Review – Nosound – Scintilla – by Progradar

Nosound - Scintilla

“The power of music, whether joyous or cathartic must steal on one unawares, come spontaneously as a blessing or a grace–”
Oliver Sacks, Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain

I write reviews and run this website purely for the love of music. I don’t get paid for anything I write or publish and this bothers me not one iota. I am a music lover and I feel it is my mission to expose as many people out there as I can to some of the wonderful, awe inspiring, life affirming songs that are created mostly to be heard and to enrich people’s worlds.

Hopefully this will mean that they will then support the artists by buying the music or sharing it with even more people which will enable those musicians to carry on their creative endeavours. A musical Circle of Life if you like.

This could be upbeat music that just puts you in a really great mood or music written specifically for the love of life. When I’ve had a major upheaval in my life I like to listen to music that soothes my soul and calms me down, cathartic songs that can take the worries and strains of real life and just smooth them away to ease me into a place of calmness. I’m not bothered about genre, it is the music that speaks to me the loudest that I want to hear and, more often than not, it’s one band who my radar zeroes in on….


Italian alternative band Nosound started as a one man studio project in 2005 by Giancarlo Erra, but has since grown into a five piece band, evolving into something unique, focused and powerful. The music is evocative and intense, with personal songwriting. Influences range from Pink Floyd to Brian Eno, from Porcupine Tree to Sigur Ros, passing through rock and electronic/ambient.

As well as Giancarlo (vocals, guitars, keyboards), Nosound is Marco Berni (keyboards, vocals) Alessandro Luci (bass, upright bass, keyboards) Paolo Vigliarolo (acoustic & electric guitars) and Giulio Caneponi (drums, percussions, vocals).

I discovered the band upon the release of their 2013 album ‘Afterthoughts’ and I was immediately bowled over by their particular type of widescreen melancholia and wistful imagery which really struck a chord with me. This led to the discovery of their back catalogue including such gems as 2013’s reissue of the wondrous ‘Lightdark’, a remaster of the album originally released in 2008.

Their trademark symphonic lushness and winsome ennui really suited many of my moods and I almost felt reborn and pulling free of the trappings of a painful life after listening to the music.


So, you can imagine that news of a new album by this expressive band is going to make me a happy boy and you’d be 100% correct. Earlier this year an email arrived from the PR company stating:


After barely containing my excitement, I ploughed on to see what we had coming in store for us.

Featuring guest appearances from Anathema’s Vincent Cavanagh and acclaimed Italian singer Andrea Chimenti‘Scintilla’ is inspired by personal upheaval and a desire for change and is a wholly new musical and visual approach for Giancarlo Erra’s ever-evolving band. Cellist Marianne De Chastelaine returns tot he fold but, this time, in a more free-flowing and improvisational capacity.

He goes on to say:

“The intention with ‘Scintilla’ was to do something a bit more different than previously and illustrating more vigorously what Nosound is today.

During a decade of activity, my listening tastes have shifted gradually towards a more simpler, more direct music with an intimate character that still retains a certain richness and detail in sound.

Northern folk and alt singer-songwriter music are possibly the stronger influences, but generally speaking, everything that is simple, direct and minimal but with rich sound is what I like, and what I hope this album is.”

This latest work marks the beginning of the second phase of Nosound’s fascinating career.

Nosund garden party

Low key and almost under the radar Short Story makes a very unassuming entrance. Delicate piano, lush soundscapes and an almost ethereal vocal immediately set the tone and calm any rushing heartbeats. With an almost organic creativity to the music, it seems to have a life of its own as it wistfully drifts across your psyche with its gentle sonic palette. Last Lunch immediately takes on a more melancholic and dreamlike note, the music being the tapestry upon which the vocals paint their temperate scene. Initially a paragon of self-control and emotional depth, it really touches you deeply, the wondrous Cello is particularly emotive  and touching. 7 minutes of laid back, low key and yet deeply stirring music has an ultimately cathartic outcome and I find myself afloat upon a sea of my own dreams and aspirations. I saw Nosound play live at The Resonance Festival two years ago and can still remember how much of himself Giancarlo puts into the songs as he sings them. They are part of him and come from the depths of his very soul. As the song comes to a close you feel you have been through quite an emotional journey and are all the better for it.

There is a whimsical feel to the opening of Little Man, nostalgic and playful, as the chiming keyboards resonate. It soon opens up into a much more mature track as the soothing strings and heartfelt vocals stir up emotions deep in your psyche. The way the drums are delivered is relaxed and composed and the Cello, once again, provides moments of pure indulgence. A sinuous soundscape is created that leaves tendrils of thoughtful contemplation floating around in your mind, the meandering guitar playing is another highlight of this reflective song. In Celebration of Life sees the first contribution from Vincent Cavanagh and the introduction is as sonically intimate as they come, small pearls of musical delight surround you and leave you in a tranquil state, musing what is to come next. More verdant strings continue the meditative mood. The whole musical vista that is laid before you is celestially sublime and, when the vocals begin, all breathy and gossamer like, the spell is set and you are caught right in the middle of a thing of utmost beauty. The exquisitely heart-breaking solo is absolutely amazing and strikes you right in your heart, a song of pure delight and wonder.

Nosound in Studio 1

Sogno e Incendio was co-written, and is sung by, renowned Italian singer Andrea Chimenti, it is serenely intense and full of a deeply felt passion. The vocals are delivered in such a fashion as to leave you hanging on every word, whether you understand them or not. The musical accompaniment is classically superb and compliments Andrea’s voice perfectly, it is like a melancholy lament but is oh so beautiful, painfully so in places. The Italian language, especially when sung, is a thing of charm and grace and I am left with a feeling of utter bliss as the elegant guitar floats around your mind. The trancelike Emily is like wisps of cloudlike delights that fleetingly leave an impression on you before moving on, transient and ephemeral notes of music that leave you in a dreamlike reverie. It is surreal but in an exquisite fashion and tugs at your heartstrings all too briefly before departing to who knows where.

Cavanagh returns for The Perfect Wife, a mournful and somber track which wears its heart on its sleeve. There’s a deep lying and potent passion at the core of this powerfully compelling song, the ardent sentiment is clear in the fervor of the vocals. The somber and forlorn music is incredibly emotive and fills you with a sorrowful empathy, the Cello seems to become animate and alive with its own character and draws you even further into this dark and plaintive story. These musicians leave nothing behind and exhaust you with their intensity and ardor, as impassioned a track as you will hear this year. What appears to be an alluring love song at first with its tender piano and fragile vocals, Love is Forever soon reveals its unexpected sarcasm in the cynical lyrics yet you can never get away from the fact that this song has style and artistry at its heart, quite a conumdrum. I just let the winsome music wash over me and enjoy its cathartic powers.

Nosound logo small

Evil Smile is an elegantly charismatic track that takes you on a meandering journey through a wonderful acoustic soundscape, the organic feel is increasingly evident in the flow and texture of the vocals and the hypnotic music, especially the strings. The trance-like instrumental sections leave you mesmerised, only recovering when the introspective voice of Giancarlo wakes you from your musing state. The final title track Scintilla takes all that has come before and amalgamates it into something even more divine. A fantastical musical journey where you are the only passenger and there is a musical universe of a myriad opportunities in front of you. Hesitant and slightly unsure, it takes small steps before the halting vocals draw you in and the journey commences for real. A song (and, indeed an album) worth listening to with headphones on and silence around you to pick up every tiny nuance and subtlety. Enjoy a fine wine and just relax as this seraphic track cleanses your heart and soul and encourages the deepest parts of your very being with its almost heavenly grace and charm.

Nosound - band

Not so much a leap into the unknown as a slight re-imagining of who they were before, ‘Scintilla’ is more than just a piece of music or an album of new songs. It alters your state of mind and your very essence and you come out of the other side feeling a better and more complete person. That Giancarlo Erra and Nosound can achieve that is testament to their amazing songwriting skills and musical ability. I implore you to buy this album and, as soon as you can, see them perform it live, I promise you will not be disappointed!

Released 2nd September 2016

Buy ‘Scintilla’ (in various formats) from Burning Shed







Extreme metallers BRUJERIA will release their fourth full length album, entitled Pocho Aztlan, on Mexican Independence Day (September 16) via Nuclear Blast Entertainment. Today, the band has debuted a new track from that album entitled “Bruja-

Pocho Aztlan is now available for pre-order on Limited Edition Neon Yellow Vinyl, Limited Edition Orange Vinyl and CD/T-Shirt bundle (images below) from the Nuclear Blast UK web store:

Fans can also pre-order the album digitally via iTunes and receive the song “No Aceptan Imitaciones”  and “Bruja-” instantly:

The lyric video for the first single from Pocho Aztlan, “No Aceptan Imitaciones” can be viewed below:

Pocho Aztlan track list:
1. Pocho Aztlan
2. No Aceptan Imitaciones
3. Profecia Del Anticristo
4. Angel De La Frontera
5. Plato O Plomo
6. Satongo
7. Isla De La Fantasia
8. Bruja-
9. Mexico Campeon
10. Codigos
11. Debilador
12. California Über Aztlan (DEAD KENNEDYS cover)

Pocho Aztlan is the band’s first release since Brujerizmo was released in 2000 via Roadrunner. It was recorded over the course of many years and at several studios around the globe. The end result was mixed by Russ Russell (NAPALM DEATH, THE EXPLOITED).

BRUJERIA‘s legend has proliferated for nearly three decades. When the band first emerged from the sunbaked hellscape of Los Angeles in 1989, the city was on the brink of chaos. Daryl Gates ruled the LAPD with an iron fist, overseeing a legion of blue-suited stormtroopers who cracked brown and black skulls at every opportunity. Rodney King, the ’92 riots, and CA governor Pete “Pito” Wilson’s anti-immigrant Prop 187 were all on the bleak horizon. The Mexican-American agitators of BRUJERIA captured the mood of the city’s minorities with the band’s infamous and widely banned 1993 debut, Matando Güeros (“Killing White People”), quickly becoming the Spanish-language counterparts to early grindcore masters TERRORIZER and NAPALM DEATH. Led by lyricist and mastermind Juan Brujo, BRUJERIA were alternately rumored to be satanic drug lords and members of well-established metal bands. The truth, as always, lay somewhere in between.

Fast forward to right about now: Pocho Aztlan is BRUJERIA’s first new album in 16 years. The title translates to “Wasted Promised Land,” a combination of Aztlán, the fabled ancestral home of the Aztecs, and the term pocho, which native Mexicans use to refer—not always kindly—to their counterparts born in the States. Brujohimself is pocho, a man caught between two worlds. Many pochos are not exactly accepted with open arms in Mexico. Meanwhile, they’re too often regarded as second-class citizens in their adopted US home. Brujo has transcended both scenarios through the power of BRUJERIA’s uncompromising grindcore and death metal. His all-Spanish lyrics are as vivid as they are effective: Bona fide tales from the frontlines of the drug war, the racial divide, and the battle for the border. “A lot of BRUJERIA songs are true stories,” Brujo says. “And if they haven’t happened yet, they will happen.”

Juan Brujo – Vocals
Fantasma – Vocals, Bass
Hongo – Guitar, Drum Programming
El Cynico – Bass, Guitar, Vocals
Hongo Jr. – Drums
Pinche Peach – Vocals, Samples
Pititis – Female Vocals
A Kuerno – Guitar
Sangron – Backup Vocals
Guero III – Backup Vocals

Twitter:  @nuclearblasteu
Instagram:  @nuclearblasteurope

Review – Circuline – Counterpoint – by Progradar


“What do you get when you take two theatrical lead vocalists, a keyboard player from Juilliard, a jazz-rock genius on guitar, a bass player from Monster Island and a drummer with progressive rock in his DNA? The modern cinematic ProgRock band Circuline.”

That’s a pretty impressive opening gambit from the press blurb for Circuline’s latest release ‘Counterpoint’ and the next line nearly made me crack-up!

Circuline’s newest release, ‘Counterpoint’ (May 2016), features an all star line-up of SEVEN guest guitarists…”

No, you didn’t misread that, it said SEVEN guest guitarists!! Well, to me that could just turn out to be overkill or the musical equivalent of herding cats but, you never know!

So, for the sake of completion, here are those guests…..

Randy McStine (The Fringe, Lo-Fi Resistance), Doug Ott (Enchant), Alek Darson (Fright Pig), Ryche Chlanda (Fire Ballet, Renaissance), Alan Shikoh (Glass Hammer), Matt Dorsey (Sound of Contact, Dave Kerzner) and Stanley Whitaker (Happy the Man, Oblivion Sun).

So, would these additional musicians add to the depth of talent the band already has or would they prove that too many cooks can actually spoil the broth? Read on and find out……

Band 2

The album opens with a a powerful statement in New Day, a track that builds on a rolling drum beat and off-kilter keyboards to almost drive you crazy. Coruscating guitars blaze across the landscape, it is like some crazy sci-fi soundtrack or diabolical mind weapon that seems to be forcing you into submission. Dynamic guitars dominate the soundscape, interspersing with the keyboards like some ELP-esque monster. It’s forceful and influential Prog with a vivid outlook and a highly impressive beginning to what is awaiting us.

Like a one-two knockout, Who I Am explodes into the ring on the back of staccato piano opening, insistent and demanding, before a huge crunching riff literally knocks you over. Man, I’m getting hooked on this already! A huge wave of sound engulfs you with its magnificence and you just hang on for the ride. A break in the squall sees that piano note return, gentler and questing, along with the benign waves of the cymbals, calming your heartbeat. The vocals begin and they are theatrical to the max, superb interplay between Billy Spillane and Natalie Brown giving the music an extra nuance. That monstrous riff is what drives this catchy song on though, brooking no resistance. I love the laid back, chilled sections that occasionally grace your aural sensors, they give you a sweet respite from the upsurging music that hits you square on the jaw but always leaves you smiling. To be honest, it’s one of the best tracks I’ve heard this year and I could almost recommend the album just on the strength of this one song.

Did you expect a pause for breath? Well you should have known better. Another drama laden introduction building to something profound leads in the mysteriously named Forbidden Planet, keyboards swirling all around , apprehensive and almost sinister, are setting the scene. The vocals begin, quite emotive and descriptive, adding more shine to the proceedings. I’m almost reminded of the latest Dream Theater album, but in a good way. The thumping chorus will have you singing your lungs out, it is pure musical theatre of the best variety. Artful and dramatic, the guitar solo that fires out is superb and just adds to the feel that you are in an actual theatre, enjoying a musical show. The excellent bass-lead, guitar heavy, run out of the song adds even more of that drama and leaves you with a knowing smile on your face.


Hollow is a more circumspect song, the introduction washes over you before a passionate vocal and guitar fire up and lead the way. Heartfelt and moving, even a bit darker in places, there is a more progressive than cinematic feel to the track as it gets into its stride. To my ears there a definite hints of Glass Hammer and even Dream Theater in the intricate keyboard playing and the way the song seems to be built in layers, the instrumental sections are really convoluted and complex. It’s almost as if the musicians decided that they just wanted to have a prog-infused jam session, and a mightily enjoyable one at that! Once normality is restored we get more of the dominating vocals, leaving an ominous overtone in places. There is something for everyone in the song, baroque progressive moments, touches of Prog-Metal and, well, just excellent songwriting and musicianship.

One of the shorter tracks on offer, Erosion is an instrumental that opens full of suspense, the cinematic overtones are there in spades, this could be the soundtrack to a sci-fi film with its haunting atmosphere and heavy doses of tension. It is quite disturbing in fact and I found myself on edge all the way through.

I love the bassline that opens Nautilus with its jazz-funk feel, there’s a really upbeat atmosphere to the song, the distinct guitar note and vigorous drumbeat adding to that high energy aura. The vocals, once again, hit the spot and give the song its own identity. At first, you aren’t sure whether there are too many influences running through the music but, by the time you’re really involved in the album, it is a distinctive sound unique to Circuline. I feel the keyboards generally take the lead and the rest of instruments follow and it works very well indeed. Another clever integration of the complexities of progressive rock infused with some powerful rock elements to give that cinematic feel, the guitar solo is another sterling effort.

guuitar man

The mood quietens for the delightful Stay which has more akin to a piano lounge track than your usual progressive fare but I really like it. Laid back, funky and with chunks of jazz dripping all over it, Natalie’s vocals are the centre-point of this sepia tinged song. Thoughtful and contemplative, it really does give you a complete feeling of chilled out security. The guitar playing is fluid, serene and composed, it is a song for a wonderful, warm summers day when you haven’t got a care in the world.

S.O.A is just over one minute of quite unsettling mind warfare if you ask me, it is really quite sinister……

That mood carries on into the opening of Inception with its 80’s synth overtones that seem to want to invade your mind. Again, another impressive cinematic soundscape that draws pictures deep in your psyche, music that challenges the mind as well as satiating the soul. It is almost transfixing in the way it draws you into its embrace to leave you feeling oddly at home. Then the vocals start and your attention changes, the voices, lilting in their delivery, have a hypnotic edge and work in concert with the inventive music to give a superlative listening experience, a musical journey that, once traveled, you are happy to return to time after time. The closing out of the song is particularly brilliant.

So, onto the final instalment in this cinematic treasure, Summit has all the clever subtleties of what has gone before, a quite enigmatic opening before the song begins its final traverse of your musical landscape. Sultry bass lines and drumming add a great backdrop to the exemplary harmonised vocals, like the perfect recipe from some masterchefs of the musical world. Nothing is ever too simple with these guys though, we have some involving musical sections to add substance to the lush vocals laid before us. Grin inducing guitar solos and keyboard runs abound and you are just left floating in a world of musical well-being. The potent chorus adds strength to the beauty of the rest of the song, you are left wanting for nothing with this band’s repertoire and it is shown to the full on this finishing track, some more prog wizardry to add to the dramatic and cinematic feel. I have to admit, by the end of this song and album, I am left feeling that I have been spoiled by the music and talent on offer.

So, do too many guitarists leave you herding cats or give extra shine to an already impressive collection of musicians? Well, if you’ve read what goes before this conclusion you’ll know that they enhance things immensely. A deep well of musical wonderment is laid before you to drink from at will, take a small sip and come back for more (as you will) or take it all in one gulp to be completely indulged. Whichever way, you’re going to love it!

Released 5th May 2016

Buy ‘Counterpoint’ direct from the band







Review – Tarja – The Shadow Self – by Craig E. Bacon

Tarja The Shadow Self

“There is a darker side of us all…Every one of us, we have a darker side that we should probably just appreciate that it exists…I believe it’s a beautiful darkness…The Shadow Self, it is a creative force in all of us.” –Tarja

Those familiar with Tarja’s solo work, or with the symphonic metal genre, will find much that is familiar in ‘The Shadow Self’. There are plenty of metal/hard rock guitar riffs, lots of low end, a smattering of strings and choirs, and lyrics that mostly sticks to discussing darkness, anger, love, and the natural world. Tarja has been headed in a single artistic direction since 2007’s ‘My Winter Storm’, and her latest album continues on that path. However, while some artists make a familiar-sounding album due to lack of inspiration or personal comfort, Tarja is clearly perfecting her craft, and ‘The Shadow Self ‘makes up the ground between past efforts and the ideal for what a symphonic metal album can be.

Lifted from an Annie Lennox interview, the album title provides a thematic focal point; indeed, ‘The Shadow Self ‘is the most thematically and musically cohesive album of Tarja’s career. Starting from the premise that each of us have a darker side, and that it’s best to face this darkness head on, the songs here move between introspection and explosive expression.

Tarja 1

The singles from the album focus in on the positive, creative force of the shadow self. On No Bitter End, Tarja encourages the listener to engage the darkness on its own terms.

“Blackout the sun/Light nowhere/Tell me you don’t need it anymore…”

To say that we each have a darker side is not to say that we are evil, but merely points to the fact that much of our inner life is a mystery, is unknown, is a void even to ourselves. But perhaps it is in this very darkness that we will find hope, strength, love, and freedom.

“Open up your inner eye/Let hope save the day…To be there with all you need/And nothing left to prove…..”

The chorus and bridge sound a bit like the best of the 80’s power ballads, musically emphasizing the ultimately triumphant outcome of this introspective journey.

Similarly, Innocence maintains a cautiously positive tone in the lyrics.

“Inside of me doors will stay open/A thousand lives to live/Waiting like universes do without an end/Love break into my innocence…”

However, the video version makes it clear that the innocence of the title may very well be that which has been lost, and the album version of the song features an alternate, extended instrumental break that suggests much the same. A solo grand piano picks out the melody, gradually builds in intensity, meanders into pounding and resounding bass chords, then calmly returns to the melody before being joined by a full string section and choral vocals.

The effect is unsettling, occasionally jarring, but finally invigorating. Tarja has done this sort of staggering of classical and hard rock within a song before (Anteroom of Death, Victim of Ritual), but the classical component is more adventurous and thematically cohesive here. As album opener, the song also announces that Tarja is breaking new artistic ground whilst perfecting old standbys.

Even if our inner darknesses contain a positive creative force, they surely also possess immense destructive capabilities. On those who have hurt and abused us, the shadow self seeks self-expression of our most violent impulses. The album explores this aspect of the shadow self as well, showing how even these impulses may be channeled in a properly creative direction.

Tarja 2

(Picture credit: Jaromir Zajicek)

In Supremacy, a Muse cover and one of the album’s high points, the target is an oppressive institution.

“Policies have risen up and overcome the brave…Embedded spies brainwashing our children to be mean…”

Instead of fear or angry fantasy, the song expresses a resolve for action.

“You don’t have long/I am on to you/The time has come to destroy/Your supremacy…”

The cover doesn’t stray too far from the original in terms of structure, but it does feature truly heavy guitars, cinematic John Barry-esque orchestration, and stratospheric vocals from Tarja to drive the hook home.

Diva relishes the poetic justice awaiting those who try to diminish our sense of self, if we only walk away and leave them to sink in their own rotten ships. The song may also serve as a personal response to Tarja’s dismissal from Nightwish and their subsequent song Bye Bye Baby. Once again the orchestration is cinematic in scope, carnival sounds and spoken vocals add a layer of creepiness, and Tarja’s vocals highlight both her range and her finesse.

Indeed, Tarja’s vocals are, as they should be, the main feature throughout the album. On Too Many, what could have been an extended fadeout instead gradually drops out instruments until only Tarja’s vocals remain. Whereas another artist might have ended the song with a whisper, or cut the song off after the first line once all other instruments were silenced, Tarja continues to sing until she has completed the chorus. The result is powerful, both in its presentation of the lyrics and in its completion of the album’s theme of a personal journey into the darkest corners of one’s own soul.

“Not too many facing their tears/When sunrise outshines the grey/Many too many living their fears/Only few won’t fade away…”

The repetition of this chorus takes the form of a lament, but is transformed by the choice to drop out instruments and leave Tarja’s voice as the final musical statement. In this closing moment, Tarja is expressing neither pity nor regret for others, but rather resolve and defiance on her own behalf–there are many too many living their fears, but she is one of the few who will face their tears and not fade away.

Tarja Woodstock

Befitting its thematic cohesion, ‘The Shadow Self’ also comprises Tarja’s most unified musical statement thus far (in her rock albums, anyway). Tarja has stated that she wanted the album to have more of a band feel, and this does sound more band focused, with fewer orchestral and choral overlays than some of Tarja’s past work. The riffs are little heavier, and Tarja’s lead vocals are kept to the fore, with minimal choral backing on most songs. This makes the ‘classical’ components more powerful when they do become the focus on songs like Living End and Diva.

It also makes room for more musical flourishes and nuances than is typical in the symphonic metal genre. Living End features beautiful acoustic guitar and pipes, while Demons In You begins with a half-minute funky jam before transitioning into a heavy piece spotlighting Alissa-White Gluz’s vocals. Even here, Tarja eschews the generic set of growls in favour of using both growled and melodic vocals from Gluz, allowing these to interplay with Tarja’s own melodic leads.

‘The Shadow Self ‘is unmistakably a Tarja album. It sounds much like other Tarja albums. It’s just a better Tarja album, one that displays a clear artistic vision as well as the skill and confidence to push forward with the arrangements and production.

Oh, and it also includes a bona fide hit song. You’ll know it when you hear it.


  1. Innocence [6:03]
  2. Demons In You [4:44]
  3. No Bitter End [4:26]
  4. Love To Hate [5:57]
  5. Supremacy [5:03]
  6. Living End [4:41]
  7. Diva [5:45]
  8. Eagle Eye [4:36]
  9. Undertaker [6:41]
  10. Calling From The Wild [5:13]
  11. Too Many [7:47]

‘The Shadow Self’ was released on 5th August 2016

Buy ‘The Shadow Self’ from Napalm Records

Craig E. Bacon

Craig E. Bacon is a PhD Candidate in Philosophy at the University of South Carolina. When not actively putting to rest all interpretative questions surrounding Kant’s idea of the highest good, Craig may usually be found at home with his beloved wife and rescue animals, listening to a Prog record with a craft beer in hand. Craig E. Bacon: Music, Philosophy, Beer, etc.
Craig Ellis Bacon


Up and coming multi-national rock act BLUES PILLS have released the official music video for the song ‘I Felt A Change’ from the brand new album, ‘Lady In Gold’ which was released on August 5th via Nuclear Blast. Watch the video:

The video was directed by Johan Bååth (AVATARIUM, DREGEN) who is best known for his work with cult director Jonas Åkerlund (THE ROLLING STONES, U2, MADONNA, OZZY OSBOURNE, METALLICA) and shot by well known BACKYARD BABIES drummer Peder Carlsson.

Watch the band talking the songs ‘Burned Out’, ‘I Felt A Change‘ and ‘Elements And Things‘ in this video trailer:

More on ‘Lady In Gold‘:
‘Little Boy Preacher’ lyric video:
‘Lady In Gold’ music video:
About the album title and its meaning:
About the lyrics:
About the time after the debut:

‘Lady In Gold’ is OUT NOW. Order your copy (all with signed inserts – while stocks last):
Limited Edition formats at

Limited Edition formats exclusively from the Nuclear Blast UK store:

Alternatively, order the album digitally:

Just as it’s highly successful predecessor, ‘Lady In Gold’ was once again produced by Don Alsterberg (GRAVEYARD, DIVISION OF LAURA LEE, JOSÉ GONZÁLEZ, JERRY WILLIAMS). The cover art for Lady In Gold was created by Marijke Koger-Dunham (THE BEATLES, CREAM).

‘Lady In Gold’ tracklisting as follows:
01. Lady In Gold
02. Little Boy Preacher
03. Burned Out
04. I Felt A Change
05. Gone So Long
06. Bad Talkers
07. You Gotta Try
08. Won’t Go Back
09. Rejection
10. Elements And Things

‘Lady In Gold’ Tour 2016
+ special guest
30.09.2016 SE – Stockholm, Debaser
01.10.2016 SE – Gothenburg, Pustervik
03.10.2016 DK – Copenhagen, Pumpehuset
04.10.2016 DK – Aarhus, Voxhall
05.10.2016 DE – Hannover, Capitol
07.10.2016 DE – Nürnberg, Löwensaal
08.10.2016 DE – Oberhausen, Turbinenhalle
09.10.2016 DE – Saarbrücken, Garage
11.10.2016 CH – Yverdon-les-Bains, L´Amalgame
12.10.2016 DE – Wiesbaden, Schlachthof
14.10.2016 DE – München, Tonhalle
15.10.2016 DE – Berlin, Columbiahalle
17.10.2016 AT – Linz, Posthof
18.10.2016 AT – Wien, Gasometer
19.10.2016 IT – Milano, Alcatraz
21.10.2016 DE – Ludwigsburg, MHP Arena
22.10.2016 CH – Pratteln, Z7
23.10.2016 FR – Nimes, La Paloma
25.10.2016 ES – Madrid, Joy Eslava
26.10.2016 ES – Barcelona, Apolo
28.10.2016 FR – Bordeaux, Le Rocher de Palmer
29.10.2016 FR – Rouen, Le 106
01.11.2016 UK – Wolverhampton, Slade Rooms
02.11.2016 UK – Glasgow, Classic Grand
04.11.2016 IR – Dublin, Voodoo Lounge
05.11.2016 UK – Manchester, Club Academy
06.11.2016 UK – London, Koko
08.11.2016 UK – Bristol, Marble Factory

09.11.2016 FR – Nancy, L´Autre Canal

Summer Club Shows 2016
13.08.2016 HU – Budapest, Barba Negra Track
15.08.2016 SI – Ljubljana, Kino Siska
16.08.2016 AT – Innsbruck, Weekender
23.08.2016 PL – Wroclaw, Alibi
24.08.2016 PL – Katowice, Megaclub

Festivals 2016
12.08.2016 AT Bildein -Picture On festival
18.08.2016 BE Hasselt -Pukkelpop Festival
19.08.2016 DE Torgau -Rock & Blues Nacht
20.08.2016 DE Dinkelsbühl -Summer Breeze
28.08.2016 FR Paris -Rock En Seine
11.11.2016 DE Weissenhäuser Strand -Metal Hammer Paradise

‘High Class Woman’ music video:
‘No Hope Left For Me’ music video:
‘Gypsy’ music video:
‘Devil Man’ lyric video:
‘Jupiter’ lyric video:


Sonata Arctica - Closer to an Animal

After announcing the new album ‘The Ninth Hour’, due on October 7th, the Finnish melodic metal quintet SONATA ARCTICA now present their first single and lyric video ‘Closer To An Animal‘.

“‘Closer to an animal’ was a song that our vocalist Tony sent to the studio somewhere around the middle of the sessions with the words: ‘This will be the album opener’,” keyboarder Henkka Klingenberg remembers. “After checking out the demo, we all just had to agree. I would say that musically this is a ‘metal meets 80’s’ type of song. We wanted this as the first single, since it gives quite a clear picture of what you can expect on the upcoming album, or at least some of it. I’m really looking forward to opening the shows on the next World Tour with this track!”

Watch the lyric video to ‘Closer To An Animal‘:

Pre-order the album digitally here:

Nuclear Blast UK store exclusive:
Limited Edition Light Blue Vinyl:
Exclusive Digipack CD + Canvas Artwork Print:

Pre-order from
Digipack CD:
Black Vinyl:

‘The Ninth Hour’ full tracklist:
01. Closer To An Animal
02. Life
03. Fairytale
04. We Are What We Are
05. Till Death’s Done Us Apart
06. Among The Shooting Stars
07. Rise A Night
08. Fly, Navigate, Communicate
09. Candle Lawns
10. White Pearl, Black Oceans Part II – “By The Grace Of The Ocean”
11. On The Faultline (Closure To An Animal)

Once again, the upcoming album was produced by SONATA ARCTICA themselves and mixed by Pasi Kauppinen.

Right after the summer festival season and the release of their anticipated record, the band will embark on a European tour together with their label mates TWILIGHT FORCE. Dates as follows:

Special Guests: TWILIGHT FORCE
presented by: Metal Hammer, Musix, Blast, Rock it + & Dragon Productions
07.10.16 NOR – Trondheim, Trondheim Metal Fest
08.10.16 SE – Borlänge, Liljan
09.10.16 SE – Huskvarna, Folkets Park
11.10.16 DK – Copenhagen, Pumpehuset
12.10.16 DE – Hamburg, Markthalle
13.10.16 NL – Haarlem, Patronaat
14.10.16 NL – Tilburg, 013
15.10.16 UK – London, O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire
16.10.16 FR – Paris, La Machine du Moulin Rouge
18.10.16 FR – Strasbourg, La Laiterie
19.10.16 CH – Pratteln, Konzertfabrik Z7
20.10.16 IT – Milan, Alcatraz
21.10.16 DE – Mannheim, Alte Seilerei
22.10.16 DE – Bochum, Zeche
Booking: Dragon

Watch their latest clips:
The Wolves Die Young‘ official video:
Love‘ official video:
Cloud Factory‘ lyric video:
Kingdom For A Heart’ – official track:

More info:


Metal Allegiance Fallen Heroes

On Friday, METAL ALLEGIANCE released their newest EP, entitled Fallen Heroes, which pays homage to the 3 legends – Lemmy Kilmister, David Bowie, and Glenn Frey – who impacted not just their lives but the world as well.

To celebrate the band’s new EP, they released the fourth video trailer which features Mark Osegueda talking about his cover of “Suffragette City” by David Bowie. Check it out on the Nuclear Blast YouTube channel:

Mark Osegueda comments about David Bowie: “He transcended so many more things then just the word musician. He was a true original and made people feel as if they were apart of something. He made you feel comfortable within your own skin about being different and apart from the masses.”

If you missed any of the previous trailers, please see below:
Trailer 1Alex Skolnick discusses the loss of the 3 legends as well as how the songs were chosen:
Trailer 2Alissa White-Gluz chats about her vocal cover of “Life In The Fast Lane” by The Eagles
Trailer 3Mark Menghi talks about how the EP came into fruition

Below is the track list for Fallen Heroes:
1. Iron Fist featuring Troy Sanders
2. Suffragette City featuring Mark Osegueda
3. Life In The Fast Lane featuring Alissa White-Gluz

– Guitar: Alex Skolnick
– Bass: Mark Menghi
– Drums: Mike Portnoy

Order the EP via iTunes now:

Recorded at Conclave Studios in New York City, Fallen Heroes was produced by Mark Menghi, Mike Portnoy,and Alex Skolnick. The album was mixed by Jay Ruston in Los Angeles, CA and mastered at Sterling Soundin New York City by Ted Jensen. The initial sketch of the artwork was created by Mark Menghi and Stephen Thompson (Anthrax) and was later finalized by Marcelo Vasco (Slayer).

METAL ALLEGIANCE took the news of Lemmy’s passing very hard as the bands very first gig was onMotörhead’s first Motörboat cruise. It was on that boat where the idea to write a record together and carry the MA flag as a brand/band rather than a sporadic, special event. The band comment, “all of us in MA are humbly grateful for the opportunity that team Motörhead gave us“.

In late 2015, the band scheduled a West Coast string of intimate club dates with a stop as the world-famous Whisky A Go-Go. The year concluded with the band heartbroken saying goodbye to their beloved friend. They later found out that his funeral and memorial services would be held the day of their performance. The band was asked by their tour agent who is also Motörhead‘s agent, Lemmy‘s management, close friends of his, and the owner of the Rainbow & Whisky to incorporate a tribute which of course, they obliged. The day of their performance, Sunset Blvd. was shut down and their bus was parked on a street filled with tears, madness, partiers and a sea of mourning metal heads. They said goodbye to their friend that evening with help fromMotörhead drummer Mikkey Dee amongst a ton of other special guests.

The next day they played their final show at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco. Mid-set they were informed that David Bowie had passed. Mark Menghi comments, “I remember coming off stage to trade bass duties with David Ellefson (we would rotate songs) and he stopped me, looked me and Osegueda in the eyes and said ‘Dude, Bowie just passed away.’ Literally in mid-set we got that news. I looked at Mark and he was in tears. Not even a minute later, he was on stage telling the Bay area crowd of the news he just learned. I turned to the side and looked over at Mike Portnoy and he just had his head down with his hands over his head trying to comprehend what Mark was saying. The next few songs was our Lemmy tribute and tears rolled off all of our eyes while paying tribute to one while learning of the passing of another.”

Twitter:  @nuclearblasteu
Instagram:  @nuclearblasteurope



Destruction Under Attack

Iconic thrash metal band DESTRUCTION released their new masterpiece ‘Under Attack’ on May 13th via Nuclear Blast Records.

Today, the band has uploaded the lyric video for the track Generation Nevermore.

Frontman Schmier states:
“Did you ever ask yourself how is it possible that the global population just loves to make cash with killing our planet and our fellowmen and doesn’t give a fuck? Where is the wake up call of our political leaders in charge? Mankind does not really wanna have a look in the mirror till it’s too late … and this is an angry Thrash song about that sad fact!”

Pick up ‘Under Attack’ here:
Limited Edition Red Vinyl:

DESTRUCTION will join forces with US-based thrash metal monsters FLOTSAM & JETSAM, Swedish metal maniacs ENFORCER and Brazil’s NERVOSA for a full European headlining tour this fall. Find all dates below!

‘Europe Under Attack 2016!
15.09.  CH       Pratteln – Z7
16.09.  D         München – Backstage
17.09.  I           Brescia – Circolo Colony
18.09.  D         Ludwigsburg – Rockfabrik
20.09.  D         Bochum – Matrix
21.09.  F          Strasbourg – La Laiterie
22.09.  F          Grenoble – La Belle Electrique
23.09.  F          Marseille – Le Moulin
24.09.  F          Toulouse – Metronum
25.09.  E          Barcelona – Razz2
27.09.  E          Sevilla – Custom
28.09.  P          Lisbon – RCA Club
29.09.  P          Porto – Hard Club
30.09.  E          Madrid – Arena
01.10.  E          Bilbao – Stantana 27
02.10.  F          Paris – La Machine
04.10.  UK       Glasgow – Audio
05.10.  IRL       Dublin – Voodoo Lounge
06.10.  UK       Manchester – Club Academy
07.10.  UK       London – Underworld

08.10.  NL        Rjissen – Lucky
09.10.  NL        Drachten – Iduna
10.10.  D          Rockstock – M.A.U. Club
11.10.  CZ        Prag – Storm Club
12.10.  D         Nürnberg – Hirsch
13.10.  D         Siegburg – Kubana
14.10.  A          Dornbirn – Conrad Sohm
15.10.  B          Hasselt – Muziekodroom*
16.10.  D         Mannheim – 7er Club
*without Flotsam & Jetsam

10.08.  CZ        Jaromer – Brutal Assault
14.08.  RO       Rasnov – Rockstadt Extreme Fest
16.12.  NL        Eindhoven – Effenaar
08.10.  NL        Rjissen – Lucky
09.10.  NL        Drachten – Iduna
10.10.  D          Rockstock – M.A.U. Club
11.10.  CZ        Prag – Storm Club
12.10.  D         Nürnberg – Hirsch
13.10.  D         Siegburg – Kubana
14.10.  A          Dornbirn – Conrad Sohm
15.10.  B          Hasselt – Muziekodroom*
16.10.  D         Mannheim – 7er Club
*without Flotsam & Jetsam

Review – Vista – Vista – by Kevin Thompson

Vista front cover

Thanks to modern technology Bedroom Warriors around the world are free to record their music without interference or demands from Labels or Managers. People are free to create, liberally making the music they want to make without compromise, other than the amount of instruments and recording equipment they have. It’s even possible to do it from a digital pad these days, with a studio at your fingertips, you can twiddle virtual knobs to your hearts content, until you are satisfied. Unfortunately it also means there is no quality control.

Dave Palermo hails from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He’s been a musician for many years and has recorded several albums both as a solo artist and with other bands. All songs are written and recorded by Dave and he plays all the instrumentation, keyboards, synth bass, synth guitar, and drum programming .

He named the solo project VISTA  which he sees as a metaphor for his music createability from the dictionary definition: A view, especially an attractive view from a high position. “After a hard climb, we were rewarded by a vista of rolling hills.” He says” “A song and ultimately an album are mountains to climb. An upward journey through the mind to the top where you turn around and look back at something aesthetically pleasing, entertaining, and informative for the listener. This is the goal and the standard for every piece of music I write, so I’ve called this project Vista.”

It’s at this point the PR pack goes on to list influences and the kinship with other bands, though pointing out Vista has its own style and sound, full of unique chord progressions and memorable melodies. Dave also says the new debut album includes 8 tracks of powerful synth rock. Sorry Dave it doesn’t. Though it pains me to say it I cannot agree with these comments and have deliberately not named the bands.

I really don’t know where to start, so let’s begin on the positive. Dave is clearly a competent multi-instrumentalist but I would like to see him stretched to show his full abilities which this album does not seem to do, or I hope it doesn’t. He obviously loves his music and the creative process, the instrumental tunes are nice and inoffensive. There is no growling vocals, blasphemy or swearing to be heard. I would like anyone reading this to bear in mind that these are all merely my opinions and others may well like the eight tunes presented on this album and Dave is free to ignore this review, shun me forever and pretend I don’t exist, but I cannot do this without being honest and true to myself.

I will not use the words ‘powerful’ and ‘rock’ because I at no time want to mislead anyone.

Track 1 – Aviator: Never really takes off for me and floats, drifts around like a brightly coloured balloon in a summer sky slowly deflating as the helium exits through a small pinhole.

Track 2 – Arena: Nothing to do with Clive Nolan, of which I’m sure he’ll be relieved. This is where I expected the excitement, drama and the two previously mentioned words to kick in, but no. Deflating further the balloon doesn’t even receive a kick to boost it and the arena it trails over is an overgrown ruin.

Track 3 – Virtual Safari: The balloon floats across sparse, flat tundra, dodging dried twisted trees and bushes and I want my money back as at no time does the tune create any images of virtual, majestic creatures running freely across the synthesised plains.

Track 4 – Marathon: Not related to the Rush tune of the same name, though the metaphorical balloon does seem to catch a little breeze and gain pace in comparison to the previous tracks but the music doesn’t befit the title as neither very long or epic. Half way through the album though and I am begining to feel I’m running in a marathon.

Vista back cover

Track 5 – Brigade: As an ex-military man myself I could never have marched to this beat. It doesn’t convey any sense of bombast, pride or action. There could be no chest beating swells of emotion as the only distinguishing thing on this track is a leisurely run up and down the keyboards. This should be enough to shoot further holes into the metaphoric balloon, depleting it’s momentum further. I’m tempted to go AWOL.

Track 6 – Myriad Harvest: A welcome departure into piano like intro on this track holds promise, but it doesn’t last and slips back into the synthesised anaesthesia. The old adage of ‘You reap what you sow’, never rung more true, one careless swing of the instrumental scythe and the balloon could be punctured beyond repair. With a heartbeat drum track this plods like a shire horse pulling a heavy plough.

Track 7 – Finding Destiny’s Road: We all have a destiny, be it in our hands or not and we find signs to guide us along the path. But here, someone’s pinched the road signs and we are left to wander aimlessly following the balloon as it drifts just above the road surface, ribbon trailing on the tarmac. Once again the only distinguishable piece is a few bars of piano like keys in the middle, too little to raise us and we stop suddenly at the end not knowing or particulalry caring where this takes us.

Track 8 – Devil’s Pass: Atmospheric and with a certain gloom, this is the best track, albeit the final one, on the album. It mourns the passing of the balloon as the the last desparate whisps of air are expelled and it lays motionless, done. This could have been good if longer and had built the menace and impetus, but it dies too soon. It also shows a hint of one of the bands Dave claims kinship with, I’ll leave you to guess which band.

In conclusion I have listened to this album four times fully and it has played whilst I write, I will not be listening again. I do not get paid for this and have no hidden agenda, the reviews I do are purely out of love for music. If you find riding in a lift aesthetically pleasing, getting off at the floor housing the library and feel daring at returning your library book a couple of days late, then this is the album for you.

I am proud to know a number of excellent multi-instrumentalists, one of whom I know once entered a popular TV talent competition and ended up probably hearing a similar parting sentence from the judges.

Sorry Mr Palermo, but it’s a ‘NO’ from me and I’m out.

Released July 2016

Download ‘Vista’ from CDbaby


International Super Prog project An Endless Sporadic release new album Magic Machine on September 16th

Front preview

One of the worlds most elusive yet breathtakingly captivating progressive rock bands, An Endless Sporadic, is set to return on 16th September 2016 with a new album, ‘Magic Machine’.

‘Magic Machine’ is a showcase for mind-bending musicianship and rich expressiveness via avante garde film-score soundscapes. An abstract journey through different styles of music and environments, the album offers a coruscating kaleidoscope of colours and joy, flashes of stylistic innovation featuring ensemble work that is staggeringly packed full of drama yet still meaningful from a compositional standpoint. This is an aurally challenging album with an experimentally wide sound palette, but as a whole is assuredly palatable, mesmerising and resides in a class paralleled by none.

Zach 1 small

Joining master multi instrumentalist Zach Kamins on this album is a stellar line-up of virtuoso musicians (we stopped counting at 30 instruments…all recorded live and including Hand Hammered Lasagne Trays!) and special guests including Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater, Liquid Tension Experiment), Roine Stolt (The Flower Kings), Michael Iago Mellender (Sleepytime Gorilla Museum) and Navene K (Animals as Leaders, Entheos) to name just a few!

Comments Jordan Rudess: “Zach has an enormous musical talent that I’ve been aware of for a long time. It was my pleasure to play some tracks on ‘Magic Machine’ as well as to be part of this important step in his career journey. The album is filled with awesome compositions and great playing!”

Hailing from the hallowed halls of Berklee College of Music in Boston, the brains behind An Endless Sporadic, Zach Kamins, is no stranger to the synergy or intuitiveness that his particular brand of prog-rock-jazz-fusion offers.  Anyone who has ever played Guitar Hero can attest to the beauty of An Endless Sporadic and their songs. The band gained most of their popularity with the song, “Impulse,” which was placed on Guitar Hero 3. After that they recorded, “Anything,” which was placed on Guitar Hero World Tour. From here they produced more songs to create their first EP, “Ameliorate.” And so An Endless Sporadic was born.

Zach 6 small

Comments Zach: “I feel that Magic Machine was created out of a strong desire to bring out the true intention of the name, An Endless Sporadic. I have always had a passion for music that was part of a bigger story, where ideas can take time to develop and be presented in many different ways. “
Magic Machine’s visually stunning cover art was created by Costin Chioreanu (Arch Enemy, Ihsahn, Opeth, Hexvessel)

Magic Machine track listing:

  1. The Departure
  2. Magic Machine
  3. Galactic Tactic
  4. Finding The Falls
  5. The Assembly
  6. Agile Descent
  7. Sky Run
  8. Through The Fog
  9. Sea Voyage
  10. Impulse I