Sumeru – ‘Summon Destroyer’ Album Review

A band known for their passionately fierce and ear crushing live shows, Sumeru’s onstage energy is exerted with an almost fanatical dedication that it verges on a cult-like rite of sonic exorcism and visceral upheaval. Add in the long-crafted musicianship of each member of this Sydney 5 piece, their ability to peel subconscious layers off of their audiences was apparent since their inception in 2009. Having shared the stage with foreign imports and domestic legends such YOB, Torche, Nick Oliveri (back up band & support), Windhand, Nails, Blood Duster, Beastwars, IEXIST and Lo! Sumeru now stand firmly grounded in the Australian heavy music underground as a defining force of pure riff fury and indomitable low-end groove.
This is right up my street!! I’ve never heard an album start with such a haunting and frightening intro. I’m talking Evil Dead-esque! ‘The Temple’ gets us back on track. There’s lots of Pantera on offer here, and if you love Pantera, you will love these guys. Its moody heavy riffs and some angry vocals make this a very enjoyable track. Title track ‘Summon Destroyer’ a 7 minute epic, edges us away from the doom metal to a more upbeat rock anthem, and is still heavy in it’s own right. There are speed changes galore here, and why not? And before you know it we are back hammering out the heavy stuff. Its truly  is intense and perfect.
‘Embrace The Cold’ gives us a Manowar-style galloping riff which works well, and lyrically here it’s very Nirvana. Every now and then I can hear Holy Terror. These guys influences are clear to hear. ‘Kala Ratri’ is a one minute long acoustic jam, which to me would have been better being the intro for ‘Durga!Durga!’ and not a separate track. There’s some absolute stunning intensity going on with this track. These guys I imagine will be amazing live. Intense, dark, angry, in your face. ‘Durga!Durga! has a riff in it that’s an absolute steal of S.O.D’s ‘March Of the S.O.D’.
As we reach ‘Rivers Of Lethe’, I can only describe this as a pure out and out hard rock track that hits you in every spot. And so we reach ‘A New Ritual’, a 10 minute album closer which can only be described as a comforting, confusing track. The string crunching riffs have been replaced by mellow tones, and the angry vocals have been replaced by some proper singing. Diversity. It’s anthemic in every way, intense in every way, and keeps you gripped right up until about 7 minutes in when the guys suddenly unleash a brutal Black Sabbath style riff on you. Suddenly we are back to the anger, but I don’t know where’s it’s come from. These guys have built it up so cleverly. Its amazing stuff and a brilliant album finisher.
I have got to catch these guys live.
Score 9/10
Reviewed by Sty
Track Listing
1. Inanis Kultus
2. The Temple
3. Summon Destroyer
4. Embrace The Cold
5. Kala Ratri
6. Durga!Durga!
7. Rivers Of Lethe
8. A New Ritual
Matt Power – Vocals
Peter Bursky – Guitar
Chris Wilson – Guitar
Pat taylor – Bass
Andres Hyde – Drums

Firmo – ‘Rehab’ Review

Firmo – Rehab
After the critical and fans’ acclaim received with the release of Room Experience in 2015 (fronted by PC69 vocalist David Readman), Gianluca was invited by the Street Symphonies‘ label team to express himself also as singer in a dedicated solo release, in order to show another side of his musical personality. With a finalized line-up of skilled and talented musicians, recruited specifically for backing Gianluca in this solo adventure The result is shown in twelve melodic rock songs, where Gianluca finally had the chance to share his personal singing style coached by the skills and experience of vocal producer Davide “Dave Rox” Barbieri (Raintimes, Room Experience, Wheels Of Fire, Charming Grace). 
Gianluca says: “Beside the fact that it allows me to sing my own songs, this record for me is both a test and an achievement. A test because It’s the first time that I’m in charge for everything concerning the production of a record. And it is an achievement because I had the chance to work shoulder to shoulder in the studio with some amazing musicians, but also the luck to find a label that allowed me (and supported me) to work with no artistic boundaries and even make some unusual choices to follow my different musical influences and tastes. I feel the result is very personal and though it’s far from being perfect, it sure is my perfect rehab from being put in any frame. And as today I couldn’t be happier than this”. 
‘Place For My Judgement Day’ is very Eurovision in its melody, and is a decent opener. Having never heard Firmo sing anything other than BVs, I didn’t know what to expect. Last time I heard a keyboardist do vocals, it was Jonathan Cain, and lets just say there’s a reason he plays the piano! Gianluca’s vocals are a bit raw and rough around the edges, but I have to give the guy a lot of credit as it takes some balls stepping up and putting yourself out there with vocals, writing, etc. So, well done so far. ‘Heart Of Stone’ is an acoustic and mellow offering with a good chorus and is a good slow burn and deserves repeated listens. Shadows and Lights’ again falls on the side of ballad, and has leanings toward Bon Jovi and surely that is not a bad comparison to make! Nothing is jumping out at me so far, but I have to stop expecting a ‘melodic rock’ album. With ‘Maybe Forever’ its definitely a song (and an album) for all occasions. You find yourself happily tapping away to the beat. 
‘No Prisoners’ is the first time we get the mid-paced rocker. Built around Firmo’s keyboard riff, it proves to don’t need a heavy guitar riff to make an entrance. ‘Didn’t Wanna Care’ has a warm presence and is Marx like (Richard, not Karl!). ‘Unbreakable’ is another up-tempo number that pings along nicely. I really like ‘Cowboys Once, Cowboys Forever’ a ballad anthem by any other name, and the guitar solo makes it shine the brightest so far. ‘Rehab’ has a positive, happy vibe and I like all the whoa-ohs that are thrown in. It’s a good choice for the first single. If the album had more of a country twang to its sound it would sound even better, but that’s just my personal preference.
After the first listen, I admit I felt a bit ‘meh’, but once you settle in, it’s a good ride. It doesn’t settle for a specific genre, it’s a mix up of sounds and styles that Firmo has aimed for in having no boundaries and it makes for a good 50 minutes spent in Gianluc Firmo’s presence. It’s a little too ballad-y for my liking, but it will be well received if you like the softer and personal side. Its an album I clearly did not expect, but its been a very good surprise. He can expect endorsements from Zippo lighters any time soon!
In fact, I’m full of admiration for Firmo. He does not have the best vocals you’ll hear this side of Lou Gramm, but he knows fully well what he can hit and works within his range. Less have made more out of their skill-set. I look forward to hearing how he develops away from Room Experience.
Think of him as the go to housewives choice for Italian singer songwriters! Well done mate.
Score 8/10
A Place For Judgement Day
Heart Of Stone
Shadows And Lights
Maybe Forever
No Prisoners
Didn’t WannaCare
Don’t Dare To Call It Love
Cowboys Once, Cowboys Forever
Until Forever Comes

Loimann – ‘A Voluntary Lack Of Wisdom’ Album Review

Italian Post Doom metallers LOIMANN just recently unveiled the hotly anticipated details about their upcoming third studio album ‘A Voluntary Lack of Wisdom’, which is set to be released on November 9th 2018 with Argonauta Records!
Formed in 2001 under the major influences of desert rock bands alike Kyuss, Fu Manchu or Monster Magnet, LOIMANN’s sound evolved over the years for a more doom and heavy psych approach. Recorded at O.F.F. Studios in Torino during the summer of 2017 with Paul Beauchamp and Salvo Arico (Marmore/Khoy), the band’s new work partially changes the direction compared to the previous records, with a more direct and easy listening sound while never losing their heaviness.

„The Songs are shorter, more “in your face” (no keyboards at all this time) and with less complex songwriting“the band explains. „On the other side we think we managed to obtain a more extreme result, with more growls and screams, concerning vocal parts and blackened post-core breaks coming out from doom/sludge riffs and atmospheres. The lyrics are centered on how human race is slowly approaching its extinction thanks to wars, pollution and thanks to how many human beings are becoming sort of involute individuals, thanks to the predominance internet has in their lives.“ 

Another band that I had never heard of lands on my doorstep, and another band I wish I had heard a long time ago.  ‘Slaughterhouse no.5’ kicks off the album through sheer brute force. There’s a punky feel to it. It reminds me of my teens when I’d be moshing on the floor to the likes of Bomb Disneyland and Carcass and the like. ‘I Own The Right To Tear Me Apart’ confirms that what I’m about to get sucked into is an intense hour or so of piercing thrash and doom metal mixed into one, so I’ll hold on to my hat. The speed changes in this track are quite remarkable and there’s a beautiful tone to the bass when it solo’s. ‘For Those About To Sink’ has a more melodic feel to it but still manages to gallop along when required. There’s some nice bridge riffing in this.

The songs I’ve heard so far seem to be pieced together with different sections and it works really well and makes the songs very enjoyable. ‘Living In Fear Of Death,Dying In Fear Of Life’ turns the melodic side of Loimann straight on its head as the crunching opening riff hits you like a steam train, and then slides into a doomy, intense verse. I can imagine these guys being brutal live. ‘Mass Redeemer’ starts off slowly and moodily and slides into a deep dark intro which had me hooked all the way through as it eventually kicks into a verse which has a strange mixture of melodic singing and growling which I still cant work out whether it works or not. ‘Moral Dismemberment’ starts with a very clever and laid back intro which takes you away on a tangent if you close your eyes for long enough, and then presents us with a classic Kyuss riff for its verse.

It’s a great album this and very well produced.’ V.I.T.R.I.O.L. (Vacuity. Ignites. Tremendous. Riot. Inside. Our. Lives)’ kicks in with an awesome late / Napalm Death style doom riff but that quickly vanishes into a fast-paced verse. Probably the best start to a song on this album. ‘They Live’, followed by ‘Outro’ close this brilliant effort. Outro for a few seconds sounded like the opening intro on Pearl Jam’s debut album ‘Ten’……………….but only for a few seconds. Overall very enjoyable album and would love to catch these guys live.

Score 8/10
Reviewed by Sty
Track listing:
7. V.I.T.R.I.O.L. (Vacuity. Ignites. Tremendous. Riot. Inside. Our. Lives.)8. THEY LIVE
9. OUTRO – No Prayer for the Living

Ross The Boss, Eleven, Stoke On Trent, 11.10.18

Having reviewed Ross The Boss ‘By Blood Sworn’ album a few months ago on this site, I was super-excited to be going along to see the guys live in what seemed to be (prior to getting there) a very intimate venue.
What a fantastic set-up ‘Eleven’ have. It’s intimate, personal, and a perfect size to watch and get close to the guys you’ve come to see. Prior to the gig, we were treated to a free ‘Meet & Greet’ session with Ross, as he gave out guitar picks, posed for photos, and was a general fantastic, friendly and loveable guy. He had some great stories to tell, and made sure he spoke to us all. Brilliant.
And that’s exactly what followed on stage. It was a very disappointing crowd of only around 40 people, but this did not stop the lads putting on a perfect and professional display of superb tunes, great crowd interaction and non-stop metal. Whether the capacity of 250 or the reality of 40 people, RTB performed no different and it was a night to remember. Performing Manowar classics, the gig kicked off with ‘Blood of the Kings’, followed closely by ‘The Oath’, and the guys seemed to be enjoying themselves as much as the crowd, drummer Steve Bolognese donning a constant beaming grin through each song. Brilliant to see.
Talk about making the most out of a challenging situation, Marc Lopez showed us all what an icon and presence he is on stage. Continuously moving, getting close to the crowd and getting everyone involved. As the band powered through classics such as ‘Sign of the Hammer’, ‘Hatred’, and ‘Blood of my Enemies’ it was clear as crystal what was going on here. Myself personally, I came to hear songs from RTB latest album ‘By Blood Sworn’, but the crowd were just revelling in the Manowar classics, and after this gig, I get it, totally. The tracks were played with such stunning power it was just too good, too, too good.
Next came ‘Kill With Power’ and ‘Each Dawn I Die’. 
What a singer Marc Lopez is. This current line up I believe is the best Ross has had. It just gels, especially live. ‘Hail to England’ got us all singing and is just an absolute stunner live. ‘Great Gods Glorious’, ‘Fighting The World’ and the absolutely stunning ‘Battle Hymn’ followed. The latter being one of my highlights of the night. Marc Lopez providing some superb vocals.
The guys finished with ‘Thor (The Powerhead)’ and the amazing ‘Hail and Kill’, with it’s almost 5 minute unreal blues jam. It’s been an absolute pleasure tonight seeing these guys bring such a huge show to the small stage, in a small venue, to a small crowd.
‘Hail and Kill’ tonight showed the strength and diversity of this band. My heart bleeds for them for such a small crowd. But tonight I will be so proud to be part of a bunch of people who got to see such an amazing band up close and personal. Next time, I’ll be there again. Hail & Salute RTB!! Thank you guys. xx
Score – 10/10
Reviewed by Sty
Blood Of The Kings
The Oath
Sign Of The hammer
Blood Of My Enemies
Kill With Power
Each Dawn I Die
Hail To England
Great Gods Glorious
Fighting The World
Battle Hymn
Thor (The Powerhead)
Hail And Kill

Newman – ‘Decade II’ Album Review

WOW AND WOW!! Newman are definitely a band worth spending a few shekels on.

2018 is the 20th anniversary of Newman. Steve Newman (leader singer guitarist and songwriter) decided to celebrate this with “Decade II” following the same format as the first Decade release. A 2 CD 34 track album covering the bands history from 2007 to the present. Disc 1 features 17 songs from the 2007 album “Primitive Soul” through “The Art Of Balance”, “Under Southern Skies”, “Siren”, and finally the 2015 album “The Elegance Machine”. Disc 2 features another 17 songs, some that were written and even recorded, but not included

I was asked by the bold Chesy (Paul Chesworth) to review the Newman release. He told me “I think is this the kind of stuff that’s right up your street”. He wasn’t wrong. What he never told me was that there was 34 tracks on the Decades album(s). Let’s just say that whilst I’ve seen the band live I was probably not 100% engaged as I talked to mates as they did their thing at Firefest. This album highlighted to me how ignorant I was and whilst I’ve always enjoyed them I never fully appreciated how good the music is……until now.

Obviously if you’re a Newman fan you know the first 17 tracks but fuck it, I’ll review it as if you’re a Newman virgin. Newman are simply superb, there are heavy rock tracks, they have ballads, blues and a whole lot in-between. I won’t insult you by reviewing every song, I will share my favourites, this is difficult because there are so many songs that leave a real imprint. Give it a chance, I will guarantee you’ll find at least a couple of dozen tracks you’ll like.

Reviewing an album is a challenge, reviewing 34 tracks is mental. To be honest I don’t know any band who has recorded 34 perfect tracks. AC/DC did ‘Back in Black’, ‘Powerage’, ‘Highway To Hell’ but that isn’t 34 or perfect.The CD kicks off on a high tempo right away with ‘Hero To Zero’, ‘Heading For Your Heart’ and ‘Ghost In The Night’ (which is a melodic rock master piece). Possibly my favourite tracks are ‘Feel Her Again’ and ‘Stay With Me’, the latter similar in sound and feel to the Hardline track “Stay” which I think is awesome. The slow build up and a chorus that had me bouncing around the kitchen. Stunningly good. FFS, the chorus is magnificent and the song just flies away with a superb solo. It must be melodic magnificence as my wife (who is a boy band junkie) asked me to play it again.

“The Elegance Machine” is a wonderful mix of guitars and vocals and then we get “Killing Machine” which is so Magnum-like I’m tempted to send this to Bob Catley and Tony Clarkin for verification it’s not them. The keyboards and layered vocals are just sublime. ‘Primitive Soul’ is so Van Halen with the opening riff of Panama I nearly spat my Guinness over the keyboard (other stouts are available). The song is superb, that’s why Newman are so good, they take and re-use the best and make it their own.

‘Fire With Fire’ has a touch of Whitesnake when Coverdale could sing and the snake played real blues. It highlights the diversity of Newman perfectly.The first CD really is awesome. If it was a set list then I’d bite your hand off for a ticket, I would say front row but I’d need a beer and pee and lose my spot.

“She Walks In Silence” is a song with a massively powerful message: “ She walks in silence, it’s all that she can do and he turns to violence”. Bloody hell, what a well written song that highlights that domestic abuse happens all the time, It reminds me of “Never Again” by Nickelback or “Punch and Judy” by Fish. Personally I think any man who raises his hand to a woman is no real man. “Had Enough” is another proper melodic rock tune with an underlying frustration eloquently described. Newman are one decent band, they play songs that remind me of Dio, Hardline, Journey, especially “World Keeps Turning”..

“Crossed My Heart” is an emotional filled classic, simple structure and a tear jerker, a song about bereavement. “When you crossed my heart, I hoped I’d die with you, we lived on borrowed time, you were gone too soon”. It reminded me of my Dad who passed away 20 years ago and it hit a real nerve, I’m not ashamed to admit this song made me have some dust in my eye. (I will also admit I didn’t expect to die with him even though his driving was hair raising at times!). “Does It Feel The Same” is a superb ballad, the Newman voice is haunting and stunning with poignant lyrics as does “A Witness To Loves Decline”. This band have great songs coming out of their ears. “Never Becomes Again” is yet another proper rock track, it has the riffs and vocals that makes me realise why I love melodic rock so much.

34 tracks to cover 10 years? Keep going for another 10 years because the music is timeless.

To be given the chance to listen to these 34 tracks and offer an opinion is a humbling experience.

A solid 8/10

 Review by Lawrie

Track list:

Cd 1:

01 Hero To Zero,

02 Heading For Your Heart,

03 Ghost In The Night,

04 Feel Her Again,

05 Stay With Me,

06 The Elegance Machine,

07 Killing Me,

08 Primitive Soul,

09 Endless,

10 Fire With Fire,

11 Scar Of Love,

12 15 Minute Revolution,

13 She Walks In Silence,

14 Under Southern Skies,

15 Had Enough,

16 Tumble Down,

17 For The Man I Am

Cd 2:

01 Breaking The Barrier,

02 Girl Found Love,

03 Liar,

04 One More Night With You,

05 Fight No More,

06 She’s The Woman,

07 Nightmare,

08 Angel,

09 World Keeps Turning,

10 In Too Deep,

11 The More I Love,

12 Crossed My Heart,

13 A Witness To Love’s Decline,

14 Does It Feel The Same?,

15 Race Of A Lifetime,

16 Never Becomes Again,

17 My Fantasy