Category: Music Genre

One of the most renowned guitarists in the world, Alexi Laiho, has passed away. The musician, most notably known as the front man of Children of Bodom, died in his home in Helsinki, Finland, last week. Laiho had suffered from long-term health issues during his last years.

Alexi Laiho and drummer Jaska Raatikainen founded Children of Bodom in 1993, and the band was one of the most internationally acclaimed metal acts in Finland up until their very last farewell concert in December of 2019. Last year Alexi Laiho put together Bodom After Midnight, who recorded three songs and shot one music video, which will be released later on posthumously.

Besides Children of Bodom, Laiho was known for acts such as WarmenSinergyKylähullut and The Local Band. Awarded with a Metal Hammer Golden Gods and several other international prizes, the guitarist was also the main star, leading a group of one hundred guitar players at Helsinki Festival in 2015 in “100 Guitars From Hel” – a massive concert piece he composed.

“We are crushed by the sudden passing of our dear friend and band member. Words cannot describe this shock and the profound sadness that we feel”, Daniel Freyberg, Mitja Toivonen and Waltteri Väyrynen from Bodom After Midnight state.

The talented guitarist and musician relished his roles as stepdad in his patchwork family, and as uncle and godfather. Especially during the last years, the important family ties brought a welcomed balance to his life and the active touring. Laiho was particularly close with his big sister, parents and his sister’s daughter. Laiho’s sister says:

“We are all absolutely shocked and devastated. We ask for privacy and understanding during these hard times. My little brother’s funeral will take place privately.”

Alexi Laiho will also be deeply missed by his family in Australia.

“Alexi was the most loving and magnificent husband and father. Our hearts are eternally broken”, Kelli Wright-Laiho says.

Artist: Growth

Album: The Smothering Arms Of Mercy

Date Of Release: 4th December, 2020

Label: Wildthing Records

Track Listing:

  1. Cigarette Burns
  2. The Treatment For Melancholy
  3. Fortress Of Flesh And Bone
  4. Our Lady Of The Hanging Heart
  5. Lead Us To Our Glorious Times
  6. Darkly, It Tightens Its Grip
  7. Soul Rot
  8. Something Follows
  9. Gird Your Loved In Armour While Yet You Wither

Review:

There are two things that you should probably know about Melbourne prog-death outfit Growth. First of all they are ambitious – I mean what other band jumps head first into their career with a trilogy of albums exploring something as deep as mental illness. And secondly they are a band that will never die wondering. As a band they try everything humanly possible on this album and unlike some other bands out there they live up to their prog description by wearing it as a badge of honour.

From the opening of first track “Cigarette Burns” you know that The Smothering Arms Of Mercy is going to be like no other album that you have heard this year. It opens like a band warming up before a gig, each instrument is all over the place and then everything falls into place as Luke Frizon’s (ex Jack The Stripper) powerful vocals hit… it is at that moment that you know that you are about to experience something very special with this album.

Next track, “The Treatment For Melancholy” has a more traditional opening but the prog side of Growth comes to the fore which crazy and edgy guitar work from Tristan Barnes while Frizon’s manic screams of “let me go” take this track into a dark yet brilliant realm that few other bands have ventured into this year.

That wide difference between Growth and any Aussie artists this year becomes even more apparent with “Fortress Of Flesh And Bone” which starts with some slow, moody guitar that literally has the audience hearing every moment of reflection from Barnes. Then throughout the tracks we are treated to an onslaught of Frizon’s vocals while each instrument seems to be doing its own thing while at the same time also working in unison to bring us some of the most pleasant prog-death that you are ever likely to hear.

Even the more traditional sounding tracks like “Our Lady Of The Hanging Heart,” “Lead Us To Our Glorious Times” and “Darkly It Tightens Its Grip” are made ten times better by Frizon’s amazing vocals while the manic sound of the band’s instrumental side returns on “Soul Rot.”

Again “Something Follows” sees the strong instrumental side of Growth come to the fore and the band’s brilliance is there for all to hear on an epic closing track that never lets up for the entire 11 minutes of its life. It is a track of an epic scale but is sheer brilliance.

I have hear some great albums in 2020 but none even come close to the amazing, epic nature of “The Smothering Arms Of Mercy.” This is an album like no other and heralds the start of a band that is surely going to become one of the heavy greats.

Rating (out of 5):

2020 has been a taxing ride for Australian born, platinum-selling artist Orianthi. Used to a heavy touring schedule that takes her right around the world like the rest of us 2020 has seen her stuck at home because of the worldwide pandemic.

“It has been pretty difficult, I am not going to lie,” says the gifted guitarist and singer as we sit down to talk about her first studio album in seven years. “Emotionally it has been pretty taxing. I really want to be able to see my family and friends and even over here (in the US) I haven’t been able to see that many people. It has got pretty bad out here in LA, we must be heading for another lockdown.”

The one saving grace for Orianthi in this tumultuous year has been the release of her new album O earlier this month. “I have been keeping to just seeing a small circle of people and have been doing a lot of press for my album,” she explains. “It is kind of crazy releasing an album during a pandemic but hopefully a lot of people will be helped by the album and entertained by it. But I really can’t wait for the word to get better again so we can begin to tour again… that would be awesome.”

The great news for Orianthi was that she was one of the lucky artists that didn’t have to find a way to record her album during the pandemic. “The album was actually finished a year ago,” she says as we talk about other artists who have had to face the recording in a pandemic hurdle. “We recorded it in Nashville with producer Marti Frederiksen who has worked with everybody including Aerosmith, Faith Hill, Buckcherry. He has done so much great stuff and he has been a friend of mine since I was 20 years old.”

“I went to Nashville and started to talk to Marti and he was like ‘let’s make a record’,” she says with a laugh. “So I was like ‘awesome’ and we went straight in and we didn’t over think it or anything, we just had so much fun. And you know what, one of the weirdest things was that one of the first songs we recorded was the track called ‘Contagious’ and we wrote that a year ago. For awhile we thought that would be the first single and I was like ‘no we can’t do that, that would be so wrong’. So instead we put out ‘Sinners Hymn’ and then ‘Impulsive’. But it has been pretty crazy because as you would know musicians are very reliant on touring and that’s how artists make money because records are basically free for everybody and touring is the way you get your music out there. That is why I make a record, because I want to tour it.”

O is out now through Frontiers.

There are some people in the heavy music scene that simply don’t need an introduction. The man known commonly as Ross The Boss is one of those people. Guitarist for a number of bands over the years including the mighty Manowar over the past few years The Boss has been focussing on his ‘super-group’ Death Dealer… a band made of many talented musos hailing from right around the world.

Now Death Dealer are preparing for the release of their third album – Conquer Lands. This is an album that has been in the making for several years and was stretched that little further by a little thing called a pandemic.

“After the second album we always said we were going to keep making albums,” Ross explains when I talk to him. “I wanted to do that because the band always clicks together, especially live. We were all off doing other things though. I was doing Ross The Boss Band and Sean Peck was off doing The Three Tremors and Stu Marshall as off doing Night Legion, but then we decided that now was the time to finish this record especially when the pandemic because that meant that we had the time.”

So perhaps we should be thankful for the pandemic for small favours. “So we got together and finished it,” he says proudly. “I’ll admit a lot of it was already done and when we all got together to finish it off… we just said that now was the time to put it out.”

And while some scribes have incorrectly said that the pandemic made it hard for Death Dealer to work on this album Ross says it didn’t change much at all. “It was actually pretty easy,” he admits with a laugh. “We are an intercontinental band. Stu is in Australia and then we have members on both the east and west coasts of America so that was nothing new for us. And to be honest a lot of bands are like that these days, they have members all over the place and the find a way to record.”

“The amazing thing about Death Dealer is that not only do we have the new album coming out on November 13th we are already working on Death Dealer Four right now,” he says continuing. “And to be honest we already have Death Dealer Five in the can. By the time we are able to tour I think we are going to be able to tour on two records.”

Conquered Lands is out on November 13th through Steel Cartel.