals by Thommy that sound a bit like the good old Exodus, and when I listen to the chorus lines ‘One Finger-Two Words’, I wonder if they want to express Fuck You or Great Job with a raised thumb? I guess that I’m close to the F-word… The band Overkill is also an influence for this band, as the next track (Bloodbound Pack) contains the same hooks and skilled guitars, which sounds awesome! Bernie and Meyer are the both axemen of Godslave and they surely know how to keep the pace in the songs!
Another thing that I need to mention is the total and overall sound of this album. It’s very well mixed, as all members get their deserved spot and the sound and production is exactly what this musical direction needs! ‘So Let It Burn’ starts in an extra high pace in the beginning, but slows down to continue as a heavy and darker arrangement. The vocal range of Thommy is noticeable in ‘Because We Can’ and we get ‘welcomed to the party, pall’ with the song ‘Idolized’. When ‘Mad In Germany’ explodes, we get a full Thrash Metal attack where the speed is commanding and impressive. Mika on bass has a very cool sound in this track as well. Even the wall of sound is attainable in the song ‘My Journey’, so if you have a weak heart, you better skip this one!
Variety is present as well, as the instrumental passage ‘6_2.3’ starts as a ballad, but continues with a very trashy riff, and above that, we hear very nice guitar solos. The final minute is switching into a kind of electro beat with dance music inclinations. I hate dance music. ‘Children Of The Pit’ continues in the good Thrash Metal tradition and ‘End Of History’ takes about 7 minutes with a slow and heavy start but a super dark approach. Great!!
People that want to buy a decent Thrash Metal album and want to support an unknown band, you know what to do. Check Godslave on their videos and you get an idea what ‘Welcome To The Green Zone’ is all about! http://godslave.de/
My rating: 85/100 (Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)
GROOVENOM – PINK LION (Noizgate Records)
Review by Sloof
A Trancecore shooting star from Dresden, Germany, is this what we are waiting for? What the hell is trancecore anyway? Well, Noizgate explains perfectly what we can expect: stylish, rhythmic, heavy and most of all danceable. It should be like melting deathcore with pop music, like reinventing Metal with only one option: it needs to contain techno beats and groovy rap parts. Well, I consider myself as a straight metalhead and I do hate dance music, but for some reason, Groovenom succeeded in convincing me. I was tapping my feet, and I enjoyed the album from the very first moment. Believe me, that’s totally unusual, and I tend to blush when I tell my friends about this band. It’s comparable like adding Rammstein at the Tomorrowland Festival, like scheduling Fear Factory at Sonar Barcelona, but for some reason Groovenom succeeds in their goal! They are aggressive and heavy but succeed in add their secret ingredient which makes it totally unexpected.
The album ‘Pink Lion’ was already released in 2015 as an independent release, but now they got signed so ‘Pink Lion’ is going to be re-released with the addition of 4 bonus tracks. When the album takes off with the track ‘Venom In Veins’, you will get an overview of what this band is all about. All ingredients are packed into 1 track, so you will get melody, electro samples, aggression, a very intense vocalist (Mr. Sanz), perfect guitar licks by Tightuz and Matt Steen, and the most impressive thing: being capable to get all these different layers into one song. ‘Traitors To The Scene’ continues with the same passion and addictive melody and ‘Bright Nights’ starts with a very modern approach and an electro part halfway. I want to mention the chorus lines as well, as they add a catchy touch to the arrangement.
‘Masquerade’ is more commercial but again above the average and ‘Walking On Shards’ is a ballad with very sensitive vocals. The title track ‘Pink Lion’ starts with the growls of a lion followed by a grunting voice. This one is full speed ahead, and although there is a commercial layer, I do consider this as one of the best songs on the album. The best is yet to come as ‘Apartment 69’ is an instrumental track with a XXL stretched guitar solo! Awesome and with outstanding dedication! Some of the songs get a special edit or remix as bonus material, and although I enjoyed the Candlelight-edit version of ‘Traitors To The Scene’, I prefer the original song. In this bonus version, you get something like Cowboy music in a desolate environment where coyotes and dried hay dominate the landscape. Although it’s a special edition, I do enjoy the homage to melody and sensitivity.
All in all, I can say that I respect this band a lot! They convinced me from start to finish and I never thought that I would like a band like this so much. If you want to hear something special, check them out and perhaps you will get addicted just like me! https://www.facebook.com/groovenom/timeline
My rating: 85/100 (Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)
GRUMPYNATORS – WONDERLAND (Target Records)
Review by Stefan
Do you ever heard about a subgenre called “Motorbilly? To be very honest I don’t, until Danish based Grumpynators’ first full-length effort was sent to be reviewed. They were formed in 2011, played a lot of gigs on Danish soil such as support act of Volbeat’s “First 5 Tour” which took place at the 5 biggest venues in Denmark. Grumpynators recorded a five song loaded Demo and an EP called “666 RPM”, both independently and still available through their official homepage at: http://www.grumpynators.dk/ . I never heard of these guys before, nor did I meet a style as stated on the info sheet, Motorbilly. I had a vague suspicion that it was a hodgepodge of multiple styles of Rock and Metal music and after listening to their new album entitled “Wonderland”, my hunch was confirmed.
Musicaly wise, the band refers to bands like Motorhead, AC/DC, Metallica, Volbeat, Ramones,… even Johnny Cash is listed. Rockabilly meets Punk meets Hard Rock and Heavy Metal music. Allow me to mention that this seems an unusual situation and I can’t get used to honestly. I have absolutely nothing to criticize regarding the musical skills of these four members but it just feels strange. Emil Oelund’s vocals sound like a blend of Lemmy (early Motorhead era), Brian Setzer (Stray Cats rockabilly fame) and Animal of legendary Punk Rockers named Anti Nowhere League, Emil is also the guitarist in the band and delivers a properly job, persuasiveness is the man’s trademark.
Another, kinda remarkable fact is the use of a big double bass instrument, generally used in many Jazz and Rockabilly bands. You need to know the tricks of the trade to be able to play this impressionistic tool, Grumpynators’ double bass fiddler in charge Jakob Oelund meets the required conditions, trouble-free. Check songs like ‘Walking In The Night’ and ‘The Stalker’ to illustrate this statement. Both brothers Emil and Jakob (who also contributed on a couple Volbeat albums!) played together in a Rockabilly band Taggy Tones which explains a lot to me. It’s clear that Gumpynators have a strong connection with their idols due to lead guitarist Christian Norgaard toured with Volbeat as acoustic guitarist and technician. Ruler of the hard hitting drumbeats Per Fisker was in the 90s active in Heavy Metal band Jackal !
The production of Gumpynators’ new album “Wonderland” is amazingly well, the present 11 songs popping the ears right of your head whether you turn the volume louder or quieter. Of course it’s always better to play it all extremely loud so you can feel the rush from head to your toes. Songs I’d like to recommend are ‘Walked Away’ (pity the faint intro, all in all a solid rocker with balls), ‘The Calling’ and its dragging tempo, ‘Speeding’ and especially ‘Pray For Your Life’ bring some more powerful action upfront. The tempo changes between the songs are enjoyable and leave behind the boring moments, nevertheless the band’s style can’t really appeal to my satisfaction.
They perform very well and they do it with conviction which is a nice characteristic, but despite my, somewhat mild satisfaction, I really think that fans of (mainly) Volbeat, Danko Jones, Motorhead, Anti Nowhere League or even The Stray Cats have to give Grumpynators a chance to prove themselves. Check ‘em out and meet their own way of rebel style Heavy Metal Rock ‘n Roll music, in other words Motorbilly ! https://www.facebook.com/grumpynators
My rating: 80/100 (Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)
GUILTY AS CHARGED – LEAP OF FAITH (Independent)
Review by Sloof
I got in touch with this band at the Alcatraz Metal Festival, as they played the 2011 edition in Deinze. Their songs and material was totally unknown to me, but their gig resulted in a moment of joy as they took the stage completely! Afterwards I bought their mini ‘Boxed In’ that featured 5 songs with a total duration of 25 minutes. Guilty As Charged convinced on a stage and on a disc, so the additional stress occurred when I received their debut album to review. Title of that album is ‘Leap Of Faith’ and contains a very substantive message both for the genre and future plans of the band.
The first track is ‘Preach To The Masses’ and gives you a perfect idea of what’s to come. Blistering guitars, vivid riffs and a pace that is very entertaining. The vocals of Jan De Vuyssere have a little Testament timbre and during the chorus lines, we also hear the shining example of James Hetfield nearby. This is no criticism at all as it suits the musical direction perfectly. It’s only an indication and will appeal to a lot of Headbangers! ‘Last Chance’ accentuates things a little bit more as the Testament influences disappear totally but Metallica enters prominently! The musical direction is truly awesome. Good pace, perfectly dosed with aggression and melody and while the dreadlocks of Hannes (Bass) are adding a whirlwind effect, the song is bursting out of energy and spontaneity! Great solos by Dempsy Derous and Jan De Vuyssere who interact to each other! Superb!
I spin this record for several times now and I guess that ‘Last Chance’ is becoming my favorite Guilty As Charged track, but it must be said that the title track ‘Leap Of Faith’ is growing stronger and stronger with the minute! ‘I’ll Never’ is dark and heavy as hell, totally different as the previous tracks, but perhaps the perfect choice for the single release. ‘Elysium’ is an instrumental gem that takes almost 3 minutes and very often, an instrumental track is just an in-between moment of pause, a kind of calm moment before storm breaks loose, but Guilty As Charged focused on a subdued and full song. The guitars demand their presence, the vibe is still present and increasing and although the musical direction is totally different, it just earned a place on this album.
The duration of a full length album might be a little obstacle as 32 minutes is rather an EP nowadays, but it’s better to give a slab of energy that longs for another spin instead of an album with a few fillers. The band took the leap, and this faith will result in a positive step in their career! They are ready for the next level!
My rating: 91/100 (Between 90 and 95: Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan)