Last year at Prognosis Festival I saw Green Carnation for the first time live. To my surprise I recognized all their songs. Later on I checked the band's discography on internet and found I have all their full lenght albums. These things can happen when a band disappears for over ten years. Now they are back and I can state they do not disappoint. Green Carnation always made this progmetal of the dark and moody kind. The opening title track immediately takes you back to their signature sound. Second song Sentinels is my favorite as it is more uptempo. Hereafter long song My Dark Reflections from their debut album gets a new version. I recall they played it live as well and it is a good song indeed. Herafter is Hounds the last new song already, which again meets expectations. The band decided to close the album with a cover Solitude by Black Sabbath. I would have preferred another new song, but I am not the one to decide. So overall we only get three new songs, but those show that Green Carnation are now fully back also as recording artist. If PPE 2021 can be held we shall see them again and no doubt undergo a great set.
Katatonia are very good at what they are doing. Thirty years down in their career that is making atmospheric doomy rocksongs. My first purchased album by them was 99 release Tonight's Decision. They then already passed their heaviest phase and something gothic our way came. Nowadays they mostly remind me of Anathema in the way that after a heavy start they only give us dark and moody rock. As I stated in the first line they do so very well, but..... In my case this but means a cry for loud and heavy outbursts. If you play the album on the background while doing something else you won't hear any difference between the songs and suddenly it is over. When you listen closer you grasp the beauty of it all and at times (Flicker) even hear something upbeat. I am sure that a live show can be interesting if you are in the right mood. On CD this is not for every moment, but when timed well a very nice 48 minutes pass by as performances and singing are above average for sure.
For the necessary uptempo metal there is always thrash metal coming to the rescue. Havok are among the flagbearers of the younger generation. This means they only started this century. For purists almost all of the young bands can be critisized as being not original. This is always the case when you play a genre but are born 20 years too late to join the heyday of same. So I look at the music only and do like Havok. Opener Post-truth Era shows that lyrics shall be socially critcal again and the music harks away in that thrashy mode that makes all live shows so good to watch. Energy is thrown at you and this album holds all the ingredients I look for in a thrash album. Highlight is closing epic Don't Do It. This anti suicide song starts with a few instrumental minutes, then goes to midtempo verses in order to thrash out the last minutes before an instrumental closing gives us time to catch our breath again. Looking forward to one day seeing them back in Holland.
Closing down today with The Hague's main thrash metal band Defazer. Three years after their EP Order Out Of Chaos, they now release their first (almost) full lenght Burning Horizon. The first time I saw Defazer live was at Schollenpop 2016 and I did not expect The Hague to have such a tight thrash metal band. Through the years they suffered some line-up changes, but that never impacted their sound. Also the line-up who recorded this CD is no longer together as bassist Maxime de Koning left to focus on her other band Hallowed Fire. Many times we could see Defazer opening for any band from Death Metal to NWOBHM playing in the region. This resulted even that by first hearing of this new album I recognized bits and pieces here and there (Southern Hell definitely). Defazer plays thrash metal which very much brings you back to the eighties. As they do so very well I can highly recommend Burning Horizon for anyone into metal and a must buy for thrash metal fans. Finally we seem to be lucky in The Hague with such a strong scene developing in Corona times. When live music returns one day I guess it shall be based very local. After Temple Renegade and Rages of Sin before them, now Defazer gives us a local release that should help them growing bigger.