TOWN PORTAL – The Occident

Small Pond Recordings [Released 25.05.15]

This is the second album by Danish band Town Portal. They are a three piece instrumental band, with guitarist Christian Henrik Ankerstjerne also handling production.

Instrumental albums are sadly a niche market in many cases, which is a real shame as band like Town Portal have top draw musicianship and have produced a series of interesting soundscapes. They like the heavier end of rock, check out the throbbing bass and deep guitar riffs on ‘Yes Golem’. There is a touch of Mastodon in the music. ‘Deep Error’ has the listener wonderin when the vocals will kick in, the most instant tune on the album.

If you like bands like the excellent the Fierce & the Dead, do try this band, sure to appeal to prog rock fans. ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie

CIVIL WAR – Gods And Generals

Napalm Records [Released 11.05.15]

Civil War release their second album, one with a theme of battles as you can gather from the album cover artwork and title. The band features former Sabaton members who hooked up with vocalist Nils Patrik Johansson (Astral Doors/Lion’s Share). They have undergone a line-up change with founding guitarist Oskar Montelius retiring and the band parted ways with bassist Stefan Eriksson. The band’s new guitarist is longtime collaborator Petrus Granar.

‘Schindler’s Ark’ is one of the highlights, with the quiet vocals sounding like David Coverdale and then the choral harmonies add that epic touch to the songs. There is some rousing metal on ‘Braveheart’, again the band cleverly mix quiet musical passages with the more out and out metal bombast. ‘Bay Of Pigs’ recalls Dio, not only with Johansson’s vocals but the guitar riffs and solos. Another album stand out.

It all goes a little ‘Les Miserables’ on ‘Tears From The North’ with the orchestral backing and military drumbeat. It does have that big musical feel about it.

The band Civil War may have gone under a few people’s musical radars which should change with this album. This is metal with strong lyrics and epic music, along with those vocals from Nils Patrik Johansson, what a voice! ****

Review by Jason Ritchie

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Power Plays w/c 8 August 2022 (Mon-Fri)
BORN LOST Take Time (Mouthpiece) (Revolver Records)
JAIME KYLE Driving With The Brakes On (Conquest Music)
SCARLET DORN Born To Suffer (SPV Recordings)
HOLDING ABSENCE Coffin (Sharptone Records)
TYRANNOSAURUS NEBULOUS Get Some (Echoed Past Records)
KROOKED TONGUE When The Beaches Bleed (indie)
SKYPILOT Knifed On The Beach (The Distortion Project)

Featured Albums w/c 8 August (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 LESSMAN VOSS Rock Is Our Religion (Atomic Fire Records)
12:00-13:00 H.E.A.T. Force Majeure (earMUSIC)
14:00-16:00 THE SLAMBOVIAN CIRCUS OF DREAMS A Very Unusual Head (indie)

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