Rock & Metal Reviews

4. Apr, 2019

Cygnus Atratus finds its origin in Belgian progressive band Cygnus. The expanded name is the monicker for a musical direction that incorporates more metal elements. In 2015 guitarist Erik Callaerts and bass player Benny Vercammen decided to take a new and fresh direction. After the EP 'The First Hour' (a way af testing the water), the duo changed the line-up and started working with drummer Kjell De Raes and guest singer Marieke Bresseleers who has a lot of credibility from her work with Circle Unbroken and as the new singer of internationally acclaimed band Lords Of Acid. Keyboards were handled by JP Kerkhofs.  'The Empyrean Heaven' is a minor masterpiece in the genre. The album has beautiful compositions embedded in strong arrangements with a lot of light and shade and the flow is perfect. There are subtle metal influences and powerful rocking parts, but above all this is a genuine piece of modern progressive rock, rooted in the rich past of the genre, but with two feet in the second decade of the 21st century. I've never heard Bresseleirs sing so convincing as on this album and the atmosphere is one of total beauty throughout. Callaerts plays some great guitar and the sound is contemporary symphonic. The layout is of equal quality and gives the album the artistic presentation it deserves. The album can be ordered through the website of the band (http://cygnusprogmetalweb.com/index.html). This is a totally self-produced, self-released album of high quality. Real music by real people! Hope some label picks this up. (Geert Ryssen)

1. Apr, 2019

Beth Blade is a real rock chick with a heavy dose of pepper in the ass. Musically we are talking of the Joan Jett/Lita Ford kind of school: a dash of punk, a dash of hardrock, a dash of melody and a heavy rocking band. Blade was a guest on the KISS Cruise and did vocals on the single 'Miracle Man' by Thunder. Her songs can be labeled as power pop or pop metal: fresh and enough variation to keep it interesting. On 'Crazy' she shows her subtle side. The production of this album was done by Nick Brine who also worked with Thunder and The Darkness, which puts her in good company. The U.K. has a new and very potent female rocker on the cards! (Geert Ryssen)

28. Mar, 2019

On the eve of the release of their first album in 2016, British Brighton based progressive/alternative metal band Shrine changed its name to Black Peaks. 'All That Divides' was released in october 2018 and brings a harsh mixture of extreme screaming vocals and clean melodic passages. One thing is for sure: this is an adventurous band that grabs your attention, no matter what. It takes a while to get into their music, but once one listens with an open mind, there's a lot to be discovered. I saw the band described as "Oceansize meets Mastodon". Well, I think that's a good indicator for what one will get to hear, but Black Peaks has its own flavour. On April 30 they start a European tour. Dates can be found on the website (www.blackpeaks.com) (Geert Ryssen)

28. Mar, 2019

Metal has a wide range of styles and now and then a record grabs your attention without being in your favorite style. Swiss metallers Almøst Human are around in one form or another since the nineties, but 'XS2XTC/XS4XTC' is their first full album. Their blending of extreme metal with classic rock energy delivers a very exciting and fascinating album. Their songs sound harsh, raw and brutal, but still there's a classic touch to their riffs and grooves. There's melody, emotion and a lot of passion in their performances that lifts the band to a higher level. Thematicaly the band focusses on the place of human beings in the wide range of "animals". This is not meant for romantic or sensitive souls, but if you like some adventure or exploration of unknown territory, Almøst Human may be your servant. (Geert Ryssen)

15. Dec, 2018

Last year The Cascades released 'Diamonds And Rust', an excellent compilation of their first five albums with some extra unreleased material. It was also the launch of a renewed collaboration between the original members of the band.The new opus of the German gothic trio has the perfect title. The Phoenix rises again with a collection of brand new songs that continue the tradition of powerful and deep-sounding gothic pieces. The voice of Marcus Wild is an essential element in the sound of the band, the songs are fluid and well written with very good arrangements captured in a perfect production. More than once the atmosphere reminds of the Berlin period of David Bowie, but with some extra drama and heaviness in the arrangements. 'Phoenix' is a dreamrecord for fans of 'classic' gothic rock. Vocals: M.W Wild, guitars: Moreintes daSilva, keyboards and programming: Marcus Müller. (Geert Ryssen)