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Pure Metal

February 2008 Reviews & Interviews

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AFM 2008


Well, if you name your debut album "Thrash 'N Roll Assholes", then you're opening yourself up for a whole world of pain. Fortunately, for President Evil, their Germanic take on the world of Motorhead is rather enjoyable.

They're not reinventing the wheel, but by throwing in a stoner groove here and their, they end up sounding a bit like Monster Magnet would if they turned into a Lemmy tribute band.

OK, they're not that good because that band (Monsterhead? Motormagnet?) would be the best band EVER. But if you're looking for a fun forty minutes, and who isn't, then this, second, album is a fine way to do it.

It can be a bit one dimensional but when they stumble across a good song as they do on 'The Anti Loser' and 'King Asshole', then they conjure up a mighty fine racket, in finest Black Label Society style. It may sound like I'm damning this album with faint praise, which isn't the intention. It's a fun listen, it's just they're not quite up to par with the masters yet.

However, I'm old, twisted and bitter, and there's probably a phalanx of kids out there who will be experiencing this for the first time. They're going to have a good time with this, so ignore me, and go out and enjoy.

Key tracks - 'The Anti Loser'', 'King Asshole' and 'Jesus Factor Negative'.

Stuart A Hamilton
Rating *** (3.0/5.0)

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DAY ELEVEN - "Sleepwalkers"


Oh dear, looks like someone managed to escape the great grunge cull of 10 years back. Maybe the message didn't get to Finland but, frankly, we don't want this sort of behaviour round our way.

Because it's not very good. Even by the low standards of grunge. For sure, they try to mix it up with some goth-lite and the odd big ballad here and there, but this is the kind of thing we put paid to with a shotgun blast. There are a couple of songs where they go a bit Nickelback and turn out a good, melodic pop rock tune, but it's mainly tosh.

I'm trying hard to think of something kind to say but apart from 'If Nothing Comes Of You', there wasn't a single song here that I would listen to twice. Sorry guys.

Stuart A Hamilton
Rating **1/2 (2.5/5.0)

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SHATTER MESSIAH - Pure Metal interviews Curran Murphy

Shatter Messiah

Former Annihilator and Nevermore guitarist, Curran Murphy, has spent the last couple of years working on his band, Shatter Messiah. WIth a new album hitting the shops, Pure Metal took the chance to sit down and throw some questions at him.

Stuart A Hamilton: Most people probably still know you from your days in Nevermore and Annihilator. Why did you decide to go your own way?

Curran Murphy; I got sick of being everyone's bitch and decided to be my own bitch! HAHAHAAH no I really just wanted to get to write and make my own music instead of playing everyone else's stuff

How did you go about putting Shatter Messiah together?

It was really luck more than anything. I had just relocated half way across America from Seattle to Ohio and didn't know anyone, I had this idea to start a studio band to release my own music while I was still in Annihilator.

By a simple chance I found WAGS through a drummer friend who did not want to play on the music I had written. From there when I went over to Europe on the Judas Priest tour I did for Annihilator I met BOBS and I played him some of the demo stuff for him and he wanted in right away!! Another stroke of luck for sure huh? HAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAH any way the other guys all fell into place pretty quickly after WAGS and BOBS got into the picture.

You've written virtually everything on the Shatter Messiah releases. Was that a big part of doing your won thing?

Yeah it was definitely the motivating factor!!!! Also I had been in many of local bands during my time in Nevermore and Annihilator and I was sick of the democracy bullshit of the local yokel thing, having to cater to ego's and shitty musicians.

My idea was NO COMPROMISES in the music or lyrics or anything. It would all need to live up to MY standards which are pretty high from having worked for a couple of great bands.

You've got a new bass player this time around. What happened there?

Well satan demanded a blood sacrifice for Metallica fortune so we killed our bass player and ate him for the entire year of 2007 HAHHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH No no no. Ron did not want to make the commitment that we needed so he stepped out of the band.

It was sad for us but we love Ron and want him to be happy so we are all still friends and drink together whenever I am in town hanging with BOBS. Jason was a guy on the scene here in Ohio that ASKED to fill in until we found a permanent guy for the gig and from there he just earned the spot. So another stroke of luck!!!

How do you think that 'God Burns Like Flesh' has progressed your sound from 'Never To Play The Servant'? Is there a concept or thread to the songs?

The big advance for SHATTER MESSIAH with this new record is that a lot of it we got to write as a band for the first time the last record was me in a basement writing what ever I wanted, but the new record I wanted to make a coherent and tighter record from start to finish. I also wanted to highlight everyone's strength in the band, BOBS on drums, WAGS' vocals, bigger bass sound than the first record HUGE guitar sounds and more solo's.

The biggest lyrical thread is the God and religious references in the lyrics. the good news is if you dig deeper than pathetic words like "God" and "Christ" you can see and read a deeper feeling and vibe in the words on the page!!!

You had a pretty disastrous tour last year with To/Die/For. What happened, and what are your tour plans this time around?

Well of course we plan to try and get out as much as possible for the new record this year, but in regards to the DISAS-TOUR with to die for it was all the fucking idiot promoter. We were also stupid for going out without contracts but we really wanted to get out on the road.

After we got out we where told things where WAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY different from what we where originally promised by the promoter and we decided to go home and work on the new album. The guys in To/Die/For were aleady here and kind of stuck so they just went with it and had a nightmare of a time on the road but once again it was all the promoters fault. All of the bands are cool with each other.

Although you're an American band, you're signed to a European label. What are the pros and cons of that?

Well I think the Euro fans are more open to new bands, here in the states people are harder to get to and to make them take notice. Too many TV channels and internet porn !HAHAHAHAHAAHAH The biggest CON in the whole thing it getting out on the road to promote the album is just about impossible when you first start a band so you have to be patient and work hard on your music

Any word on a US release for the new album?

Still working on making that come into place, that will make it much easier to start building the band up and make us bigger than Metallica!!! YEAH!!!!

What's with the sneaky, hidden track?

That was a goof to fuck with people and make them listen to and check the liner notes a few times!!! HAHAHAH we stole the idea from Slayer. They seem to put two different songs into ONE CD track (very cool idea by the way) so I though it would be funny to make ONE lyrical song into two different music tracks. and only label it ONCE in the liner notes HAHA!!!! I am so clever I am a genius!!! (can you smell the sarcasm)

Going back in time, who or what inspired you to take up metal?

Metallica "One" made me like metal music before that it was all Bon Jovi and Def Leppard (although they are still great bands) but my cousin showing me the TABLATURE for "One" was what showed me that an idiot like me with NOOOOOOOOOOOO musical talent could learn to play guitar with out needing to read music or any of that crap, just read the numbers and put your fingers where they need to go

What's next for Shatter Messiah?

To try and get out on some real tours, to really start to build SHATTER MESSIAH into a live act!!

Any closing words for our readers?

Hope you all like the album and I can't wait to see you all out on the road!!!!

Thanks to Curran for taking the time to talk to us. The new album has already been glowingly reviewed here at Pure Metal and you can nip off to
Amazon and buy a copy. You can also go vist Shatter Messiah on tghe information super highway.

Stuart A Hamilton

VOYAGER - "uniVers"


Mention a five piece rock band from Australia releasing a new album and you'd be forgiven for expecting something in the hard, sweaty, boogie-rock arena to erupt from your speakers. Instead, Perth band "Voyager" play a unique and quite individual brand of melodic, progressive metal that will impress on the very first listen but demands repeated attention to really appreciate the complexity and depth of the album.

The follow up to the universally acclaimed début album "Element V", this release is another fine selection of dark, complex and intricate songs that benefit greatly from the smooth, deep vocals of Daniel Estrin.

The Maiden-like riff adorning opener "Higher Existence" is a red herring in many ways as instead of that brand of prog-metal we're closer to Nightwish, a band who they have supported on the road as recently as January this year, thanks to the well selected use of keyboards or piano.

Occasionally there is a hint of Euro-metal too along the lines of Stratovarius, Helloween or a less overblown Rhapsody but never do the similarities drift into anything like plagiarism. Voyager have managed to combine varied influences and come up with something that sounds a bit different but quite effective.

Eleven tracks are delivered of which "Sober" stands proud as something very special and the song most likely to provide the bands big breakthrough track. In fact its so strong that it does ask questions of the other material as nothing else is quite as memorable or immediate.

Depth though, rather than instant affirmation is the key to this album and its certainly worth repeat plays. Only then do "Pulse 04" and "Between The Sheets" to name but two really hit home as work you would really expect from an outfit older than just two albums.

A band you would expect to make a big impression in mainland Europe only a slightly worrying turnaround in band members and the possibility that by being based in Australia they are too far from the action might stop them. Having said that though this is good enough material to make waves so the current five members, if well supported, might find themselves away from home a lot in the months to come. A highly recommended album.

Bill Leslie
Rating **** (4.0/5.0)

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DISTORTED - "Memorial"

DISTORTED - Memorial

Israel seems to be becoming one of the hotbeds of exciting metal, what with the likes of Orphaned Land and Salem. And now we can add Distorted to that list. Now it may have taken a while for this CD to reach me, but it was certainly worth the wait.

They've been on the go for over 10 years, starting out at school, but after recording a couple of demos they graduated to support slots with touring outfits like Edguy and Megadeth, and building up a strong, local support. They put a lot of time and effort into the song writing process, and this cracking self-released debut, is the result.

It may be their locale, and their influences, but there is something very different about Distorted. At heart, they're a death metal band, but with goth type female vocals added to the more brutal male vocal, an array of softer, Middle Eastern rhythms and even some progressive touches, they've managed to come up with something I haven't heard before. A rare result.

It's an album chock full of goodies with 'Flesh And Blood"' and 'In Your Light' the highlights round my way. You can't help but be impressed and the time and effort they've put into this album, something that a few major acts might learn a lesson from, and I'm not in the least bit surprised to learn that Candlelight have now snapped them up on a three album, worldwide deal.

They could be huge, so get in the ground floor and show off to your mates when they break through.

Stuart A Hamilton
Rating ***1/2 (3.5/5.0)

Distorted MySpace

DERANGED - Questions and Answers

Swedish death metal veterans, Deranged, have a new album out, and Pure Metal caught up for a Q&A with drummer, Rikard Wermén.


Pure Metal: Who are you and how would you personally describe your music?

Name, Rikard Wermén, drummer in Deranged, a Swedish death metal band that has been around since the beginning of the 90´es. Have released a couple of CD’s and been touring all across Europe the last couple of years. We’re doing death metal. Nothing more, nothing less. The band was pretty much formed by a bunch of friends that hadn’t anything better to do…

When writing, where do you begin?

We always write down in the rehearsal room. Our guitar player (Johan Axelsson) will have a riff and we’ll start to build the song around that. Later on we’ll do a quick and rough demo recording of it, just so I’ll have something when working on the lyrics.

Which groups, artists and/or bands inspire you?

Pretty much everything one will hear and see… Not any special bands. When we first started out it would bands like early Carcass, Impetigo, early Napalm Death and Suffocation.

Are there any songs/tracks that you have heard and thought, I wish I'd written that?

No… But it would have been nice to have written Yesterday just for the royalty / authors rights checks.

How would you describe the new album to someone who'd never heard of you?

It’s raw, brutal and straight in your face. We’re an honest band and we’re doing honest metal.

How do you think the new album has advanced Deranged?

Every Deranged CD have always shown a musical progression. This release is no exception. Mean, as always we just wrote a bunch of songs and recorded them. We’re not the kind of band that will have like band meetings where we discuss in what musical direction, if any we’ll take the band. We just play and if it sounds cool. We’ll keep it. Simple as that.

You seem to get through hundreds of vocalists - Roger Johansson, Johan Anderberg, Fredrik Sandberg, Andreas Deblèn, Per Gyllenbäck - and nearly as many bass players. What are you doing to them all?

Hacked up for barbeque.

Do you think that the current line-up might last?

Oh yeah… Mean… As mentioned before, we’ve had lots of changes in the line up but they have always musically been to the better and the line up we’ve got now is the best so far on all levels.

You've been playing metal for a long time now. What keeps you fresh and inspired?

Some people claim that we’re not keeping fresh but… I ask myself the very question. Can be that we’re not making any big deal out of it you know… As said, we fucking just play and that’s it.

Do you have touring plans for the new album?

We’ll do a couple of shows end of this month and besides that we have a lot of festivals to do this summer. Nothing planned for the U.K. though…

Any closing words for our readers?

Be sure to check the new CD out and death to posers.

Stuart A Hamilton 2008

The new album, "The Redlight Murder Case" is out now.

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Deranged website

SHATTER MESSIAH - "God Burns Like Flesh" Dockyard 1 (2008)


I don't think I bothered too much with "Never to Play the Servant", the debut from Shater Messiah. If I did, it never registered on my metal meter. But this, this album, blew me away.

Mainman Curran Murphy has gotten a fair share of experience from his guitar wielding stints with Nevermore and Annihilator, something that earns him a fair number of metal points, but here with his own band, he gets the chance to show off his own metal vision and music. And it is good.

He's not straying a million miles away from his time with Nevermore, as he mixes up power metal with thrash, and fans of Nevermore will find more than a couple of points of common interest to whet their appetites. But it's less techno metal and much more metal thrashing mad, something that makes me warm to them all the more.

Unlike some bands who adopt a throwing keech at the wall approach to their material, in the hope that something good will stick, Shatter Messiah have honed the album to eight extremely strong songs, any one of which is worth a listen, although I'd point you towards the title track and 'Stripped Of Faith' if you wanted a flavour of just how good they are.

They're not breaking any moulds here, but the band rock hard, play hard and sound hard. Which is how metal should be.

Stuart A Hamilton
Rating ***1/2 (3.5/5.0)

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Pivotal 2007


I've spent a lot of time bleating about the poor state of Swedish death metal in recent reviews, but then along come Zonaria to blow me out of the water with a fabulous take on the whole genre. Damn it!

Mind you, I do have to point out that they sound an awful lot like Hypocrisy. So if you're looking for a brand new take on death metal, you may as well bugger off now. However, if you like the idea of a tried and trusted sound being performed in invigorating and exemplary fashion, then this may be for you.

First forming at school back in 2002, they punted out the "Evolution Overdose" demo, which was enough for US label Pivotal Rockordings to pick them up and put them into the studio to record a demo.

A European tour with Impaled Nazarene followed, prior to them picking up the best Unsigned Artist in the Sweden Rock Magazine awards. Pivotal then took the plunge, signing them up for this splendid debut album.

They have a fairly bleak world view which suits the music perfectly, concentrating on such issues as 'The Armageddon Anthem', 'Attending Annihilation' and 'Descend Into Chaos'. Death metal gems, one and all, with their hard riffing underpinned by some well judged synth lines. Anathema to some, but I happen to like it.

They are very melodic in their metal assault, so don't come here looking for utter brutality, it's not that kind of place, but the excellent vocals, compositions and production makes for a fantastic album.

Stuart A Hamilton
Rating **** (4.0/5.0)

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Axel Rudi Pell - Live Over Europe

Well you can never accuse SPV of stinting on quantity when it comes to DVD releases. Five years on from "Knight Treasures (Live and More) ", this one features three and a half hours, yes 3.5 hours of Axel Rudi Pell and assorted backing musicians playing live. In Europe. And even one track from Her Majestys Great Britain.

Now that's a lot of Blackmore / Ynqwie inspired Euro power metal to sit through, so yo umay want to content yourself with the main course on offer, which is a full 75 minute show recorded at the Rock Hard Festival, Germany in 2007.

The current line-up features American vocalist, Johnny Gioeli, who first came to prominence with Neal Schon, Journey's guitarist, in a band called Hardline. He was a quality vocalist then, and time has not withered his storm, as he powers his way through the songs.

Of course, Axel Rudi Pell is no slouch on the guitar, although he's never too far from a widdle, but the constraints of the songs keep his exuberance in check. Most of the time. But there's still room for a drum solo from ex Yngwie and Rage fella, Mike Terrana. Ouch! Fortunately, you can always rely on Herr Pell to come up with some nifty melodic metal tunes, with a chant-a-long chorus, which will always go down well in a live situation.

Highlights are a-plenty with some excellent performances of 'Strong As A Rock', 'Mystica', 'Fool Fool' and Mr Blackmores 'Temple Of The King'. They're not the most visual of bands, and there's not much in the way of special effects, well, none, but as souvenir of a show that I'll probably never see, it does the trick. And for his legions of fans over in Euroland, well they'll lap it up.

The second DVD comes with a warning message to indicate that it's not professionally shot footage, rather it's been living in Axels capacious vaults over the last few years, with the tracks coming from a series of shows betwwen 2004 and 2006, from Wacken Open Air, Bang Your Head, Sweden Rock, Bloodsrock and a few others. It varies enormously in quality, with some of the club shows little more than mobile phone footage, but there are a few gems tucked away there including an acoustic cover of 'Love Gun' by Kiss!. Just keep the remote control handy.

Stuart A Hamilton
Rating *** (4.0/5.0)

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Revolutin Mother

Featuring Mike Vallely / Skate God. That's what it says on the cover with no less than three exclamation points indicating how exciting this is. Well, I've no idea what a Mike Vallely / Skate God is, but can only assume that he is some kind of top notch fishmonger. Not sure how that's a selling point for a CD, as mine arrived without a hint of cartilaginous, oviparous fish. So, I'll just have to go with the musical flow and see what happens.

And, hello, that was a bit of a blast! It's good old fashioned punk metal, done the proper way, which is to say, a bit like Suicidal Tendencies when they were good, or mid period Rollins Band. We like that. Loads of ragtaggle riffs and shouty vocals TELLING ME I SHOULD GET OUT MORE AND DO SOMETHING WITH MY LIFE. Probably. At the very least I should 'Come On' or 'Do Or Die', or something else Street and Cred. With knee length shorts. And white socks. And vinegar.

They probably edge a bit too far over into metal world for all the real skate punks out there, who prefer their music a tad more bouncy, something they give away with a cover of the Sabbath classic 'Hole In the Sky'. With added "hey, hey, hey", and a melody line Messrs Butler and Iommi would have trouble recognising.

All told, it's a blast of an album, never earth shattering, just the sound of a band rocking out and having a good time doing so. And what's wrong with that?

Stuart A Hamilton
Rating *** (3.0/5.0)

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Seething with sludgy, old school riffs and face-melting solos, 'Memories In Black' is a blazing inferno of explosive guitar-fuelled mayhem.

Wasting no time with melodic niceties, 'Rewinding Time' bursts forth with a vicious yet painstakingly executed guitar solo. The bass remains relentlessly brutal throughout, despite a crescendo of harmonic riffs midway, which, on less experienced terms, may have compromised the predominantly metal feel of the album.

'Face Your Demon' illustrates this aggressive, yet richly nostalgic sound quality particularly well with its muscular assault of rusty, low-slung riffs. Lead singer, Andy Alkman, howls with clean, yet raw, commanding perfection, his style utterly devoid of any cringe-worthy falsettos or other pretentious vocal trademarks.

Somewhere between a guttural snarl and a reverberating purr, 'Sky Walker' echoes with atmospheric distortion, lending to this track an almost haunting depth. Enhancing the murderously fast-paced intensity of Jocke Lundgren’s killer shredding,

'Again' delivers subtle, yet breathtaking keyboard-driven ambience. A somewhat drastic departure from the less melodic moments of 'Memories…', 'Right Now' is a sensory overload of anthemic choruses and sumptuous organ fragments.

Loaded with enough devastating potential to sustain an industrial-sized blowtorch, 'Memories…' is as potently atmospheric as it is unflinchingly hardcore.

Rating **** (4.0/5.0)

Faye Coulman

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Jaysus, but my head hurts! So you think you like brutal death metal do you? Well, here's a bunch of Brazilian lads who want to put that theory to the test. Because this rocks like a complete and utter bastard.

It's utterly furious, in the vein of Krisiun, rattles through 16 tracks in half an hour, and leaves you completely shattered. As it should be. Regain have linked up with Forces Of Satan to put this out, and it's a good move for all concerned. The unpronouncable Ophiolatry have been leading up to this since 1999, and have fine tuned things to an incredibly tight extent.

It's all very dark, direct and dense, with some unbelievably brutal vocals and crushing guitars which, through a set of headphones, leaves you gasping slightly for breath. Either that or I've just had a mild heart attack. At times, the songs become a bit of a blur, but in the right place and the right time, tunes like 'Nominating The Oxen' and 'Neuropsychoperverse' are death metal delights.

Stuart A Hamilton
Rating *** 1/2 (3.5/5.0)

Buy From Amazon


"Bad Movie, Great Soundtrack" is the name of the album, but despite the cover claiming to be that, I was actually sent a copy of their 4 track promo EP.

Anyway, Cambridge four piece The Fake Exterior have been around for a couple of years, touring all the usual toilets since forming from the ashes of a band called Kubrick. And, in places, they do actually have that all important X factor, which could see them rising above the may piles of dross that pass themselves off as metal bands.

Two of the four tracks - 'Suffer In Lies' and 'Bad Movie, Great Soundtrack ' - are very good indeed, with the latter, in particular, a mighty fine mash up of metal, punk and even prog, which only suffers from a surfeit of Green Day styled vocals.

But apart from that it's a crushingly good tune. They share more than a few riffs with the likes of Trivium and Bullet For My Valentine, but they're put to extremely good effect.

'The Fake Exterior describe themselves as 'a band with a point to prove - that metal can be original as well as catchy', and when it works they're well on their way to getting it right.

Stuart A Hamilton
Rating *** (3.0/5.0)


Hmm, so where do we stand on the Hiatus post metal / new noise side of the fence? Well after a few listens it seems like I'm right slap bang in the middle of a very uncomfortable straddling situation. Mebbes aye, mebbes naw.

You see sometimes Hiatus stumble across a great riff, stand back to admire it, play with it for a few minutes, hand it over to you for closer inspection just to prove how good it is, then decide to do a really bad lostprophets impersonation for a few minutes while you look around in shock and horror in full "what, where, when, how" mode, wondering just what the hell happened. It's like being mugged by a particularly hot chick who toys with your boy bits before running off with your stash. Gits.

They do lots of the loud quiet loud stuff so beloved of Funeral For A Friend, bung in lots of emo sounding lyrics about how krool skool is, or some other adolescent tosh, then just when you're looking around for a hot mug of tea in need of a coaster, the CD blasts out another one of those great riffs. Gosh darn and blast it, Cap'n Conundrum, what's to be done.

If they can separate the wheat from the chaff next time around, they might have summat, but for the time being, the coconut is still glued on.

Stuart A Hamilton
Rating **1/2 (2.5/5.0)


I always find it amusing how those who strongly advocate the alternative and who claim to have an open mind, immediately shoot themselves in the foot by only championing bands that all sound very similar.

And so it will prove to be with Italian noisemongers At The Soundawn who fit snugly in beside Neurosis, Isis and Red Sparowes, amongst others. And if you happen to be a fan of any of those acts, then you will like this. For sure, it's not in the least bit alternative or original, but they certainly pack a punch and know how to write a good tune.

There are a couple of tracks on this seven track mini album that are as good as anything the major acts in their genre have come up with. 'Phone Will' and 'Rain Falls' are the tracks you want to be listening to first, if you're looking for something to convince you to add something to your post metal collection.

Stuart A Hamilton
Rating *** (3.0/5.0)

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**** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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