Dreamshade + The Royal

Boston Music Room, London. 26 March 2017.

There was quite a lot of hype surrounding tonight. DREAMSHADE had finally made it to the UK and this was their first ever London show. DREAMSHADE fans are a fiercely loyal bunch and this small community had found its way to Boston Music Room to give the Swiss metalcore band the warm welcome they deserved.

Getting to the venue just as THE ROYAL kicked into their set, these rising stars of Dutch metalcore were pulling out all the stops, making it impossible to tear your eyes away to get to the bar. Frontman Sem Pisarahu commanded the crowd’s attention with his ferocious delivery and infectious energy. The rest of the band were also on fine form, jumping in time with a hardcore punk attitude. Fella from DREAMSHADE jumped on stage for guest vocals which really got the room  moving. Winning over new fans tonight with their absolutely tight delivery, THE ROYAL will no doubt cause a bigger stir in the scene. Be sure to check them out at Tech Fest in July!

Keeping the energy up by opening with the storming It’s Over, DREAMSHADE fed off their fan’s vibrancy (pun intended) and in return put on a performance worthy of a venue triple its size. Mostly playing tracks from last year’s Vibrant, the modest crowd shouted back every word, clearly pleasing the band as there were smiles all round for the remainder of the night. Playing old gems like Photographs and Consumed Future really sent the crowd into a frenzy, but London was in for one heck of a treat. Before erupting into Wide Awake, former vocalist Iko joined the band on stage, sending old fans into meltdown. DREAMSHADE were always teasing something special for London, but no one could have predicted jumping along to both Iko and current vocalist Kevin Calì sharing vocals. Newer tunes still went down well with Dreamers Don’t Sleep and Autumn Leaves having the loudest crowd sing-alongs. The band sounded just as good live as they do on record, oozing talent and professionalism yet still bringing the fun by joining the crowd and rocking out with us. Tonight was one of those nights when everyone looked super chuffed after the set. Every person in the room was in high spirits and the band stuck around to chat and take photos, clearly appreciating their fans, some of whom had travelled many miles to catch their first London show. It had been worth it, a very special night indeed.

Metalmance Top 20 Albums of 2016

A great year for metal! Who took the top spot?

Welcome to the first Metalmance Top 20 Albums! 2016 has been a hell of a year for metal this year, with lots of reunions and surprise releases. Not all entries will have a blog link due to Metalmance only being a third of a year old. So let’s get straight to it…

 

sleeping  No. 20  CANDIRIA – While They Were Sleeping                     

It’s good to have CANDIRIA back isn’t it? While They Were Sleeping is the band’s eighth album and their first on Metal Blade and it’s a reminder of the band’s refreshing metal mix of hardcore, prog, hip hop and jazz. If you’re new to CANDIRIA, then this album is a good start. Check out the link below to see what Metalmance said about the band’s video for the title track.

Weekly Roundup #4

 

a3458996965_10  No. 19  INCITE – Oppression

You can always rely on INCITE to provide some straight-up, relentless metal, and with their fourth album Oppression, the band continue to carve their own niche in the scene. This isn’t easy when you’re the stepson of metal god Max Cavelera, like frontman Richie Cavalera is, but INCITE are more than capable of thriving on their own. With an intense live show to match, INCITE should be one of your bands to watch.

 

kvelertaknattesferd  No. 18  KVELERTAK – Nattesferd

Every KVELERTAK release is an exciting bag of rock n roll, black metal and punk. This, being the Norwegian’s third album is no different but includes a glorious classic rock tinge to proceedings without losing any the original ferociousness the band are known for. Still raw, fast and exciting, KVELERTAK are still on the rise.

 

mortiis_cover  No. 17  MORTIIS – The Great Deceiver

Another welcome return in 2016 was MORTIIS with their new album The Great Deceiver. After a hiatus of almost five years, the new material was like reuniting with an old, industrial friend. The album has the timbre of Downward Spiral era NIN, but with a contemporary twist, all resulting in a pretty impressive album for the revival of industrial metal.

 

14040057_10154510824634759_8534743349618738043_n  No. 16  NOCETM – Haeresis

Stumbling upon Spanish extreme metallers NOCTEM was an excellent discovery this year. Their album Haersis is still bludgeoning the ears of Metalmance. Read a snippet of the review below and follow the link to the full review.

“Introducing NOCTEM, a black metal band that have more tricks up their sleeve than you might first perceive. They sound like all of your favourite extreme bands rolled into one delicious, morbid package, each track offering a new twist to proceedings.”

NOCTEM – Haeresis Review

 

nails_-_you_will_never_be_one_of_us  No. 15  NAILS – You Will Never Be One of Us

Probably the most unforgivingly brutal release of the year, NAILS winded metal fans around the world with the absolutely punishing You Will Never Be One of Us. Twenty minutes of sheer face-ripping, ear-pummelling metal, it never gives up for a second. This is how metallic hardcore punk should be done.

 

annisokay  No. 14  ANNISOKAY – Devil May Cry

One of Germany’s most promising metal exports, ANNISOKAY makes metalcore exciting again with their pure passion for their craft. Not afraid to include massive choruses, this young band can only get bigger with their irresistible melodies and crushing riffs.

“With the aggression of newer PARKWAY DRIVE and the melodic sensibilities of bands like SAOSIN and SILVERSTEIN, ANNISOKAY will appeal to fans across the melodic metal spectrum.”

ANNISOKAY – Devil May Care Review

 

lacunacoildeliriumcd  No. 13  LACUNA COIL – Delirium

Italy’s finest never disappoint. Still churning out masterpiece after masterpiece, LACUNA COIL have set their own bar high in the form of Delirium, their eighth album and heaviest to date. Based on narratives surrounding the abandoned asylum near to where the band live, the album is full of intensity and emotion. It still packs a punch over half a year later.

“The subject matter helps to shape the band’s most intense album to date with opener House of Shame bursting in kicking and screaming with the heaviest riff and vocals we’ve heard from LACUNA COIL in a long, long time.”

Weekly Roundup #2

 

textures-phenotype-artwork  No. 12  TEXTURES – Phenotype

Four long years since their last release, TEXTURES finally dropped fifth album Phenotype back in February and it’s still a rewarding progressive metal album. Vocalist Daniël de Jongh is proving his worth with the absolute belters of New Horizons and opener Oceans Collide. Recorded simultaneously with the album Genotype which will be released next year, don’t be surprised if TEXTURES also feature on the list next year.

 

wallsofjerichonoonecd  No. 11  WALLS OF JERICHO – No One Can Save You From Yourself

Yet another band returning from a hiatus, Detroit’s WALLS OF JERICHO released No One Can Save You From Yourself and it is a perfect return to form. The hardcore greats are as ferocious and as angry as ever and could easily show younger bands how it’s done. Welcome back.

“Candice Kucsulain, along with the rest of the band WALLS OF HERICHO, delivers such straight up, no nonsense hardcore punk, it’s mind boggling this hardcore troupe from Detroit do not receive more credit and recognition.”

Weekly Roundup #3

 

brutai  No. 10  BRUTAI – Born

2016 finally saw the release of the debut album by London’s BRUTAI. It was well worth the wait, with its refreshing approach to the melodic metal genre making the band one to watch. With big riffs, big ideas and big choruses, BRUTAI pulls it all off with aplomb and passion. One of the UK’s brightest metal hopes.

“The future of British metal has indeed been born.”

BRUTAI – Born Review

 

a0651344947_10  No. 9  ANAAL NATHRAKH – The Whole of the Law

A band who never disappoint, ANAAL NATHRAKH returned this year with ninth album The Whole of the Law, which is quite possibly the band’s most punishing album to date (if that’s even possible). The brutality ramps up with each song, making The Whole of the Law an intense listen which rewards you with mutilated ears.

“A new ANAAL NATHRAKH album is always a joyous occasion – if joyous means the same as the sensation of having your face battered off by a shovel.”

ANAAL NATHRAKH – The Whole of the Law Review

 

dreamshade  No. 8  DREAMSHADE – Vibrant

A late treat in the year, DREAMSHADE’s third album Vibrant is a gloriously melodic affair with a whole lot of heart. Their passion for their music overspills in each song, ensuring you get wrapped up in their infectious metal and melodies. A great discovery for Metalmance this year.

“An album which shimmers with melodic metal perfection, this third offering from Swiss band DREAMSHADE is indeed a vibrant effort.”

DREAMSHADE – Vibrant Review

 

evergreythestormwithincd  No. 7  EVERGREY – The Storm Within

EVERGREY…dark, emotional, intelligent, melodic, heavy, progressive…and catchy too. Is this an album with everything?? Guest appearances from Floor Jansen? Check. Songs with a big heart? Check. Dark and moody atmosphere? Check. Intense and beautiful video accompaniments? Check!

“If you want some progressive metal which you can belt out around the house, then look no further than EVERGREY.”

Weekly Roundup #9

 

vola-inmazes-album-art  No. 6  VOLA – Inmazes

Technically a reissue through Mascot Label Group, it’s such a treat of an album it would have been rude not to have featured it in this year’s list. VOLA’s Inmazes features most of the year’s catchiest melodies and big choruses, with Stray The Skies still owning the most memorable keyboard hook in recent memory. A young band full of promise and potential, VOLA are ones to watch for sure.

“The young band from Copenhagen have already fine tuned their sound which incorporates chugging guitars giving way to soaring vocals and catchy keyboard hooks.”

VOLA – Inmazes Review

 

animalsasleadersmadnesscd  No. 5  ANIMALS AS LEADERS – The Madness of Many

Modern metal legends ANIMALS AS LEADERS dropped The Madness of Many a month ago and it is captivating and mesmerising audiences worldwide. Just listening to a few seconds of opener Arithmophobia will make you understand why. An album bursting with a stupid amount of musical talent, ANIMALS AS LEADERS have outdone themselves again. How will they ever be able to top this?

“The diversity of sounds on this album demonstrates how far the band push the boundaries of progressive music and composition itself, as far as utterly breaking free of limitations and creating the most mesmerising music which doesn’t seem possible by man.”

Weekly Roundup #11

 

0045778746064_png_1200x1200_q90_crop  No. 4  SAOSIN – Along The Shadow

Another band who ended their hiatus and released an album this year. With Along The Shadow, SAOSIN have created a modern, post-hardcore classic. There was always a risk of sounding run-of-the-mill or sounding too similar to CIRCA SURVIVE, but the band thankfully pulled out all the stops and released one of the year’s most surprising highlights. Heart wrenching songs, big riffs and even bigger choruses, they’re the kings of the new post-hardcore generation.

“The album is one hot nostalgic trip to the glory days of post-hardcore, but somehow they sound timeless.”

Weekly Roundup #13

 

ihsahn-arktis-e1450461123634  No. 3  IHSAHN – Arktis

Ihsahn needs no introduction. This year he almost reached perfection with Arktis, an album so full of twists and turns in extreme styles it is spectacular from start to finish. There are plenty of unexpected elements which feature in the album, including SHINING’s Jørgen Munkeby providing a cheeky bit of saxophone on Crooked Red Line and LEPROUS’ Einar Solberg providing the stunning vocals on closer, Celestial Violence. A modern classic, Arktis will astound listeners for many years to come.

 

635902518368165120  No. 2  PORT NOIR – Any Way The Wind Carries

Possibly the most exciting discovery for Metalmance this year, PORT NOIR is a band which is almost impossible to pigeonhole. With songs bordering on pop, then others edging towards CULT OF LUNA-esque riffs (see Black From the Ink) each song is a different melodic beast. Elements of funk, jazz and metal complete with the distinct vocals of frontman Love Andersson, make Any Way The Wind Carries a rewarding listen each time. For a trio, PORT NOIR have such a rich and deep sound you wonder at how they haven’t already cracked the mainstream. An album so diverse and well executed, Any Way The Wind Carries deserves its high ranking in this list.

“The level of melodic goodness doesn’t detract from the heaviness on the album, instead you feel like you’re listening to all of your favourite genres as they are all sprinkled into one tasty package.”

Weekly Roundup #5

 

blackcrowninitiateselves

No. 1  BLACK CROWN INITIATE – Selves We Cannot Forgive 

And here we have it! Metalmance’s album of the year! BLACK CROWN INITIATE’s Selves We Cannot Forgive has been on frequent rotation since its release. A truly spellbinding example of progressive death metal and its very best. An absolute beast of an album, it pummels you with its devastating riffs and ferocious drumming, then revives you through the utterly compelling clean vocals. The band mix slow and brooding, with fast and aggressive with such zeal the album is a seamless triumph of modern metal. Standout track Belie the Machine pulls you in with its entrancing introduction, you think you’re safe for a few minutes, then the band absolutely crush you with a catastrophic riff GOJIRA would be proud of. The title track shows the more melodic side of BLACK CROWN INITIATE, with its soaring vocals and piano accompaniment. A diverse and ambitious album, it deservedly owns its place at the top spot.

“This, being the band’s second album released through eOne Music, is such a varied beast with  each track harnessing its own surprising little nugget.”

Weekly Roundup #4

Weekly Roundup #13

Unlucky for some, but lucky for you metal lovers.

Band to watch: SET ON END. Think New Zealand is all about The Lord of the Rings, Flight of the Conchords and sheep? Guess again. Prog metallers SET ON END are well on their way to stamping their homeland on the progressive metal map. Their debut album The Dark Beyond was realised in July through Artery Recordings but new video for single Claw At The Throne dropped this week, reminding everyone why they deservedly demand your attention. On the TEXTURES end of progressive metal, previous singles Dissent and Dark Beyond also demonstrate the band’s knack of mixing groove into proceedings. With energetic aggression in the form of captivating frontman Jesse Cleaver and the riff genius of guitarists Matt Borsos and Gerry Dunn, SET ON END also somehow incorporate hardcore-punk worthy breakdowns to give their music an added punch. Brutal, groovy and progressive, what are you waiting for? Delve in!

 

Video to watch: DREAMSHADE. Today, Metalmance favourites DREAMSHADE dropped video for new single Where My Heart Belongs to accompany the release of their new album Vibrant. The content of the video matches perfectly the love and feedback the band have received from their fans already today. With footage of the band touring the world and playing many shows and festivals, it’s obvious the DREAMSHADE community are a passionate lot; with their fans showing the band some love but also the band clearly appreciating them and giving the love back through their energetic performances and attention they give on social media. The song title has connotations of returning to a loved one after months of touring, but maybe, just maybe it stands for the band returning to where they belong – on the road and amongst their fans. With tunes as strong as their fan base, DREAMSHADE are only set to get stronger.

 

In the stereo: SAOSIN. When Anthony Green reunited with SAOSIN at the tail end of 2014 I think everyone rejoiced with the news. As good as the other vocalist Cove Reber was (the debut self-titled album is still an emo classic) SAOSIN with Anthony Green is post-hardcore heaven. In May this year the band released their first full length album with Green (he had only appeared on their debut EP before) in the form of the stunning Along the Shadow. The album kicks in with the incredible The Silver String, raw emotion clearing the way to soothing melodies. The album is one hot nostalgic trip to the glory days of post-hardcore, but somehow they sound timeless. Ideology is Theft has probably the most climatic post-hardcore middle eight seen this side of 2010. An album full of beautiful moments and heart wrenching melodies it’s no surprise Along the Shadow still gets frequent spins in the stereo.

 

Band to rediscover: DEVIL SOLD HIS SOUL. It’s been a while since we’ve heard from these metalcore greats from London, but today they released their new track The Reckoning on Bandcamp for a good cause. In August, fellow metal musician and friend of the band, Tom Searle from ARCHITECTS sadly passed away. All proceeds from The Reckoning will be donated by DEVIL SOLD HIS SOUL to The Martlets Hospice as a tribute to Tom Searle’s legacy and to help others with a terminal illness and their families. A good cause by a great band, The Reckoning is also an exciting slab of atmospheric metal which is hopefully a good indicator of the crushing material we could expect from the band next year. Follow the links below to hear the single and buy off Bandcamp or to donate directly to the JustGiving page.

http://music.basickrecords.com/album/the-reckoning-single

www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Basick-Records

 

Dreamshade – Vibrant

Label: Artery Recordings. Release date: 9th Dec 2016.

An album which shimmers with melodic metal perfection, this third offering from Swiss band DREAMSHADE is indeed a vibrant effort. Focusing lyrically on relationships whether romantic or familial, the band explore the ability to grow and learn from the inevitable shifts in relationships and friendships. This feeling of inner strength and growth is matched by the instrumentation, a strong and mature sound while remaining unpredictable throughout the record. With unexpected twists and turns in styles, DREAMSHADE’s music can be seen as a reflection of the unforeseen changes in life.

Vibrant kicks off with blinding opener Autumn Leaves, a song which demonstrates the band’s knack of juxtaposing metalcore with pop punk elements. Crushing riffs are accompanied with bittersweet keys while vocalist Kevin Calì screams and sings his lament for a broken relationship. But when autumn leaves fall, new ones eventually take their place, and this hope and regrowth is expressed through Calì’s declaration of self-reparation in It’s Over. A stripped back beginning, it soon erupts into a massive chorus which is sure to become a firm fan favourite.

Things take a bit of a LINKIN PARK-esque turn for track Don’t Wanna Go, with rap, electronic elements and a killer chorus, all executed with aplomb creating an emotionally raw track. The band then turn towards their metalcore influences for Dreamers Don’t Sleep, which once again expertly combines raw and clean vocals to a standard of later KILLSWITCH ENGAGE and SOILWORK. This heaviness continues into The World In My Hands but the pace picks up, creating a positive force of facing fears which will most certainly make the song a future anthem for DREAMSHADE fans.

An unexpected gem is found in the form of Another Me Another You which evolves from a blissfully laidback tune into almost a power ballad with its blistering lead guitar. It’s these small shifts in style which make DREAMSHADE an exciting band to listen to. Oceantides is also a standout track, with fierce guitars and a soaring melody, it’s a perfect example of the band’s own brand of metalcore.

Bringing the album to a close is the heart wrenching Father, a song which seems to incorporate all emotions which makes a fitting finale to what is an emotionally exposing album. DREAMSHADE have a created a solid body of material with Vibrant, a rewarding listen which displays the potential of DREAMSHADE hitting the mainstream and making it their own.

Weekly Roundup #10

Number 10 Astounding Street

Band to watch: DREAMSHADE. In the run up to the release of their album Vibrant on December 9th, this Swiss band have been teasing fans with previews of new tracks which are, put simply, something special. Introducing DREAMSHADE then, a band hard to pigeonhole so let’s just stick with ‘melodic metal’, but after you listen to these talented chaps you’ll soon realise they experiment with a vast array of genres in their music. Most recent preview Up All Night has a bright pop punk riff, but soon evolves into a blissful hard rock tune. Catchy, yet mature, this band know how to take their influences and turn them into their distinct style of heavy music. Dreamers Don’t Sleep has a definite melodic death metal vibe, sounding similar to later KILLSWITCH ENGAGE and a softer SOILWORK. A little bit of LINKIN PARK can even be heard here, with Kevin Calì’s vocals turning a bit Chester Bennington at times. But this is most certainly DREAMSHADE. An exciting mix of heaviness and raw with clean and melodic, they break the mould by remaining unpredictable. With teasers such as this, Vibrant is set to be a corker of a release. 2017 will most certainly be a big year for them. Don’t miss out.

 

Video to watch: TWELVE FOOT NINJA. Finally receiving the recognition they deserve in the UK, this metal band from Australia always treat us with entertaining videos, and this video for Sick is no different. Adopting a Stranger Things vibe, this is 9 minutes of pure WTF accompanying the band’s unique brand of funk-fusion-prog-infused metal. The video begins with TWELVE FOOT NINJA watching a movie which also features the band. Their car breaks down and they are approached by a hella creepy fella and all hell breaks loose from there. A morbidly funny video, expect blood, chainsaws and a twist at the end! So risk it for a biscuit and giggle at a bit of TWELVE FOOT NINJA.

 

In the stereo: EARTHSIDE. It’s hard to believe EARTHSIDE’s debut album A Dream In Static has been out for over a year now. It’s also hard to believe it is a debut! The sheer talent and passion displayed on this album makes the record a rewarding listen each time. Each note and lyric is carefully composed and considered, making A Dream In Static a rich variety of sounds and layers. Cinematic in style, this metal band from New Haven have a few tricks up their sleeve with some impressive guest vocals from the likes of Lajon Witherspoon (SEVENDUST), Bjorn ‘Speed’ Strid (SOILWORK) and Dan Tompkins (TESSERACT). Each track has its own unique EARTHSIDE stamp on it, from the blissful opening of The Closest I’ve Come with Frank Sacramone’s incredible keyboard lead, to the heart wrenching closer of The Contemplation of the Beautiful with the vehement vocals of Eric Zirlinger. A standout track from the album is Mob Mentality, a composition by guitarist Jamie Van Dyck, it not only features the vocals of Lajon Witherspoon, but also instrumentation from the Moscow Studio Symphony Orchestra, making the track the most cinematic in style. This doesn’t even scratch the surface of what this album has to offer; an expansive and emotionally deep album, it will take you on a journey to the depths of your soul and to the edges of your mind. A dream in static indeed.

 

Back to rediscover: MAYBESHEWILL parted ways in April, but recently teased fans with news of a collaboration with design and production house WeTheConspirators. This will ultimately be a going away present to fans, but any MAYBESHEWILL material is always gratefully received. This instrumental band from Leicester were always a special gem in the post-rock world. With an impressive back catalogue, the band ended their career on a high with Fair Youth but it was 2011’s album I Was Here For A Moment, Then I was Gone which was the most critically acclaimed, with soaring tracks such as Accolades and Red Paper Lanterns. MAYBESHEWILL successfully mixed samples and electronics with uplifting and spectacular instrumentation. Their live performances were something to behold as well, in a similar vein to 65DAYSOFSTATIC, their live shows were blinding and the band members were always approachable and pleased to meet fans after. 2008’s album Not For The Want Of Trying propelled the band into the wider rock world, with songs such as Paris Hilton Sex Tape and the sample-tastic self-titled track, this album was a milestone in the British post-rock scene. Fans will always hope MAYBESHEWILL might release more material, maybetheywill.