KATAGORY V – RESURRECT THE INSURGENCE (Independent)
Review by Stefan
“Resurrect The Insurgence”, the fifth album of Salt Lake City, Utah US Power Metal act Katagory V should have seen daylight late 2011 but caused some delay because there were no labels interested to release the album which is nothing short of scandolous. The band was forced to release the album themselves and caused financial issues, which is understandable. Real good bands those who do not get the chance to bring out their brilliant material on a solid label, I will never understand why, it makes me sick every time a situation like this occurs. Next unfortunately, it happened to Katagory V and so many others… what the hell is wrong in the world of Metal?
Back in August 2014, they even launched an indiegogo campaign to collect enough money to release their fifth album “Resurrect The Insurgence” in various formats independently. The initiative was well intentioned but unfortunately, the desired result was not achieved. Yet another misfortune that fell upon the band and announced their break up shortly after. Another US Metal highlight went down by inaction and expertise of certain people, ain’t that a shame?! Established in 1999, Katagory V released five albums (“RTI” including) and speaking for myself, I’ve always been a fan of their type of Metal music so the loss of this awesome outfit feels like a kick in the head. Always delivering their stuff in a powerful, progressive, technical and melodic way with outstanding high pitched vocals… I will always remember Katagory V as one of those bands that keeps me going on showing my support to my everlasting passion, US Metal !
Their loyalty to the fans has always characterized this band so they have made every effort to provide the fifth album whatever it takes. As for now, Katagory V’s final album entitled “Resurrect The Insurgence” is not available as CD version but as Digital format only via their Bandcamp Page right HERE. Ten songs officially recorded, produced and engineered by chief commander, bassist Dustin Mitchell… all at his own basement studio. Shortly after the release of their fourth album “A New Breed Of Rebbelion”, singer Lynn Allers left the ranks and was replaced by Albert Rubka (former member of US Metal act Bavmorda). In my humble opinion, a well-structured band always starts with a good singer and take it from me, Albert is a superb sounding frontman offering the main vocal duties in a perfect manner. He has a different timbre than Lynn but delivers the very best with regards to US Metal music… high pitched and melodical all the way out! Long-time guitarist Marc Hanson returned to the fold after a while of non-active and it’s really good hearing all of the magical tricks he conjures from his electric tool. Other players audible on “Resurrect The Insurgence” are Matthew ‘Bizzaro’ Lefevre (drums) and second axeman Kris kompel.
Listening to the band’s final album, great memories of their 15 years of existence come cheer my collective memory. Nothing but great songs to enjoy, actually reminders of a US Metal band who has never disappointed me. I still can’t believe Katagory V is no longer among us but perhaps, there is still a bright spot in the dark as they come back on their decision relating to the discontinuation of all activities. This opportunity seems very minimal but you’ll never know, hope springs eternal.
To all metalheads with good taste, order “Resurrect The Insurgence” as a digital format and price your own as a real satisfied individual. Ten tracks that offer everything what a purebred US Metal fan needs so check out their Facebook and order this killer album right away, you won’t be disappointed at all. Katagory V: one of my all time favourite US Metal acts for sure !!
My rating: 90/100 (Between 90 and 95: Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan)
KICKIN VALENTINA – SUPER ATOMIC (Mighty Music/Target Group)
Review by Stefan
This four piece American band was founded by guitarist Heber Pampillon and Jimmy Berdine, the drummer. Both recruited singer Joe Edwards and bassist Chris Taylor and Kickin Valentina was officially born to take the world of Rock by storm. Shortly after their first musical activities they have already been contacted by indie label Highway 9 Records with whom the band released a first self-titled EP in October 2013. The product hit the press, media and fans of the genre like a bombshell and toured across the regions of Atlanta as support act for greats like: Queensryche, Skid Rox, Doro, Faster Pussycat, Fozzy, Sebastian Back and so many other acts. In addition to their own headlining actions, Kicking Valentina also performed at US/ European festivals such as: Rock Fest (WI), Summor Rock (IL), Farm Rock (IL&GA), Skull Fest (NE), Outskirts 53 Music & Bike Fest (GA), a.o. In Atlanta, GA (where the band actually comes from), they were nominated/won the 2014 GA Music Award for ‘Rock Band Of The Year’, a treat they certainly did not steal. Another remarkable fact: their first single ‘Get Ready’ is being used for promotional commercials by the Jacksonville Axemen Rugby Team, the song was being played during home games of the team. So far this brief overview of the turbulent early years of Kickin Valentina and now the time has come focus myself to the contemporary situation of this motley crew.
After an impressive start and a fan base growing on and on across the US and abroad, it was time going forward to the next step in their career… to manufacture a first, full length album. The recordings of their new album “Super Atomic” stared earlier 2015 at Muse Productions located in their own home country Atlanta, Georgia. Renowned producer/engineer/writer since 1985 named Andy Reilly (UFO, Bruce Dickinson, Asia, The Quireboys). Kickin Valentina will be available as from November 6th. through Danish label Mighty Music/Target Group, THE house where Hard Rock and Metal rule with clenched fists.
KV’s first full album “Super Atomic” is packed with eleven, solid compositions which will not leave you unmoved. The sound quality approaching a very high level so better pull on your belts tightly because these guys has no mercy at all. They will bring on the hammer down with a mixture of Glam/Sleaze type of Metal, good old guitar driven Hard Rock and a little nod to Classic Rock… to make a long story short, Kickin Valentina’s new cut is all about Rock and Roll in its purest form.
Following to the reasonable strange sounding first track/intro ‘Sermon’ they showcase immediately what they have in store for the listener. ‘On My Side’ has an inciting character and a wink to the good old days of Hard Rock is unavoidable. The vocals are raw and powerful, somewhere in the vein of Angry Anderson (Rose Tattoo), Kevin Dubrow (Quiet Riot), Michael Smerick (Cinderella) and Vince Neil (Motley Crüe). Each musical movement is carefully graduated and the end result is astonishingly good, this song brings the definition of solid Rock ‘n’ Roll music, sacrificed with passion. ‘Wrong Way’ appears with an old type of AC/DC guitar riffage built on a sleazy substructure, vocals still pretty harsh/dirty and mean, as it should basically. The single/video of this song was among the tracks of the week from Classic Rock UK and won video of the year award at the GA Music Awards ! Fans of American Dog and other kick-ass rock ‘n rolling acts should take a good listen to ‘Fist N Twist’ and its driving and infectious rhythms, my favourite for sure ! ‘Super Atomic Poster Boy’ comes along in a Glam/Sleaze Metal way and would fit perfectly on the stage of one of the clubs at the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. Next ‘Alone’ is being announced as ‘standout’. Along with the song ‘Get Ready’ both songs will be featured in the new action/horror movie soundtrack “Altered” from award winning film director Kely McClung. Inspired, played, served with an obvious 80s Glam Metal attitude, Kickin Valentina deliver the goods. ‘Dirty More AC/DC type of guitar riffs on ‘Dirty Girl’, they do end up in style with ‘Some Kind Of Sex’, a guitar driven and with upbeat rhythm sections charged Sleazy composition created in a way most of their idols did a long time ago.
Forget originality and enjoy this emerging talented American band as they deliver its first full length effort “Super Atomic” by following the tradition of 80s/early 90s Hard Rock, Sleaze and Glam Metal in general. Give Kickin Valentina a fair chance to check out at http://www.kickinvalentina.com/ Invite some brothers and sisters and let the party begin while alcoholic drinks abundantly will find a way to your throat. Play these guys’ new album “Super Atomic” and experience one hell of a great time – that’s what good music is all about to me ! Order via the Target Shop right HERE.
My rating: 82/100 (Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)
KHASM – FENRIS (Dooweet Records)
Review by Sloof
A melting pot of Thrash, Death and Hardcore but with one musical universe where limits are forbidden, where regulations are meant to be broken and where authority will be demolished. Khasm is the name, and “Fenris” is the recipe. This monstrous wolf comes from Norse mythology where he’s the father of wolves and son of Loki. Fenris is foretold to kill the God Odin during the events of Ragnarök, but will in turn be killed by Odin’s son Vidar. For those that like these kind of stories, there is a Belgian fantasy comic book series by Jean Van Hamme and Polish graphic artist Rosinski, and the whole story of Thorgal Aegirsson, Kriss of Valnor and their spin-offs Yann where “The Severed Hand Of The God Tyr” was released in 2012.
Khasm has created four tracks and they recorded, mixed and mastered the brute story with Jocke Skog (Feared, Clawfinger). Their potential and determination is now revealed with an Old School attitude and raging vocals! There is also a little wink to Game Of Thrones with the track ‘Nightwatch’ where Per Nilsson (Scar Symmetry) joins in to add an enchanting solo, fitting perfectly with the mantra of the chorus. The band is new, innovatory, disruptive but at the same time paying homage to the originals! It’s a combination of Madball and DevilDriver, a mixture of Hatebreed and Celtic Frost, while some parts can be considered as influenced by Unleashed. This whole range of sounds and ideas are squished into four songs that have a total playing time of (only) 12 minutes. https://www.facebook.com/khasmofficial
My rating: 79/100 (Decent but best previewing)
KINGCROW – EIDOS (Sensory Records)
Review by Sloof
This band is already a long time on Italian soil, but I guess that a lot of people are unfamiliar with Kingcrow so far. Perhaps ‘Eidos’ could turn the tide, as this new, sixth album, offers a lot of elements that will appeal to people that generally like rock with a rough edge. The band was formed about 20 years ago, but I guess that they didn’t tour outside Italy yet.
Their progressive metal blends with fragile and sensitive guitar parts and one of the most striking members is vocalist Diego Marchesi. His vocal chords are really outstanding and I simply love the way he sings! From the very first song ‘The Moth’, it is obvious that this man handles a lot. He gives a nice twist to the songs, he’s lifting them to a higher melodic level without losing any grip on the rougher edges. Only few can do better! The songs are written with a lot of details and when all six members come together, you will agree that Kingcrow delivers quality material! Sensory Records worked with the band before, and I know that they only cope with the best in Progressive metal.
Their new album has a much darker approach, but at the same time, they are aiming to a wider fan base, and I’m sure that this goal is within reach. ‘Eidos’ is a wonderful album that is growing after every spin, and that’s a property that only great albums have! Kingcrow official: http://www.kingcrow.it/ / Kingcrow FB: https://www.facebook.com/Kingcrowband
My rating: 85/100 (Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)
KING OF THE NORTH – SOUND THE UNDERGROUND (Bad Reputation Records)
Review by Sloof
Rock’n Roll at the finest level, with no restrictions or defined paths or fixed rules at all. Music from the heart with a huge dose of Led Zeppelin mixed in the arrangements. Some parts are really brilliant, but unfortunately, that high level of composing isn’t present all the time. Some songs have an enigmatic approach (‘It’s Been Too Long’, ‘Surrender’, ‘Running Out Of Reasons’), while others have a few missing dots. This Rock Powerhouse duo create a sound that many people will regard as a new frontier for the guitar/drum rock formats.
Knowing that this two-piece monster is capable to cause such a stir, I had to think on a band that I got in touch with recently. The name of that band is Bölzer, and they are from Suisse, and accidentally I witnessed a live show of this duo in Antwerp. The way they played their instrument left a great impression to me. Members HzR and KzR succeeded in a gig with a lot of emotion and dedication, and I guess that the same thing counts for King Of The North. Although the musical direction of Bölzer and King Of The North is totally diverse and opponent to each other, they also have similarities. Being a duo results in the same restrictions and difficulties to go through life in this limited lineup. The hard-hitting performance with a hodgepodge of mainstream, rock, stoner and alternative will appeal to hordes of fans all over the globe. Keep your eyes open and your agendas ready as the duo is making plans to come to Europe in the fall of 2015.
My rating: 79/100 (Between 70 and 79: Decent but best previewing)
KLAYMORE – JUSTIFIABLY PISSED (Independent)
Review by Nathan McLeod
‘Klaymore’, of an ‘average’ consisting of 21, this ‘Pittsburg, PA-based’ quartet does rock! ‘Pissed-off’ or not, I don’t judge a CD by it’s name or cover with their ‘Justifiably Pissed’ EP. It is ‘truly’ nice to hear some ‘young’ musicians with these lads, whom are ‘very’ talented, which I can see a ‘possible’ sky’s the limit of where ‘Klaymore’ could be in a decade?
I can also very well see a mass amount of ‘influences’ regarding ‘Klaymore’. Early: ‘Iron Maiden’, ‘Metal Church’, ‘Megadeth’, ‘Judas Priest’, & ‘Metallica’. ‘NWOBHM’ – ‘Classic Rock ‘n’ Roll’ – ‘Glam Rock’. I do ‘struggle’ with the vocals of ‘Lee Prisby’. Much of the music thru out ‘Justifiably Pissed’ with the vocals strongly reminded me of ‘The Runaways’, in HUGE parts with the ‘backing vocal’ punches heard here & there. Don’t take ‘offence’ guys, just some ‘constructive criticism’ per-se.
‘Klaymore’s’ ‘guitar-duo’ leads of ‘Dan Sudano & Lee Prisby’ are ‘pristine’ with hinting directions of ‘Warren DeMartini & Robbin Crosby’ (RIP). Touching a bit with ‘Annihilator’s’ – ‘Jeff Watters’. ‘Justifiably Pissed’ more or less can be ‘classified’ as some ‘traditional’ ‘Heavy Metal’! ‘Heavier’ elements with ‘Burn’ & ‘Out Of Sight’. ‘Riffy & catchie’. ‘Jesse Prisby’s’ bass is what does catch my ear the most thru out ‘Justifiably Pissed’. As well the guitar work caught on ‘Demons’!
‘Excellent’ engineering work from ‘Lee Prisby’ at such as young age. Take a listen to ‘Klaymore’s’ ‘Metallica’ capturing abilities on their YouTube channel with 4-tracks covered off ‘Kill ’em All’! Vocals ‘may’ not stand out to that of ‘James Hetfield’. But taking into consideration ‘Klaymore’s’ ‘young’ talented age, ‘Kill ’em All’ sound captured, their “honest-able-attempt” musically; they’ve got it. Give people credit where credit is due!
My rating: 81/100 (Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)
*Lee Prisby: Vocals/Guitar
*Dan Sudano: Guitar
*Jesse Prisby: Bass
*Bob Moore: Drums
‘Justifiably Pissed’ track info:
1) Burn, 2) Peregrine, 3) Caught In Your Web, 4) Queen Of The Sky, 5) Out Of Sight, 6) Demons; total run-time 19:55.
Engineered by Lee Prisby. Mastered by Nils Knecht.
Additional ‘Klaymore’ info:
*Metal Archives: www.metal-archives.com/bands/Klaymore/3540356870
KLAYMORE – KLAY ‘EM ALL (Independent)
Review by Nathan Mcleod
These young lads, Klaymore, aren’t much older now when they released their Klay ‘Em All EP than Metallica was when they released their debut of Kill ‘Em All.
I really hand it to Klaymore for tackling four (4) of the ten (10) tracks that appeared on Kill ‘Em All:
Klay ‘Em All track info:
I) Hit The Lights – https://youtu.be/KAyMP2RvfX4
II) Seek & Destroy – https://youtu.be/f_D85DAPvsY
III) The Four Horsemen – https://youtu.be/kdPw3anBNyE
IV) Jump In The Fire – https://youtu.be/3MK1KRWO8xs
Total run time 21:30.
For the most part, Klaymore have the Kill ‘Em All sound down. They have the vibe as well. There are parts here & there that I won’t say are outa place, but definitely noticeable. A bit of the bass sound, the lead vocals, some of the backing vocals, & guitar leads. The drums are what sound the most like the original. The guitar rhythm’s are almost dead on.
Klaymore definitely have the structure down pat, the heart, timing, & most of all, the talent! What you do hear here on Klay ‘Em All is superb. Sure does not sound like Klaymore basically thru everything together whilst recording on a whim nor anything like that. To me, it appears it was well thought out, planned out, then executed.
Production seems to be quite well done on Klay ‘Em All. It does have that 1983 Kill ‘Em All sound for the most part, just a little bit crisp in comparison thru out some parts. A job very well done. Personally I would have liked to have heard a fifth (5th) cover of Kill ‘Em All from Klaymore. Other covers from Klaymore can be viewed on their YouTube channel:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBC_Z7cE05Q&list=PLxINahxB6uONiBibY2Nc1rGstKa46YB3U
Several months back I did a review of Klaymore’s – Justifiably Pissed, which can be read/viewed here:http://metaltoinfinity.be/CDREVIEWS_IJKL/klaymore_justifiablypissed.html
My rating: 83/100 (Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)
Klaymore contact info:
*Metal Archives: http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Klaymore/3540356870
*Lee Prisby – Vocals, Guitar
*Dan Sudano – Guitar
*Jesse Prisby – Bass, Vocals
*Bob Moore – Drums
KOMAH – FLASHING NIGHTMARE (Spinal Records)
Review by Sloof
I saw this band for the first time at the Graspop Festival, edition 2013, and one year later at the Biesenrock Festival as a supporting act of Crucified Barbara. Both gigs were great and I was impressed about the musicians that took the stage from the very first moment. This was what we call ‘a band to keep an eye on’. Right now, the band is ready to unleash their demons once again with the third full length album, released on Spinal Records.
First of all, the production of the album is outstanding! Marc De Keyzer joined the band in the recording studio and Charles De Schutter did a perfect mixing! The band also paid a lot of attention to the front cover artwork and the booklet contains all additional information. Great job, both to band and label!
The music on this third album is a logical continuation, and after a short intro (“Genesis”), the dogs of hell are unleashed in the song “Bullets Replaced Words”. After the assault at Bataclan in Paris, the song gives me shivers all over my backbone… A first highlight is the title track of the new album. ‘Flashing Nightmare’ covers what this band is all about. Great vocals (rough but steady) and musicians that keep the pace going, that’s exactly what we need. The track ‘Closer’ continues with a very nice riff and perfect chorus lines. Vocalist Leny Andrieux handles his task with perseverance and dedication! ‘Eye Of The Storm’ is a short instrumental passage to ‘Hell In Heaven’ where speed is the most important ingredient. Another personal highlight. When ‘So Sick’ starts, you might expect a ballad, but Komah gives its own twist to this arrangement. It has a slightly commercial edge where the chorus ‘What Goes Up Must Come Down’ is repeated extremely long verging on exaggeration. A track like ‘The Voice’ has some Machine Head ingredients, so expect some wheezing guitars in the arrangement. There is also a single and video release of ‘Walking Ghosts’, so check the YouTube channel to get an idea what Komah is all about.
This band from the French speaking part of Belgium delivers a decent and rough album that fans of Pantera and Machine Head will please from start to finish. Drummer Jonas Sanders joined Pro-Pain recently, so I do hope that they don’t lose a member after every tour that they participate. http://www.komah.net/theband
My rating: 84/100 (Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)
KOPPER8 – ADDICTION (Dooweet Records)
Review by Sloof
Dooweet Records from France should get a medal as they support their French scene so well. Many labels can take Dooweet as a perfect example on how bands need to be supported! They forwarded some new releases and Kopper8 is the first band for this week.
First of all, I’m totally impressed about the front cover artwork of this album. It breathes darkness, mysticism, an unknown world, but at the same time, there is a lot of detail in the artwork and a lot of bands forget that the cover is as important as the music on the disc! The band started around 2006 in the suburbs of Paris when Niko (guitars) wanted to start a band with Thrash Metal elements, but as well with Stoner and Southern twists. When vocalist Tex joined in, they decided that the lyrics should be growled in native language and getting drummer Wil, bass player Jeremie and second guitar player Steff on board, we can conclude that Copper8 was finally in the comfort zone of a stable lineup. Adding many different elements in a band, delivers a scale of sounds and influences, but each member helped to match the pieces together.
I consider Kopper8 as the French version of Pro-Pain. They sound like them, but they are more brutal, more direct while Pro-Pain adds more groove in their songs. The whole album is one brutal assault with songs like ‘La Haine’ and ‘Evangile’, and although some songs have an English title and chorus (‘Addiction’, ‘Hategod’, ‘Born To Die’), the lyrics are mainly in French. There is a resting, a moment of pause with the track ‘L’école De La Folie’ that turns into a very bombastic and threatening moment. I guess that this track is my favorite one on this album. I do want to mention that the song ‘Patrie’ is an homage to all the victims that fell in Paris on November 13th. 2015.
The album finishes with a remix of ‘Amnesia’ and ‘Requiem’, two songs that featured their first EP as well, and the band shot a video for the latter, so check it out if you like nuns in leather!
People that are into a direct approach, a heavier version of Pro-Pain and a melting pot of Thrash/Death Metal should check their videos for extra impressions. Their first album is a good move, but I need more consistency to catalogue this album as a milestone. https://fr-fr.facebook.com/kopper8
My rating: 78/100 ( Decent but best previewing)
Review by Sloof
I guess that most of you aren’t familiar with this band or their previous album ‘Naja Naja’, but that doesn’t matter, as I’m sure that this band isn’t directly your cup of tea. This doesn’t mean that Kuko The Kobra is a band with disastrous musicians, on the contrary, the quartet is gifted with people that are capable to write and compose outstanding rock songs. They might be raised in a Hard Rock and Blues environment, fact is that they are convinced that strong songs are the only goal to reach. In a way, they succeeded! The only question is, is it applicable to people that prefer a heavier approach?
Strange name for a band, strange name for a debut album, and for those that think that things can’t get worse, their new album tops it all! ‘A Girl And Her Giraffe’ is the name and I don’t know what it might include… Fact is, I liked the material on this second output, but only for a temporary moment. This is executed at high level, but the musical direction is not my personal preference. People that like bands like Pearl Jam should take a hold on this band, as they add the same passion to their songs and the vocals of John Sharling (vocals and bass) have similar niches.
Is this band one of the label’s future directions, as it has nothing to do with metal at all, or just a kind of in-between release because of the quality. Who knows? Fact is, Kuko The Kobra will appeal to those that like rock instead of metal, to those that still find their liking on radio stations that schedule rock, and eventually, they have the skills to write hit potential music, but Headbangers might have a slight aversion to it…
My rating: 75/100 (Between 70 and 79: Decent but best previewing)