Sunday, March 25, 2012
Something is brewing in Australia and its name is Teramaze and courtesy of Nightmare Records they have delivered a long awaited follow-up to their nearly forgotten releases of 1995 & 1997. A long and tumultuous journey it has been, but here is AnhedoniA. Part progressive; part thrash; part melodic; all heavy metal.
As I’ve been spinning this disc my thoughts have been how to describe it. The band themselves say they’ve been influenced by artists such as Dream Theater, Tool and Pantera; taken directly from their website. At times you’ll Dimebags rhythmic influence or the vocal inflection of Sebastian Bach. A few of those influences can be heard undoubtedly, but by no means expect to hear simple adulation to those bands.
With a crisp and tight guitar sound that is simply relentless and precise without being lost in a wash of noise Dean Wells guitar playing is the scalpel that pierces the heart. The combination with Matthew Dawson have provided riffs and solos that really are world class, which rest right across the drumming of the late Julian Percy and bass playing of Tijon Lolis. This solid foundation provides a base on which vocalist Brett Rerekura soars atop with smooth tones and powerful projection.
The songs are an amalgam of technical proficiency and heavy metal bombast. The melodies offered by Rerekura tie the tracks together, while adding an almost hypnotic atmosphere to the songs. Soaring with Acts of Reparation, plowing along through AnhedoniA or driving through Black Circles, these songs grab a hold and force you to simply engage. Where the Dead Grow offers another blending of power and subtlety, the melody is almost creamy.
Strong production elements offer crisp guitars, tight drums, rolling bass and soaring vocals. A world class production is placed high on the altar for your musical enjoyment. A lyric sheet would’ve been helpful to this reviewer, but alas I guess PR departments can’t think of everything. One particular item of note is that the CD release has a bonus track entitled Ever Enhancing II. Mysterious and hypnotic, it would be a crime to simply say this is just an acoustic song (which it is) but the added elements of strings and the arrangement is haunting.
AnhedoniA is an absolutely killer melodic progressive metal release. Heavy in its onslaught but full of subtlety, Teramaze have given us a brilliant metal release for 2012. Thank you Nightmare Records! Let’s hope it won’t take this long for a follow up. Big thumbs up from here!
Friday, March 23, 2012
The Revelation is the latest metal fest Retroactive Records has issued for Saint; however some history is in order. In 2006 Saint released an album entitled The Mark. A concept disc based totally around the Book of Revelation. A strong album to be sure but with limited resources and with an inadequate studio mix; this record never reached its full potential.
However with the success of 2009’s Hell Blade, Richard Lynch and crew decided in 2011 to take this album back to the studio and remix it to give it the life it desperately needed. I believe they have achieved just that. With a fuller drum sound and more striking guitar attack this new version of The Mark now entitled The Revelation is a balls to the wall full on Heavy Metal platter that deserves your attention. It’s a heavier album than 2009’s Hell Blade, sorta like comparing Screaming for Vengeance and Painkiller. Both discs absolutely crank but each in their own ways.
Dee Harrington provides the guitar work on this album and he just nails it. The rhythm guitars are layered with drive and precision. Whether it’s on the straight forward opener The Spirit, mid tempo bruiser On and On, or former title track The Mark there is no shortage of stellar guitar play. Richard Lynch’s thunderous bass lines lock tightly with drummer Larry London which delivers a crushing rhythm section. Josh Kramer offers a stellar vocal performance on track after track.
Some of the heaviest material Saint has written resides here just listen to The 7th Trumpet and be prepared for some serious headbanging. Babylon the Great is another brutal power metal track that Saint delivers with passion and power. However I would be amiss if I failed to mention Saint attempt an anthemic ‘ballad’ here as well with the track He Reigns, solid and memorable. Great metal songs appear throughout and if your not as familiar with this album as you’d like you definitely will want to be.
Not only were the tracks completely remixed as previously mentioned, but they were remastered by the brilliant J Powell at Steinhaus. Powell's previous work is of note and his studio magic in making good discs sound their best sonically is already noted.
The Revelation is a must for any fan of Saint or fan of world class power metal. The comparisons to Judas Priest continue, but if you feel that Primal Fear has sold out and the thought of another Nostradamus makes you cringe grab your copy of The Revelation and be prepared for a metal onslaught that will make you smile.