Bare Infinity: The Butterfly Raiser (Blackdown Music)
Athens band Bare Infinity sell themselves as one of (if not the) first female fronted symphonic metal bands in Greece and whether that is true is debatable but there is no doubt that they play some great quality metal that sits in the vein of Nightwish and Within Temptation as Artemis brings in folk elements to the heavy sounds of founding guitarist Thomas Papadopoulos and second guitarist Steve Davis who are aided on this record by bassist Nick Laskos and drummer Simos Lantides, the Within Temptation influence is all over this record with the music straddling Gothic and power metal as the synths and classical elements blend well with the tougher metal sounds on tracks such as In Desertis which is near enough black metal.
Thomas even brings growls on Ashes as Italian singer Ida Elena impresses throughout, her vocal is not a glass shattering soprano but it works perfectly for the music on this record when taking the lead by herself as she does for most of the record or when paired with Max Morton on In Desertis or with Thomas' grunts. The music on this record is varied and engaging with the band unafraid to branch out of their comfort zone with tracks such as Sands Of Time which has metal riffage that is mingled with excellent use of Bouzouki. The Butterfly Raiser is Bare Infinity's second album (their first was in 2009) and it sees the band playing symphonic metal at a high quality, if you're waiting for the next WT or Delain record give Bare Infinity a chance to impress you. 8/10
Humanity Zero: Withered In Isolation (Satanath Records)
Funeral Doom Metal is one of the genres that can be like Marmite, you either love the crushingly slow pace, sandblasted vocals and general sense of dread it gives or you'd rather listen nails on a blackboard. Humanity Zero are now on their eighth album of misanthropic doom/death metal and when Withered In Scars opens the record with blastbeat drums underpinning massive slow motion riffs you know that the Athens band haven't had an attitude adjustment it's still absolutely devastating nihilistic and gut wrenchingly sorrowful, it's also boring, laborious and sounds like it was recorded in a bedroom. Humanity Zero will appeal but for me a band that can make a 9 minute song go by in a flash is doing something write but Humanity Zero make you wish their 4 minute songs were a bit shorter the album doesn't really get out of first gear. 5/10
Barb Wire Dolls: Rub My Mind (Motörhead Music/Warner Music Group)
Cretan grunge/punk rockers Barb Wire Dolls were personally signed to a record label by Lemmy himself so they have pedigree to live up too. I was expecting the bang crash wallop of 70's punk rock due to the attitude of the album cover. When I pressed play and that's what I got from the opening salvo of Back In The U.S.S.A but then it changes tact as the swinging bass heavy If I Fall is not punk by any stretch of the imagination moving into the pop spectrum a theme that continues on Desert Song and Hole Of Isolation both of which are in the grungy sound of The Pretty Reckless and even Halestorm.
Gold and Call Me (not a Blondie cover) both have the soft/loud dynamics and the punk elements do rear their heads again but not enough, there seems to be absolutely no attitude to this record, nothing at all it's not punk, it's not even rock n roll for the most part. Isis Queen (vocals) Pyn Doll (lead guitar) Krash Doll (drums) Iriel Blaque (bass) Remmington (rhythm guitar) can play and write but what they play and write is uninspiring, uninteresting and a bit crap. 3/10