Nuclear Blast [Release date 18.03.16]
Rage had a major line-up change last year, one of which saw guitarist Victor Smolski leave the band and he wasted little time in assembling Almanac. This album is a concept piece based on Russian history, more specifically Ivan the Terrible. He has lined-up a trio of talented vocalists with Andy B. Franck (Brainstorm), David Readman (Pink Cream 69) and Jeannette Marchewka.
The music is a heady mix of symphonic metal and straight ahead metal, none more so than on ‘Hands Are Tied’ and the pummeling beat of ‘Children of the Future’ – this one lulls the listener in with a quiet piano led intro. The three vocalists combine well, with Franck and Readman singing the bulk of the songs.
It is a good debut, not as instant or likely to be played as much as say Avantasia, the nearest comparison music wise. The good news is this is seen as a long term band, not a one-off or project and the debut offers enough to make it worthy of investigation. ***1/2
Review by Jason Ritchie
Craft Pop Records [Release date 27.05.16]
Not a band I had heard of before this album landed in the review pile, although upon further research this is the band’s fourth album, having debuted in 2010. They have picked up some rave reviews from the mainstream music press and radio play from the likes of BBC 6 Music and Bob Harris.
They have an intriguing sound, mixing three female vocals and more unusual musical instruments like bassoon and autoharp. Listening to ‘Underwaterpainter’ it sounds like Kate Bush going folk and indie at the same time.’Hidden World’ reminded me if another recent album I enjoyed by Left With Pictures. The song has a very clear, haunting vocal that works really well.
Takes a few listens to get fully into the album, no bad thing and I can see myself being drawn back for repeated plays, mainly to marvel at the vocals and the musical backing. ***1/2
Review by Jason Ritchie
BREAK THE SENSES Perfect Nature
A Spanish power trio, now that’s something that doesn’t come across the GRTR! review desk with any regularity. If ever. And just as unusual, Break The Senses are fronted by female pairing – Ana Rocio Garcia (vocals and guitar), and Priscila Rey (vocals and bass). Marcelino de la Torre sits behind the kit.
Drawing on the influences of Muse, Biffy, Nirvana and Placebo, the opening bars of ‘Eternal Life’ – with vaguely, but recognisably, Spanish guitar lines, a throbbing bass and ghostly vocals made me think Break The Senses might be something special.
And they touch on many bases across an impressive set – grunge, pop, even straying within orbit distance of symphonic rock, but always with a nice raw indie feel.
The sound is excellent too, well produced with each instrument distinct and some beautifully anguished vocals. It’s the moments of subtlety that perhaps impress most, but in the next instant, and usually within the same song, you’re then pinned against the wall by the sheer power and weight of their combined thunderous cacophony.
At times it feels like they are, indeed, trying to break the senses, and for my personal tastes I found Perfect Nature just a little too bombastic. But there’s much to admire here and if you like getting aurally beaten up I’d recommend Break The Senses. They’re a breath of fresh air. ***1/2
Review by Pete Whalley
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