October 2022 Rapid Fires

Thursday, 3rd November 2022

Now that we are in the depths of the final quarter of 2022, there’s more than enough releases to tackle for those wishing to quench their thirst for any type of metal. We welcome you once again to our latest edition of the Rapid Fire column for October, where we render thoughts on some recent releases from the following bands: Diamond Chazer, Even Flow, Golgotha, Michael Bormann’s Jaded Hard, My Own Ghost, No Return, Parius, Silver Phantom, Therion (pictured above), and Who On Earth.

Diamond Chazer – Starriders (Fighter Records)
Born in the fall of 2017, Columbian act Diamond Chazer develop a traditional metal sound loaded with 80’s influences while adding an outer galaxy keyboard vibe to their songs for this first proper original album Starriders. Between the punchy bass work, dual guitar rhythm/ harmony intersections, steady drum kit backbone and the multi-layered low to high register vocals songs like “Cosmic Samurai”, “Insane & Unleashed” as well as the semi-progressive instrumental “Into the Vortex” bring together the likes of Iron Maiden, early Metallica, Mercyful Fate, and others in that NWOBHM/early American scene into an addictive swirl sure to induce massive headbanging. The raw performances along with the lower, analog-ish tones speak to the throwback nature of this effort. Another valuable acquisition from the vibrant South American scene. – Matt Coe Diamond Chazer on Facebook

Even Flow – Mediterraneo (Self-Released)
Intertwining progressive metal, power, and AOR/rock influences, Italian quartet Even Flow returns with their third EP in the last nine years for Mediterraneo. Speaking from a love, hope, sadness, and uplifting future joy perspective in the five tracks, this is classic style songwriting that contains shimmering vocal melodies, diverse musical components, and this amazing, intuitive sense of dynamic push/pull between catchy riffs against stellar tempo changes/musicianship interplay. Dream Theater, Kansas, DGM are three influences you hear on “Ocean Lies”, the quicker piano-oriented ballad “Leaves”, as well as the adventurous 7:32 closing title cut. Marco Pastorino shines in a true, vibrant manner through his voice, while guitarist Pietro Paolo Lunesu adds the proper melodic/positive phrasing when shifting textures in any direction. We need another full-length, as 23 minutes is a tease to ardent progressive listeners. – Matt Coe Even Flow on Facebook

Golgotha – Mors Diligentis (Xtreem Music)
The latest offering Mors Diligentis from death/doom metal veterans Golgotha sees a significant shift in personnel – as two new singers enter the fold. The clean vocals of Maria J. Lladó serve comfortably next to the guttural growls/shrieks from Miriam Vallés, as these eight songs live for an old Paradise Lost meets Tiamat template. The mid-tempo anthem “Our Trust Betrayed” contains the right riff/hook combinations for instant appeal, while “Unconditional Love” envelopes in its somber keyboards, delayed vocal delivery, plus tranquil guitar harmonies. This is ideal for those who love older doom/death, emotionally connective in that heavy platform where contrasts align to dynamic perfection. – Matt Coe Golgotha on Facebook

Michael Bormann’s Jaded Hard – Power to Win (RMB Records)
Best known for his work in acts like Letter X, Bloodbound, and Jaded Heart, vocalist Michael Bormann returns for his second album as Michael Bormann’s Jaded Hard with Power to Win. The quintet delivers high quality power hard rock with AOR tendencies – Michael’s bluesy pipes still vibrant next to the strong musical underpinning song to song. Conventional pocket-oriented material like “When I Look In Your Eyes” or the title track gain major kudos, while the reflective ballad “Just Wanna Fall In Love” tugs at the heart strings, and “Hysteria – Wrong and Right” showcases a 70’s Rainbow-esque epic atmosphere with ironically Def Leppard-esque choral textures. Outside songwriters ensure Power to Win isn’t a one-trick pony in terms of style or substance – another fine example of an older artist sticking to their comfort zone and hitting it out of the park. – Matt Coe Michael Bormann’s Jaded Hard on Facebook

My Own Ghost – Shadow People (Massacre Records)
Founded in 2013, Luxembourg quartet My Own Ghost deliver a modern hard rock style with 80’s pop, electronic, and metal elements for their third album Shadow People. Video game effects cascade against an electric, positive hook foundation for “Jet Black Heartbreak”, while the light to heavy contrasts keeps “Shadow In Your Room” quite engaging on all fronts from the enchanting vocals of Julie Rodesch through the playful keyboard spots against the mid-tempo, churning guitar riffs. Everything from cyber/electronic accents to stunted sound clips accentuate the atmosphere delivered throughout these thirteen tracks – imagine the commercial side of Within Temptation or Beyond the Black going headlong into US modern rock and that should clue you in to this catchy collection contained within. Another vibrant offering that proves modern hard rock/metal isn’t dead. – Matt Coe My Own Ghost on Facebook

No Return – Requiem (Mighty Music)
Long running French unit No Return keeps the pedal firmly on the floor for this latest record Requiem. A reunion of sorts for previous vocalist Steeve ‘Zuul’ Petit last heard on 2002’s Machinery effort for the group, these ten songs showcase a bit more technical prowess plus melodic finesse against the expected ripping death/thrash platform. Savage riffs beyond sophisticated tempo changes/transitions push “Killing Machines” to immediate approval, while the dual, ripping guitar harmonies surrounding the aggressive mini-blasting snare/kick mechanics for “Survival Instinct” blend the energy of Bay Area thrash next to the evil brutality of early 90’s UK/Florida death metal. The epic closer “The Black Wolfs Kingdom” at 6:38 contains interesting synth strains, gothic/clean vocal strains, beyond some deeper growls and a devastating riff parade while the tempos shift from death to traditional metal before ending on a rather serene, quiet note. Still executing at premiere creative levels with over thirty years’ experience under their belts. – Matt Coe No Return on Facebook

Parius – The Signal Heard Through Space (Willowtip Records)
Reinventing themselves from a progressive melodic death metal act in their early years to a more streamlined progressive metal/rock act, Philadelphia’s Parius hit the key third album point in one’s career for The Signal Heard Through Space. Much like Opeth, this five-piece explore sonic horizons of a diverse nature now. Be it longer opening instrumentals for “Spacelog.0245”, tantalizing groove-laden progressive sequences that mirror Rush/Dream Theater at their best in “The Signal” on through to epic, atmospheric arrangements sprawling with glacial highs / crunchy hooks, choirs, or dynamic narrative sequences during the ten-minute highlight “The Acid Lakes of Ganymede” – it’s an hour-long plus odyssey ardent followers of this style treasure. The softer textures to Louis Thierry’s main vocals match the diverse musical proceedings – which occasionally still push those early death/extreme angles during “The Outer Limit” as far as supporting growl enhancement. Modern fans of progressive rock and metal will delight in this mesmerizing platter. – Matt Coe Parius on Facebook

Silver Phantom – Crimson Cabaret (Uprising! Records)
Wishing to develop old fashioned rock/metal ideas with a twist, Silver Phantom arise from Denmark on this debut platter Crimson Cabaret. Bassist Martin Helgren has that captivating, alternative meets jester persona through his mysterious, melodic vocal delivery, while the Morten Madsen / Mads Møller twin guitar lineup churns out riffs plus harmony twists from the Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and NWOBHM influence trees. There’s this palpable redline groove throughout the nine tracks, a bit Alice Cooper-esque on the opening title track, jumpy during “Black Lady”, while majestic in a doom-ish, ominous prism for personal favorite “Parasite Spirit”. The larger multi-part vocals for the choruses, steady rocking tempos, along with energetic, bluesy metal-driven lead breaks give Silver Phantom an ideal platform for massive appeal across many platforms – especially if you dig Ghost, Alice Cooper, and the aforementioned late 70’s/early 80’s heavy metal scene. – Matt Coe Silver Phantom on Facebook

Therion – Leviathan II (Nuclear Blast)
Marching to their own creative vision, Swedish symphonic / operatic metal pioneers Therion release the second installment of the Leviathan trilogy for Leviathan II. With eleven main tracks plus two ‘AOR/Alternative Vocals’ interpretations, most who’ve come to enjoy the distinct male/female voices, orchestra embellishments, and classical splendor against traditional, symphonic/gothic metal landscapes will treasure works like “Alchemy of the Soul”, “Midnight Star”, and somber “Codex Gigas”. The material flows in this alluring, transformative manner, easily shifting from slower to energy efforts without missing a beat. Even the Hammond organ strains during “Lunar Colored Fields” add that evil Uriah Heep/Deep Purple depth to the catchy, semi-ballad main proceedings while the operatic melodies plus classical instrumentation engages in swirling magnitude. Another return to form, the mythological themes mirroring the vibrant Therion we’ve come to know and love from the late 90’s/early 2000’s. – Matt Coe Therion on Facebook

Who On Earth – Blame (Self-Released)
Many musicians yearn to deliver material that inspired them to pick up instruments in the first place to a modern audience. That’s the case for New Jersey act Who On Earth for this debut album Blame – creating eleven tracks of old school heavy rock/metal with British/American heritage on hand. Expect elements of everything from Alice in Chains and Bad Company to Ozzy Osbourne, Metallica, Rush and Tool throughout this versatile album. Strong musical hooks, big vocals, choruses that are tailor made for commercial radio plus arena-oriented songs put “Black Swan”, “Unbeaten” and “Monster in a Jar” at the top of appealers, while producer Mike Orlando (Adrenaline Mob) delivers some sweet guest shredding lead breaks as the extra spice on top. Infectious, versatile, hard-hitting – this band impresses out of the gate, looking forward to watching these guys develop. – Matt Coe Who On Earth on Facebook

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