Saturday, August 31, 2013

Strapping Young Lad - Heavy As A Really Heavy Thing (1995)

Most of you probably know who Devin Townsend is, and most of you may also know that his musical career started with the industrial/thrash metal band Strapping Young Lad. SYL started as a solo project for Mr. Townsend, but later developed into a full scale band. But before that happened, Devin released SYL's debut album "Heavy As A Really Heavy Thing" (bitching title by the way).

Devin performed the vocals while a drum machine did the drums and Devin plus local guest musicians (including future band mate Jed Simon) worked with the guitar and bass parts. This explains why most of the music does not feel very coherent which is of course a shame since some of the music here is pretty sweet.

"Heavy As A Really Heavy Thing" stands up mostly because of the weird humor that Devin brings to the table. From the excessive use of the word fuck to the disturbing truth of "The Filler - Sweet City Jesus", This album delivers some good and fun music that could have lifted even higher with some good band chemistry. But as usual, it is the special epicness that is the true strength of this album. Some examples can be found in "S.Y.L", "In The Rainy Season" and "Critic".

However, the main focus is laid on the heaviness, and with the fact that all the instruments is not perfectly synced, it loses some of its touch in the final product. I would probably have enjoyed songs like "Cod Metal King" and "Happy Camper" even more if it was an interacting band that performed them. The only heavy song I do not like is the sluggish "Goat" that just does not feel very fitting in this album. Otherwise is the heaviness decent, but I think that the lyrics could have been improved a lot (even though most of the lyrics have a humorous touch). Saying fuck a thousand times may be funny at first, but it is not any more after a couple of listening sessions. I sure hope that this trend will not continue onto the next albums.

Finally, I cannot let the last song of the album slip by in this review. "Satan's Ice Cream Truck" is one of the weirdest songs I have ever heard in my entire life. With a maracas beat, a catchy clinking sound in the background (that definitely fits good in an ice cream truck) and some heavy breakdowns, this one is just a big proof of Devin's silly side. It is certainly a track that will make you laugh out loud, but at the same time also rock your head back and forth. A surprisingly good song.

"Heavy As A Really Heavy Thing" surely has its fun moments, but it is just too rough around the edges. It is clearly visible that this album is the work of a solo performer + random musicians, not a band. It is still an entertaining piece that should be enjoyed by fans of heavy thrash metal. But for the next album, I would like to see Devin hire some band mates and not point out the fillers. That is my job, thank you very much.

Songs worthy of recognition: S.Y.L, In The Rainy Season, Cod Metal King

Rating: 6,5/10 Happy Campers

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Avenged Sevenfold - Hail To The King (2013)

Avenged Sevenfold has in recent years been seen as one the successors to Iron Maiden, Metallica and other bands that can easily sell out an entire stadium. And if you take a look at the career of the band, you can see several parables to Metallica. They started out as a heavy band, but has in recent years also learned to create more mainstream tunes. And let us not forget that the tragic death of James "The Rev" Sullivan was just like the death of Cliff Burton, too soon and it helped change the band's sound. Just like Metallica, Avenged Sevenfold gathered new strength and have now come up with their first full length album without The Rev behind the kit (Arin Ilejay is the new drummer). "Hail To The King" is the band's sixth instalment and the music in the album is slightly brighter than what it was on its predecessor ("Nightmare"). Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the quality in the music.

This album does certainly not lack of variety, instead it is so much that the album practically drowns in it. It variates from the doom quire in "Requiem" and the "Sad But True" rip off known as "This Means War" to the groovy "Doing Time" and the heavy "Planets". This disturbs the rhythm completely and makes it feel like the band did not know where they wanted to go with this album.

There are some cool song ideas here and there. The riff work on the title track is exquisite, I love the heaviness of "Planets" and I like the sound of "Coming Home" (even if it sounds like a tougher Alter Bridge track). But it is not enough to save the album. The negative parts overpower the positive parts. I have already said that "This Means War" sounds like Metallica's "Sad But True", but it is not the only song that sounds like plagiarism. "Doing Time" could have been a early Guns N' Roses song and "Crimson Day" is just a ordinary ballad that we have already heard ten thousand times before. Do something original instead god dammit.

The overall performance is okay, but not impressive. M. Shadows still shows that he has a great voice and Synyster Gates lays down some great riffs here and there. And Ilejay? Well, He does a decent job, but I am still not sure if he is a fully good replacement for The Rev (even if I think that The Rev is a overrated drummer both before and after his death).

What happened with the typical A7X sound that we all know so well? Did The Rev take it with him to the grave? I sure hope not. 'Cause if he did, then Avenged Sevenfold may be taking the same disastrous road that Metallica went during the 90's. "Hail To The King" is far from impressive, and even if there are some good intentions in songs like "Coming Home" and "Planets", there is no clear direction that the album is heading towards and that ultimately makes an uneven album. So this album is nothing to kneel before nor hail about. It is just a member of a royal family that will never have an important role in anything special.

Songs worthy of recognition: Coming Home, Hail To The King, Planets

Rating: 5/10 Shepherds of Fire

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

ReVamp - Wild Card (2013)

One of the best newcomer albums of 2010 was from the Dutch band ReVamp. Their self-titled debut was a delicate display of beautiful vocals and nice symphonic metal. They are now back with their sophomore album called "Wild Card" and in these three years, very little has changed. The symphonic sound is still there and the singer Floor Jansen (ex-After Forever, ex-Nightwish (live in the end of their latest tour)) shows once again that she is one of the stronger female vocalists in the metal world.

Just like in the previous album, "Wild Card"  has some guest appearances to boost the quality a little. We have former After Forever and present Epica guitarist Mark Jansen in "Misery's No Crime", a song that has big resemblance with just Epica. A grand epic sound that is coated with a doom like layer. A cool song, but it fits better in a Epica album. The second guest artist is none other than Devin Townsend. He lends his vocals in "The Anatomy of A Nervous Breakdown: Neurasthenia", the third and last song in the "The Anatomy of A Nervous Breakdown" series. Devin does, as always, a great job with his unique style and the song itself is the best of the Anatomy songs in this album with its heaviness. The rest of the Anatomy series is also worth checking out, especially "On The Sideline" that impresses with its crunchy riff and melodic chorus.

The rest of the album shows a good display of symphonic melodies and some decent variation. The title track impresses with its attitude in the verses and the beauty in the chorus. A mix that makes a dangerously good song. "Distorted Lullabies" may be the only ballad in the album, but it is one of the stronger pieces thanks to its strong emotions and powerful chorus. Then we also have the heavy "I Can Become" that gives the album some much needed strength.

There are no particular weak song on this album (even if I think that "Precibus" is a little too operatic), but there are not any ultra strong songs either. That is the problem with ReVamp, they miss a song that personifies them as a artist. Sure, they have a particular sound, but it is far from original. I am not saying that the music sucks, I am just saying that the band need a song that sort of takes command.

"Wild Card" is a great symphonic metal album, but I still miss that extra something to really lift it above the stars. The vocals are great, the song material is good and there is no lack of variation. So what is missing? Well, first off it is missing one song that takes command and gives the album that extra level. I also think that the instruments could try to make more of an impression. Still, "Wild Card" is a must listen for fans of Epica, Within Temptation and other female fronted symphonic metal bands.

Songs worthy of recognition: Wild Card, The Anatomy of A Nervous Breakdown: Neurasthenia, I Can Become

Rating: 8/10 Amendatories

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Best of Iron Maiden

Another band's discography has been reviewed, so all that is left is to look back and see what was best and worst. Here is best of Iron Maiden.

Best albums

3. Powerslave

The Egyptian theme was not kept all the way through the album, but that does not take away that "Powerslave" is a hell of a album. With songs like the title track, "2 Minutes To Midnight" and "The Rime of The Ancient Mariner", you cannot fail.

2. Seventh Son of A Seventh Son

This album may mostly be remembered by its ultra epic title track, but "Seventh Son of A Seventh Son" is much more then pure epicness. Maiden shows their full register with tracks like "The Clairvoyant", "The Evil That Men Do" and "Can I Play With Madness". This album is the ultimate show of the band's skills and width.

1. Somewhere In Time

Both this album and "Seventh Son of A Seventh Son" got a perfect score, so why is this album superior? Easy, "Somewhere In Time" is filled with 8 catchy, groovy, melodic and awesome songs that are very easily likable. There is no filler in sight and the songwriting is just incredible. This is a album that shows all of Maiden's good sides. A perfect album from start to finish.

Worst album

The X Factor

What a chock  that I chose this album, right? Seriously, "The X Factor" is what I consider the only bad Maiden album because of its very dark theme and sluggish momentum. This was a experiment that went horribly wrong. If it had not been for "Man On the Edge" and "Judgement of Heaven", I would have totally despised that album for all eternity. And let us not forget that Blaze did not keep the same standard as Bruce, but we already knew that.

Best songs

5. Powerslave

If heavy metal was invented in ancient Egypt, I would be pretty sure that this would be one of the Pharaoh's favourite songs. Listen especially to that excellent big rock ending.

4. Fear of The Dark

This is one of the best live songs ever created, but even if some of the direct impact is lost on the CD, "Fear of The Dark" still remain as a hell of a roller coaster ride with memorable riffs and a infectious chorus.

3. The Loneliness of The Long Distance Runner

This is just one of several songs I wished Maiden would play live more often (only been played live once in Belgrade 1986). I dare you to find a chorus that has more epicness in it

2. Brighter Than A Thousand Suns

Maiden have done a ton of epic pieces, but this one takes the price. Great riffing, slamming beats, powerful vocals and a chorus that is more contagious then a zombie virus. Best song from the 21st century Maiden records.

1. Hallowed Be Thy Name

"Hallowed Be Thy Name" has every ingredient of being a fantastic masterpiece. A fantastic riff, great song structure and musicians that plays like clockwork. The whole song is perfection from the mellow start to the epic finisher. A song that is the definition of perfection.

Best album cover


We have seen Eddie as a mental patient, a time traveler, a war soldier, as the grim reaper and as an alien, but it stands pretty clear that Eddie looks best as an ancient Egyptian Pharaoh. The rest of the artwork is also kind of nice I guess.

Total discography verdict

Quality: 8/10

If it had not been for the albums released in the 90's, then I would have given a 9 or even a 10 if I was generous. But a band is only as strong as its weakest album, and Maiden have three low points ("No Prayer For The Dying", "The X Factor" and "Virtual XI") that drags down the rating.

Band Chemistry: 8/10

The current line-up has played together since 1999 and some of the members have been with the band even longer then that. But Steve Harris is the only original member left and has been since the middle of the 70's. Otherwise relatively few line-up changes during the band's 30+ year

Creativity: 9/10

This band can create any type of song. Fast, slow, short, long, catchy, epic and progressive. They have also learned to master all of these types during their years.

Musicality: 8/10

There is no doubt that Maiden has some talented musicians in its line up, but it is hard for them all to get enough spotlight attention (especially since there are three guitarists). But they divide the attention well and show us why they are in one of the biggest bands in history.

Lyrics: 9/10

The band is awesome at finding inspiration in the most random of places (poems, history or personal life) and the whole band is good at helping out each other to create the songs (except McBrain). But to get a full 10 I would have liked to see the band go full out on a specified concept, which they have not done yet (even though "Powerslave" and "Seventh Son of A Seventh Son" are very close).

Album rating summary
S/T: 8,5/10
Killers: 7,5/10
The Number of The Beast: 9/10
Piece of Mind: 7/10
Powerslave: 9,5/10
Somewhere In Time: 10/10
Seventh Son of A Seventh Son: 10/10
No Prayer For The Dying: 6/10
Fear of The Dark: 7,5/10
The X Factor: 4,5/10
Virtual XI: 6,5/10
Brave New World: 8/10
Dance of Death: 8,5/10
A Matter of Life And Death: 7/10
The Final Frontier: 8/10
The Book of Souls: 9,5/10

Average rating: 7,9375/10

So tell me, which album and song are your personal favourite and does Iron Maiden deserve the attention that they have? Leave your comments below. Stay metal and up the Irons.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Iron Maiden - The Final Frontier (2010)

With the full embracement of their progressive style in their previous album, it was pretty predictable that Iron Maiden would continue down that path in their 15th album. And sure enough, the band left the atmosphere and took their music out of this world with the 2010 release "The Final Frontier". A album that could hint to be Maiden's last (Steve Harris have even said that 15 albums is the amount that he thought his band would release), but in recent interviews, all the members have been positive of releasing future material.

Just like with its predecessor ("A Matter of Life And Death"), there are few songs in "The Final Frontier" that are easily digestible, and those songs are also the weak point with this album. The opening track is divided into two parts. The first part, "Satellite 15", Is a very interesting start with fast paced bass lines and a space like feeling. Unfortunately, this song gets completely wrecked when the title track kicks off with its predictable structure and annoying chorus. I wished that "Satellite 15" would have been a song of its own, since I think it would fit perfectly with the rest of the album. Out of the other easy tracks I would say that the epic "Coming Home" is the only one that qualifies in the recognition zone. It is a great track about Bruce's experiences in the aviation business and I definitely wished that they would have released this as a single instead of the hooky, but still slightly boring "El Dorado".

It stands very clear that it is the long and progressive songs that is running the show and there are a lot of them in the second half of the album. The last 5 songs have a total play time of 45:31, with the longest song, "Where The Wild Winds Blow", clocking in at 11:02 (third longest song, after "The Sign of The Cross" and "The Rime of The Ancient Mariner", in the Maiden catalog). I can honestly say that this album would have sunk if it was not for these 5 songs. Each song tells a own interesting story that is intriguing and raises the mood of the listener. From the "Seventh Son of A Seventh Son" inspired "Isle of Avalon" to the high soaring "The Talisman", the latter half of "The Final Frontier" is a showcase of Maiden's ultimate progressive strength. You might not see it instantly after the first couple of listening sessions, but if you take your time to appreciate the content, then the content will award you big time.

It is a little sad to see that this album is so clearly divided into two parts, 'cause I want to see what the band can do when they put out a album filled with epic stories and melodies. That is the clear weak point with this album together with the title track.

If it was not for the sluggish start, then I would rate "The Final Frontier" as the best album since "Seventh Son of A Seventh Son". It is really interesting to see Maiden spreading its wings and take its music where it has never been before, instead of just staying on the ground and play it safe. But this also have its price. "The Final Frontier" demands its listener and you cannot just speed it through in one go. If this would to be the last album by the band (which is highly unlikely), then I would be very proud of the band for closing their career with such a epic piece. Because in the end, this album is truly "out of this world" (he he).

Songs worthy of recognition: The Talisman, Coming Home, Where The Wild Winds Blow

Rating: 8/10 Alchemists

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Iron Maiden - A Matter of Life And Death (2006)

We all know that Iron Maiden always have had a progressive vein in their music, but it was not until the release of the fourteenth album "A Matter of Life And Death" where the band really spread its wings and pushed their boundaries. Just the fact that the first single from the album was the heavy 7 minute piece "The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg", was enough evidence to prove that this album would be the band's grandest creation ever. But even if some of the strongest moments of the band has come through epic creations, I have always thought of "A Matter of Life And Death" as that mediocre album that every band eventually does. Sure, it was nice to hear that Maiden still evolved in their musical writing, but how good of a shape was they really in?

I will admit that this album has its moments. Some of the really epic pieces, like "For The Greater Good of God" and "Brighter Than A Thousand Suns", leaves a huge impression on me since they succeed in being grand and epic without taking it over the top. Also love the fact that "Brighter Than A Thousand Suns" changes its direction several times without losing the sight of its target. I also like the heaviness of "The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg", but I still think it is not suitable to be a single.

Those three are the top marks of "A Matter of Life And Death", so it bums me out that the rest of the album does not hold the same standard. The second single "Different World" (whom just like "Wildest Dreams" have a great animated music video) is a nice song, but it feels largely misplaced together with all these progressive tunes, and "These Colours Don't Run" has a good epic feel, but the chorus feels like someone slammed the brakes in the middle of a Formula 1 race. And the rest? Well, they are either missing a notable personality or they are just not good enough. None of the songs are necessarily bad, they are just not good enough to get a big recognition.

I also have to make a remark on the production of this album. This album is actually not mastered. The reason is that Steve Harris wanted a more Live like sound. It definitely sounds good, but I miss some of Harris's sweet bass lines in this album. Otherwise, there is very little to complain about the production, it is more or less flawless as usual. And by the way, this is without a doubt the worst album cover in the Maiden discography just because Eddie does not take as much space as he usually does (he is on top of the tank, for those of you who has not noticed).

"A Matter of Life And Death" is certainly a good album, but this was the first album in the Maiden discography that I would label under progressive metal. The band is making a good effort and lands on a few big hits with "Brighter Than A Thousand Suns" and "For The Greater Good of God", but not even Maiden is good enough to get something new right the first time around. So this album gets a respectable 7 from me, the same rating I gave "Piece of Mind". And I can guarantee that if you loved "Piece of Mind", then you will probably learn to love "A Matter of Life And Death" just as much.

Songs worthy of recognition: Brighter Than A Thousand Suns, For The Greater Good of God, The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg

Rating: 7/10 Pilgrims

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Iron Maiden - Dance of Death (2003)

Seeing Iron Maiden's mascot normally is horrifying itself, but on Maiden's 13th album, Eddie is posing as death himself together with several half naked persons with disturbing masks (and a white hell dog). This is clearly the most disturbing Maiden cover up to date, but luckily it does not show how the sound of the album will be. Yes, "Dance of Death" is not a disturbing experience, it is instead a continuation of the sound that the band showed in the previous release "Brave New World".

The most interesting parts with this album is actually that this album contains the only song where drummer Nicko McBrain has songwriting credit ("New Frontier") and Maiden's first acoustic song ("Journeyman"). "Journeyman" is nothing special, but I like the modern style that "New Frontier" has together with the soft chorus that is easily enjoyable.

The album starts otherwise in a powerful way with the two singles "Wildest Dreams" and "Rainmaker". I can still remember the music video of "Wildest Dreams" where a animated Bruce Dickinson races through the pits of hell and into Eddie's mouth. Definitely one of my favourite music videos of all time. The song itself is a perfect single with its infecting chorus and straight forward attitude, but it does not offer something special to make it fully stand out. "Rainmaker" however does have that little extra something. It may be the shortest song in the album, but the epicness is still great and the sing a long factor is incredibly high. And let us not forget that bitching solo that is just Maiden out to the fingertips.

The epicness continues in "No More Lies", and even though the chorus can be somewhat repetetive, the song still holds a strong power and musicality that is out of this world. The epicness reaches its peak in the title track where it takes you to a camp fire where everyone is dancing round for the reaper. This track definitely holds the same epic standards as "Seventh Son of A Seventh Son" and "Rime of The Ancient Mariner", but it is the speed in the second half that makes it truly stand out.

The last song that stands out is the highly praised "Paschendale". I do not think that "Paschendale" is the strongest piece in the album, but I can see why this song has been so praised with its groovy rhythm and effective right, right, left combination that easily knocks you down. I also think that "Paschendale" represents the album well. "Dance of Death" is powerful, but it still has that epic vein that just makes it pop.

The one weakness with "Dance of Death" is that it is a pretty long album (over one hour) which would be a disadvantage for listeners with short free time. But the biggest weakness is the track "Age of Innocence". It has the Maiden musicality, but it is more or less a pop or soft rock song. That chorus is so cheesy that it is a Packers fan.

Just like "Brave New World", "Dance of Death" shows the best from Maiden's fast and progressive side. The reason why I have rated this album higher is that the overall song standard is higher and that the band found a special sound that was kept through the whole album. The album lacks something really special to make it a masterpiece, but I am sure that the grim reaper is pretty happy that Iron Maiden did such a fine album with him as the main character.

Songs worthy of recognition: Dance of Death, No More Lies, Paschendale, Rainmaker

Rating: 8,5/10 Journeymen

Monday, August 5, 2013

Iron Maiden - Brave New World (2000)

Out of the 90's and into the new millennium. How did Iron Maiden celebrate the entrance of the 21st century? By welcoming back Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith to the line-up and creating their 12th album entitled "Brave New World". This album is mostly recognized as Maiden's comeback album after the Blaze Bayley era, but also as the first Maiden album that contains three guitarists (Adrian Smith, Dave Murray and Janick Gers). A combination that just screamed success.

So a lot of the focus were on Bruce and Adrian, and I got to say that it feels like they never left the band. They found their place quickly and they showed that they have not lost their touch. And the rest of the band is showing that they have found back to their old ways. Nicko is playing some great beats, Janick and Dave complement good together with Adrian and Steve is great as usual.

The rebirth is also shown in the song writing. Never before have Iron Maiden found such a great mix between their progressive and heavy sides. Some of the heavier songs are the catchy "The Wicker Man", the retro like "The Mercenary" and the epic "Out of The Silent Planet". But it is the progressive songs that dominates the album with their grand sound. Some show stoppers are the emotional title track, the heart warming "Blood Brothers" and the soaring "The Thin Line Between Love And Hate". But the song that impresses the most on this album is "Dream of Mirrors". It may not be a suitable song for those who are impatient, but after the slow and spiritual first half, the band is shifting to fifth gear and comes at you with galloping double bass drums, amazing riffs and a chorus that you cannot whisper, you must scream it out loud until your neighbours get pissed (or starts to sing a long). Yes, "Dream of Mirrors" is the ultimate display of Maiden's fast and slow personality together with musicality so great that it takes three guitarists to make it justice.

Even though I like that Maiden is showing the both sides of the same coin, I actually would prefer that the band chose a specified direction and went through with it the whole album. Do not get me wrong, variety in a album is a must, but if there is too much variety, then the album looks like it is trying to find a personality, but cannot decide which one will do. Then I also find that "The Fallen Angel" and "The Nomad" are pretty pale and could have easily been replaced by something more thrilling. Such a shame since "Brave New World" has several exciting moments that puts it up in the same heights as some of the best Maiden albums.

For a "comeback" album, "Brave New World" is a very good album. The variety is at its top and the band has found the passion that they lost during the 90's. There are still some edges that needs to be fixed, but "Brave New World" is a proof that the Maiden is back to kick some mayor ass again. A brave new album from a brave old band.

Songs worthy of recognition: Dream of Mirrors, Out of The Silent Planet, Blood Brothers

Rating: 8/10 Fallen Angels

Ashes of Chaos - Eye (2013)

Italy may not be one of the bigger heavy metal countries, but they have their share of cool groups. Some famous bands are Rhapsody of Fire, Lacuna Coil, Fleshgod Apocalypse, DGM and more. One Italian band that have just started their metal journey is the progressive metal band Ashes of Chaos. The band was formed in 2008 as a cover band, but started to write own material after a couple of years. The band consists of Alexios Ciancio on vocals, Mike Crinella on guitar, Giorgio Gori on keys, Stefano Galassi on bass and Francesco Gabrielli on drums. And just like any progressive metal band nowadays, their role models and influences are Dream Theater, Opeth, Pain of Salvation and more.

The debut album is entitled "Eye", and it is a concept album where a big meteorite is heading towards Earth. What does the authorities do about it? They cowardly hide in underground shelters while the rest of the population will face a sure death. We get to follow a protagonist that some how survives the impact and faces a future where he is alone and hope is slowly fading out.

It is a pretty nice concept and the band tells the story well, but it is the music that does most of the telling, and thank god that the music is creating images inside your head. The band is playing very technically and they twist and turn so much that it is hard to follow, but it is still a hell of a ride.

The album starts with "Ashes of Chaos" that starts of in a great tempo with its fast beat and amazing musical skills, but the true power of the song is its many shifts in both tempo and style. From fast death metal to slow and atmospheric metal. The next song is called "Falling" and both the lyrics and music describes the meteorite's impact towards Earth pretty darn good. "Falling" has a doom like feeling and the chorus is as epic as it is awesome. It is also one of the simpler songs on the album.

After a apocalyptic "Doom", we get thrown into the aftermath in "Mechanical Rage". I can say that this song reminds me a lot of the Australian band Ne Obliviscaris. Very melodic, some use of the violin, a break in the middle and a interesting song structure. In other words, awesomeness right through the core. And the awesomeness continues in the ultra progressive "Atmosphere Pt. 1". This track takes so many unexpected turns in different styles that I get dizzy, but each individual part is great, and together they create a fantastic track. I do however like the fast and heavy part around 4.25 a little extra.

"Parallels" is the first out of two 10 minute epics, and even though I like the heaviness in the song, it is not strong enough to keep my interest through all of the 10 minutes. And sadly, the other 10 minute song, "Awake", does not fulfill its task either. I can look over those two songs since it takes time and experience to create great epics and I am pretty sure that the band will master it in about 5 years or so.

There is a clear vision that the first half of "Eye" is the stronger half, and even though I like the instrumental "Novilunio" and the Italian spoken "Rinascita", but they are not strong enough to maintain the power that the first half showed. Also, the weird "Atmosphere Pt. 2" lowers the score some.

If I had to make one complain against Ashes of Chaos, then I would say that the singer need to work on his English pronunciation. I have a hard time hearing what Alexios is singing from time to time. His voice is otherwise good, and if he does his homework on the English, he and the rest of the band will rise up the metal ladder very fast.

This band has a huge potential, and I really hope that they spend the coming years to play show and grow as a band. "Eye" shows what the band can do in a recording studio and the result is astonishing. Ashes of Chaos is without a doubt the most exciting new progressive metal group I have heard in years, and I cannot wait too see what the future has in store for them.

Songs worthy of recognition: Mechanical Rage, Falling, Atmosphere Pt. 1, Ashes of Chaos

Rating: 9/10 Parallels


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Alcohol review: Iron Maiden Trooper Ale

Those of you who have any sort of heavy metal knowledge knows that Iron Maiden front man Bruce Dickinson is a man with many talents. Besides from being a great singer in one of the biggest bands on earth, he is also an airline pilot and an world class entrepreneur. Earlier this year he revealed his latest business idea. In cooperation with Robisons Brewery, Bruce has developed a own brand of beer called Trooper (of course, named after the famous Iron Maiden song "The Trooper"). The beer itself is an Ale with a 4.7 % alcohol volume and is described as a beer with a true depth of character. The cost of the beer here in Sweden is roughly 330 SEK (about 49 US Dollars or 33 British Pounds) for twelve half litre bottles, which is a decent price.

So let us get started with the review part, and after some thought, I have decided to divide it into three parts. Okay for you? Well screw you too, I will do it my way.

Color: What do you think I will say about the color? If you guessed that I would say golden brown, then you were correct. A typical beer color that is reliable and says "come here and drink me now". A classic color that never gets old.

Taste: I have recently been to England, so I had a hunch on what the taste would be like. It may have a slight rough taste, but the hint of citric acid in the back is pleasant. And most importantly, it tasted like England. If it did not, then I would have been disappointed. Not the best beer I have tasted, but certainly far from worst.

Strength: I can definitely feel some strength in the beer, but it is still a very smooth beer that easily gets down your throat. Reminds me actually of the Battle of Balaclava in the Crimean War where 600 British soldiers attacked a huge Russian army. Just like the beer, the British men stood their ground a while only to fall . And yes, the Battle of Balaclava inspired "The Trooper".

So what is the final verdict? I would say that Bruce has once again done a great deal. The beer is smooth and tasty, and even though there are cheaper alternatives out there, Trooper Ale is sure a must try for both Iron Maiden fans and beer enthusiast all over the world. Up the Irons!!!

Rating: 8,5/10 Armies