Sunday, 27 November 2016

Album review: MEGARA - Siete

1. Atajo al Cielo (Shortcut to Heaven)
2. En Llamas (On Fire)
3. Vivo de Rodillas (Living on your knees)
4. Fiel a Nada (Faithful to Nothing)
5. Héroes
6. Equilibrio (Balance)
7. Sin Ti (Without You)
8. Seis (Six)
9. Baños de Sangre (Blood Bath)
10. Alas (Wings - Birdy cover)

Megara are a female fronted Hard Rock band from Madrid. I recently saw them play live in Barcelona (check out my live review here), and I bought a CD. Already impressed with their live performance, I was excited to hear their album. It certainly didn't let me down, as it's absolutely fantastic. The first thing that struck me was the slick and expensive sounding production. The album sounds incredible. There are established bands on major labels who's albums don't sound as good as Megara's.

Their music is fresh and contemporary while utilising a classic Hard Rock influence that is present throughout the album. It rocks. It punches. It has massive riffs. Lead singer Kenzy, shows her impressive vocal range and versatility across the ten songs here. She has an amazing voice which complements the rest of the instruments perfectly. There are some really cool guitar solos too, and they're just right. They add to the songs in the way all great solos do, without overpowering or detracting from the song as a whole. This shows that their lead guitarist Rober is more than just a skilled player, but a gifted writer who knows what a song needs.

The album kicks off with the mid paced powerful Atajo al Cielo which has an epic feel and oozes emotion. It sets the tone for the album before second track En Llamas sucker-punches the listener with a huge catchy chorus. The album doesn't let up, and every song delivers the goods. My personal favourites are Baños de Sangre with its infectious groove, the relentlessly heavy Seis, and the album's closer Alas which is a rocked up cover version of Birdie's Wings. Every track is a potential single, and with the longest being just over four minutes long, the album clocks in at a very digestible thirty eight minutes. Like all of the best albums, it's one where you can enjoy it in its entirety without wanting to skip tracks. Being their debut album makes this all the more impressive.

I've had this album for several weeks now and I still listen to it in the car almost every day. There haven't been many records released this year that I can say that about. It's killer song after killer song. Siete is a well crafted and sonically superb album. 

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Album review: TESTAMENT - Brotherhood of the Snake

Testament - Brotherhood of the Snake

1. Brotherhood of the Snake
2. The Pale King
3. Stronghold
4. Seven Seals
5. Born in a Rut
6. Centuries of Suffering
7. Black Jack
8. Neptune's Spear
9. Canna-Business
10. The Number Game
Testament are one of those legendary thrash bands from the 80's who've been a huge influence on their scene worldwide, and have kept going in the face of adversity. However, unlike many of their peers (*cough* The Big Four) they have never lost their way or put out substandard records. Testament always deliver. They manage to progress with each album without diluting their core sound. Every album they put out has its own individual character and is an essential part of their legacy. Whilst other bands take the easy road and regurgitate the same formula each time and milk former glories, Testament continually prove that they are masters of their art and remain on top of their game.

Brotherhood of the Snake is their eleventh studio album, and the third since the return of guitar legend Alex Skolnick. The previous two albums, Formation of Damnation and Dark Roots of Earth, were awesome and the band saw a well deserved resurgence in popularity. The good news is that Brotherhood of the Snake is even better.

Brotherhood of the Snake is a thrashing beast of an album. The musicianship is very technical but retains the ferocity needed for this kind of record. Drummer Gene Hoglan is an absolute powerhouse and again reminds us why he's so highly in demand. In my opinion he's one of the best (if not the best) metal drummers in the world. Eric Peterson and Alex Skolnick deliver the world class shredding solos and heavy riffing they've become famous for with a level of class that has to be heard to be believed. Chuck Billy's vocals are also on form. He's sounding better than ever, and his distinctive voice oozes charisma. Lyrically, the album is influenced by an 6000 year old secret society which debarred all religions. It's a cool concept and works well with the music.

If you're already a Testament fan, I'm sure you have very high expectations for this album, based on the previous two. They've surpassed my expectations and Brotherhood of the Snake is one of their best albums yet. It's certainly my favourite thrash album of the year so far.

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