WALTARI – YOU ARE WALTARI (Bad Reputation Records)
Review by Sloof
Waltari is a cult band in Finland, and during their 30 years existence and numerous albums, they succeeded in maintaining to please the Finish crowd. Concerning success abroad Finland, I suspect that it was rather modest, but perhaps things will change with the new output ‘You Are Waltari’, ready to be released June 10th. 2015. Referring to the American Uncle Sam, they chants that everyone is Waltari!
In my humble opinion, the music of this band is Modern metal with a special approach and an extraordinary way of composing. It has a little Devin Townsend en Raunchy influences, but unfortunately, the quality level is not that high. The songs have a good pace, the interaction is vivid and all musicians demand their spot ! The chorus lines are very often sing-along and that’s a good thing for live gigs, but what about this studio report?
‘Solutions’ is a very strong track that combines all good elements of Waltari in only 3.5 minutes, and at the same time, it’s a pity that there aren’t more ‘Solutions’ tracks on this new album. A song like ‘Mountain Top’ has a very heavy layer but at the same time a rock’n roll attitude as well. It’s a mix of straight forward rock with elements from Nu-metal and Pagan/Folk. A strange combination but it works!
‘Right Wing Theme’ opens like a commercial on TV but when the native vocals pop up and a harmonica continues, I needed the skip button at once! This is a kind of practical joke, but instead of placing this song as track 6, it would be advisable to consider it as a bonus track, or hidden track but not in the middle of an album as it screws up the whole atmosphere of the album. And if you continue with a track like ‘Strangled’, you switch into an opposite direction. This is Waltari goes Napalm Death, and I really miss the point of this. ‘Keep It Alive’ has a poppy approach, with a lot of electronics in the mix, but after a few spins, I must say that I can appreciate this song.
Waltari their newest album is a trip with highs and lows and they may add a variety factor to the whole album, they should point out their direction to follow. Now, it’s a cluttered album release and that’s not the intention, I guess. I prefer tracks like ‘Singular’ and ‘Not Much To Touch You’ that have a Heavy foundation but with commercial vocals instead of campfire songs like ‘Televizor’ or experiments like ‘HyväoliHyväoli’. http://www.waltariband.com/
My rating: 71/100 (Between 70 and 79: Decent but best previewing)
WARRANT – METAL BRIDGE (Pure Steel Records)
Review by George Falconer
A new record from Warrant! Do not be mistaken, we aren’t talking about the cheesy glam band which holds the same name. We are talking about the great German Speed Metal band Warrant. After almost 30 years these guys hit the studio again and delivered “Metal Bridge”, which was released in October 2014 by Pure Steel Records. This is actually their second album. Their first record, The Enforcer, which was released back in 1985, is still considered a thrash metal classic by many fanatics. After the Enforcer, the quintet turned into a three-piece band and made “First Strike”, an EP also worth mentioning. After all these years, Joerg Juraschek, bass player and vocalist, is the only original member from the line-up back in the glory days. Could they still deliver the same quality?
In my opinion, they definitely did. Metal Bridge is all back to the ’80s music feeling. This is fast and speedy Heavy Metal with some power influences. I hear Running Wild, Accept or Blind Guardian. This is the opposite of the heavier Thrash Metal bands like Kreator or Destruction for example. The guys from Warrant combined their speedy riffs with melodic solos and fierce drumming. Just what I had expected. Moreover their production sounds very professional, just what these tracks need. Our classic vocalist, Juraschek, proofs he can still bring out some very decent vocals. Being only a three pieced band they produce a really big wall of sound. And that’s what we like to hear, right?
Also a nice bonus are the re-recorded songs “The Enforcer” and “Ordeal of Death”. This seems something typically German as I’ve seen the same thing happening on the latest Exumer record. How did these recordings turned out? Get the album and judge for yourself.
Heavy, thrash, speed or traditional fanatic? You will probably dig this album. It’s filled with quality. I really hope I can witness Warrant live once more. Cheers!
My rating: 86/100 (Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)
WAITING FOR – THE HEXEN (Independent)
Review by Sloof
Nu-metal from Belgium? Produced by Billy Grazeidei from Biohazard at his Firewater Studios in Los Angeles? That sounds interesting, but at the same time quite a challenge! First of all, the name of the band was originally The Hexen, but they switched into Waiting For. Secondly, working with famous people automatically sets high expectations, and the risk of failing increases a lot! And last but not least, the name of the band, whether it’s the original The Hexen or the new moniker Waiting For doesn’t ring a bell at all, and that might be a harbinger of a local band that didn’t achieved anything to date. But, we avoid prejudices and give them a fair review, just like any other band.
The debut album is covered in a gray tinted artwork, not really flattering, but we aim for the music of Dan (Vocals), Juan (Drums), Phil (Guitars) and Didj (Bass). The quartet composed their material and started around the end of 2012 to record their songs. It took two long years before they finished what they’ve started and after the helping hand of Billy and Maor Appelbaum (mastering for Faith No More, Hirax, Anvil, Halford), the album is finally ready to be released.
After a short instrumental part (‘Nothing But The Beginning’), we hear the track ‘I’m Cursed’ and I want to be honest from the beginning, this is substandard. The arrangement is too bland, too mediocre, too simple, while knowing that the first track on an album needs to give you a slap in the face! The vocals of Dan are hideous and detestable, and although they promised guttural and melodic vocals, it’s rather tatty and abhorrent. Hair-raising throats nullify musical knowledge, and if I have to mention one bright spot in this unusual dark entirely, it’s the bass of Didj. He’s now and then capable to add a positive note, but it is fighting a losing battle. The quality of Waiting For is below standard and the vocals of Dan ruin it all. I’m really sorry for this band, but I have to classify this release on my shelf ‘never to re-open’…
If we would be talking about a dish, I would say it’s not well seasoned. It’s missing flavor, character and power, and strange but true, but all these apply to ‘The Hexen’ as well.
My rating: 61/100 (Between 60 and 69: Rather moderate)