Nuclear Blast: Lost Society + Orchid + Amorphis + Avantasia

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Reviews by Julian Handley

Nuclear Blast logoGerman label Nuclear Blast continues to expand, introducing us to their latest, wonderful discoveries, as well as bringing out the very best in their roster of established bands.

  • Lost Society – Fast Loud Death
  • Orchid – The Mouths of Madness
  • Amorphis – Circle
  • Avantasia – The Mystery of Time

 

Lost Society – Fast Loud Death

 

Firstly hats off to the talent spotters at Nuclear Blast Records, as yet again they have unearthed another gem. Lost Society were discovered via an online video clip, and were subsequently signed by the shrewd German label. The band has a raw energy, akin of their youth, with the average age of the band being 18 years.

These Finnish thrashers are a hybrid mix of early Megadeth bound for a head on collision with Municipal Waste. The album is packaged with some highly marketable art work, depicting the band speeding out of town, in a tour bus spitting flames, whilst being pursued by the grim reaper.

The opening track ‘N.W.L’ is undeniably Mustaine-esque with its heavy riffing and gruff  spoken intro, ala ‘Wake up Dead’, it soon breaks free from its shackles and rips into a head banging, tirade of power. This is the pacesetter for the twelve tracks that follow. Personal faves are ‘Braindead Metalhead’, ‘ Piss Out My Ass’, and the title track ‘Fast Loud Death’ which gallops along like a raging, stampede of buffalo.

The guitars are fast and heavy, the bass is heart pounding, drums ferocious and intense and the vocals are angry, mean, high pitched and snarling. The album has a frenetic live feel to it, perfectly captured in the production of Nino Laurenn. Lost Society are a truly exciting find, with a great future ahead of them.

15x208 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. N.W.L.
  2. Trash All Over You
  3. E.A.G.
  4. Kill (Those Who Oppose Me)
  5. Bitch, Out’ My Way
  6. Fast Loud Death
  7. Lead Through The Head
  8. Diary Of A Thrashman
  9. Toxic Avenger
  10. This Is Me
  11. Braindead Metalhead
  12. Piss Out My Ass
  13. Fatal Anoxia

 

Orchid – The Mouths of Madness

San Francisco doomsters Orchid continue with their winning formula  of early Seventies inspired psychedelic/classic rock in the style of Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. 2011’s debut Capricorn gained the success it so richly deserved, when it appeared relatively unannounced. Its content was like nothing of which had been so perfectly done within the last two generations.

Two years on and Orchid boast a new baby with The Mouths of Madness, and boy does it deliver. Doom can be a relatively uninspiring genre, and often renders the listener comatose if it isn’t done with imagination and attention to detail. When done as well as this, it is hard to resist and would be a travesty to ignore.

Whilst the band is an insatiably tight unit, it is the vocals of charismatic lead singer Theo Mindell that grab the attention, his trippy style reminiscent of a young Ozzy Osbourne. There is nothing original about this effort as the riffs and bass lines have cut a morbid groove many years before. It is the retro genius that makes The Mouths of Madness, such a special release. ‘Wizard of War’ is an absolute killer track, as is ‘Marching Dogs of  War’ and ‘Nomad’. A thoroughly enjoyable dark and gloomy affair.

Orchid - The Mouths of Madness8.5 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. Mouths Of Madness
  2. Marching Dogs Of War
  3. Silent One
  4. Nomad
  5. Mountains Of Steel
  6. Loving Hand Of God
  7. Wizard Of War
  8. See You On The Other Side

 

Amorphis – Circle

Album number eleven sees our Finnish metallers paying tribute to their Nation’s mythological God’s by means of a progressive metal, conceptual affair. With any classic concept album, the opening track must have the ability to ensnare the listener, thus preparing them for the aural adventure ahead. Amorphis deliver in epic style as the opener ‘Shades of Grey’ sets the standards with bombastic confidence. Growling vocals layered over textured keyboards, clean vocals complimenting subtle guitar parts, whilst the military drumming pumps life in to the track. ‘Mission’, blends into the mix effortlessly, with its foot tapping folk overtones.

The instrumental marriage is made in Heaven, accompanied by Tomi Koivusaari’s wonderfully diverse vocals. The depth of quality contained within ‘Circle’ is huge, owing to the fact that each song is memorable and an absolute joy on the ear.

Production is crisp, rich and drenched in clarity, courtesy of  Peter Tägtgren, who has captured perfection in the studio. I can’t wait to hear how the songs stand up in the live form, hopefully we’ll find out at Bloodstock.

Amorphis - Circle9 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. Shades Of Gray
  2. Mission
  3. The Wanderer
  4. Narrow Path
  5. Hopeless Days
  6. Nightbird’s Song
  7. Into The Abyss
  8. Enchanted By The Moon
  9. A New Day

 

Avantasia – The Mystery of Time

Workaholic and clown prince of Edguy, Tobias Sammet just couldn’t resist another flirtation with his side project Avantasia. After officially announcing the bands demise, live at Wacken 2011, ‘The Mystery of Time’ arrives as a very pleasant, unexpected surprise.

Tobias has certainly excelled himself with the calibre of guest vocalists he’s assembled this time around, including the addition of Eric Martin ( Mr Big ) and the legendary Joe Lynn Turner, leading to a more AOR/melodic rock sound, than the power/symphonic metal of his previous outings. It would appear that Sammet won’t stop until he creates a monster as big as Meat Loaf’s ‘Bat out of Hell’. As a composer his vision and attention to detail is watertight, and his ambition is immense for even contemplating putting such a project together, never mind pulling it off.

Having been onboard since ‘The Metal Opera Part 1’, I would be bold enough to suggest that this is the best work put out by Avantasia. Of the ten tracks on offer ‘Black Orchid’ featuring Biff  Byford is probably my favourite, whilst other stand outs include ‘Sleepwalking’, and the most metal track ‘Invoke the Machine’. A great effort indeed and if this project isn’t to continue, then this would certainly see the band go out on momentous high.

Avantasia - The Mystery of Time9 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. Spectres
  2. The Watchmakers’ Dream
  3. Black Orchid
  4. Where Clock Hands Freeze
  5. Sleepwalking
  6. Savior In The Clockwork
  7. Invole The Machine
  8. What’s Left Of Me
  9. Dweller In A Dream
  10. The Great Mystery