LESS-RECENT/OLDER REVIEWS – I

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I.C.O.N. – THE BLACKLIST (Metalbox Recordings)

Review by Sloof

Another missile from Metalbox Recordings who provided and pleased us in the past with albums from Soldierfield and Dendera, just to name a few. Both releases scored very high on the M.T.I. scale and my curiosity was aroused when this package arrived at my desk. Well, first of all, the band I.C.O.N. is totally unknown to me, but this English band caught my attention from the very first moment of ‘The Blacklist’.

The album opens with a long, slow intro, but this is only an accompaniment to the final blow, as ‘Feeding The Negative’ starts with a blast. Holy shit, this is heavy stuff, but very well dosed and it didn’t took long before my hair raises and cold shiver runs down my spine. This is what I demand and when an unknown band beget stuff like this, I’m close to full ecstasy! Very mature and furious vocals by Mark Sagar, and all blown down riffs by Scott Knowles, that’s what I.C.O.N. is all about! I’m used to a lot of stuff and material, but a band like I.C.O.N. knows how to scare me!

The instrumental part is immediately approved, how about the lyrical part? Well, if you hear song titles like ‘Grindin’ Wheel’, ‘I’m The Venom’, ‘Devil’s Blacklist’, ‘Welcome To My War’ and ‘Wrong Way Back’, you will have to admit that this quartet is ignoring any positive thoughts. Their mind is black, pitch black, and their vision is even beyond. This is dark material, this is the worst a man can encounter and they are ready to welcome you and guide you through your own nightmare. And believe me, I’m a huge fan of dark thoughts and negative ideas!

The titles of the songs fit perfectly to the topics of the lyrics and Reece Bevan (Bass) and Larry Paterson (Drums) know exactly how to give things an extra heavy layer. Concerning the bass, I suggest to listen to the track ‘Devil’s Blacklist’, and you will know why I adore bands like I.C.O.N. None of the members is disappointing as everyone is constantly on the prowl to fulfill the coup de grace. ‘Man Of The North’ starts with a freezing cold wind to explode in threatening primal forces. This instrumental song is subdued but dangerous, just like the Normans once were, and it proves at the same time that this band doesn’t need a hazardous voice and throat to become impending.

The last two tracks on this album have a good pace and ‘Deconverted’ and ‘Drowning In Their Screams’ know how to convince me until the very last note! It has the same impact as Loose ‘n Lethal from Savage but with a modern twist and sound, and the members of I.C.O.N. preserve authenticity and that’s what I miss on many releases these days!

This is pure Heavy Metal with outstanding guitar riffs, and this must-have release has a sound that goes from the early Black Sabbath era with a contemporary touch to a lighter version of Pantera. I’m freaking out with this I.C.O.N.(I.C.) Blacklist!http://www.iconukonline.com/ / https://www.facebook.com/icon.uk

My rating: 86/100 (Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)


INDESTRUCTIBLE NOISE COMMAND – BLACK HEARSE SERENADE (Ferocious Records/ Stampede Press U.K.)

Review by Officer Nice

I don’t know where this one came from but recently, a package loaded with INC’s new album has been delivered by my postman so I make a review about it. To make it easy, the band is called INC what stands for Indestructible Noise Command. This is an American Thrash band, but not new at all. Fanatics and purists amongst us will know them already from the 80s Metal movement as they’ve released their first tow albums, “Razorback” and “The visitor”. INC handled a long time of silence to come back in 2010 with an EP and a full length album the year after. As far as I read, the reviews about those two last releases were not positive at all but the band is back again with an album under the name “Black Hearse Serenade”.

This is a concept album about a broken man; you can read the entire story in the nice booklet that is added with this CD. The band offers a nice front cover and a professional product. INC deliver very groovy Metal, with a modern sound and the songs are very well produced. It is clear that these lads have listened to Pantera in their younger years which means that Phil Anselmo and companions must have been their main source of inspiration. It is in particular the arrangements, the way the vocal lines are performed and the drum parts that remind me to Pantera in their most popular era.

This album starts with a classical intro to get the attention at once. It’s a short intro, soon followed by an awesome riff and than, the music explodes immediately in your face. Double bass drums, heavy loaded guitars, an overdose of aggression and hostile vocals. INC seems to be experienced and skilled enough to add melodic lines into this first track and it’s rather impossible to stay still and inactive with this kind of music. I feel the need to smash my computer against the wall and get totally wild; it’s the perfect music to do so.

The following track “Sainted Sinners” is more my cup of tea because of the more melodic character. With guitars and with the vocal lines, with as a matter of fact the total compositions, INC prove they have some good song writers within their ranks. They pushes the gear button once and a while, gives one after another uppercut and doesn’t give in at all. This is a non-compromising band that constantly offers razor sharp riffs and good oiled leads, check out “Lucky 7” and hear really astonishing leads. Along with that calmer (too short) piano part I was really impressed, the progressive touch is well tasted. Singer Dennis Gergely is no new sensation but he has a voice that reminds to Phil Anselmo and that’s good enough, no?

I don’t have the feeling I am listening to a concept album. Therefore, there are no direct links between the tracks, the only feeling I have with this one is aggression. A concept album demands more, much more and the secret is to pull the listener into the story. INC isn’t able to reach this goal but that doesn’t hold me to like their new album. This kind of technical played Thrash Metal deserves respect and I can’t understand why the previous albums were negative rated. Are the differences so big? To me it’s difficult to believe when I hear “Black Hearse Serenade”, maybe I should give those particular records a listen first.

It’s all about full groovy Thrash Metal without any weaknesses or special highlights. This is a more than enjoyable album that must convince those who like all I have written in this review. No doubts that INC is a band earning respect although it’s impossible to predict where this album will lead them to. They were infamous in the past and I suppose they will stay unknown in the future but this record must give them any form of appreciation. Check http://www.facebook.com/incmetal.

My rating: 86/100 (Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)


IN AEVUM AGERE – LIMBUS ANIMAE

Review by Stefan

Doom Metal may well not my favourite style of music, yet I must admit that some bands belonging to this genre can bring me into temptation. Give me some good old traditional Doom Metal and you won’t hear me complain at all. For instance, Italian based In Aevum Agere meets all my requirements with respect to this genre. These guys took me by the throat with their debut effort entitled “The Shadow Tower”, fact is that the follow up do honour to their great manner of delivering excellent Doom Metal once again. Released through Pure Steel Records, In Aevum Agere’s new EP “Limbus Animae” draws my attention to itself again.

The contrast with their previous album is minimal, the tracklist contains only four songs of which three new compositions and a reworked version of Swedish Doom Gods Candlemass’ ‘Solitude’. Bands like Candlemass and Solitude Aeturnus still can be listed as main sources of inspiration but I’d like to ad some others like Krux, Memory Garden and Manilla Road Road as well. In Aevum Agere is able to put a lot of emotion in its music, which perfectly fits the dark atmospheric character of the band. Also, the melodic aspect has a large impact on the overall structure of the songs… singer Bruno Masulli seems to be the lost fitting throat for this type of music, while using his voice in mainly clear, melancholic and slightly depressive way, he delivers an outstanding job – I see him as the right person on the right place. And actually, the same can be said with regards to the other members as well… great Doom Metal musicians they really are !

For all I care, the running time of “Limbus Animae” of 22 minutes is too short. This is a great Doom Metal band I really like, that’s why I hoped on a full-length effort instead of an EP like this. But anyway, I don’t want to complain at all, especially the new songs have a very potential value and I’m convinced that it won’t take long before these Italian Epic Doomsters are back with more great stuff. In Aevum Agere, definitely one of my favourite Italian bands at the moment. Check ‘em out at: www.inaevumagere.com / or via FB right HERE . I recommend you all to watch for their prodigious video clip the band made for the title track of their previous killer release called “The Shadow Tower” !

My rating: 88/100 (Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)


INFAMOUS SINPHONY – 2013 SAMPLER (Independent)

Review by Nathan McLeod

Basically have hear tracks: 1 – 2 – 5 – 6 – 9 from ‘Infamous Sinphony’s – Enemies Of The State’ CD, ‘Side B – Track 2’ from the 1990 ‘Wild Rags Records.

Limited Edition’ LPEP: http://www.metal-archives.com/albums/Infamous_Sinphony/Wild_Rags_Limited_Edition/204575 & ‘Track 15’ from their 1989 debut ‘cassette’ release of ‘Manipulation’: http://www.metal-archives.com/albums/Infamous_Sinphony/Manipulation/24973

The tracks appearing on ‘Enemies Of The State’ are ‘solid’!! No complaints whatsoever. And now given the two (2) ‘re-mastered’ tracks appearing on their ‘2013 Sampler’, I really do like. ‘Completely’ different era from ‘Infamous Sinphony’ that’s really ‘hardcore/punk’ sounding. A LOT like the ‘COC – Animosity’ & ‘Technocracy’ albums mixed in with a bit of the ‘Brandon Cruz’ of ‘Dr. Know’. ‘Nostalgic’!!!

A recent ‘Metal To Infinity’ review of ‘Enemies Of The State’ can be viewed here:http://metaltoinfinity.be/CDREVIEWS_IJKL/infamoussinphony_enemiesofthestate.html

And will be ‘shortly’ be doing a ‘review’ of their ‘Gospels Of Blood’ CD right here @ ‘Metal To Infinity’…

My rating: 84/100 (Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)

‘Infamous Sinphony’:

*Greg Raymond – Vocals

*Paul Leoncini – Guitar

*Dusty Wood – Bass

*Jeff Forrest – Drums

*J-Sin Platt – Guitar

*Scott Nelson – Bass

*Mike Young – Bass

*Chuck Carter – Drums

‘2013 Sampler’ track info:

I) It Only Takes A Second II) Therapy III) False Agenda IV) Cold Blood V) Hypertension VI) EMBO [Re-Mastered] *From The 1990 Wild Rags Records Limited Edition EP* VII) Anti-Buse [Re-Mastered] *From The 1989 Debut Album Manipulation* – total run-time 21:33.

‘Infamous Sinphony’ contact info:

*Website: www.infamoussinphony.com

*Metal Archives: http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Infamous_Sinphony/11263

*Google: https://www.google.com/#q=Infamous+Sinphony

*ReverbNation: https://www.reverbnation.com/infamoussinphony

*SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/infamoussinphony

*MySpace: https://myspace.com/infamous-sinphony


INFAMOUS SINPHONY – ENEMIES OF THE STATE (Independent)

Review by Nathan McLeod

I go back a couple years ago to ‘2013’ when I received a ‘promo-pack’ from ‘Infamous Sinphony’. Not for a review at that time, but were searching for a label at that time. Well, ‘Enemies Of The State’ was released on 11SEP13, just eight (8) days after the death of ‘Ulysses Siren’ guitarist ‘Jon Torres’ (Rest In Peace). Really needless to say but ‘2013’ as well as ‘2012’ were ‘life-shattering’ years for me; obviously!

‘Suffice’ to say, under the circumstances, I never got back to these ‘So Cal’ natives either way regarding a ‘label’ search. And so, it wasn’t til a couple days ago I was chatting with a lady named ‘Derdriue TCSL’ on the internet about ‘band’ likes & so on. She’d given me a short list of some ‘excellent’ band likes, sent me a ‘couple’ YouTube videos & one (1) of them was of ‘Infamous Sinphony’s – Narcotics Anonymous’ right here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DrvP0ThBq5k

‘Derdriue TCSL’ thanks for sending the video! ALL kinds of lite bulbs, whistles & bells went off. My bad, had kinda forgotten about this ‘killer’ band. So on & on, I see ‘Infamous Sinphony’ did get signed by ‘Xtreem Music’ from ‘Spain’ & released their Gospels Of Blood’ CD last ‘November’. Sweet!

Musically, ‘Infamous Sinphony’ remind me of A LOT of band(s) combined. Some ‘Megadeth’ from the ‘So Far, So Good, So what’ album. Some old/new ‘PRO-PAIN’. ‘Slayer’ from the ‘Haunting The Chapel’ album. ‘Nuclear Assault’ from the ‘Survive’ album. ‘Sodom’ from the ‘Agent Orange’ album. Some older ‘Misfits’.

Vocally ‘Greg Raymond’ reminds me most of ‘Gibby Haynes’ from ‘The Butthole Surfers’. But more ‘notably’ the ‘Gibby Haynes’ appearing on ‘Minisrty’s – Jesus Built My Hotrod’.

Production is great. Aside from the ‘occasional’ not having the ‘ability’ to hear the drum cymbals of ‘Jeff Forrest’, the guitar & bass from ‘Paul Allen Leoncini’ & Dusty Wood’ are ‘pristine’! Not too ‘fond’ of Digi-Pack CD’s, but the CD art is ‘superb’!

So, if you’d like a half-hour of some ‘semi-explosive’ but ‘in-your-face’ “thrash-crossover-punk-hardcore”-metal, ‘Infamous Sinphony’ packs ALL the ‘elements’!

My rating: 88/100 (Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)

‘Enemies Of The State’ track info:

I) It Only Takes a Second II) Therapy III) Life Timer IV) Gag Ball V) False Agenda VI) Cold Blood VII) Mascara VIII) #Twelve IX) Hypertension X) CFG XI) 8 Hours of Fun XII) Open Your Eyes* (Bonus Track: Never Before Released Track – Recorded 03JUL04) total run-time 33:43.

‘Infamous Sinphony’ line-up:

*Greg Raymond – Vocals

*Paul Allen Leoncini – Guitar/Vocals

*Dusty Wood – Bass

*Jeff Forrest – Drums

*Steve Cox – Guitar

Produced by Infamous Sinphony. Recorded @ Double Time Studios – El Cajon, CA. Engineered & mastered by Jeff Forrest. Cover art by Sick Graphics Productions – Lima, Peru. Inside art by Dick Starr – www.dickstarr.net … Graphic design by Greg @ www.e-mediately.com ..

‘Infamous Sinphony’ contact info:

*Website: http://infamoussinphony.com/

*Metal Archives: http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Infamous_Sinphony/11263

*Google: https://www.google.com/#q=Infamous+Sinphony

*ReverbNation: https://www.reverbnation.com/infamoussinphony

*SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/infamoussinphony

*MySpace: https://myspace.com/infamous-sinphony


INFAMOUS SINPHONY – GOSPELS OF BLOOD (Independent)

Review by Nathan McLeod

You have here just over a half-hour of some ‘blistering’ ‘in-your-face’ ‘hardcore-crossover-thrash-metal’ from ‘San Diego, CA’s’ ‘Infamous Sinphony’!

There is A LOT of ‘intensity’ brought out on ‘Gospels Of Blood’, their fourth (4th) ‘full-length’ CD to date. This CD is VERY ‘explosive’ from the ‘get-go’. Shortly after a recent ‘Metal To Infinity’ review of their ‘Enemies Of The State’ CD:http://metaltoinfinity.be/CDREVIEWS_IJKL/infamoussinphony_enemiesofthestate.html – I was in ‘contact’ with ‘Infamous Sinphony’ frontman ‘Greg Raymond’, I was sent ‘Gospels Of Blood’, & ‘Greg’ had stated that, “I was going to be blown way”. There is some ‘definite’ truth there. And once again, ‘thank you’ ‘Derdriue’ for putting some ‘contact’ with ‘Infamous Sinphony’.

Whilst reviewing ‘Enemies Of The State’, stated hearing some ‘Slayer’, ‘PRO-PAIN’, ‘Nuclear Assault’, ‘Misfits’, ‘Sodom’, ‘Ministry’, & ‘Butthole Surfers’, & in an even more recent ‘Metal To Infinity’ review of their ‘2013 Sampler’:http://metaltoinfinity.be/CDREVIEWS_IJKL/infamoussinphony_2013sampler.html – having stated other ‘influential’ sounds of ‘Corrosion Of Conformity’ & ‘Dr. Know’. This all still ‘remains’ very true. With now on ‘Gospels Of Blood’, some really more ‘defined’ old-school ‘Slayer’, ‘GBH’, & ‘DRI’ rhythms ‘present’.

But here’s what I ‘believe’ makes ‘Infamous Sinphony’ much more ‘intense’ & ‘explosive’ on ‘Gospels Of Blood’ than ‘Enemies Of The State’ is the ‘addition’ of ‘J-Sin Platt’ on guitar & these ‘crazy-intense’ back & forth ‘solos’ between him & ‘Paul Leoncini’. Fucking ‘shredder’s’!!! And also the ‘addition’ of the ‘heavy-hitting’ ‘insane’ drumming ‘techniques’ & ‘style’ of ‘Guillermo Neri’ on the skins! A bit like ‘Keith Moon’ on ‘steroids’ & ‘meth’. (RIP Keith) & ‘Gene Hoglan’.

The saying “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it” is ‘completely’ applicable when it comes to ‘production’ & whatever you lads are doing right @ ‘Double Time Studios’ with both this CD & ‘Enemies Of The State’. Nicely done up as is the CD art. ‘Overall’ there is not one (1) bad track ‘appearing’ on ‘Gospels Of Blood’. The more ‘notorious’ & ‘furious’ tracks appearing on ‘Gospels Of Blood’ are: ‘Enemy Of The State’, ‘Narcotics Anonymous’, ‘Struggle’, & ‘Justified By Faith’.

My rating: 92/100 (Between 90 and 95: Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan)

‘Infamous Sinphony’:

*Greg Raymond – Vocals

*J-Sin Platt – Guitar

*Paul Leoncini – Guitar

*Dusty Wood – Bass

*Guillermo Neri – Drums

‘Gospels Of Blood’ track info:

I) Disembodied Voices II) Enemy Of The State III) Vagina Doll IV) Dogtown V) Narcotics Anonymous VI) Groove Tube VII) Gospels Of Blood VIII) Struggle IX) Soldiers Of Misfortune X) Insidious Occupation XI) Opposite Land XII) Rotten Tooth XIII) Justified By Faith XIV) Another Day – total run-time 37:06.

Produced by Infamous Sinphony. Recorded @ Double Time Studios – El Cajon, CA. Engineered & mastered by Jeff Forrest. Cover art by Dick Starr @ www.dickstarr.net Graphic design by e-MEDIAtely.

‘Infamous Sinphony’ contact info:

*Metal Archives: http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Infamous_Sinphony/11263

*Website: http://infamoussinphony.com/#!/home

*ReverbNation: https://www.reverbnation.com/infamoussinphony

*SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/infamoussinphony


INFECTED – LES CENDRES (Konklav Records)

Review by Officer Nice

I was in Bastogne last summer to visit that mighty castle of the crusaders. Afterwards I even bought a flag of the Templers because I really feel connected with those holy soldiers. If I would have lived in the middle ages I would have travelled with them, to fight the holy war. And this issue is hot again, especially with those cowardly jihadists in the so called Islamite State. What I didn’t know was that Infected is also from this little town in Belgium.

Anyway Infected seems to be a Thrash / Death Metal formation form Belgium. A first listen does remind me to another Belgian band, Sons Of Jonathas. Don’t know it? Damn, then you should try to purchase that one as well because it was a true gem in Death Metal. It was the band from Xavier Carion, who we know from Channel Zero from which their very first album still is a classic one to me… Sons Of Jonathas stood for aggressive yet melodic Death Metal, producing an overwhelming wall of sound. Well, Infected does the same and their tracks are really varied and very enjoyable to listen to. Add a bit of Sepultura, know that good leads are foreseen and the vocals are very aggressive and you must have a clue what we are talking about.

So yes, “Les Cendres” is a Belgian release which is a real goodie and demands for more. Along with this EP, Infected perfectly introduces themselves and especially for Death Metal fanatics this must be a must have. If you’re not into extreme Metal, a good listen is necessary. Check these guys out at http://www.fabricelavollay.com.

My rating: 84/100 (Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)


IN VAIN – THE LITTLE THINGS THAT MATTER (Pure Steel Publishing)

Review by Stefan

First and foremost, this review is all about In Vain from Spain and NOT from Norway. Both have the same band name but their style of Metal is miles away from each other. The band I’d like to spread the word of right now hails us from Madrid (Spain) and released its third album called “The Little Things That Matter”, first independently at the end of 2014 – as from July 31th. 2015 the album has been unleashed via Pure Steel Publishing. It is a first encounter with these Madrilenians but I am wildly enthusiast about this third album, actually a 9 song loaded effort where heavy, powerthrasing Metal rules with a devastating force, and mostly offered with high speed velocities ! I don’t know shit about their previous albums “Of Gods And Men” (2009) and “In Death We Trust” (2012) but “The Little Things That Matter” reveals the true nature of the beast. This is an interesting band who deserve to be a part of highly acclaimed festivals like Keep It True and Headbangers Open Air, places where Metal lives in its purest form… In Vain would fit perfectly !

Mainly, In Vain offers Speed/Thrash Metal which they perform with elegance and in orderly manner. ‘No Future For The World’ opens the album furiously with ultra fast twin guitar riffs, unstoppable double bass drums and a drummer beating everything to shreds in no time. The band’s frontman seems to be the right person at the right place to me. He’s the perfect pawn fitting the game of Heavy-Power-Thrash Metal completely whilst mostly using his throat in a very clean, quite high-pitched manner. To all those hooked on irresistible Speed Metal, ‘Dragon Huntress” will embrace you with pleasure and again, everything sounds as it should be. Without running too much around the bush, In Vain kicking in the gas pedal without any sign of compassion.

This quartet really knows how to impress me due to their feel for Speed and Thrash Metal character built on a platform of old school Heavy/Power Metal. To underline this way statement, I’d like to refer to a song like ‘The North’ where the technical skill measurement of each instrumentalist is at a high level. This is all about another added value to In Vain’s outstanding service of Metal music ! Are you on the hunt for a kicking blend of Power and Thrash Metal, you have to watch out for the song entitled ‘Guardian Angels’ for sure, they will not disappoint you at all ! And that’s how the story goes throughout the entire runtime of In Vain’s “The Little Things That Matter”, a properly conducted release whereby the volumetric flow controller of your amp should be turned far right to feel the real thrill. When the need arises, banish complaining neighbours straight to hell.

I’m glad to have them on board of Metal To Infinity webzine right now, bands like In Vain fit completely into our context so better take all the previous words of praise for real. Powerthrashing speed freaks not afraid to swallow some old fashioned Heavy/Power Metal as well, In Vain (from Spain!) will bring you headbanging times you won’t soon forget ! Check ‘em out at the following places: http://www.invainmetal.com/ .. https://www.facebook.com/invainmetal ..https://twitter.com/invainmetal

My rating: 88/100 (Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)


IRRADIANCE – DISSIDENCE (Independent)

Review by Sloof

Well, it took a while as I needed some time with this band and album. Irradiance was totally unknown, and after a first spin of their debut album ‘Dissidence’ it was obvious that this release was directing me towards a crossroad. Do I like it? Is it good? How about the musical talents? So, I decided to follow my heart and give this band another spin, and another spin, for days, in fact for more than one week. I’m still in limbo, but my personal belief is growing. This band is a hard nut to crack as they deliver something totally unknown, something totally different compared with the nowadays releases.

The band was formed in January 2014 in France by Audrey (Vocals) and Stéphane (Keyboards) and originality was going to be the key word. Directed by a strong link to metal, Irradiance do not hesitate to blend diverse influences like Jazz to Tribal music to create a certain atmosphere, a certain originality. Since December 2015, the debut album is available in the stores, and the band already supported this release by gigs in Belgium (Diest – Moonlight Music Hall, Roeselare – De Verlichte Geest, Mons and Tournai) and their own region! Now it’s time to get their music to the crowd and if they manage to have a great sound while performing live, I’m sure that they are capable to surprise the people. Irradiance is original, véry original, and deserves to get your attention as well.

The album opens with some violin (by Alexandra) in the song ‘Children’s Game’, and when the other members join, we get a song that has Epica influences and vibe. Some choirs of Christian brothers and priests add extra atmosphere to the overall sound, and they interact very well with the female vocals of Audrey. ‘The Soldier And The Child’ continues with the same pace and power but perhaps the vocals of Audrey are too high. It’s all in the brink of exaggeration…

The whole band breathes a constant opera feeling and while bombast is taking place in ‘Theorists Of The Void’ we hear very nice male vocals that alternate. ‘Until The Last One’ offers a lot! The arrangement is done very well, there is a high pace present and all instruments are perfectly in balance. Nice job by Lasse Lammert at LSD Studio (located in Lübeck, Germany) who worked with bands like Alestorm, Halcyon Way and Teramaze before. There is so much happening that I have to express praise to all members, as it defines their quality without exception.

The second half of ‘All My Days’ contains a very slow down passage and where they exuberantly express their passion for different styles of music as well. ‘Forget-Me-Nots’ takes us a step further in their musical exploration as there are Jazz and Fusion elements which evokes a feeling like being in a nightclub where a woman with boa and necklet and a long cigarette and a gibus or silk hat is entertaining the male audience. Very special, very original as well. The best songs on this debut are ‘Her Cold Decision’ and ‘Vain Bravery’ where the pace is increasing and where a little aggression is present as well.

I must admit that Irradiance surprised me all the way! They are original and conscientiously and deliver a very high quality standard! Those that want to broaden their horizon should take a listen to this French newcomer, as they have the power and chemistry to go all the way! https://www.facebook.com/IrradianceOfficial

My rating: 80/100 (Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)


IRIS DIVINE – KARMA SOWN (Sensory Records)

Review by Stefan

Until the day I received the new album from Centreville VA based Iris Divine, I tarried in limbo regarding their musical background. Fortunately, the enclosed information sheet has been clarified a lot. Well, Iris Divine contains three players giving free rein to outstanding Progressive Hard & Metal music. They brought out a first, paid from their own pockets, album called “Convergence” in 2011 but due to I never heard this effort I can’t pass judgment on the identity of the contained tracks. From the result of their excellent sophomore cut “Karma Sown” (Sensory Records), I’m pretty sure that “Convergence” must have been a real good work. This brand new album brings on a new line up… singer/guitarist Farhad Hosain and drummer Tanvil Tomal were replaced by Navid Rashid and Kris Combs.

The most famous, unapproachable three-man band in the history of ProgRock & Metal is still the mighty Rush (formed in 1968!) to me, these pioneers of Progressive Rock still exists and make albums from time to time. Progressive Rock & Metal music got a boost in the last 2 decades and ever since, we got to do with the rise of greats like Dream Theater, Symphony X, Fates Warning, King’s X, Liquid Tension Experiment, Queensryche, Shadow Gallery, Redemption,… to name but a few actually. Progressive music stands for his technical playing skills with regards to the guitar, bass and drum works… regularly the compositions also show a link with fusion/jazzy spiced elements. Based on that point I have to report that only the best bands in our midst have the right tactics well-mastered. My respect and dignity goes also out to many others who intend well but unfortunately not really succeed in their aims.

Iris Divine get a certificate with great distinction from me, they’re really good in delivering Progressive Rock & Metal as it should be. I really do like the powerful, clear vocal delivery in the vein of Symphony X’s Russel Allen and Evergrey’s Tom S. Englund. Worth to mention is the fact that the mutual, musical understanding within the core ends on a respectively level. The band distinguishes itself from many other progressive acts through the contribution of the dark/emotional character of the songs, mainly delivered with ultra heavy, quite groovy guitar works (including noteworthy hooks and melodies). I dare to report with certainty that fans of good old Dream Theater, Symphony X, Evergrey, OSI, Porcupine Tree, Deftones or even Tool can purchase Iris Divine’s sophomore record “Karma Sown” without a doubt. They also have their own input so you should not be afraid that you will be offered a completely unoriginal album. Like each and every band, also these guys has been inspired by their idols, nothing more and nothing less !

The index of my CD player indicates that there are 8 songs in the queue which got me well amused through the total playing time. The average running time of the songs is about 6 minutes which is quite exceptional but be sure that you will not be disappointed at all! The mood throughout this album is rather dark and emotional, still these guys do not leave you unaffected. “Apathy Rains”, the great instrumental ‘In Spirals’ and last track of the album ‘In The Wake Of Martyrs’ can be used as signboard for the band’s gifted progressive approach. Besides these two songs, there’s more room for outstanding music to enjoy to the fullest.

Heavy guitar driven, full technical minded songs with great vocals and a clear vision of musical determination are the ingredients Iris Divine knows how to persuade myself. They definitely should fit the artist roster of other other great record labels like Inside Out, Nightmare Records or Lion as well… all places where big progressive acts gather as one. “Karma Sown” – well groomed ProgMetal release for fans on the hunt for quality time. Check ‘em out via:https://www.facebook.com/irisdivine

My rating: 84/100 (Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)