Category: Album Reviews (page 1 of 2)

Helloween Chameleon Review

Helloween Chameleon Review!

Band Name: Helloween
Album Title: Chameleon
Genre: Power Metal
Year: 1993
Origin: Germany
Length: 71:13

Helloween Chameleon Review

Misunderstood, underrated, and underappreciated are the verbs to describe Helloween’s 1993 album, Chameleon. At this point, Helloween had not one, but two big hits with their dual albums in the form of “Keepers of the Seven Keys Part I and Part II”. It’s going to be hard for the band to have better follow-ups. “Pink Bubbles Go Ape”, such a strange album title name, was decent with some good to even great songs, but it’s been awfully forgotten. But now, we have “Chameleon”, which, at this point, Kai Hansen had already departed and Michael Kiske on the borderline of leaving the band, got snuffed by many who considered the album the worst Helloween album yet. I, personally, disagree. 

 

It’s very interesting that each track has its own rules like the song “When The Sinners” which has a very Bon-Jovi-esque Hard Rock vibe to it, but still enjoyably to listen to. “First Time” is a very solid opener but the middle section of the album has a solid streak of excellent songs starting from “Crazy Cat” which is weird but highly energetic with its explosive chorus but then, you have “Giants” which is an incredible song. “Giants” is the best song on the album with pounding guitars and even an epic feel to it. It sounds special compared to the other songs on the album and sounds something you could hear from the “Keeper” records. The only gripe that I have against this album is that there are 3 to 4 ballads which may not favor everyone. My favorite ballad is “Windmill” which is surprisingly calm and soothing yet beautifully written and has its charm. So, those three tracks are the highlight of the album with really excellent music back-to-back. “In The Night” sounds like 60’s rock ‘n’ roll which feels very Elvis-ish, which does not technically work.

 

The last portion of the album goes into epic length territories with “Music” hitting the 7-minute mark which is musically impressive with some great vocal delivery from Kiske and the guitar soloing is incredible. “Step Out of Hell” is fun and quite sunny, which is the best way to describe this song. The album switches from Power Metal to Pop/Rock or even Rock ‘n’ Roll. Some songs do work, others are just “meh”.  “I Believe” is the longest track clocking in 9 minutes and it’s as impressive with its mood and atmosphere. There’s something creatively composed in the song and guitar soloing is brilliant.

Overall, effort has been put throughout the album and it does show. It may not be appealing at a first listen but needs to be given several chances until it does have some quality music. The album’s reception by many has been unfair to describe it as Helloween’s “St. Anger” which is not NEARLY as bad as that album. If it didn’t work out the first time, it’s worth giving it many spins to witness that it isn’t as bad as many had perceived it. As I’m listening to it right now, I’m enjoying it. So, take it as it is… as for me, it’s a really damn good album with a fantastic track called “Giants”.

 

Final score: 74/100

-Review By: Simon Nader


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EDITOR’S PICKS:

NERVECELL – PAST PRESENT TORTURE Album Review (77.5/100)

About Nervecell

Formed in 2000 as one of the first extreme metal bands to emerge from Dubai, U.A.E. and having supported legendary metal bands such as Metallica, Morbid Angel, Deicide, and Suffocation, Nervecell have become the most prominent band to arise from the Middle East and truly are the torchbearers for a Middle Eastern wave of metal. Delivering a unique blend of Middle Eastern death/thrash metal, and maintaining a reputation for highly energetic live performances. Continue reading

Eden Sworn Obedience Prerelease Review By MOLOCH

Eden Sworn Obedience Prerelease Review by MOLOCH!

Eden Sworn Obedience is the latest release of malevolent sonic energy from the Phoenician shores.

The Lebanese thrash quartet’s debut, is a 5-song mini CD with a sixth song, ‘Penetration’ which is a Nefilim cover and a couple of additional demo tracks added as bonuses. Continue reading

Damage Rite “The Dehumanizing Factor” – Reviewed

*Heavy Breathing Intensifies*

The Band:

Thrash Metal seems to still hold ground onto our Lebanese metal bands. But, it is only when it is crossed with Death Metal that we get this nostalgic wave of brutalness we once had in our music back in the day. And what more of a nostalgic feeling can you get when the band, Damage Rite, was created by Post Mortem’s JM Elias.
Damage Rite have released their debut album, “The Dehumanizing Factor”, on February 28, 2017, after 8 years of releasing their first single, “Whispers of Ages”, and here is what the band said about that:

“It took a while for the band to engage in the recording process due to line up amendments that occurred during the precedent years which led to the absolute and current arrangement designed to bestow the thrashiest and deadliest tunes, to fulfill the rights of the listeners to undergo on a metal experience like no other”.

The news already sounded brutal to our ears, but what about the actual music?

READ MORE: Damage Rite Releases A New Album 2017

The Album:

Damage Rite "The Dehumanizing Factor"

“The Dehumanizing Factor” starts off with the intro track “Dehumanize”. The sound of someone marching with a danger alarm soon turned into some Thrash riffing that clearly tells us there will be no mercy on our ears.
The second track is the released single “Whispers of Ages”, aggressive and fast, along with angry growling, showing how Death Metal is largely incorporated in the Thrash sound.
The album continues with “Cities of Blood”, “Homicidal Death Machine”, and “Oppression”. Tracks of tight changing rhythms, technical sounding solos, yet with a taste of melody, and not to forget, some rhythm breaks one can’t help but headbang to.

Track 6 is the album track, it pretty much sums up the sound of the album and includes the same theme from the album’s intro.
Last three tracks from the album are “Set Apart”, “Chaos of Souls”, and “Thy Will be Done”.
The lyrics match the album title, they question morals, purposes, truths, and you guessed it… blood and war.

To sum it up, “The Dehumanizing Factor” is a solid release, one we guarantee you will love; it is straight harsh and in your face brutal. However, one thing might stand in the face of this album breaking through. It is common among such genre: the lack of a definitive idea that separates it from the rest. Therefore, if Damage Rite can get their hands on that, we’ll be waiting for something big coming our way.

Total rank: solid 90/100
Favorite track: Set Apart

You can buy the album from Damage Rite’s Band Camp.

SVENGALI Unscathed – Album Review

SVENGALI Unscathed Album Review Originally Published in Issue 5 Pages 18-19

Dubai’s Svengali have officially released their debut EP, “Unscathed”. A project initiated by Adnan Mryhij and Fadi Al Shami. Continue reading

BLAAKYUM Line Of Fear: A Remarkable Evolution – (9.2/10)

BLAAKYUM Line Of Fear – (92/100)

BLAAKYUM Line Of FearWe’ve come a long way from the competent but uninteresting ‘Lord of the Night’. Where the debut draws heavily from every outside influence, ‘Line of Fear’ draws inspiration from within, meaning Lebanese history, culture, and mythos. Where the traditional percussion of the ‘derbakke’ was mostly filler in the debut, it is now a major contributor to the overall mood of ‘Line of Fear’. The overall mood is now enhanced manifold, not just due to the addition of this oriental instrument, but by the perfected alchemy of all instruments with the vocals, providing a solid structure and form, fused with meaningful folk lyrics. Continue reading

Filter Happier Trying To Rush Everything EP Review (8/10)

Filter Happier is a five-piece Post-Rock band previously known as Banana Elephent. Formed in Beirut in 2013, consisting of Elie Abdelnour (bass), Camille Cabbabé (guitar), Elie El Khoury (drums), Georgy Flouty (guitar and vocals), and Ada Harb (vocals and keys).  Filter Happier – Trying To Rush Everything EP was released on July 16th 2016. Read Review  below.

Continue reading

Mostafa Zaghloul Releases New EP

Egyptian musician Mostafa Zaghloul releases his first EP titled “Ethereal”.

Continue reading

OMRADE – EDARI | Album Review

Område is a French duo-band formed in June 2014 and composes music with a mixture of many dark styles like: ambient, post industrial, post rock, electronica, and even with Black Metal/Metal influences. The combo released their first opus “Edari” on April 13th of the year 2015 that includes 8 tracks. We were lucky to bump into this exceptional album a while ago and we will share our review below.

 

Omrade coverThis newly released LP takes you on a long ambivalent journey through the many realms of post-rock, with the compliment of both ambience and turbulence. This album can be listened to in the very depths of your despair or at the uttermost peaks of your joy, regardless of the atmosphere of the occasion. Omrade’s Edari consists of an eight-song sequence that can complement the musical preferences of various audiences. In spite of the great musical composition, the poor quality of sound may possibly set the listeners off on the wrong foot. Regardless, the wide variety of emotions felt throughout the duration of this LP truly makes it stand out and lure in audiences of different emotional capacities, whether they would like to rock and roll, bump in the background, or feel happy and sad all at once.

Omrade’s schizophrenic layering of black metal, post-rock/metal, ambient electronica, industrial, and trip-hop styles results in overwhelming song structures and focuses on simple riffs and atmospheres that deliver songs rather than creating trippy soundscapes. Artistic and surrealist sensibility, a great, dark, and psychotic menu expressed in this project.

 

Here is the track-by-track review:

  • Motsogn (5:10):

Driven by brooding drums, ominous ambience, and atmospheric guitar work, the first track surprisingly chills to the bone. It’s essentially something that could fit in nicely on an ambient album.

  • Mann Forelder (5:22):

This track functions in the same uplifting vein as “Motsogn”, but the song introduces the band’s emphasis on ambience this time around. The thrilling rhythm section and soaring textures pave the way here. It makes for a truly warm feeling inside and the touching guitar tone that closes out the song is a homely touch. In addition to quiet electronic drumming and various noises, strings and piano are the dominant presence. It’s a song that requires a fair amount of patience to appreciate, pure Epic Music.

 

  • Luxurious Agony (5:25):

An excellent job of maintaining a singular contemplative mood while employing different elements in songs to make them distinctive, the modulated heartbeat-like sound is juxtaposed perfectly against the calming, yet cinematic background noise. The song makes further use of the simple piano by placing it in the background and giving it some reverb at the end of the track, making it one of the standouts.

 

  • Satellite And Narrow (6:08):

The first change is the greatly increased use of vocals and drums, which shifts the balance away from the ambient leanings of previous songs towards a more energetic, dream pop sound, undoubtedly the most successful track, taking the basic structure and twisting it to get a masterpiece.

 Omrade pic 1

  • Aben Dor (5:27):

The increased presence of vocals means that lyrics play a much larger part; the duo largely contented themselves with vague, poetic vignettes that were entirely open to interpretation, just like listening to a black metal track.

 

  • Friendly Herpes (5:21):

The moody and atmospheric chill of “Friendly Herpes” keeps me coming back to its hypnotic builds and desperate Pain-like vocals. This track transitions perfectly into dark-ambient and the result is the perfect structure.

 

  • Skam Parfyme (6:31):

Opens with some celestial vibes and angelic female backing vox before it goes up the hostility and the pace.

 

  • Ottaa Sen (6:10):

Memorable in approach, emotional vocal style entwining with the cold spoken-word passages of the song, and the latter is an evocative mix of electronica and post-rock, the last track and the last heartbeat, angelic, from within, and…

 

Review Summary:

Not overly experimental, Omrade focuses on songs and keeps it fresh throughout its more than 45-minute length. Their simple take on the avant-garde results in greater accessibility, with an approachability that has the potential for accessing a fanbase that only mildly dabbles in the genre. Good music, good artwork, and good production make this a winner in my book. It’s difficult for me to admit that anyone else can do this as well. However, there is much to love here and I will continue to come back to Omrade’s debut for its straightforwardness, variety, and easy digestibility. So, if you’re ready to submit to the dark and moody, … you are welcome.

Omrade pic 2

Omrade lineup:

Jean-Philippe Ouamer: Drums and electronics

Christophe Denhez: Guitar and vocals

Mixed and mastered by: Edgar Chevalier
Artwork by: Seldon Hunt

I give it 9/10 , simply perfect.

 


Maurice Semaan & Dany Ayash

 

Turn My Gaze Up | Review

Turn My Gaze Up is Pete Barnardo’s solo album; it is a 12-track Christian Rock LP that features the talented and creative Josh Whisker on drums (and Pete himself playing all other instruments). It was released in 2015 under the Come Home record label, and the cover art & design were the work of Ruth Barrat of Red Imagination Photography.

You can buy the album from Bandcamp, iTunes, and Amazon.  Lyrics are available on Bandcamp (just click on the song name).

Now that the formalities are dealt with, let’s dive in! Having had the honor to meet the guy himself on his visit to Lebanon, I, on behalf of Metal Bell, have the privilege to listen to this piece of art and share my critical opinion of it.  Without further ado, let us start reviewing!

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