Review: Era Of Ephemeris – Among The Stars

EoE - Among The Stars

Era Of Ephemeris – Among The Stars (Self Release)
Review by Steve Thomas-Green

Back in the late 90s, mainly because I went to the Dynamo Festival three years in a row, I discovered the likes of Within Temptation, Lacuna Coil and Trail of Tears… female fronted Metal was a new experience for me, and I was immediately hooked… I went on to discover the likes of Theatre of Tragedy, Epica and Stream of Passion… and then, well, every band started to sound the same, the market was oversaturated and I gave up on it…

And to be honest, I’ve not really listened to the Symphonic/Gothic side of things, probably for a good decade, bar whatever I’ve played on my radio shows. So when this album was sent to me by guitarist Urban Granbacke (Unfolded, ex. Gates of Ishtar, ex, The Duskfall), I didn’t think I was going to be the one to review it.

But, after just one listen, I was impressed enough to want to cover it myself.

Now, no wheels are being re-invented here. The opening number (ignoring the intro), if I’m being very honest/critical, isn’t the most inspired opening… it’s a bit slow and measured. The lead guitars are very tastefully done, the rhythm section has a nice clout to it. The vocals are impeccable, but the song doesn’t really set the world alight.

And then, the switch is flicked at the start of Another Side Of The Same World, like dark clouds parting to reveal the sun, and the magic of what Era Of Ephemeris are about, is revealed.

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I’ve no idea how you classify this these days, as I’ve been out of the loop for at least a decade, but it’s leaning towards the Gothic/Doom side of things, with the welcome addition of some growled male vocals, to counteract the dulcet tones of Rossana Cavallotto, who genuinely has a beautiful voice.

From then on, it’s like being acquainted with a long lost friend. This sits very comfortably with me. It glides along on a very even keel and is very easy on the ear.

I feel that the sound may change slightly, the longer the band are together. Right now, they are slap bang in the middle of the doomier Gothic side of things and the more commercial side. Because Rossana has such a pure voice, I feel they may head in the latter direction, but personally, I think such an unspoilt voice over the top of something a little dirtier and miserable, might just work a treat.

So, a very accomplished debut, and I look forward to seeing how they develop their sound going forward

To hear Another Side Of The Same World check out the latest Toxik Metal show
the song starts at around the 27 minute mark

https://www.facebook.com/eraofephemeris/

Behind The Scenes : WASP

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We go back in time… with Ivona Bogner

My parents sent me to journey across Europe in spring of 2004, after I officially finished with university lectures. North Italy, France, Spain, Austria. My first trip abroad. Alone.

After fifteen days and painful 19 hours spent in bus on my way from Nice to Vienna, I was so tired and just wanted to go back home. Two nights in a hotel somewhere in the Vienna woods seemed to be enough to change my mind. I recharged batteries and forgot about going back home. Fresh air, squirrels on window in early morning, beer and sausages recovered me instantly.

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Few days later, on my way back home, the bus stopped at gas station somewhere in Prater area. Although we were not allowed to leave the bus, I saw a huge poster and I knew it has to be mine! Yes, mostly people get Mozartkugeln as a souvenir from Austria. Not me! I brought 90∕60 cm W.A.S.P. poster. How happy my parents were!

I desperately wanted to get back to Vienna, but my visa expired, I had no money in pockets, so…

Two years later, L.A. veterans finally came to Serbia! How excited I was! Only twice in my life I was running to winner position (read front line): W.A.S.P. in 2006 and Iron Maiden in 2007. It was a matter of life and death!

So, on October 10, 2006, I was in front of Blackie f…… Lawless!

From the opening riff, there was no rest. I can clearly remember most of songs they played: ″L.O.V.E. Machine″, ″Widowmaker″, ″On Your Knees″, ″I Wanna Be Somebody″, but most of all my favorites: ″Wild Child″, ″The Headless Children″ and ″Sleeping In The Fire″. I also clearly remember I was crying while W.A.S.P. was performing ″Sleeping In The Fire″. Of course, if anyone than would ask me if I was crying the answer was no. Just sweating.

It was pleasantly warm October night and I was circling as a vulture around the tour bus. Security told us to form the line and Blackie will soon come out. Holy mother of Lord! From the bus staircase, that man looked like 80′s houswife! In blue shorts, his legs looked longer than me. On his head, there was a towel. It seemed he just took a quick shower. And there lies the modesty of the biggest stars! With no problem, no matter how tired he was, and he was 53, if I count well, he had enough patience to talk to fans, to sign all we had… From tickets to toilet paper. So polite, so patient, so normal, so perfect! Photos were not allowed, but I respect his decision. And understand it.

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Mike Dupke and Doug Blair seemed to be in good mood, so we were sitting in the front of the bus, having unformal conversation. Doug desperately wanted some chewing gum and I was pleased to give him a whole packet. Weird gift! Somehow, that night I had met their sound engineer. It turned out his girlfriend is from Serbia. So we talked about food, life in general and somehow he even told me how much money he earns per concert. I guess it was trust issue, so I will not tell you how many zeroes he has on his bank account.

The next W.A.S.P. concert was in 2009. ″Beast Of Babylon Tour″. Without me. I have bought ticket three month earlier, and what happened? I mixed the dates! Nothing strange with me, but missing W.A.S.P. when you have a ticket and a comet didn′t hit Earth is insane! When I saw no one was at the venue, I asked security if the concert was cancelled. ″No, it was yesterday″, they said. I can not describe how angry I was. But I strongly believe everything happens for a reason in life. And I strongly believe there will be more W.A.S.P. concerts for me.

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Review: Crisalide – Dark Inside

Crisalide – Dark Inside (Minotauro Records)
Review by Milos Sebalj

Is it too much to ask for a decent track listing on the back of an otherwise brilliantly designed digipack CD? Or perhaps a full set of lyrics in the booklet? It took me a while to figure out where the album actually begins and it the fact that there are only a couple of lines of lyrics inside didn’t help at all. On the other hand, the ever-terrible Italian version of English language remains hidden from plain sight. Nicely drawn artwork including a comic book depiction of band members saves the day. Thematically placed to fit the post-apocalyptic concept of the record, it fits like a glove.

Crisalide is an Italian quintet that just turned 25 years old, but their discography is terribly short for such an old band. “Dark Inside” is their debut full length album. Talk about waiting a long time! Having seen them live recently, I must say the energy is still there. These guys certainly know how to put on a good show!

Now, there is no easy way to describe the style they are performing. The merchandise stand where I traded for this CD claimed it to be Thrash Metal. The vocalist, with whom I traded, mentioned the influences of Sepultura and Soulfly. True, all of that is present on this record. There are more than enough of those tribal sounding drums that bear resemblance to the later era in the creation of the mentioned Brazilians. Vocals could invoke Max Cavalera, plus some groovy guitar parts play along to the tune of the legendary mid ‘90s albums. Also, faster parts might fit nicely to the Thrash Metal canons. Not quite as old school as the more closed-minded fans would like, but I can still hear some later Slayer or Testament in there. I would like to add some Swedish Death Metal melodies which are surely present, though never so much to take over. Combining all that, the Italians produced a highly energetic record.

As a quarter of a century old band presenting the debut album, one might expect a certain level of experience. And Crisalide comes through with flying colors. Nicely arranged, catchy enough with just a bit of personal touch not to feel like a simple copycat. The album itself is well-performed, by obviously skilful musicians. Guitar solos, various drum patterns, bass pounding to support it all… Everything comes together nicely.

Now, the fact that Crisalide is missing their own “Chaos A.D.” or “Roots Bloody Roots” kind of mega hit might just be the missing link here. Still, “Dark Inside” is far from a bad record. It is a pretty good one. Much ahead of what the mentioned Sepultura or Soulfly are releasing nowadays. The genre itself is far from its peak of popularity which probably means the Italians will not go too far with their effort, but I believe this CD is worth a shot. If nothing else, for the sake of nostalgia. As for me, according to the latest studies of climate changes the humanity will end in about a decade and a half, so guys, pick up the pace a bit and let’s make the second one before we experience firsthand what you wrote in the lyrics here.

https://www.facebook.com/crisalide.official/

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Review: Ripped To Shreds – Demon Scriptures

Ripped To Shreds – 魔經 – Demon Scriptures (Pulverised Records)
Review by Steve Thomas-Green

I am not a big fan of Death Metal, as a rule. But every now and then, a release hits the spot and I’m at a loss to why I don’t listen to the genre more often.

Here we have a California based project, which is the brainchild of Andrew Lee and he does everything on this EP, bar the drums, which are handled, superbly, by Kevin Paradis.

Confusingly, the live version of the band are Taiwanese, which I’m presuming is the heritage of Andrew Lee, especially as the subject matter for the songs is based around Chinese horror and folklore.

Throw into the mix some Swedish Death Metal and the feeling of a more evil/satanic version of Slayer and it’s a potent combination. And despite the heaviness of the music on offer, this is very accessible. And I like music that can beat the shit out of you, but can also offer a modicum of melody.

Andrew isn’t a slouch in the song writing department either, with the songs ranging from the 44 second blastfest of Pseudoelixir to the Doom influenced 10 minute epic, Sun Moon Holy Cult Part 1. The other 2 tracks are both around the 3 to 4 minute mark and are exactly what you’d expect to hear on a Death Metal release… lethal blasting with a pulverising rhythm section and a cool line in spewed out lead guitars.

I think Ripped to Shreds are a band with a very exciting future ahead of them… definitely a band worth checking out, whatever your taste in Metal may be.

https://www.facebook.com/rippedtoshredsband/

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Review: Mystik – Mystik

Mystik – Mystik (I Hate)
Review by Steve Thomas-Green

When it comes to life, in general, I don’t tend to look back… I very rarely dwell on the past… except when it comes to music.

Don’t get me wrong, I love discovering new bands and new forms of music, but when it comes to Metal, there’s not a lot that can beat the 80s…. actually, there’s nothing than can beat the 80s.

Rewind to 1985, and Channel 4, in the UK, hosted a tv show every week that featured four live Metal bands… in amongst the more established acts such as Motorhead and Venom, were a young German act called Warlock, who were in the UK to play a show in support of their new album, Hellbound.

Now, the reason for this intro, is because when I first played this album, I was immediately transported back to that time, when the 18 year old version of me was transfixed by Doro Pesch and her merry band of Metallers…

If you love the first couple of Warlock albums, then you’ll love Mystik, who are fronted by Doro sound-a-like, Julia Von Krusenstjerna… the big difference though, from the days of Warlock, is that, at the time of recording, Mystik had three ladies in their ranks… since this album was recorded, guitarist, Lo Wikman, has left the band.

The comparison with Warlock is meant as a huge compliment and I also detect an affinity with the likes of (early) Mercyful Fate, musically, at least, and probably the debut from Pretty Maids as well.

In essence, that part of the 80s has been transported to the present day and has been injected with a new lease of life. Because although this album reminds me of that time, it doesn’t sound dated at all…

The Metal World needs more albums like this. While Metal splinters off into a multitude of not very Metal sub-genres, this is a perfect example of how a Metal album should sound. Heads down, Speed/Heavy Metal, with just a hint of the occult.

Definitely my favourite album of the year, so far.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Mystikswe/

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