Acid Blade, Power Dive (Personal Records 2022)

The first full-length album from Acid Blade breathes fire and stomps the terra: Power Dive.

Acid Blade is a heavy metal band from Dresden, Germany who play in a classic metal style at an elevated tempo. They started out in 2019 as Angel Blade, releasing a demo and a split with Venator over the course of a year. Changing their name in 2021, they put out one more demo and now Power Dive, their first full-length album. The band is Sci-Man (bass), Eric Nukem (drums), Alvin Goreman (guitar), Luke Lethal (guitar), Klay Mensana (vocals).

The music starts with a clomping riff on “Hot Bloods on the Loose,” leading to a rising, then soaring, vocal as the tempo changes. Moving past formative hard rock and metal into speed metal, the general echoing you hear brings on waves of nostalgia. “Ablaze at Midnight” is another barn burner. You could say it is stepped down a touch, but more importantly it rolls out a long lead guitar part that turns into the off ramp for the song, reproducing a maneuver that I used to hear regularly but haven’t noticed for some time now. The title track takes the third spot, and it has steady, anticipation-inducing build toward the big break out. After that, it’s off to the races.

The 1980s metal style is ever-present throughout the record, and it is the defining characteristic of the music. Even if this is not your go-to metal vein, Mensana’s vocals are compelling and the guitar work is impeccable, so it is worth dipping your toe in. The music has many fascinating innovations, as you will hear in the eerie middle ground of “Into the Light” and the otherworldly insight of “The Tomb of Khentika Ikheki,” a song that will pong around in your brain for a good long while. There is even a power ballad, “Moonless Night,” for those of you who miss that long-time standard. Something for everyone, you might say. Recommended.

Power Dive is out now on digital and will be released on CD by Personal Records on Friday, December 2nd. Get the facts at the links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://acidblade.bandcamp.com/album/power-dive

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/acidblade.rock/

Personal Records, https://www.personal-records.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Acid Blade, Power Dive (Personal Records 2022)

Photo Gallery: Year Of The Cobra, Pure Filth Festival, Sharkey’s, Liverpool, New York, June 18th 2022

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Ghost Cult Magazine article, https://www.ghostcultmag.com/festival-review-pure-filth-festival-at-sharkeys-event-center-liverpool-new-york/

Year Of The Cobra, https://yearofthecobra.com/

Sharkey’s Event Center, https://sharkeysbarandgrill.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Photo Gallery: Year Of The Cobra, Pure Filth Festival, Sharkey’s, Liverpool, New York, June 18th 2022

Funeral Mass, Shadow Of The Raventhrone (2022)

Shadow Of The Raventhrone is the third studio album from black metal band Funeral Mass.

Funeral Mass started in Poland in 2018. I thought from the name we might be dealing with a doom band here, but their music is black metal through and through, with melodic touches for depth and highlight. The have released two previous full-length albums and an EP in the few years of their existence, each one a step further down the path. The band is Kamil Żerański (guitar, vocals), Dmytro Kvashnin (guitar), Jerzy Wieliński (bass), and Ignacy Macikowski (drums).

“With Sinister Spell” is the first of seven songs on the album. The black metal framework is in place, firm and unquestioned. The vocals maintain the genre’s style and tone, modulated in a way that makes them more approachable to alternate practitioners. The hammering rhythm is there, alongside a melodic thread that gives the music a dramatic, almost theatrical, cast in fact. The title track follows, and it has a bounty of energy upfront, steady and unrepentant. The initial movement is repeated, instilling the impression of a quest that will demand sacrifice. “Nocturnal Eclipse” opens with obliterating black metal, taking no prisoners and offering no mercy. It is the most rugged song on the record.

Throughout the story told on the album, the many looks given are all draped in deep shadow. “Riders Of Nebulous Lands” stands out in this regard, while other tracks like “Epitaphium” have a lighter opening, nevertheless drawing fully on black smoke. “Everlasting Pagan Flame,” the band’s first single and a song that originally appeared on their album Cold Winds Of Desolation (2018), is redone here at the end of the album. It is a treat for the band’s fans and a fine way to sign off. Recommended.

Shadow Of The Raventhrone is out on Friday, December 2nd. Bandcamp is the way to go in the US for digital and other formats. Links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://funeralmass.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/FuneralMassMetal

© Wayne Edwards

Funeral Mass, Shadow Of The Raventhrone (2022)

Photo Gallery: Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, Muddy Roots Festival 2022

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Slim Cessna’s Auto Club website, http://slimcessnasautoclub.com/

Muddy Roots, https://www.muddyroots.com/

Ghost Cult Magazine article, https://www.ghostcultmag.com/festival-review-muddy-roots-festival-2022-live-at-junebug-boogie-ranch/

FFMB article on Muddy Roots 2022, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2022/10/03/muddy-roots-cookeville-tennessee-september-2-4-2022/

© Wayne Edwards

Photo Gallery: Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, Muddy Roots Festival 2022

Photo Gallery: Buckcherry, Blue Ridge Rock Festival 2022

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Buckcherry website, https://buckcherry.com/

Blue Ridge Rock Festival, https://blueridgerockfest.com/

FFMB article on Blue Ridge Rock Festival 2022, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2022/10/06/blue-ridge-rock-festival-alton-virginia-september-8-11-2022/

Ryze-Up Magazine feature, https://www.ryze-up.com/ryze-up-magazine-current-issue/ryze-up-magazine-october-2022/

© Wayne Edwards

Photo Gallery: Buckcherry, Blue Ridge Rock Festival 2022

Photo Gallery: Munly & The Lupercalians, Muddy Roots Festival 2022

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Munly & The Lupercalians website, http://scacunincorporated.com/munly/

Muddy Roots, https://www.muddyroots.com/

Ghost Cult Magazine article, https://www.ghostcultmag.com/festival-review-muddy-roots-festival-2022-live-at-junebug-boogie-ranch/

FFMB article on Muddy Roots 2022, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2022/10/03/muddy-roots-cookeville-tennessee-september-2-4-2022/

© Wayne Edwards

Photo Gallery: Munly & The Lupercalians, Muddy Roots Festival 2022

In The Woods…, Diversum (Soulseller 2022)

Progressive black rock and metal band In The Woods… returns with a nuanced perspective on Diversum.

In The Woods… formed in Norway in 1991 alongside, in many ways, Green Carnation. Their earliest expressions were black metal, and later they were one of the first bands to refer to their music as pagan metal. I am most familiar with what sounds to me more avant-garde and prog-like from this group. The new album shines a light on familiar places as well as along less well-trodden pathways. The band is Anders Kobro (drums), Bernt Sørensen (guitar), Nils Olav Drivdal (bass, keys), Bernt Fjellestad (vocals), Kåre André Sletteberg (guitar, keys), and Alf Erik Sørensen (session keys).

“The Coward’s Way” is surprisingly straight-forward in structure with a gentle intro and an emotional rock delivery. It does swerve off into lands peculiar toward the end and that’s when I knew I was in the right place. “Moments” is a direct meshing of discordant elements in that the rhythm structure does not match, in a conventional way, the vocal presentation. As the song goes on, there is more of a meeting of the minds, but there is plenty of start-and-stop and swing and chop all the way through. “We Sinful Converge” is off in another direction, soaring on wings of high production. There is an episode of lostness in the middle, creating an important reference before the return to the earlier framing. It is a fascinating beginning.

“The Malevolent God” is very dramatic, taking the mood to a dire crescendo. It is my favorite track on the record for that set up and the amazing middle chopping riff and ramble, spiced with a slick lead break. I also appreciate the closer, “Your Dark.” This final song takes a soothing vocal mediation in precedence to screeching singing and heavy guitars, reverting at last to an off-balance placidity. A curious excursion indeed. Recommended.

Diversum is out now through Soul Seller Records. Follow up at the links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://soulsellerrecords.bandcamp.com/album/diversum

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/inthewoodsomnio/

Soulseller Records, https://www.soulsellerrecords.com/

© Wayne Edwards

In The Woods…, Diversum (Soulseller 2022)

Photo Gallery: Eyes Of The Living, Tennessee Metal Devastation 2022

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Eyes Of The Living website, https://eyesoftheliving.com/

Tennessee Metal Devastation, https://metaldevastationradio.com/Metal-Devastation-Music-Fest

FFMB article on Tennessee Metal Devastation 2022, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2022/10/11/tennessee-metal-devastation-lexington-tennessee-october-8-2022/

© Wayne Edwards

Photo Gallery: Eyes Of The Living, Tennessee Metal Devastation 2022

Stones Of Babylon, Ishtar Gate (Raging Planet 2022)

Instrumental doom band Stones of Babylon unfurl their second full-length album, Ishtar Gate.

Stones of Babylon is from Lisbon, Portugal. They play a psychedelic-infused brand of instrumental doom. They came together five years ago, and have released a demo, a live album, and the debut long-player Hanging Gardens. The band is Alexandre Mendes (guitar), João Medeiros (bass), and Pedro Branco (drums).

What’s the album about, you ask. “Somewhere in Babylon, in a space almost lost in time, the eighth gate of the city was erected. Like any door, the Ishtar Gate symbolizes access to coded worlds, the closing of crossroads, or simply the thunderous force of power.” When you peruse the track list, you get a further idea of the geographic and mythological locus of the themes explored in the music. In any case, with instrumental music you can make it about anything you want when you listen. However, in this case, the music matches the theme perfectly and knowing the ideas behind it all improves the listening.

There are six long tracks on the album, starting with “Gilgamesh (…and Enkidu’s demise).” The riffs are massive and extra buzzy, filling the space around you ears. The first lead guitar enters a couple of minutes in, and a little later, the Middle Eastern nuances of the music step into the spotlight. The pairing of these seemingly divergent attitudes is one of the main sources of the music’s strength. “Anunnaki” follows, stepping in with a lighter approach than its predecessor. Quiet and cautious, the music builds slowly. You wait more than two minutes for the wall of guitar to bowl you over. “Pazuzu” begins with a spoken narration (from The Exorcist) introducing the evil spirit for which the song is named. To me, the riffs on this song are the most threatening so far – they generate at least trepidation, if not fear. The quieter passages, then, stage an anticipation that evolves quickly into dread. Well done.

Side two: “The Gate of Ishtar,” “The Fall of Ur,” and “Tigris & Euphrates.” The final three songs are where I was absorbed fully into the music. Each track is quite different, and yet they go together like movements of a larger whole. You can listen to one at a time, but I think the experience is greatly enhanced by taking it all in at once in a single sitting. I love instrumental doom music and Stones of Babylon does it right. Highly recommended.

Ishtar Gate is out now through Raging Planet Records in digital, CD, and vinyl. For this one, I would go with vinyl. The music lends itself to the form.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://stonesofbabylon.bandcamp.com/album/ishtar-gate

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/stonesofbabylon

Raging Planet Records, http://ragingplanet.pt/

© Wayne Edwards

Stones Of Babylon, Ishtar Gate (Raging Planet 2022)

Photo Gallery: Tommy Stewart’s Dyerwulf, Tennessee Metal Devastation 2022

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Dyerwulf Bandcamp, https://tommystewartsdyerwulf.bandcamp.com/album/doomsday-deferred

Tennessee Metal Devastation, https://metaldevastationradio.com/Metal-Devastation-Music-Fest

FFMB article on Tennessee Metal Devastation 2022, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2022/10/11/tennessee-metal-devastation-lexington-tennessee-october-8-2022/

© Wayne Edwards

Photo Gallery: Tommy Stewart’s Dyerwulf, Tennessee Metal Devastation 2022