Pick Your Rock and Metal

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Virtual Metal Band Pentakill release League of Legends Album and Tommy Lee is there with Jorn Lande

WHEN gaming and metal collide the result is the virtual band, Pentakill, featuring lead vocalist Karthus, blazing axe-man Mordekaiser, enchanting keyboardist Sona, bassist Yorick, berserker drummer Olaf, and new member Kayle, a winged warrior goddess who sings songs presaging the end of the world, all based around the 100-million player League of Legends gaming universe.

Pentakill - Valoran's favourite rock band – are breaking further out of the 100 million-player League of Legends gaming universe and onto the playlists of metalheads worldwide. Their second release, II: Grasp Of The Undying, hits international all major digital streaming platforms today, including Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, and more.

In conjunction with the album’s release, League of Legends and Pentakill are streaming II: Grasp Of The Undying in full via YouTube and the Pentakill music landing page here: http://pentakill.leagueoflegends.com. At the same locations, you can also witness the brand new state-of-the-art, cinematic animated music video for the punishing track, “Mortal Reminder”.


Within 24 hours of posting, the “Mortal Reminder” video racked up over 7.3 million views across platforms. Witness Pentakill's live musical carnage in Bandle City, recorded in the catacombs of the Shadow Isles!

II: Grasp Of The Undying features not only the skills of League of Legends developer Riot Games’ most passionate in-house composers, songwriters, and producers (who also happen to be diehard metalheads), but an elite list of metal, rock and electronic music heavyweights.

The album showcases the musical talents of rock/metal vocalist Jorn Lande, songstress Noora Louhimo of Battle Beast, producer Scott Kirkland of The Crystal Method, producer and vocalist Danny Lohner formerly of Nine Inch Nails, world-renowned drummer Tommy Lee of Motley Crüe fame, drummer Mike Pitman and vocalist Rich Thomson of Xerath, vocalist Per Johansson of Ureas, and many more.

 Jorn Lande, the voice of Karthus, states: “It's great for a classic heavy rocker like myself to be a part of this modern gaming music world, and I'm excited and grateful for the opportunity to work with such a great team of talented people. This exciting development is not just about creating an original twist to the online gaming industry, but also about pioneering some groundbreaking new metal! My job is to make Karthus the singer he is, and add the classic heavy rock element to his performance. I'm proud that Karthus and his band are back to bring new Pentakill metal your way!”

Noora Louhimo, the voice of Kayle, adds: “It's been so exciting and an honor to be part of the second Pentakill record. This has been my dream come true to work in the gaming world. This is just the beginning and I can't wait to see what the future brings. I hope people love the result as much as I do!”
 It features genre-influences ranging from power metal, NWOBHM, thrash, modern progressive death metal and everything in between – even electronic/industrial!
 
Pentakill was spawned from massive League of Legends fan/player engagement, theories and buzz. Wanting first and foremost to give back to a global community of players, Riot Games and their team of in-house composers, songwriters, and producers came up with the idea to write, record and release a real heavy metal album based on a virtual heavy metal band comprised of members embodied by the original skin line they originated from. In their virtual reality, Pentakill is billed as the fictional land of Valoran's most famous rock band.

In 2014, the Riot Games music label issued the band's first foray out of the video game realm, Smite and Ignite – an eight-track collection of appropriately punishing songs that was written completely in-house at Riot, and supported by the talents of studio musicians, including ZP Theart of Dragonforce, Derek Sherinian of Dream Theater, Danny Lohner of Nine Inch Nails, and Jorn Lande. Upon its release in 2014 and with absolutely no traditional promotion, Smite and Ignite went on to debut Top 40 on Billboard and #1 on the iTunes Metal and Rock charts, plus charted top 30 on the overall iTunes charts, in addition to millions of YouTube and Spotify streams.
 
Stay tuned for more exclusives and news coming soon, and follow all things PENTAKILL at http://pentakill.leagueoflegends.com

INTERVIEW: At Ramblin Man Aaron Buchanan talks about the album The Man With Stars On His Knees

BEFORE Aaron Buchanan and the Cult Classics hit the stage at Ramblin Man Fair we caught up with Aaron and sister Laurie to find out a little about the album 'The Man With Stars On His Knees' and the ideas behind it.

Also, he revealed some of the ways he writes and how pleased the band are with the reception the songs are receiving. Here's what the former Heaven's Basement singer had to say:

Friday, August 04, 2017

INTERVIEW: Aussie rockers Massive reveal the secrets behind their music - and it might be beer..

MASSIVE have been working hard to bring their Aussie rock across Europe. Spending a significant chunk of the past few months bringing their Melbourne mayhem to Ramblin Man Fair we caught up with them to hear a little about what makes them tick.

In a crowded press area we even caught one drinking water...


Ramblin Man 2017: Sunshine and hard rocking fun on Day Three at RMF

SUNDAY. The day of rest? Not a chance at Ramblin Man Fair when rock is tearing up the vicinities of Maidstone, guitars reverberating across sun-drenched Kent. What says you? Yes, after being soaked Ramblers were basking in the temperatures of previous years.

But never mind the weather reportage, because this was another jam-packed day of guitars and music that had enough variation to thrill all.

Moments before Stone Broken opened the main stage Prog In The Park kicked into high gear with The Gift, whose deceptively relaxed songs unveiled some intriguing complex rhythms. The easy banter introducing each song was welcome in the early afternoon sunshine.

Down on the Rising Stage Killit were quite literally killing it with the proverbial vim and vigour and a set that displayed how much was on offer down at the smallest stage.

Blues Pills were making their second Ramblin Man appearance, and as they prepare for more UK dates this was more than a taster for those shows. Elin is a charamismatic and entertaining front woman but it is the cohesion of the band that works so well with Dorian Sorriaux's guitar weaving psychedelic patterns.

With buckets of energy The Fallen State were almost falling over themselves to entertain the Rising Stage, more than compensating for the gap before Monster Truck roared with all cylinders revved up on the main stage. By all accounts Big Boy Bloater were also keeping the Blues Tent enthralled.

Focus may be a group of ageing rockers by their own admission, but their off-kilter manic prog - complete with the usual yodelling - had many an ageing rocker straining their lungs, and enjoying every second.

Magnum are about to sit down to record their next album, but this was an opportunity for the Brummies to showcase songs across their career, opening up the throttles and encouraging all to revel in their songs. Let's put it this way, in the massive queue for the toilets many, many people were singing along to 'Les Morts Dansant'...

Meanwhile down at The Rising Stage Blackwater Conspiracy were showcasing their blues tinged rock, airing tracks from 'Shootin' the Breeze', which judging by how many were singing along it is an album that a significant proportion have already added to their collection.

Aussie rockers Massive faced a tough task to follow that, but with beers in hand they launched with intent and riffs peeling out like devilish bells.

On the Blues stage The Quireboys were performing their own new blues set - rehearsals for which led to the forthcoming 'White Trash Blues' and the current ep 'Leaving Trunk'.

As always relaxed and still edgy the band had every ounce of space down in the blues tent filled even though it was not their usual set.

There is no doubt that UFO are amongst the premier league of UK bands. They may be getting on a bit, but that doesn't halt them at all. For all gathered they received every track they could have wished for from their back catalogue.

'Only You Can Rock Me', 'Rock Bottom', 'Love To Love' et al were aired, and, of course proceedings concluded with 'Doctor, Doctor'.

At times Phil's voice struggled, but it was only on the odd occasion, and he is so at ease on stage it was barely evident. Special mention for his commending the late Jim Marshall on developing his namesake amp, something which Mogg happily declared they are still using.

The Devin Townsend Project may have been late stand-ins for the fest, but that didn't in any diminish what they did on stage, with at times it verging on a stand-up comedy show, such was Devin's quips on the Prog Stage.

There then was an outbreak of beard envy...Every hirsute male gazing on the always impressive beards on two thirds of ZZ Top.

We all came for the hits and the exemplary playing, and ZZ Top did not disappoint. Opening with 'Got Me Under Pressure' before a blazing duo of 'Waiting for the Bus' and 'Jesus Just Left Chicago' set the scene for the massed Ramblin Man choir to sing every word of 'Give Me All Your Lovin'.

Billy's playing is as smooth as ever. 40-odd years on the road and 16-odd European dates on this current leg of the tour have every lick locked down, every tone tuned to the song.

They may not be as mobile ass before, but they do what it says on the proverbial tin - 'Catfish Blues' was sublime and set closer 'Act Nuturally' left all satisfied.

As the Ramblers left Mote Park to head for camp sites or hotels there seemed to be a unanimous uttering: "See you next year!". What better endorsement for Year Three of Ramblin Man Fair.

Review by Jonathan Traynor
Pictures by Darren McVeigh and Lizzie Torbitt (as indicated).























NEWS: Magnum set for Belfast return on Lost On the Road to Eternity Tour

AFTER a series of stunning festival performances legendary prog rockers Magnum are set to release their new album 'Lost On The Road To Eternity' in six months and will tour it in 2018 with a  Belfast show on March 1st at Limelight1.

They played Belfast and Dublin on their last tour in what was a triumphant return to these shores, comfortable that they had not only hits for fans of their 80s albums, but new tunes that stood up well with the singalong songs such as 'Les Morts Dansant' or 'Vigilante'.

Indeed when Belfastmetalheads caught them at Ramblin Man Fair they may have focussed more on the hits - it was a festival set after all - the smattering of more recent songs didn't deter the audience one bit.

With this headline show in the Limelight one can expect a more fleshed out set as a mature band, comfortable as elder statesmen of the scene, able to introduce new songs and having no problem milking 'How Far Jerusalem' or 'Just Like An Arrow' in an appropriate manner.

'Sacred Blood, Divine Lies' was an outstanding album with many subtle under-currents amidst the pomp - all of which bodes well for the release of 'Lost On The Road To Eternity' and the Belfast March show.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Accept nail the metal formula on Rise of Chaos

WITH Accept you get what you ask for and nothing more - a heavy metal band, playing heavy metal music: no frills, no fucking about, no bullshit and no pretence or genre splitting. Yet this time out they stretch their vision so much further...

With their latest release 'Rise of Chaos' you get a stand-out album of riffs, solos, choruses to sing-a-long to, and more importantly deceptively straightforward metal.

This album rocks like Satan's rocking chair on amphetamines. Sure, there is nothing too particularly ground-breaking that is going to bother the charts or the wankers on the Mercury Music Awards - but fuck them! They are more to be pitied than hated for not listening to Accept.

As  Mark declares the band he - and the band - are an "old-school son-of-bitch".

There is something glorious about this release. With 'Blind Rage' they topped 'Stalingrad' but on 'Rise of Chaos'  there is a looseness and anger steeped within every track: a vision of the outsider standing, looking at the mayhem around them, yet still staying true to Accept's snear.

Wolf declared the intent behind the album when he said: “The Rise Of Chaos is something I have been thinking about often. It describes a condition which is slowly spreading around the world.

"With the stage setup on our latest European tour, we wanted to portray rather dystopian and destroyed scenery. If you now take a look at our new cover, it’s the same imagery. This time however you can also spot the invisible destruction that we feel more and more in these times, as well as the visible destruction.”

And by Baphomet's hairy balls they have achieved something remarkable...

From the declaration of the title track, through to 'No Regrets' and 'What's Done is Done' it is hard to find fault with this release. Packed with songs that will have feet tapping and heads banging it is wondrous.

In fact, here in the deepest bowels of Metal Mansions we had to check with our coven of witches and wizards were we over-rating it...Nah, of course we weren't!

Even the metal mutt Toby was seen to be bopping along to 'Worlds Colliding'.

Wolf hammers out his usual excellence, Mark roars his indignation but there are two key elements that take this to the next level. One is Andy Sneap's production, capturing the live essence of Accept on this album. The other is Peter, Christopher and Uwe. The trio manage that almost mystical balance between tightness and the feeling of a rhythm section packed with loose groove.

Of the songs on display here it is almost impossible to pick one that should be selected head and shoulders above all others, but 'Koolaid' (re-visiting the same topic as Manowar's Guyana: Cult of the Damned) and the closer 'Race to Extinction' would just edge it, with a tiny lyrical misstep on 'Analog Man' the only reason it isn't there.

Yes, some of the topics touched on aren't the most profound; they're not preaching to the as yet unconverted with environmental themes and horror at the world, but each is an important statement in its own right.

We all watch the 'Rise of Chaos' in a world where distorted hypernormalisation is the pattern set by 'leaders' but crank this fucker up, raise a single finger to dystopia and bang yer fuckin' head.

Review by Jonathan Traynor

Rise of Chaos is out on Nuclear Blast on August 4th

ALBUM REVIEW: Bloody Hammers wander the gore stained highways of horror

From the moment, you glance at the album cover, you can tell exactly what the Bloody Hammers are about...

From the naked women, vampire imagery and old school Sabbth-esque font, you can tell this is a Hammer Horror from the get go. Hell - it even bills itself as an Original Motion Picture Soundtrack!

The album aptly opens with Gates Of Hell, which sounds a bit like if you turned up the scuzz on a 69 eyes track and added a bit of Rob Zombie’s marching beats in for good measure. With themes of witching hours and journeys into the darkness, and a sythy organ sounding solo - it’s does exactly what it says on the tin.

Next up, Blood.  The track mainly consists of a pretty bare vocal track for most of the verses, which could do with a bit more oomph rather than just having the drums behind it. You can hear what they’re going for in the verse, alluding to bands like Fields of Nephilim or The Mission, but with a Tool-esque chorus it ends up feeling just a bit disjointed.

The Beyond brings in elements of John Carpenter soundtracks (think Escape From New York) with a darkwave intro and a spooky and sexy vocal line throughout. A romantic ballad, dressed in black. If you like your Goth music like I do, this will definitely be your favourite track of the album. It certainly manages to create the eerie yet sensual sense of taking a stranger’s hand and following them down the path of temptation.

Vultures Circle Overland then takes the listener in the complete opposite aural direction. Again, utilising the bare-vocal-track-and-drums-behind-it verse with the explosive chorus formula, this isn’t when the band sound at their best and ends up giving the track an early 00s Nu-Metal feel - church organ solo or not. Which, after dreamy The Beyond, leaves the listener feeling a little lost.

All The Colours Of The Dark initially shows no signs of retreating back to that Goth safe haven, with a heavy guitar riff intro. However, as soon as the synth kicks in all hope is not lost! Sensual gothness returns. All The Colours provides a nice blend between the two extremes the band can offer in The Beyond and Vultures… and this is exactly how it should be done. It feels like the band have found their grove with this track, with things feeling less jarring and juxtaposed. Very Gary Numan- esque (See: I Am Dust from Splinter for reference) in style, with moody and depressive tones this track wraps and coils around the listener like an anaconda and slowly squeezes.

Ending on The Bloodsucker Leads The Dance – it borrows organ imagery from Ghost and a deep grumbling bassline which peeks it’s head above the parapets for the first time on this track. A bit confusing at times with bassline, piano and church organ all vying for the listeners attention and seemingly equally mixed, a little bit more layering of these individual elements would have gone a long way to bring the track together. An atmospheric closer, this final dance of the dead is like a funeral procession bidding the listener farewell.

Review by Lynn Carberry

Ramblin Man 2017 Day Two: Mud, metal, rock and four packed stages

AFTER the wind and showers of Day One the dawning of the second day came with cloud and a little sun - but it wasn't long before more rain swept across Kent, dumping water on the Ramblers at Mote Park, Maidstone.

But as with the previous day those attending Ramblin Man 2017 were not to be deterred - and with four stages to chose from the day and night reverberated with guitar driven music and a lot of people with hastily donned ponchos and raincoats...

With 30 bands it was impossible for reviewers, photographers and fans to see every band - but to be spoilt for choice is no real problem when a plethora of acts are pounding out at the top of their proverbial game.

For those who are unfamiliar with Ramblin Man the stages are all within a few minutes walk, from the main stage, to the Grooverider Stage, to the Outlaw Country stage or to the Rising Stage. [NB the Grooverider stage transforms to Prog in the Park on Sunday and the Country stage transmogrifies to Blues on Sunday].

But when it all comes down to it the smorgasbord of acts had people scurrying around, simply enjoying themselves - as the arena opened to the strains of blues rockers The Nile Deltas laid back blues power.

Being biased we have to highlight the fact that Trucker Diablo and Screaming Eagles drew good crowds to the Rising Stage - engaging all with their high tempo entertainment with fists in the air and horns being thrown.

However, the main stage opened with guitar virtuoso Jared James Nichols showca
sing his talent on his trusty single pick-up Les Paul.

While Toseland were making a return to the park as their set came to a conclusion there was a noticeable buzz as people gathered to see British Lion - yes that British Lion with one Mr Steve Harris. Even in the remoteness of the Press Area there was a noticeable roar as the band mounted the stage.

While Reef had everyone's hands in the air - you know the song - on the Grooverider stage one half of Tenacious D brought joy. Yes, The Kyle Gas Band had a unique take on rock, with added dashes of fun and ridiculousness delivered to a backdrop of tight musicianship.

Despite trying to keep their composure the crowd were quickly into their second wind when Glenn Hughes mounted the main stage for a consummate performance, that of course ended with an extended version of 'Burn'.

Splitting time between a humourous and fun set by Dan Baird and the Homemade Sin and Dokken invoking the 80s abandon provided the media plenty of execise. A quick few songs were caught from the excellent Rival Sons' before the Black Star Riders stormed the main stage.

And, they really did storm it. Hit after hit, choruses belted out by band and audience. Ricky Warwick holding thousands in the palm of his hand.

With three albums to pick from the band's identity is becoming ever more solid -they truly have a live 'Killer Instinct'.

Headliners Extreme arrived with much expectation, as they were re-visiting their hit album Pornograffiti.

Of course, songs such as 'Get The Funk Out' and 'More Than Words' are lodged in the collective memory of rock fans - memes before memes took on their internet definition.

Nuno laid down some terrific solos, proving - if it ever needed proving that he is a true maestro of six-strong histrionics.

However, at times the set lacked a certain something, perhaps a band a little too confident, but the amount of people streaming out of the arena to hotels and the camp site was evidence that not everyone was overjoyed by Extreme's show.

Indeed it was the subject of much debate the next day....

Review by Jonathan Traynor
Pictures by Darren McVeigh and Lizzie Torbitt [as marked]