Thursday, May 24, 2018

REVIEWS' ATTACK #3: Juggernaut/Hybridized/Hellavista Asocial Club

Hey everyone.
today there is a series of groove/thrash metal reviews to read! So, I'll present to you two albums released by the great and still young Spanish label Art Gates Records, and a self-released debut EP professionally manufactured by a promising band coming from my city, Rome Caput Mundi.


Band: Juggernaut
Title: Out of the Ashes
Genre: Modern Metal with mainly Thrash and Groove Metal influences
Year: 1st December 2017
Time: 37 min
Rating: 74/100

"Contemporary Thrash Metal" is the definition chosen by Art Gates Records to describe the innovative sound of these 5 Spanish maniacs from Madrid called Juggernaut. For me, that definition is correct until at a certain point because, as you will see soon, their debut album "Out of the Ashes" show a really multi-faceted sound in which thrash metal is only a (significant, anyway) part of it.

Supported by a bombastic and high-value production, "Out of the Ashes", after the acoustic and hinduistic intro "Vishnu", starts with a dynamic and ultra-modern groove/thrash metal assault able to beat well the listeners but adding simple keyboard touches, notable melodic moments and a versatile singer named Javi Perera that can range without any problems from aggressive growls to (sometimes very) melodic clean vocals. All this is exemplified at its best in the third song "Cry of Rage", that consist also of a long lead guitar phase with amazing solos.
After that, the things are destined to change in strange and unpredictable ways. Sure, the sound is always dynamic and ultra-modern but "Beyond the Thunderdome" is a mid-tempo with a large use of clean vocals and where there is even a rockish and quasi-psychedelic part with a wah-wah effect on the guitar. Instead, "Ashes to Ashes" is an acoustic ballad while "Shattered Star" is a rockish metal with a histrionic performance by Javi and a so playful atmosphere that, at a certain point, you can hear even a...WIND CHIME! The following song "Scavenger Hunt" shows new metal hints (incredibly I am reviewing on this old-school 'zine an album with NEW METAL HINTS!) but without forgetting, more strangely, some industrial and orchestral touches. As ending track, there is amazingly a good version of "Jawbreaker" by nothing else than Judas Priest, a sign that Juggernaut, despite all their modernist solutions, don't fortunately forget the pure roots of the heavy metal music. The result of all this is that "Out of the Ashes", said generically, is a modern metal triumph infected by a lot of other metal (and not only) influences of which groove and thrash metal are surely the main ones.
What are my conclusions about this debut album? Ok, I say that Juggernaut are very able to write outstanding songs like "Cry of Rage" and "Shattered Star" but it seem to me that they are a bit confused about their main style because there are too many stylistic differences between the tracks. So, I recommend to Juggernaut to focus better their efforts so to find, for their future productions to come, a more homogeneous sound with clearer ideas.

Art Gates Records:

Band: Hybridized
Title: Mental Connections
Genre: Groove/Thrash Metal with Death Metal influences
Year: 2nd March 2018
Time: 13 min circa
Rating: 71/100

Marco Patarca, singer of the Roman band Hybridized, some days ago gave me in person their self-released debut EP "Mental Connections". This is the very first production of a band whose story was started in the summer of 2016 by the will of the guitarplayer Fabrizio Valenti and the drummer Fabio Mancinelli. Now strong also of the talented singer Marco Patarca, the bassist Emanuele Gazzellini and the lead guitarist Andrea Scarinci (that was added in November 2017), Hybridized released an interesting EP that promise a lot of good things for the future years to come.
Admittedly influenced by bands like Pantera, Megadeth, Slayer and Lamb of God, Hybridized show, through 3 tracks, to manage a wicked groove/thrash metal not so violent but made darker especially by the death metal growls of Marco. His growls are neither so deep nor wild but, after many performances in clean with the progsters Discordant Hemispheres, its finally nice that he sing all the time in this brutal way...even though his clean vocals impress briefly their mark on the only "Subliminal Messages" with the result to appear too forced and useless for the purpose of this song. As I said before, Hybridized aren't so violent since the fast rempos are incredibly few but the last song "House of Nightmares" is more aggressive and faster than the previous ones, so it's my favorite track. There is certainly room for improvement for the production, not exactly effective because, for example, of the drums that sounds a bit flat but we don't forget that we're talking about a self-released debut EP, so it's a very relative problem.
I have to say that the final result is intriguing in terms of dark atmosphere that can remind bands like the Polish death/thrashing maniacs Formis. Maybe, Hybridized should play in a faster way so to sound more intense and aggressive. And I hope that they will be more active in fact of live gigs since, so far, they played on stage only one time, precisely on 6th May 2017 at Chinaski Punto (Rome) but, in this sense, they are organizing a promising exhibition, so expect good news in the near future. Last words for the professionally manufactured CD of "Mental Connections", that, additionally to a booklet with all the lyrics, includes the official video of "House of Nightmares" along with a vintage and gory version of the same video dedicated to homage "Evil Dead" and the gestures of Ash! Fuck, I largely prefer this bloody exclusive version than the official one!


Band: Hellavista
Title: Robolution
Genre: Groove/Thrash Metal
Year: 23rd March 2018
Time: 30 min
Rating: 90/100

Debut album also for Hellavista, an Austrian Vienna-based band born in 2015 on the ashes of the melodic death/thrashers Freund Hein, responsible of two full-lenghts released between 2006 and 2011. I am going to say already that "Robolution", embellished by a wonderful cover artwork, is really outstanding and deserve to be into my 2018 TOP TEN releases! And you have to think that Ivan Magdalena, the owner of Art Gates Records, sent me the physical promo CD of this album on his own initiative and without my request with the final result that, thanks to him, I discovered a real gem!
Why am I so enthusiast? Because we are in presence of a band that mix perfectly thrash and groove metal in an album characterized by a lot of good ideas and a nice variety in only 30 pleasant minutes per 8 well structured songs.

Many are the winning features of Hellavista. To mention a few, one of them comes from D. Harry, a singer continuously able to spew forth, showing a lethal combination between Philip Anselmo and James Hetfield, incredibly catchy vocal lines through aggressive performances also because he completely avoids the use of clean vocals. Instead, another feature comes surely from the two guitarists Glaso and Ossi Junior, verygood  to create memorable solos also with some heavy metal touches ("Screwdriving Away", for example).
As I said before, the songs are only 8 but the variety offered by them is amazing also because it's always coherent with the style of the band. In fact, you can range from the titletrack (that opens the album with a contagious and imaginative slab of groove metal à la Pantera) to the darkness of "Dark Redeemer". Or you can range from the faster numbers "Hellevator" and, especially, "Rest in Pain" (that close the CD with a great intensity!) to the rockish and vibrant "Attack of the Demon" and "Screwdriving Away", in which Hellavista seem to be sometimes a heavier version of Deep Purple also thanks to the contribution of the guest keyboarder Hombre, who plays even a keyboard solo in "Attack of the Demon".
I think that you understood that the "Neckbreaking Groove/Thrash Metal" (as Hellavista dub their music) of this band impressed me a lot through this debut album, especially thanks to tracks like "Robolution", "Hellevator", "Screwdriving Away" and "Rest in Pain". At this point, now all you need is to watch the official videos of either "Robolution" and "Hellevator", so also you can enter the HELLAVISTA ASOCIAL CLUB!

Art Gates Records:

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