ALBUM REVIEW: Observe the 93rd – Eternalism


Aesthetically Pennsylvanian duo Observe the 93rd sound like a pop-rock band tailor-made for blasting out catchy bombast from a stadium. Continue reading


ALBUM REVIEW: Therion – Leviathan III


Symphonic Metal master Christofer Johnsson assembles and commands the latest Therion line-up for Leviathan III (Napalm Records), another epic, bombastic concept album that will have fans of this kind of thing rocking in the aisles, or whatever it is opera fans tend to do in similar circumstances (frocking in the aisles?!).

Non-aficionados will admire the abundant technical excellence but might find themselves worn down by the too sweet, lightweight method and approach, the continuous faux-classical bombardment and the sometimes awkward melding of scatter-gun references and influences (not least in the lyrics).

The strategic mix of the metal and the classic, throughout history, can often be problematic, even jarring. But the long-running Therion, following up directly here on Leviathan I and II (2021 and 2022, respectively), succeed in a more-or-less comfortable marriage of the bright fairytale lights and the darker doom, the beauty and the beast.

Much of the musical glue that holds it all together comes from Johnsson’s keyboards, but it’s the guitars (Christian Vidal) and the main man’s ambition in composition that really shine through.

Vocals range from Viking-style war chants to soaring female operatics (Lori Lewis), with geetar sounds veering from acoustic filigrees (“Ruler Of Tamag”) to electric chugalongs, melodic lead breaks and energetic riff riots (see “An Unsung Lament” and “Ayahuasca”, for example).

There’s also pop among the pomp, singalong and chantalong bits with strong hooks as Swede Johnsson sprinkles in echoes of the spectacularly successful, smooth and satisfying Abba-metal of countrymen Ghost as well as more straight-ahead power metal and melodic prog.

But despite moments of genuine doom and some death growling, Leviathan III can, at times, be too mild and mellow, saccharine and schmaltzy, tunes fit for backing Disney animation rather than proper Wagnerian guts, glory and apocalyptic passion (the images in my head of Elmer Fudd squalling “Kill the wabbit!” in Chuck Jones’ Warner cartoon classic What’s Opera Doc? are surely not what Johnsson had in mind).

The accompanying lyrics are something of a classical, mythological and religious ragbag, referring to generic chaos, the abyss, Babylon, “children of both wrath and all revenge of the deep”, not to mention brother killing brother, Latin warblings, Bacchus, Freja, Thor and Odin, spiritual revelations and a “nightingale in the shadow of your mind”. Profound or what?

The vocals (Thomas Vikström is the lead male singer) that open “Maleficium” recall System Of A Down – echoes of the superior voice of Serj Tankian are cast up several times throughout the album – before mellowing out like most of the rest of the material. “Maleficium”, though, is still one of the album’s signature highlights, along with the aforementioned “Ayahuasca” (the longest track at almost eight minutes).

“What Was Lost Shall Be Lost No More” achieves a certain intensity that several of the other songs lack, while “Duende” opens acoustically and atmospherically, the flamenco-style intro a welcome diversion. Then the operatic, neo-classical assault takes over once again.

Climactic Norse-fest “Twilight Of The Gods” opens with a Tony Iommi-esque droning riff, promising much, but then delivers more of the same formula and a martial, marching beat leads the way to the drum-driven finale (Sami Karppinen on the skins).

Performed live, with full orchestra and choir, Leviathan III might be a different and more impressive beast, but that remains to be seen, and heard.

The old Symphonic Metal lark obviously takes some courage, such are the potential pitfalls, not to mention logistical demands, and Johnsson is to be congratulated again for significantly adding to Therion’s already 35-year legacy. If his reach exceeds his grasp, on this evidence, it’s certainly not for want of trying.

Buy the album here:

https://www.napalmrecordsamerica.com/therion

7 / 10
CALLUM REID


System Of A Down, Slipknot, and Bring Me The Horizon are Booked to Headline Sick New World Festival 2024


Following a meteorically successful inaugural year, Sick New World is set to return to the Las Vegas Festival Grounds April 27, 2024 with an enormous collection of the world’s biggest hard rock, alternative, and up and coming artists. With a closing performance from returning headliner System Of A Down, this colossal lineup features over 65 artists across five stages, including Slipknot, Bring Me The Horizon, A Perfect Circle, Alice In Chains, Danny Elfman, Bad Omens, Sleep Token, Knocked Loose, and many more.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Avenged Sevenfold – Life Is But A Dream…


 

Avenged Sevenfold are potentially one of the most divisive metal acts out of the US since Metallica. All you need to do is look at their previous two albums, 2013’s Hail To The King & 2016’s The Stage to see the extreme polar oppositions these albums created. The former for how the band wore their Metallica influence on their sleeve, creating their own version of The Black Album, and then the following 2016 release throwing all of their previous influences and sounds up in the air, bringing in outside sources from the likes of Pink Floyd, and creating a wholly new progressive rock/metal experience.

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FESTIVAL REVIEW: Sick New World Festival Live at Las Vegas Fairgrounds


Some people told me I was crazy when I decided I was going to go to the Sick New World Fest, a debut Metal and Rock Festival in Las Vegas. In the month of May. I hate to sound like a boomer and complain about the heat in Las Vegas, which is an actual desert, but the bottom line is I knew in advance it was going to be hot as hell, and it certainly lived up to that prediction. That being said, I was really excited to come to the festival enjoy a day with my metal community, meet new friends, and see some incredible bands; some I had never seen ever, and some I had not seen in a long time.

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FESTIVAL PREVIEW: Sick New World Fest in 2023 Announces Set Times for This Weekend – ft. System Of A Down, Korn, Deftones, Incubus, Evanescence, Turnstile, Chevelle, Coal Chamber, Flyleaf, Mr. Bungle and More


 

System Of A Down, Incubus, Korn, Evanescence and Deftones will headline Sick New World Festival this weekend, a new music festival featuring some of the biggest names in Nu-Metal, Goth Rock, Industrial Metal, and some modern bands as well! Among the dozens of bands on the bill, it will mark the reunions of both Flyleaf with Lacey Sturm and Coal Chamber. Other bands are promising some surprise sets as well as Ice-T’s Body Count might be joined by Ice’s daughter, Chanel Nicole! Tickets are totally sold-out, but you can join the wait list at this link here. The event will be held on Saturday, May 13, 2023 at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds in Las Vegas, Nevada. Check out the stage spits and set times below!

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ALBUM REVIEW: Babymetal – The Other One


 

Babymetal is back as only Babymetal can be. Their new offering is The Other One (Cooking Vinyl). Here are constants you can be sure of when you buy a Babymetal album: amazing technically proficient guitar playing, headbanging goodness, a wild landscape of movement and feeling, and The Other One delivers this with aplomb.

 

The Other One is a concept album about being in a place called the Metalverse. Each of the ten songs have a specific theme concerning being in the parallel worlds that are discovered within this Metalverse. However, one must understand Japanese to understand the lyrics and the deeper meanings behind the songs. This facet does not distract from the amazeballz that is Babymetal.

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The Weekly Ritual Rock and Metal News Show 11/11/22 – Live and Direct


Check out our weekly news show! ? We cover the major stories of the week in heavy music, rock, and metal news, tour dates, and festivals, New Music Friday, and more! Continue reading


System Of A Down, Korn, Deftones, Incubus, Evanescence, Turnstile, Chevelle, Coal Chamber, Flyleaf, Mr. Bungle and More are Booked for Sick New World Fest in 2023


 

System Of A Down, Incubus, Korn, Evanescence and Deftones will headline Sick New World Festival, a new music festival in 2023 featuring some of the biggest names in nu-metal. Among the dozens of bands on the bill, it will mark the reunions of both Flyleaf with lacey Sturm and Coal Chamber. The event will be held on Saturday, May 13, 2023 at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds in Las Vegas, Nevada. This was the site of the recent When We Were Young Festival, that was forced to cancel one day of the fest due to high winds.

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EP REVIEW: Serj Tankian – Perplex Cities


 

Respect where it is due. Heavy metal titan, political activist hero and System Of A Down frontman Serj Tankian has yet to offer up a project or product unworthy of the intense and continued attention of those who love music, love the world around them and care deeply about the overt inadequacies of those entrusted with its protection and future.

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