Heavy Metal Album Reviews: Week of May 26, 2015

The ratings are on a 5 star scale.

Ape Machine – ‘Live at Freak Valley’ - Ripple Music

Ape Machine – ‘Live at Freak Valley’. Ripple Music

Ape Machine – ‘Live at Freak Valley’ (Ripple)

Genre: Stoner Rock
Live At Freak Valley is the first live album of Portland, Oregon’s stoner blues-rock band Ape Machine. Looking at their catalog, it’s easy to find that the band is very skilled in the music they’re playing. Wild and enthusiastic blues driven stoner rock songs are performed perfectly by the band.

But when it comes to a live album, you’re expecting to hear something more, different from songs’ original sounds; especially when your music has enough potential and space for carrying the lengthy psychedelic improvising parts. But Live At Freak Valley suffers from lack of these. At some points, because of its production, it doesn’t even sound like a live album, making it more like a best of compilation release. At the end, Ape Machine’s powerful performance and their perfect retro rock sound stand as the album’s most positive points.

Rating: 3
(Arash Khosronejad)

Exxiles -  'Obliviion' - Nightmare Records

Exxiles – ‘Obliviion’. Nightmare Records

Exxiles – ‘Obliviion’ (Nightmare)

Genre: Symphonic/Progressive Metal
Exxiles are a new project started by former Reign Of The Architect drummerMauricio Bustamante. Their debut albumOblivion is an ambitious effort with numerous guest musicians.

Appearing on the album are Chris Caffery (Trans-Siberian Orchestra), Mike Lepond (Symphony X), Zak Stevens (Circle II Circle) and many others. It’s a concept album and the first of a planned trilogy. The songs are epic and bombastic utilizing a lot of different tempos, atmospheres and textures. It can be powerful and glorious at times, but there are other times it goes a little over the top into cheesiness.

Rating: 3
(Chad Bowar)

Far Beyond the Sunrise – ‘Far Beyond the Sunrise’ - Famined Recordings

Far Beyond the Sunrise – ‘Far Beyond the Sunrise’.Famined Recordings

Far Beyond the Sunrise – ‘Far Beyond the Sunrise’ (Famined)

Genre: Metalcore/Djent
New Jersey’s Far Beyond The Sunrise, highlighted by the duo of Joe Carozza and Kyle Curtis on guitars, have issued an intriguing EP of 5 songs. The collection is hands-and-knees heavy as it crawls over the carpet looking for its djent contacts to help them restore focus to the chaos.

The EP is fairly well-assembled as it toggles between the progressive and holler squalor of metalcore disguised as rubber-mallet metal. “Atychipobia” (fear of failure) and the EP’s single “Credibilty Loss” slather harsh, grating, dynamite-to-silence breakdowns all over the YouTube,  prepping the world for a full album.

Rating: 3.5
(Todd Lyons)

Kamchatka - 'Long Road Made Of Gold' - Despotz Records

Kamchatka – ‘Long Road Made Of Gold’. Despotz Records

Kamchatka – ‘Long Road Made Of Gold’ (Despotz)

Genre: Hard Rock
Just a year after their last album, the Swedish power trio Kamchatka are back with Long Road Made Of Gold. It’s their sixth record overall, and second for bassist Per Wiberg (Opeth, Spiritual Beggars).

The band draws from many genres including blues, stoner, progressive and hard rock. There’s even banjo on the opening track. They have a throwback vibe, but the production is crisp and modern. The songs are memorable and eclectic with singalong choruses, top-notch musicianship and non-stop groove.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Killer - 'Monsters Of Rock' - Mausoleum Records

Killer – ‘Monsters Of Rock’. Mausoleum Records

Killer – ‘Monsters Of Rock’ (Mausoleum)

Genre: Heavy Metal
The Belgian band Killer got their start way back in 1980. They split for a decade or so in the ’90s and have been back together since 2002. Their latest album isMonsters Of Rock, their first since 2005.

They have that vintage ’80s vibe with speed metal influences and prominent guitar. Vocalist Speedy is the lone remaining original member. His voice has raw raspiness in the vein of Lemmy, but with more range and technique. The songs are straightforward, but very effective and catchy. Killer are a band that’s flown under the radar, but for fans of the old school they are worth exploring.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

MRTVI - ‘Perpetual Consciousness Nightmare’ - Into The Night

MRTVI – ‘Perpetual Consciousness Nightmare’. Into The Night

MRTVI – ‘Perpetual Consciousness Nightmare’ (Into the Night)

Genre: Black Metal
MRTVI’s debut album Perpetual Consciousness Nightmare is a nightmare on the Portal side of the black metal spectrum. All the instruments and vocals are layered over each other, creating a paranoid atmosphere that supports the album’s concept of a man reflecting on his life following his suicide.

It’s a hopeless vision that lone member Damjan Stefanovic stays stuck in, though slight brevity is found during a few instrumentals. The music is so dense that it can be tough to completely comprehend. The spectacle of dissonance on display should find a place with those who like to be unnerved by their black metal.

Rating: 3
(Dan Marsicano)

Pyramaze – ‘Disciples of the Sun’ - Inner Wound Recordings

Pyramaze – ‘Disciples of the Sun’. Inner Wound Recordings

Pyramaze – ‘Disciples of the Sun’ (Inner Wound)

Genre: Progressive/Power Metal
Denmark’s Pyramaze are about to unleash their fourth release Disciples of the Sun. It has been seven years since their previous album, which was fronted by Iced Earth’s Matthew Barlow, who has since departed. They are now fronted by unknown singer Terje Harøy,. and are joined by Jacob Hansen, who not only produces, but is also one of their new guitarists.

Not as heavy as Immortal, the songwriting is more grandiose in nature and epic in scope. Leaning more on their progressive roots, the material is easily accessible. Vocalist Harøy is brilliant and makes a stunning impact with his debut. He has finesse for writing remarkable memorable melodies. Pyramaze are one of the best-kept secrets in metal and it’s about time they get the recognition they deserve.

Rating: 4
(Dan Drago)

Ten – ‘Isla De Muerta’ - Rocktopia Records

Ten – ‘Isla De Muerta’. Rocktopia Records

Ten – ‘Isla De Muerta’ (Rocktopia)

Genre: Hard Rock
A mere seven months since their last release, hard working melodic rock outfitTen are back with their tenth studio release Isla De Muerta. Led by guitar virtuoso Gary Hughes, his leads are smooth and fluid. He also provides the melodic vocals, as he possesses a set of clear pipes and a wide range.

The material is centered on a theme of pirates and buccaneers and can be awkward at times.  “The Valley of the Kings” finds them at their most comfortable with blazing solos and a memorable vocal melody. Considering the short break between releases, it is on par with their last few albums.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Drago)

Third Ion – ‘13/8Bit’ - Glasstone Records

Third Ion – ‘13/8Bit’. Glasstone Records

Third Ion – ‘13/8Bit’ (Glasstone)

Genre: Progressive Metal
Calling Gameboy fans. 13/8Bit is the debut album from Third Ion, a prog metal quartet featuring former members of The Devin Townsend Project and Into Eternity. The formula is geeked-up and spaced-out, with oodles of ambitious riff-work and the occasional foray into Konami chiptunage that plays like one of those Choose Your Own Path books, but with sillier sci-fi lyrics.

Singer Tyler Gilbert waxes Sagan-poetic and sounds like a blend of Maynard James Keenan and the Ghost of Christmas Past. 13/8Bit is decidedly modern and partially experimental, throwing Dream Theater, Tool, and Meshuggah traits at you with varying degrees of success. Even though the gamer aspect is fun, it seems secondary. There’s a lot to appreciate here, and potential is high.

Rating: 3
(Evan Mugford)

Thunder - 'Wonder Days' - earMusic

Thunder – ‘Wonder Days’. earMusic

Thunder – ‘Wonder Days’ (earMusic)

Genre: Hard Rock
I first heard Thunder in 1990 when the radio station I was working for played the single “Dirty Love” from their debut albumBackstreet Sympnony. 25 years later the British hard rockers are still doing their thing after a couple of breakups and reunions. Wonder Days is their first album since 2008.

If you liked them back in the day, you should still enjoy them now. They still play catchy, bluesy, hook-laden hard rock that’s anchored by Danny Bowes’ distinctive voice and great guitar work. They mix in a ballad or two for variety, and still have the spark that first attracted fans more than two decades ago.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Unmothered - ‘Umbra’ - Crowquill Records

Unmothered – ‘Umbra’. Crowquill Records

Unmothered – ‘Umbra’ (Crowquill)

Genre: Sludge Metal
The kind of noise-infused sludge thatUnmothered perpetuate on their second EP Umbra is maintained within a suffocating climate. Each of the three songs put the band in a different light, from the jagged tempos of “Huntress” to the subtle rhythm-led break within “Scarp” that opens up previously unheard melodic possibilities.

These possibilities are just that—teasers that act as a cleanser before the heaviness bellows back in. It can be an arduous task to write songs that are rowdy without losing direction. Today Is The Day have successfully navigated that and Unmothered are heading on a parallel path.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Marsicano)

We Butter The Bread With Butter – ‘Wieder Geil!’ - AFM Records

We Butter The Bread With Butter – ‘Wieder Geil!’.AFM Records

We Butter The Bread With Butter – ‘Wieder Geil!’ (AFM)

Genre: Metalcore
We Butter The Bread With Butter is the worst band name in the history of all mankind. With that out of the way, the band from Lübben, Germany has taken the ever-increasing trend of shoveling multi-genre sounds (EDM, pop, cabaret, etc.) into their brand of European metalcore and put together a fine record that gets better with multiple listens.

Wieder Geil!, German for “Horny Again!,” breaks through with “Anarchy” and continues excellence into “Berlin, Berlin” and especially “Warum Lieben Wir Nicht,” which roughly means ‘Don’t you love me , baby?,’ which shows off the best of WBTBWB’s qualities. There’s a mix of German and English lyrics, but it is not distracting. The album is good. The inside joke about the band name is not.

Rating: 3.5
(Todd Lyons)

New Heavy Metal Album Releases: May 26, 2015

New Metal ReleasesAeveron – VVD Destination Annihilation (Battlegod)
Albatross – Fear From The Skies (Transcending Obscurity)
Ape Machine – Live At Freak Valley (Ripple)
Apneica – Pulsazioni…Conversions (Club Inferno)
Arcturus – Arcturian (Prophecy)
Ashbringer – Vacant (Avantgarde)
Cold Cell – Lowlife (Avantgarde)
Dygitals – Dynamite (Mausoleum)
Exxiles – Oblivion (Nightmare)
Far Beyond the Sunrise – Far Beyond the Sunrise EP (Famined)
Guardians Of Time – Rage and Fire (Tmina)
Harmony – Remembrance (Ulterium)
Juggernaut – Overlooked EP (Blasphemour)
Kamchatka – Long Road Made Of Gold (Despotz)
Katechon – Coronation (Nuclear War Now!)
Killer – Monsters Of Rock (Mausoleum)
Light The Fire – Lost At Sea EP (Standby)
Livhzuena – Dark Mirror Neurons (Klonosphere)
Mamaleek – Via Dolorosa (The Flenser)
Morglbl – Tea Time For Punks (Free Electric Sound)
MRTVI – Perpetual Consciousness Nightmare (Into The Night)
Osculum Infame – The Axis Of Blood (Battlesk’r)
Pyramaze – Disciples of the Sun (Inner Wound)
Sarnath – Freshly Skinned and Left For Dead (Merdumgriz)
Skip Rock – Take It Or Leave It (Streetdog)
Swans – Filth Re-Release (Young God)
Ten – Isla De Muerta (Rocktopia)
Third Ion – 13/8Bit (Glasstone)
Thunder – Wonder Days (EarMusic)
Turbowolf – Two Hands (Spinefarm)
Unmothered – Umbra (Crowquill)
We Butter The Bread With Butter – Wieder Geil! (AFM)
Worldview – The Chosen Few (M24)
Zodiac – Road Tapes Vol. 1 (Prosthetic)

New Heavy Metal Album Releases: May 12, 2015

New Metal ReleasesAmputory – Ode To Gore (Xtreem)
Angra – Secret Garden (EarMusic)
Antigama – The Insolent (Selfmadegod)
BabyMetal – BabyMetal Re-Release (RAL/Sony)
Broken Cross – Through Light To Night (Apocalyptic Visions)
Cardinal Wyrm – Black Hole Gods (Svart)
Civil War – Gods and Generals (Napalm)
Dark Sarah – Behind The Black Veil (Inner Wound)
Deep Purple – Long Beach 1971 (EarMusic)
Demon Eye – Tempora Infernalia (Soulseller)
Domovoyd – Domovoyd (Svart)
God Damn – Vultures (One Little Indian)
Grotesque Deity – Bloodream (Infernal Devastation)
Hinder – When The Smoke Clears (The End)
Holocaustum – In The Fields They Bled (HPGD)
Holy Serpent – Holy Serpent (Riding Easy)
Luciferian Rites – When The Light Dies (Moribund)
Lunar Electric – Lunar Electric EP (Electric Maiden)
The Magik Way – Curve Sternum (Sad Sun)
Magnum – Escape From The Shadow Garden: Live 2014 (SPV)
Mist – Inan EP (Soulseller)
Mondo Drag – Mondo Drag (Riding Easy)
My Grimace – Grim Serenades (Inverse)
Nashville Pussy – Ten Years Of Pussy (SPV)
Obsequiae – Aria of Vernal Tombs (20 Buck Spin)
Orpheus Blade – Wolf’s Cry (Pitch Black)
Prurient – Frozen Niagara Falls (Profound Lore)
Revealing The Conscience – Time Will Reveal (Aural)
Seremonia – Kristalliarkki (Svart)
Signum Regis – Through The Storm (Ulterium)
Sirenia – The Seventh Life Path (Napalm)
Sisters Of… – The Serpent, The Angel, The Adversary (Crowquill)
Soto – Inside the Vertigo (EarMusic)
Steve’n’Seagulls – Farm Machine (Spinefarm)
Steve Von Till – A Life Unto Itself (Neurot)
Sun & Sail Club – The Great White Dope (Self)
Switchblade Jesus – Switchblade Jesus (Ripple)
Undead – False Prophecies (Listenable)
Veil of Maya – Matriarch (Sumerian)
Wicked Inquisition – Wicked Inquisition (Tridroid)
Wiegedood – De Doden Hebben Het Goed (Consouling Sounds)
Within Silence – Gallery Of Life (Ulterium)

Heavy Metal Album Reviews: Week of April 28, 2015

The ratings are on a 5 star scale.

Airstream – ‘Kingdom of Isolation’ - Metalville Records

Airstream – ‘Kingdom of Isolation’. Metalville Records

Airstream – ‘Kingdom of Isolation’ (Metalville)

Genre: Hard Rock
Break out your frayed denim vest and mousse that hair, because Sweden’sAirstream are in full-flouncing-effect with their debut release Kingdom of Isolation. Studded with prog, heavy metal, and good ole AOR, it’s a melodic hard rock record with oodles of ‘80s charm

Helmed by former Sky of Rage frontman Staffan ‘Stiff’ Karlsson, Airstream perform with gusto, rolling out harmless fist-pumpers and contagious choruses with ease. Opener “The Power of Music” is an instant good time, and a track like “Addicted” further proves the band’s knack for emotionally charged hard rock. It’s exceptionally cheesy, but if you adore bands like Europe, TNT, Van Halen, or even Uriah Heap, chances are you need a haircut, and that you’d probably dig these guys.

Rating: 3
(Evan Mugford)

Bell Witch - ‘Four Phantoms’ - Profound Lore Records

Bell Witch – ‘Four Phantoms’. Profound Lore Records

Bell Witch – ‘Four Phantoms’ (Profound Lore)

Genre: Funeral Doom Metal
Ghosts are trapped for eternity by particular elemental forces, and it’s onBell Witch’s shoulders to get their final horrifying thoughts out. Reflection degrades into merciless retribution, where hollow screams long for release. There is no hope for any of the spirits, left to suffer on their own.

In the midst of the torment lies glimpses of contemplation, as bass-led melodies reach out for help. The cries ring out in vain, but what isn’t futile is the evolved dimensions to the group’s sound that builds upon the excellent Longing. The raw, emotional outbursts that define Four Phantoms makes for a remarkable album.

Rating: 4.5
(Dan Marsicano)

Blackwelder - 'Survival Of The Fittest' - GoldenCore Records

Blackwelder – ‘Survival Of The Fittest’. GoldenCore Records

Blackwelder – ‘Survival Of The Fittest’ (GoldenCore)

Genre: Power Metal
Survival Of The Fittest is the debut album from the power metal supergroup Blackwelder, which includes vocalist Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear, ex-Gamma Ray), Bjorn Engelin (ex-Yngwie Malmsteen), Andrew Szus (Seven Seraphim) and Aquiles Prister (Primal Fear, ex-Angra).

Their power metal pedigrees meld effectively on the album, which has plenty of aggression along with great melodies and outstanding guitar work. There are some progressive influences alongside the power metal. Scheepers is one of the best power metal vocalists in the business, and he gives his usual top-notch performance. Fans of Scheepers work and power metal in general will want to check out Survival Of The Fittest.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Danko Jones - 'Fire Music' - MRI Records

Danko Jones – ‘Fire Music’. MRI Records

Danko Jones – ‘Fire Music’ (Bad Taste/MRI)

Genre: Hard Rock
After the Canadian release a couple months back, Fire Music is now being unleashed in the U.S. It’s Danko Jones’ seventh studio album, and the first with drummer Rich Knox.

The album finds the band firing on all cylinders. The 11 songs fly by in under 40 minutes, with zero filler. They are full of swagger and attitude  backed by great hooks and riffs. Their brand of straightforward hard rock is influenced by punk and garage rock, but is perfectly suited for big arenas. They have been getting more love the past few years, but Danko Jones remain a band that are extremely underrated.

Rating: 4
(Chad Bowar)

DSG - 'Still A Warrior' - Pure Steel Records

DSG – ‘Still A Warrior’. Pure Steel Records

DSG – ‘Still A Warrior’ (Pure Steel)

Genre: Heavy/Power Metal
David Shankle was a guitarist in Manowar in the late ’80s and early ’90s. He later former DSG (David Shankle Group). Still A Warrior is their third album, and first since 2007. It’s the first DSG record for vocalist Warren Halvarson (Damien Thorne).

The songs are power metal with a lot of intensity and heavy riffs. There are plenty of neoclassical elements as well and of course a lot of shredding solos from Shankle. Halvarson has a soaring power metal style voice with the requisite vibrato and vocal gymnastics. The musicianship is stellar throughout, but the production gets a bit muddy in places.

Rating: 3
(Chad Bowar)

Freedom Call – ‘666 Weeks Beyond Eternity’ - SPV Records

Freedom Call – ‘666 Weeks Beyond Eternity’. SPV Records

Freedom Call – ‘666 Weeks Beyond Eternity’ (Steamhammer/SPV)

Genre: Power Metal
Originally released in 2002, Eternitystands as one of Germany’s Freedom Call’s revered releases. The album has been remastered and re-released with a new bonus disc. As with most modern day releases, there isn’t a need for a remaster, but the change in track order and the added bonus disc are essential for die-hard fans.

Eternity contains some of Freedom Call’s most iconic songs with “Metal Invasion,” “Flying High” and “Land of Light” still shining as brilliant today as when first released. The brand new title track is a throwback to their earlier days with its ridiculously catchy melody. The bonus disc is rounded out with live versions and covers of Eternity era material.

Rating: 4
(Dan Drago)

Godsized - ‘Heavy Lies The Crown’ ( - Metalville Records

Godsized – ‘Heavy Lies The Crown’ (. Metalville Records

Godsized – ‘Heavy Lies The Crown’ (Metalville)

Genre: Hard Rock
Solid, heavy, and just the right amount of dirty, the new offering from British bandGodsized, Heavy Lies The Crown, pushes the right buttons with those looking for an offering of melody grooving hard rock. However, the record is a bit formulaic.

Back and forth tussles with redundancy weaken this record, which is shame considering the strength of quite a few songs. Great songs line this record, but there is fatigue underlying a lot of the album as well as a lack of cohesion that prevents it from rising to the level of being a great record.

Rating: 3
(Edward Banchs)

Hardcore Superstar – ‘HCSS’ - MRI Records

Hardcore Superstar – ‘HCSS’. MRI Records

Hardcore Superstar – ‘HCSS’ (MRI)

Genre: Hard Rock/Heavy Metal
One of the more popular bands in Sweden for nearly 20 years has been the sleaze rock/heavy metal band Hardcore Superstar. Thanks to Joakim ‘Jocke’ Berg’s trademark vocals and the band’s penchant for addictive hooks, the quartet have kept the sex and beer-fueled spirit of the 1980s alive and well. And like their other nine albums, HCSS is a blast to listen to.

Rife with strong choruses—“Don’t Mean S—t to Me” and “Touch the Sky” emerge as immediate crowd-pleasers—HCSS’s various styles conjure names like The Clash, The Police, Guns N’ Roses, Boy Hits Car, and Pantera. Cited as a return to their demo days, the band’s attitude might be less hostile, but the enthusiasm remains loud and proud.

Rating: 3.5
(Evan Mugford)

JPT Scare Band – 'Acid Acetate Excursion/Rape of the Titan's Sirens' - Ripple Music

JPT Scare Band – ‘Acid Acetate Excursion/Rape of the Titan’s Sirens’. Ripple Music

JPT Scare Band – ‘Acid Acetate Excursion/Rape of the Titan’s Sirens’ (Ripple)

Genre: Proto Metal
Originally formed in ’73, JPT Scare Banddidn’t release Acid Acetate Excursion andRape of the Titan’s Sirens until the ’90s, making the band one of those obscure/cult proto metal gems. It’s really a shame their heavy blues jams aren’t more widely known.

Half of the eight tracks on hand breach the 12-minute mark as the result of extended jam sessions. Drummer Jeff Littrell lays down the groove as guitarist extraordinaire Terry Swope lets it all out with extended solos and the gnarly bass of Paul Grisby occasionally takes centre stage. The vocals, however sparse, aren’t great but JPT’s mix of Hendrix, Cream and Sabbath is well worth diving into.

Rating: 3.5
(Matt Hinch)

Kommandant - ‘The Architects Of Extermination’ - ATMF Records

Kommandant – ‘The Architects Of Extermination’.ATMF Records

Kommandant – ‘The Architects Of Extermination’ (ATMF)

Genre: Black Metal
Kommandant have always garnered suspicion about their overt imagery, but they always manage to somehow toe the line without the suspicions becoming outright accusations. Regardless, Kommandant, musically, have always been pretty solid black metal with a mechanized vibe and with warped vocals, so much so that the band’s last album,The Draconian Archetype, narrowly missed my best of the year list back in 2012.

The Architects Of Extermination sees Komandant employing a much more atmospheric, dissonant approach to their craft, de-emphasizing the mechanizations of the past. The mixing of the drums lends to this change, being given less prominence. The vocals of Markus Kolar, delivered from the bully pulpit, rise and fall in time to the music, adding to the atmosphere.

Rating: 4
(Dave Schalek)

New Heavy Metal Album Releases: April 28, 2015

New Metal ReleasesAges – Malefic Miasma (Black Lodge)
Airstream – Kingdom of Isolation (Metalville)
Austerymn – Sepulcrum Viventium (Memento Mori)
Axel Rudi Pell – Magic Moments: The 25th Anniversary Concert DVD/CD (SPV)
Band Of Spice – Economic Dancers (Scarlet)
Bell Witch – Four Phantoms (Profound Lore)
Blackwelder – Survival Of The Fittest (Goldencore)
Carbonized – For The Security Re-Release (Vic)
Celtachor – Nuada Of the Silver Arm (Trollzorn)
Dark Quarterer – Ithaca (Metal On Metal)
Demonical – Black Flesh Redemption EP (Agonia)
Disrupted – Morbid Death (Memento Mori)
DSG – Still a Warrior (Pure Steel)
Emerged – Letting Go Of Certainties (Vic)
Freedom Call – Eternity Re-Release (SPV)
Furor Gallico – Furor Gallico Re-Release (Scarlet)
Godsized – Heavy Lies The Crown (Metalville)
Gost – Behemoth (Blood)
Implode – I Of Everything (Cramada)
JPT Scare Band – Acid Acetate Excursion/Rape Of The Titan’s Sirens (Ripple)
Klone – Here Comes The Sun (Pelagic)
Kommandant – The Architects Of Extermination (ATMF)
A Life Divided – Human (AFM)
Lustre – Blossom (Nordvis)
Monolord – Vaenir (Riding Easy)
Mordenial – Where The Angels Fall (Vic)
Nightrage – The Puritan (Despotz)
Noise-A-Tron – Vast Arcane (Bleeding Light)
Norot – Nathrach (Naturmacht)
Paganland – Fatherland (Svarga)
Raven – ExtermiNation (SPV)
The Resistance – Torture Tactics (EarMusic)
Risen Prophecy – Into The Valley Of Hinnom (Metal On Metal)
Seagrave – Stabwound (Art Of Propaganda)
A Secret Revealed – The Bleakness (Bastardized)
Secret Sphere – A Time Never Come Re-Recorded (Scarlet)
Stonegriff – Come Taste The Blood (Metal On Metal)
Throes – Disassociation (Rain Without End)
Unleashed – Dawn of the Nine (Nuclear Blast)
Vardan – Despicable Broken Hope (Moribund)
Voice Of Ruin – Consumed EP (Tenacity)
Whorion – The Reign Of The 7th Sector (Inverse)

Aerosmith To Launch ‘Blue Army’ Tour In June

aerosmithmamakin2015donloadvid_638

Following their 2014 “Let Rock Rule” tour, Massschusetts rock legends AEROSMITH will return to the road June 13 with their “Blue Army” tour. The trek will take the band’s all original members — Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Joey Kramer, Tom Hamilton and Brad Whitford — to 15 cities before concluding in Grand Rapids, Michigan on Tuesday, August 4.

Says Joe Perry: “The name ‘Blue Army’ came from the fact that ‘everyone’ in our audience from the ’70s were wearing blue denim and it looked like a sea of blue, thus the Blue Army.”

Immediately following the tour, AEROSMITH will perform on Friday, August 7 at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio for the Pro Football Hall Of Fame‘s first-ever Concert For Legends. The concert — part of the 2015 Pro Football Hall Of Fame Enshrinement Festival — will pay tribute to the legends of the game on the eve of the Enshrinement for the Class of 2015.

On the “Blue Army” tour, AEROSMITH will perform a set including their career-defining biggest hits, many of which are highlighted of their upcoming “Aerosmith Rocks Donington” 2014 DVD (Eagle Rock Entertainment). Captured live at Donington Park in Leicestershire, U.K. in June 2014 as part of the band’s “Let Rock Rule” definitive rock and roll experience, the DVD features 19 of the band’s most iconic hits, including “Love In A Elevator”, “Janie’s Got A Gun”, “Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing”, “Dude Looks Like A Lady”, “Walk This Way”, “Dream On”, “Sweet Emotion” and many more.

AEROSMITH‘s 2015 summer tour dates:

Jun. 13 – Glendale, AZ – Gila River Arena
Jun. 24 – Evansville, IN – The Ford Center
Jun. 27 – Durant, OK – Choctaw Casino Event Center
Jun. 30 – Hidalgo, TX – State Farm Arena
Jul. 03 – Stateline, NV – Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena at Harveys
Jul. 07 – Santa Barbara, CA – Santa Barbara Bowl
Jul. 10 – Salinas, CA – Salinas Sports Complex
Jul. 13 – Kelowna, BC – Prospera Place
Jul. 16 – Victoria, BC – Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre
Jul. 19 – Fort McMurray, AB – Shell Place at MacDonald Park
Jul. 22 – Cheyenne, WY – Cheyenne Frontier Days
Jul. 25 – Minot, ND – North Dakota State Fair
Jul. 28 – Ridgefield, WA – Amphitheater Northwest
Aug. 01 – Las Vegas, NV – MGM Grand Garden Arena
Aug. 04 – Grand Rapids, MI – Van Andel Arena
Aug. 07 – Canton, OH – Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium
Read more at http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/aerosmith-to-launch-blue-army-tour-in-june/#muiRLG6DsQKhMqgr.99

Heavy Metal Album Reviews: Week of April 14, 2015

The ratings are on a 5 star scale.

Abyss - ‘Heretical Anatomy’ - 20 Buck Spin Records

Abyss – ‘Heretical Anatomy’. 20 Buck Spin Records

Abyss – ‘Heretical Anatomy’ (20 Buck Spin)

Genre: Death Metal
It’s difficult to be floored by a contemporary metal album, especially if you listen to metal on a daily basis, butAbyss invoke that feeling with their astounding debut. For twenty unnerving minutes, the group annihilates their peers with an equal distribution of crusty death metal and cruel grind.

The opening title track forces its heartless intentions on the listener, and the remaining seven tracks build upon that. Steamrolling riffs and shredding leads are commonplace, though something like the doom-y stature of “Thrall of the Elder Gods” can come along to mess with those standards. Heretical Anatomy is a top-tier record that doesn’t compromise on its barbaric nature.

Rating: 4.5
(Dan Marsicano)

Annisokay – ‘Enigmatic Smile’ - SPV Records

Annisokay – ‘Enigmatic Smile’. SPV Records

Annisokay – ‘Enigmatic Smile’ (SPV)

Genre: Metalcore/Alternative Metal
Unabashedly injecting full doses of beta into their metalcore stylings, German quintet Annisokay are back with album numero dos in Enigmatic Smile, an enjoyably airy vacation into clean vocal-meets-breakdown paradise, a realm with electro hugs, long bangs, and plenty of harmless posturing.

Only a few cans short of a six-pack,Enigmatic Smile remains a helplessly melodic and well-produced album, traits that inescapably make this better than it probably should be. The melodrama comes off in stink waves, and the clean vocals are often embarrassingly obnoxious, but the riffs are there, so are the impressive hooks. If this band looked a little closer at how Bring Me the Horizon handles this emo-aggro sound, they may just end up finding some lead in their pencils.

Rating: 3
(Evan Mugford)

At the Dawn – ‘Land In Sight’ - Bakerteam Records

At the Dawn – ‘Land In Sight’. Bakerteam Records

At the Dawn – ‘Land In Sight’ (Bakerteam)

Genre: Power Metal
Formed out of the ashes of death metal band Conspiracy, At the Dawn are the polar opposites as their focus is on grandiose melodies and a mix of power and progressive metal. Their sophomore release Land In Sight picks up where their debut left off with an enhancement on adding symphonic elements.

Lead guitar play Michele Viaggi shreds, as his neoclassical style is a blend of John Petrucci and Yngwie Mamlsteen. He is the clear highlight since his playing is magnificent and fits the progressive elements perfectly. Vocalist Stefano de Marco possesses a wide range but thankfully keeps his register in the mid range and never sings outside his reach.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Drago)

Eden's Curse - 'Live With The Curse' - AFM Records

Eden’s Curse – ‘Live With The Curse’. AFM Records

Eden’s Curse – ‘Live With The Curse’ (AFM)

Genre: Heavy/Power Metal
After four studio albums, the British bandEden’s Curse are releasing their first live album, Live With The Curse. It was recorded in Glasgow, Scotland. There’s plenty of material on the album, with 20 songs clocking in at around 100 minutes.

Vocalist Nikola Mijić, whose first record with Eden’s Curse was 2013’s Symphony Of Sin, also does a nice job with the band’s earlier material that he did not originally sing. It’s an energetic performance all around, with tight musicianship, good backing vocals and an appreciative crowd. It’s ironic that a band formed as solely a studio project has turned into a first-rate live act.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Gallows – ‘Desolation Sounds’ - Bridge 9 Records

Gallows – ‘Desolation Sounds’. Bridge 9 Records

Gallows – ‘Desolation Sounds’ (Bridge 9)

Genre: Post Hardcore
Mosh pit darlings Gallows have delivered yet another stereo punisher withDesolation Sounds. Flowing between anthem style hardcore and melodic driven sing-along, the album is a strong statement by a band that chooses no conformity.

Each song delivers its own masterful composition, exposing what this band does best. Darlings of the underground, Gallows deserve your attention, and Desolation Sounds is an outstanding record to begin that discovery if you’ve never checked out the band.

Rating: 4
(Edward Banchs)

Jaded Star - 'Memories From The Future' - Sensory Records

Jaded Star – ‘Memories From The Future’. Sensory Records

Jaded Star – ‘Memories From The Future’ (Sensory)

Genre: Heavy Metal
Jaded Star are a new Greek band with some veteran members. They are fronted by ex-Visions Of Atlantis vocalist Maxi Nil and other members have been in groups such as Iced Earth and Wardrum.

Their debut album Memories From The Future is a diverse effort with influences of traditional metal, power metal and hard rock. Nil has a great voice, and she’s able to sing with both power and restraint. The songs are very catchy, both in melody and riffage. There’s also plenty of atmosphere that adds depth and texture to the songs.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Lancer - 'Second Storm' - Despotz Records

Lancer – ‘Second Storm’. Despotz Records

Lancer – ‘Second Storm’ (Despotz)

Genre: Power Metal
As you can probably guess from the title,Second Storm is the second album from the Swedish power metal band Lancer.They are a young band who are influenced by classic groups like Iron Maiden and Helloween. Influences of more modern bands like DragonForce can also be heard.

The songs are very melodic and packed with hooks, but also have ample aggression. Isak Stenvall is an excellent vocalist with a lot of power and range. The guitar work on the album is top-notch, with a lot of great solos and memorable riffs. There’s even a bass solo or two. While somewhat derivative, it’s a well-played and enjoyable power metal album.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Magic Kingdom – ‘Savage Requiem’ - AFM Records

Magic Kingdom – ‘Savage Requiem’. AFM Records

Magic Kingdom – ‘Savage Requiem’ (AFM)

Genre: Power Metal
Formed in 1999, symphonic power metal band Magic Kingdom are prepared to release their fourth album Savage Requiem. It is also their third different lead vocalist as ex-Adagio singer Christian Palin now takes over vocal duties. Magic Kingdom were formed by guitarist Dushan Petrossi, who also handles primary songwriting duty in fellow power metal outfit Iron Mask.

Where Iron Mask have hard rock tendencies, Magic Kingdom are pure power metal. The album’s tempo is at warp speed as the song structures are built around blazing double bass, excellent musicianship and grandiose melodies. Palin has tremendous range and showcases his voice throughout.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Drago)

Michael Angelo Batio 'Shred Force 1: The Essential MAB' - Rat Pak Records

Michael Angelo Batio ‘Shred Force 1: The Essential MAB’. Rat Pak Records

Michael Angelo Batio ‘Shred Force 1: The Essential MAB’ (Rat Pak)

Genre: Neoclassical Metal/Hard Rock
You may have seen him and his distinctive double guitar performing on a recent episode of That Metal Show, and now shredder extraordinaire Michael Angelo Batio is unleashing the career retrospective Shred Force 1: The Essential MAB.

Along with instrumentals featuring his guitar wizardry, Batio brings aboard some guest vocalists. Queenryche’s Todd LaTorre sings on the Rush cover “What You’re Doing” and Deep Purple’s “Burn.” Batio pays tribute to some other guitar gods such as Eric Clapton (“Slowhand”), Randy Rhodes (“RRR”) and Dimebag Darrell (“Diamond”). There are tons of other guest appearances as well, such as Chris Poland, Mark Tremonti, Rudy Sarzo, Michael Wilton, Jeff Loomis, George Lynch and more.

Rating: 4
(Chad Bowar)

Outre - ‘Ghost Chants’ - Third Eye Temple

Outre – ‘Ghost Chants’. Third Eye Temple

Outre – ‘Ghost Chants’ (Third Eye Temple)

Genre: Black Metal
Sharp brutality and haunting melodies run through the black metal on Outre’s first album Ghost Chants. When the two aspects mingle, like on the gripping finale “Arrival,” the band sees the best results. That track also has one of the fastest parts on the whole album, as the song hits a buzzing pace that it doesn’t come out of.

Stellar drum work throughout gives the proceedings a charge helped by songwriting that is more than just static strumming. Divided into seven “chants,” the spirits of the genre, both past and present, have a strong hold on this effort.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Marsicano)

New Heavy Metal Album Releases: April 14, 2015

New Metal ReleasesAbyss – Heretical Anatomy(20 Buck Spin)
Akhlys – The Dreaming I(Debemur Morti)
Anchor – Distance & Devotion(Gaphals)
Annisokay

Enigmatic Smile (Long Branch / SPV)
At The Dawn – Land In Sight (Bakerteam)
Bladecatcher – Obverse EP (EEE)
Bosse-De-Nage – All Fours (Profound Lore)
Dance Gavin Dance – Instant Gratification (Rise)
Eden’s Curse – Live With The Curse (AFM)
Embrace of Thorns – Darkness Inpenetrable (Nuclear War Now!)
Enablers – The Rightful Pivot (Exile On Mainstream)
Gallows – Desolation Sounds (Bridge Nine)
Halestorm – Into The Wild Life (Atlantic)
Helfir – Still Bleeding (My Kingdom)
Infernus – Grinding Christian Flesh (Moribund)
Jaded Star – Memories From the Future (Sensory)
Lancer – Second Storm (Despotz)
Magic Kingdom – Savage Requiem (AFM)
Manegarm – Nordstjarnans Tidsalder Re-Release (Black Lodge)
Michael Angelo Batio – Shred Force 1 (Rat Pak)
Murdock – Dead Lung (Basick)
Now and On Earth – Blacked Out (Epitaph)
Omrade – Edari (My Kingdom)
Outre – Ghost Chants (Godz ov War)
Plage – Den Kristne Stank (Alusia)
Pohjoinen – Pohjoinen (Inverse)
Rongeur – The Catastrophist & As The Blind Strive Demos (Disiplin)
Sacred Blood

Argonautica (Pitch Black)
Silent Lie – Layers Of Nothing (Bakerteam)
Sinners Moon – Atlantis (Inverse)
Starsick System – Daydreamin’ (Bakerteam)
Stearica – Fertile (Monotreme)
Strong Addiction – Anesthesia (Inverse)
Sulphur Aeon – Gateway To The Antisphere (Van/Imperium)
Upsilon Acrux – Sun Square Dialect (New Atlantis)
Various Artists – Rock ‘n Roll Rebels & the Sunset Strip: Volume 1 (Eonian)
Veld – Daemonic: The Art Of Dantalian (Lacerated Enemy)
Velvet Six – Demons Los Divas (Inverse)
Vermord – Dawn Of The Black Harvest (Grimoire)
Wende – Vorspiel einer Philosophie der Zukunft (Moribund)
Wolfpakk – Rise Of The Animal (AFM)
Wovoka – Saros (Battleground)

New Heavy Metal Album Releases: April 7, 2015

New Metal ReleasesAcid Witch – Midnight MoviesEP (Hells Headbangers)
Agnostic Front – The American Dream Died(Nuclear Blast)
Alunah – Call Of Avernus

Re-Release (PRC)
Anathema – Fine Days: 1999-2004 (Music For Nations)
Apophys – Prime Incursion (Metal Blade)
At The Gates / Voivod – Split EP (Century Media)
Byzantine – To Release Is To Resolve (CEN)
The Crotals – Fuel! Flames! Blast! (Tenacity)
Deletere – De Ritibus Morbiferis: Demo Collection (Sepulchral)
Deletere – Les Heures de la Peste (Sepulchral)
Dryom – Dryom 2 (Solitude)
Enforcer – From Beyond (Nuclear Blast)
Eohum – Revelations, Aurora Of An Epoch (Mycelium)
Ether – Hymns of Failure (Sepulchral)
Exhumation – Opus Death (Dunkelheit)
Foehammer – Foehammer EP (Grimoire/Australopithecus)
Gorguts – From Wisdom To Hate Re-Release (Century Media)
Gorguts – Obscura Re-Release (Century Media)
Heidevolk – Velua (Napalm)
Ill Omen – Compendium Melificarum: Esoterica (Nuclear War Now!)
Incantation – Entrantment of Evil EP Re-Release (Hells Headbangers)
Impalers – Prepare For War EP (Evil Eye)
Kehlvin / Fleshworld – To Deny Everything That’s Mundane Split (Division)
Khors – Cold Re-Release (Svarga)
Korgul The

Exterminator and Akerbeltz – War & Hell Split (Hammerheart)
Lay Siege – Hopeisnowhere (Lifeforce)
Macerie – Macerie EP (Sentient Ruin)
Malthusian – Below The Hengiform (Invictus)
Mammoth Mammoth – Volume IV: Hammered Again (Napalm)
Marriages – Salome (Sargent House)
Minsk – The Crash & The Draw (Relapse)
Morgoth – Ungod (Century Media)
NY in 64 – NY64 (Magic Bullet)
Oshiego – Crossing The Bridge Of Siraat (HPGD)
Psychomancer – Inject The Worms (Orchestrated Misery)
Reincarnation – Void + Seed Of Hate (Xtreem)
Royal Thunder – Crooked Doors (Relapse)
Sabaton – Heroes Deluxe Edition Re-Release (Nuclear Blast)
Satanic Warmaster – Fimbulwinter (Hells Headbangers)
Saturnalia Temple – To The Other (The Ajna Offensive)
Shrine Of The Serpent – Shrine Of The Serpent (Materia Prima)
Shroud Eater – Face The Master (Primitive Violence)
Six For Nine – Six For Nine (No Regrets)
Skyforger – Senprusija (Thunderforge)
Soilwork – Live In The Heart of Helsinki DVD/CD (Nuclear Blast)
Steve Vai – Stillness in Motion: Vai Live in L.A. CD/DVD (Legacy)
Sworn In – The Lovers/The Devil (Razor & Tie)
Treedeon – Lowest Level Reincarnation (Exile On Mainstream)
Vasomortus – Instrument Torture of Pyramid (Brute)
White Hills – Walks For Motorists (Thrill Jockey)
YDI – A Place In The Sun/Black Dust (Southern Lord)

Heavy Metal Album Reviews: Week of March 31, 2015

The ratings are on a 5 star scale.

Ad Nauseam - 'Nihil Quam Vacuitas Ordinatum Est' - Lavadome Productions

Ad Nauseam – ‘Nihil Quam Vacuitas Ordinatum Est’. Lavadome Productions

Ad Nauseam – ‘Nihil Quam Vacuitas Ordinatum Est’ (Lavadome)

Genre: Death Metal
Nihil Quam Vacuitas Ordinatum Est is the debut album from the Italian band Ad Nauseam. It took five years to create, which is evident in the complexity and diversity of the music.

At times the songs are brutal and technical, other times more progressive and almost avant-garde. Dense and oppressive parts give way to mellower, experimental sections before the extremity resumes. The twists and turns are constant throughout the lengthy songs, keeping things interesting. And while the technical mastery and variety is easy to admire, it can also be difficult and challenging for the listener to absorb.

Rating: 3
(Chad Bowar)

Blackout – 'Blackout' - Riding Easy Records

Blackout – ‘Blackout’. Riding Easy Records

Blackout – ‘Blackout’ (Riding Easy)

Genre: Doom Metal
Despite only forming in 2011, NYC’sBlackout have been nothing but productive. They released We Are Here in 2013, the Converse EP last year and now their self-titled full-length. Two songs from the EP appear on Blackout in expanded form, but not my favorite “The Chain”. No matter. They all crush.

Blackout are simply massive. The trio bust out jam after jam of groovy, devastating doom. Hypnotic rhythms and a simple approach to riffs sink deep under the skin and become part of the listener. Psychedelic flourishes weave into the music but also the unconventional, almost indie sounding vocals. Blackoutsounds like the product of their environment; loud, abrasive, towering and not to be slept on.

Rating: 4
(Matt Hinch)

Blliigghhtted – 'Zeroes' - Merdrumgriz Records

Blliigghhtted – ‘Zeroes’. Merdrumgriz Records

Blliigghhtted – ‘Zeroes’ (Merdumgiriz)

Genre: Experimental Black Metal
The latest from the ever-productive Merdumgiriz camp is Zeroes byBlliigghhtted, consisting of two 21+ minute free-form black metal freakouts. Both tracks, as expected, throw convention to the curb and wind through a number of unpredictable courses.

Zeroes is cavernous and lo-fi. Needling tremolos and crashing percussion give way to moody and epic synth-driven passages. Chaos and experimentation reign eternal. Much of the atmosphere is created by the male/female, growl/howl vocals. Terrible, haunting and entirely unsettling. It’s impossible to understand exactly what is going on but those with open minds need to relish the unrestrained creativity and wildly varied construction of their extremely experimental black metal. It’s a challenging art, but one worth experiencing.

Rating: 3.5
(Matt Hinch)

Cyrax - ‘Pictures’ - Bakerteam Records

Cyrax – ‘Pictures’. Bakerteam Records

Cyrax – ‘Pictures’ (Bakerteam)

Genre: Progressive Metal
Italy’s Cyrax are constantly shape-shifting their progressive music in ways that surprise and gather one’s curiosity. The three-part “Shine Through Darkness” goes excessive without seeming forced. “These Greenvalleys” has a classical touch with operatic vocals and strings to give the tune some heft. A funk-ish closing instrumental is the lone track that comes off more like a studio outtake.

The stylistic changes that jump between songs can make the whole album a little disjointed at times, where instances like the use of a full choir seem too melodramatic. Still, Pictures is a distinct effort that definitely earns its progressive tag.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Marsicano)

Full Devil Jacket - ‘Valley of Bones’ - eOne Music

Full Devil Jacket – ‘Valley of Bones’. eOne Music

Full Devil Jacket – ‘Valley of Bones’ ( eOne)

Genre: Hard Rock
Tennessee’s Full Devil Jacket have reunited, and Valley of Bones is their first album since 2000. The songs have to age like fine Jack Daniels, it appears. On the melody scale, this album pegs the needle at full cannot-get-it-out-of-your-head levels. “Killer” is killer straight up hard rock with no back chaser. “Valley of Bones” is a four-four rocker with electronica effects baked in. “7XDown” is the probably the anthem to pump fists to.

The problem with the album is that it gets all schizoid after that.  A trio of okay songs shuffle by, and then “Blood of the Innocents” appears as a rep from the real metal police shows up to make sure things are in order. The remainder of the album simply spins off into WTF town. It must be noted that Josh Brown sounds great and that’s a good thing, considering he could have been just another drug casualty after an overdose back in 2000.

Rating 3.5
(Todd Lyons)

Hollywood Undead - ‘Day Of The Dead’ - Interscope Records

Hollywood Undead – ‘Day Of The Dead’. Interscope Records

Hollywood Undead – ‘Day Of The Dead’ (Interscope)

Genre: Rap Metal
Hollywood Undead’s fourth full length album Day Of The Dead  is a world all unto itself. This musical menagerie of rap, rock, industrial, nu metal, and pop flows like an insanity fueled carnival ride. The songs have everything from metal leads, auto tuned and clean vocals, hip hop jams, synthesizers, and a few screams thrown in for added punch.

The lyrics are emotional and well written, with songs that range from party anthems to gritty stories about street life. “Dark Places” and “Take Me Home” were two particularly standout tracks for me. The spirit of the hard edged LA music scene is strong with these cats.

Rating: 4
(Diana M. Marsh)

Iris Divine – ‘Karma Sown’ (Sensory) - Sensory Records

Iris Divine – ‘Karma Sown’ (Sensory). Sensory Records

Iris Divine – ‘Karma Sown’ (Sensory)

Genre: Progressive Metal
Combining grandiose vocals with intricate musical passages, Virginia’s Iris Divinepresent a nice balance of accessibility and complexity. Their sophomore releaseKarma Sown is a layered multi dimensional release that features stunning musicianship with thick heavy riffs. A combination of the bands Redemption and King’s X, they have a penchant for writing multifaceted material while still retaining massive hooks.

The album closes with “In the Wake of Martyrs” which finds the band at their most progressive and is easily the highlight of the record. The vocal hook gets latched into your brain while the musicianship is mind blowing. Vocalist Navid Rashid possesses a mid range vocal that blends well with the detuned guitars.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Drago)

Pombagira – ‘Flesh Throne Press’ - Svart Records

Pombagira – ‘Flesh Throne Press’. Svart Records

Pombagira – ‘Flesh Throne Press’ (Svart)

Genre: Psychedelic Doom Metal
Despite what their name and album title may suggest, Pombagira are not from Brazil and they do not play brutal death metal. This London-based duo play doom and they play it well. In fact, on their sixth full-length release, the mammoth double-disc Flesh Throne Press, Pombagira hit upon just about every tenet in the doom rulebook.

The band manages to sound both huge and small, shifting from suffocating walls of distortion to eerily quiet moments of occult-edged rock. The melancholic clean vocals, blended with a reverberating doom din, remind of an act like Pallbearer, while the more hypnotic passages should appeal to fans of Yob and earlier Om. Although the proceedings do occasionally drag, the ambitions and emotional weight are reason enough to recommend Flesh Throne Press to doom fanatics. This one needs ample room to burn.

Rating: 3.5
(Evan Mugford)

Karyn Crisis' Gospel Of The Witches - 'Salem's Wounds' - Century Media Records

Karyn Crisis’ Gospel Of The Witches – ‘Salem’s Wounds’. Century Media Records

Karyn Crisis’ Gospel Of The Witches – ‘Salem’s Wounds’ (Century Media)

Genre: Doom/Progressive Metal
Karyn Crisis has teamed up with her husband Davide Tiso to form Karyn Crisis’ Gospel Of The Witches. Their debut album Salem’s Wounds also includes Charlie Schmid (Vaura) on drums.

It’s a diverse album that showcases Crisis’ many sides. The styles range from doom to prog to traditional metal to occult rock and a few others. Her vocal versatility is on full display with a variety of singing and screaming. Ross Dolan from Immolation does backup vocals on several tracks and Tombs’ Mike Hill appears on a couple, adding even more depth and variety. Salem’s Wounds is an impressive album musically, vocally and lyrically.

Rating: 4
(Chad Bowar)

Terra - ‘Untitled’ - Hibernacula Records

Terra – ‘Untitled’. Hibernacula Records

Terra – ‘Untitled’ (Hibernacula)

Genre: Black Metal
Terra’s commanding, yet hypnotic black metal is spread across three expansive tracks. Vocals are relegated to a minimal role, though when they appear, the howling cries of anguish stick with a listener. The songs follow parallel paths; a sonic blur transitioning into a subdued trance usually driven by screeching feedback.

The musicianship is on point, and it’s great to hear audible bass guitar that sometimes even leads the melodies. There isn’t much in the way of high points, as the band sticks to a constant momentum that can become a bit numbing. For a first effort, Untitled is a promising point to work from.

Rating: 3
(Dan Marsicano)

We Are Harlot - 'We Are Harlot' - Roadrunner Records

We Are Harlot – ‘We Are Harlot’. Roadrunner Records

We Are Harlot – ‘We Are Harlot’ (Roadrunner)

Genre: Hard Rock
We Are Harlot are fronted by former Asking Alexandria vocalist Danny Worsnop. Their self-titled debut album is a throwback to classic hard rock.

The songs are packed with hooks and delivered with swagger. The vibe mixes ’70s and ’80s with a modern edge. There are plenty of guitar wizardry as well including some searing solos from guitarist Jeff George (Sebastian Bach). Worsnop delivers a versatile performance of mostly melodic singing along with a few growls. Potential radio hits abound, along with several that will get arenas rocking. We Are Harlot are a band with the chops and pedigree for success.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Viper Solfa - 'Carving An Icon' - Massacre Records

Viper Solfa – ‘Carving An Icon’. Massacre Records

Viper Solfa – ‘Carving An Icon’ (Massacre)

Genre: Gothic Black Metal
Viper Solfa are a new band consisting of three former Trail Of Tears members including vocalist Ronny Thorsen. Guitarist/keyboardist Morfeus (Limbonic Art, Mayhem) and vocalist Miriam “Sphinx” Renvag (Ram-Zet) round out the lineup.

Carving An Icon has the orchestrations and “beauty and the beast” vocals of gothic metal, but adds black metal elements for a more ominous and extreme vibe. The album has a lot of contrasts, but the arrangements make sure everything remains cohesive.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

New Heavy Metal Album Releases: March 31, 2015

New Metal ReleasesAbhor – Ritualia Stramonium(Moribund)
Acoda – Truth Seeker (Best Before)
Ad Nauseam – Nihil Quam Vacuitas Ordinatum Est(Lavadome)
Akrotheism / Septuagint – Sphinx: The Great Enigma of Times Split (Forever Plagued)
Ancient Rites – Laguz (Massacre)

Antagoniste – The Myth Of Mankind (I, Voidhanger)
Black Flame – The Origin of Fire (Avantgarde)
Blackout – Blackout (Riding Easy)
Blliigghhtted – Zeroes (Merdumgriz)
Choking On Illusions – Rest/less (Bastardized)
Corrosion – Corrosion (Mas-Kina)
Crowbar – Equilibrium Re-Release (eOne)
Cyrax – Pictures (Bakerteam)
De La Muerte – De La Muerte (Bakerteam)
Downfall of Nur – Umbras de Barbagia (Avantgarde)
Entail – United States Of Mind EP (Memorial)
Fortid – 9 (Schwarzdorn)
Full Devil Jacket – Valley of Bones (eOne)
Hollywood Undead – Day of the Dead (Interscope)
Hot Lunch – Slappy Sunday EP (Scion)
Inculter – Persisting Devolution (Edged Circle)
Infesting Swarm – Desolation Road (Art of Propaganda)
Iris Divine – Karma Sown (Sensory)
Irreversible Mechanism – Infinite Fields (Blood)
Katatonia – Sanctitude DVD/CD (Kscope)
Mor Dagor – Redeemer (Osmose)
Multinational Corporations – Jamut-al-Maut

(Transcending Obscurity)
Murg – Varg & Bjorn (Nordvis)
Nepente – I Will Get Your Soul (Cimmerian Shade)
Nightwish – Endless Forms Most Beautiful (Nuclear Blast)
Pantommind – Searching For Eternity (Spectastral)
Pentagram – All Your Sins DVD (Peaceville)
Pombagira – Flesh Throne Press (Svart)
Pregierz – Blood Sanctions EP (Blood Harvest)
Prong – Songs From the Black Hole (eOne / SPV)
Rise of Avernus – Dramatis Personae (Code 666)
Signs Of Darkness – The Age Of Decay (Shiver)
Spectral Darkwave – First Last Contact (Occidental)
Temperance – Limitless (Scarlet)
Terra – Untitled (Hibernacula)
Three Days Grace – Human (RCA)
Tome Of The Unreplenished – Innerstanding (I, Voidhanger)
Thurisaz – The Pulse of Mourning (Sleaszy Rider)
Tristana – Virtual Crime (Bakerteam)
Ufomammut – Ecate (Neurot)
Under Paris – Transitions (Imminence)
Violent Reaction – Marching On (Revelation)
Viper Solfa – Carving An Icon (Massacre)
Voice Of The Soul – Catacombs (Hell’s Hammer/Transcending Obscurity)
We Are Harlot – We Are Harlot (Roadrunner)
Where Evil Follows – Portable Darkness (Moribund)
Wino & Conny Ochs – Freedom Conspiracy (Exile On Mainstream)
Wrathage – Discipline (MAA)

New Heavy Metal Album Reviews: Week Of March 24, 2015

The ratings are on a 5 star scale.

Barren Earth – ‘On Lonely Towers’ - Century Media Records

Barren Earth – ‘On Lonely Towers’. Century Media Records

Barren Earth – ‘On Lonely Towers’ (Century Media)

Genre: Progressive Death Metal
Formed by ex-Amorphis members, Barren Earth do not stray far from the core sound of their previous band. Their third releaseOn Lonely Towers finds the band firing on all cylinders and increasing the progressive elements. It’s the first release with new singer Jón Aldará, whose guttural and melodic vocals work brilliantly with the direction of the music.

The material is layered and extremely diverse. Their ability to bounce between melodic death and ‘70s prog is seamless. The eleven minute plus title track is one of their finest yet as the dynamic brings you inside its addictive structure. Barren Earth continue to pave new paths and showcase a band at the top of their game.

Rating: 4
(Dan Drago)

Bio-Cancer - ‘Tormenting The Innocent’ - Candlelight Records

Bio-Cancer – ‘Tormenting The Innocent’. Candlelight Records

Bio-Cancer – ‘Tormenting The Innocent’ (Candlelight)

Genre: Thrash Metal
No-nonsense thrash metal is always a welcomed commodity, and Bio-Cancergive us plenty of that with their sophomore record. Their blunt delivery makes for a stampede of aggression, a headlong attack that offers an abundance of cutthroat guitars and raspy screams.

Each song is a miniature atomic bomb of electric fury. The tranquil cello introduction to “F(r)iends or Fiends?” is about as twisty as the album gets, with the rest of the time devoted to thrashing. Tormenting The Innocent is a direct shot that doesn’t offer more than it needs to.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Marsicano)

Der Weg Einer Freiheit - 'Stellar' - Season Of Mist

Der Weg Einer Freiheit – ‘Stellar’. Season Of Mist

Der Weg Einer Freiheit – ‘Stellar’ (Season Of Mist)

Genre: Black Metal
Stellar is the third album by the German black metal band Der Weg Einer Freiheit(which translates to “the way of freedom”), and their first for Season Of Mist.

This album is more complex and dynamic than their earlier releases. Lengthy somber and melancholy instrumental sections give way to dense black metal. The German lyrics are delivered with both melodic singing and harsh screams. Melody and cacophony intertwine for a listening experience that’s sometimes relaxing, other times unsettling, but always interesting. It’s not necessarily an immediate album, but a grower than will unveil different nuances with each subsequent listen.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Dodheimsgard - 'A Umbra Omega' - Peaceville Records

Dodheimsgard – ‘A Umbra Omega’. Peaceville Records

Dodheimsgard – ‘A Umbra Omega’ (Peaceville)

Genre: Avant-Garde Black Metal
After an eight year absence, the Norwegian band Dodheimsgard return with several new members. Except for guitarist/vocalists Vicotnik and Aldrahn, A Umbra Omega is the first DHG album for the three other members.

Their style is avant-garde with a black metal base. Even when the music is fairly standard, the unusual vocals give it a quirky vibe. The five proper songs are very lengthy (11 to 15 minutes) with numerous ebbs and flows and twists and turns. It’s an unusual album, but also a compelling one. Electric and acoustic, progressive and traditional, extreme and mellow, A Umbra Omega is an album of dichotomies, an ambitious, challenging, unique and experimental effort.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Fórn - ‘The Departure Of Consciousness’ - Gilead Media

Fórn – ‘The Departure Of Consciousness’. Gilead Media

Fórn – ‘The Departure Of Consciousness’ (Gilead Media)

Genre: Doom/Sludge Metal
Immense volume is what Fórn unleash, packaged into a doom metal format. Despondent riffs hold firm to a far-reaching scope that dabbles in astral planes and bottomless voids. Unassuming in its initial moments, the shaky anticipation is fulfilled when the entire band gets involved.

The heightened pace minutes into “Dweller on the Threshold” is a giant tease, a momentary relapse from the sorrowful melodies. The thick bass tones overwhelm the unsettling ambiance, and a few low-key instrumentals don’t help matters. The sinister energy emitting through each note screeched out makes for a striking listen.

Rating: 4
(Dan Marsicano)

Frosthelm – ‘The Endless Winter’ - Black Work Records

Frosthelm – ‘The Endless Winter’. Black Work Records

Frosthelm – ‘The Endless Winter’ (Black Work)

Genre: Blackened Thrash Metal
Blending the belligerence and aggression of Dissection with the precision of bay area thrash are the fundamental traits ofFrosthelm’s sound. Their smashing debutThe Endless Winter is a procession of blackened thrash that pummels the listener into submission. Their penchant for creating palm muted classic riffs gives them a needed breadth of diversity.

Vocalist Tyler Pfilger is a powerhouse of a singer as he rotates between inhuman gutturals and high pitched screaming. At just thirty-four minutes they don’t overstay their welcome and that makes for a blistering enjoyable ride. Mixed and mastered by Matt Hyde, the sound is powerful and gigantic in scope.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Drago)

Fulgora – ‘Stratagem’ - Housecore Records

Fulgora – ‘Stratagem’. Housecore Records

Fulgora – ‘Stratagem’ (Housecore)

Genre: Grindcore
There are always high expectation when well known artists start a new band. In this case it’s bassist John Jarvis (Pig Destroyer, Agoraphobic Nosebleed), and drummer Adam Jarvis (Misery Index, Pig Destroyer) teaming up with guitarist/vocalist B.L. LaMew to form devastating grind/death trio Fulgora and their debut Stratagem.

Expectations exceeded. All of the visceral nature of the member’s constituent bands meets LaMew’s vicious hardcore bark and gut-wrenching riffs, culminating in total annihilation. Dischord and a bent concept of riffing come out as focused rage fighting a battle with chaos. There’s barely a chance to breathe under their relentless beatdown but they manage to inject a ferocious sense of groove too. Give yourself some room to move, or at least make sure you’re not breaking anything important.

Rating: 4.5
(Matt Hinch)

The Gentle Storm – ‘The Diary’ - Inside Out Music

The Gentle Storm – ‘The Diary’. Inside Out Music

The Gentle Storm – ‘The Diary’ (Inside Out)

Genre: Progressive Metal
First collaborating in 1998 in the progressive outfit Ayreon, vocalist Anneke van Giersbergen (ex-The Gathering) and guitarist Arjen Lucassen have joined forces for the brand new band The Gentle Storm. Their debut The Diary is a concept that tells the story of love lost and the isolation it creates. It’s a two-disc affair that showcases the same songs with folk acoustic arrangements on one album and a heavier, more orchestral direction on the other.

As usual, Anneke’s performance is out of this world as she blends her gorgeous voice with memorable melodies. Lucassen is a brilliant musicianship and his talent for composition is showcased throughout. Both discs work exceptionally well with the heavier direction being slightly more enjoyable.

Rating: 4
(Dan Drago)

Gloson – ‘Yearwalker’ - Epitaph Records

Gloson – ‘Yearwalker’. Epitaph Records

Gloson – ‘Yearwalker’ (Epitaph)

Genre: Doom/Sludge Metal
Gloson, a five piece from the west coast of Sweden, dispense what they call Boar Sludge. Maybe it’s a Swedish thing, a way to explain stubborn attitudes, but Gloson have made a fine collection of intricate crunch blankets that shine on in the dismal murk while suffering from split brain disease. Neurosis and Isis in the same tub, leaving behind a muddy ring of Uncle Acid and other fuzz-meisters comes to the medicated mind.

”Årsgång” is foreboding, with its looming doom intro followed up with foul-breath vocals, sludgey zombie beat, oddball bells and a stretch of spoken word. It makes you want throw the curtains back after a listen or two. ”Sirens” Is a Pilgrim-like workout, but as good as the first half of the 32-minute ’Yearwalker’ may be, excellence hits the fan with “The End/Aftermath” and “The Aftermath/Beginning.”

Rating: 3.5
(Todd Lyons)

Gouge - 'Beyond Death' - Hells Headbangers Records

Gouge – ‘Beyond Death’. Hells Headbangers Records

Gouge – ‘Beyond Death’ (Hells Headbangers)

Genre: Death Metal
Norway is not your typical stop for quality old school death metal, but Gouge are out to prove you wrong. This is down and dirty roots death metal with plenty of Repulsion riffs to go around. These Scandinavians have a sound that may be nearly 30 years old, but it is a welcome (filthy) breath of fresh air.

With a simple name and no-frills death metal that blows off the doors when it only needed to knock, make no mistake about the aural violence which you are now privy to. Gouge are a band worth checking out for OSDM fans and fans of older grindcore alike.

Rating: 4
(Tom Campagna)

New Heavy Metal Album Releases: March 24, 2015

New Metal ReleasesAbominator – Evil Proclaimed(Hells Headbangers)
A.D.D. – Core (Pavement)
Barren Earth – On Lonely Towers (Century Media)
Bio-Cancer – Tormenting The Innocent (Candlelight)
Bureviy – Concealed Beneath The Space (Darker Than Black)

Burnt Books – Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire (Retro Futurist)
City Of Ships – Ultraluminal (Translation Loss)
Corpo-Mente – Corpo-Mente (Blood)
Dead Summer Society – So Many Years Of Longing (Rain Without End)
Der Weg Einer Freiheit – Stellar (Season of Mist)
Dire Peril – Through Time and Space EP (Dead Inside)
Disgrace – True Enemy (Closed Casket)
Evoke Thy Lords – Boys! Raise Giant Mushrooms In Your Cellar! (Solitude)
Fightcast – Siamesian (To Exist)
Forn – The Departure of Consciousness (Gilead)
Frosthelm – The Endless Winter (Black Work)
Fulgora – Stratagem (Housecore)
The Gentle Storm – The Diary (Century Media)
Gloson – Yearwalker (Art of Propaganda/Catatonic State)
Gouge – Beyond Death (Hells Headbangers)
Grenouer – Unwanted Today (Mausoleum)
Grindhouse – Chapter One (RMB)
Groan – Highrospliffics EP (Superhot)
Ilium – My Misanthropia (Nightmare)
Implode – A Syndicate: I Of Everything Chapter III (Cramada)
Implodes – Reverser EP

(Gilead)
Karyn Crisis’ Gospel Of The Witches – Salem’s Wounds (Century Media)
King Hitter – King Hitter EP (Restricted Release / Plastic Head)
Lifeless – Dream (Fast Break)
Lightning Bolt – Fantasy Empire (Thrill Jockey)
Liturgy – The Ark Work (Thrill Jockey)
Massenhinrichtung – Zakon Zbroi (The Order Of Force) (Darker Than Black)
Michael Schenker’s Temple of Rock – Spirit on a Mission (Allegro)
The Monolith Deathcult – Bloodcvlts (Season Of Mist)
NevBorn – Five Horizons (Hummus)
NitroVolt – Dirty Wings (Mausoleum)
Nocturnalia – Above Below Within (Gaphals)
Oceano – Ascendants (Earache)
Oppressor – Scars 1988-1990 (Xtreem)
Perdition Temple – The Tempter’s Victorious (Hells Headbangers)
The Sanity Days – Evil Beyond Belief (Candlelight)
Sonic Prophecy – Apocalyptic Promenade (Maple Metal)
Sorcerer – In The Shadow of The Inverted Cross (Metal Blade)
Strung Out – Transmission.Alpha.Delta (Fat Wreck Chords)
Svadilfare – Krig I Kunst (Naturmacht)
Theories – Regression (Metal Blade)
Toxodeth – Morbidest Reality (An Observation) Re-Release (Chaos)
Unrest – Grindcore (Unspeakable Axe)
Vamps – Bloodsuckers (Spinefarm)
Von Hertzen Brothers – New Day Rising (Spinefarm)

New Heavy Metal Album Reviews: Week of March 17, 2015

The ratings are on a 5 star scale.

Bad Guys - ‘Bad Guynaecology’ - Riot Season

Bad Guys – ‘Bad Guynaecology’. Riot Season

Bad Guys – ‘Bad Guynaecology’ (Riot Season)

Genre: Rock/Heavy Metal
With a humorous edge underneath a dirty groove, Bad Guys inject some fun into what could have been a serious affair. That makes a big impression, and it’s hard not to smile at the lyrics to a tune like “Prostitutes.” However, these guys can perform, and the album is more than just filthy jokes.

“Crime” channels George Thorogood and the Destroyers, if Thorogood sang about Tonka trucks instead of alcohol. “Zoltan” and “Motorhome” are speedier cuts, a departure from the gloomy riffs throughout “World Murderer.” Not only does this album rock hard, but it’s an entertaining, light-hearted venture.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Marsicano)

Drakkar - 'Run With The Wolf' - My Kingdom Music

Drakkar – ‘Run With The Wolf’. My Kingdom Music

Drakkar – ‘Run With The Wolf’ (My Kingdom)

Genre: Power Metal
Run With The Wolf is the fifth album from the Italian power metal band Drakkar.  It also includes a bonus disc of five songs from the band’s first three albums re-recorded by the current lineup.

You’ll hear the usual power metal elements including plenty of guitar wizardry and atmospheric keyboards. One things that makes Drakkar stand out is the vocals from Davide Dell’Orto. He has the power metal soaring style, but his voice has a gritty element that gives things an extra edge and unique sound. The musicianship and song arrangements are excellent, the lyrics melodramatic and periodically slipping over the line into cheesy.

Rating: 3
(Chad Bowar)

Fossils – ‘The Meating’ - Indisciplinarian Records

Fossils – ‘The Meating’. Indisciplinarian Records

Fossils – ‘The Meating’ (Indisciplinarian)

Genre: Noise Rock
Just a year removed from their excellent sophomore effort Flesh Hammer, the typically instrumental noise rock drum-bass duo Fossils are back with a new EP entitled The Meating, a record that features seven tracks from their 2010 debut Meat Rush but with added interpretational vocals (and guitar) from a variety of artists that performed at Flesh Hammer’s release party.

While the instrumentation on hand is unsurprisingly heavy and off-the-wall, the vocals additions, for the most part, are very hit-and-miss, and only further reinforce Fossils’ original two-man game-plan. There are highlights, though, with “Ridge and the Rock” and “Ham Reader” serving as the undisputed best of the batch. In spite of its avant-garde poetics and eccentric punk flailing, the vocals come off as an unnecessary experiment that ultimately detracts from the raucousness that it is Fossils.

Rating: 3
(Evan Mugford)

Ghost Bath – ‘Moonlover’ - Northern Silence Productions

Ghost Bath – ‘Moonlover’. Northern Silence Productions

Ghost Bath – ‘Moonlover’ (Northern Silence)

Genre: Black Metal
North Dakota’s Ghost Bath may be coined as a depressive black metal band, but on their second full-length album Moonlover, one can’t help but detect a distinct and sonorous feeling of hope. Virginia Woolf’s favorite band has returned, and their maturation into one of the finer crestfallen acts is on stark and crippling display.

Laced with tortured cries, an impressively vibrant drum sound, and moments of searing melancholy, this particular strain of black metal comes with a surprising accessibility, one no doubt manufactured by the excellent, often uplifting guitar work. A uniquely rewarding effort that pleases with every listen, despondency is but an afterthought with Moonloverand its gorgeous cold comforts.

Rating: 4.5
(Evan Mugford)

Horisont - 'Break the Limit' - Rise Above Records

Horisont – ‘Break the Limit’. Rise Above Records

Horisont – ‘Break the Limit’ (Rise Above)

Genre: Hard Rock
“Break the Limit,” the latest release from Swedish retro-rockers Horisont, only has two songs, but mighty those two songs are. Meant to be a stop-gap between their splendid third release Time Warriors, and their highly anticipated fourth, this is a limited-release 7” single in a variety of colors, featuring a drawing of a ripped and snarling Viking, swinging his ax through some interplanetary landscape.

The lead song “Break the Limit” is a driving, fist-pumping anthem about ridin’ the wind, breakin’ the law and fightin’ our way back. The B-side, “Yellow Blues,” starts with a synthesizer intro, then breaks loose into some pretty sweet Lizzy-style leads and fine golden god wailing by singer Axel Söderberg.

Rating: 4.5
(Karen A. Mann)

Macabre Omen - 'Gods Of War At War' ( - Van Records

Macabre Omen – ‘Gods Of War At War’ (. Van Records

Macabre Omen – ‘Gods Of War At War’ (Van)

Genre: Black Metal
Ten years after their last full-length, the Greek band Macabre Omen return withGods Of War – At War. Mainman Alexandros handles vocals, guitars, bass and keyboards, and brought aboard drummer T.J.F. Valleley (Lychgate, Orpheus) for this album.

Macabre Omen play an epic style of pagan black metal. The songs are lengthy with a lot of atmosphere with riffs that are sometimes dense and oppressive, other times groovy and melodic. There’s plenty of diversity, such as the acoustic folk at the beginning of “Man Of 300 Voices” and some spoken word parts. Mixing harsh vocals with some melodic singing also adds variety.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Nocturnus – ‘The Science of Horror’ - Nuclear War Now! Productions

Nocturnus – ‘The Science of Horror’. Nuclear War Now! Productions

Nocturnus – ‘The Science of Horror’ (Nuclear War Now!)

Genre: Thrash/Death Metal
Despite being a part of the early incarnations of Morbid Angel and Incubus, Mike Browning earned his renowned status with the forward thinking death metal outfit Nocturnus. Unleashing two pivotal albums in the early ‘90s, they are now releasing their hard to find original demos, The Science of Horror.

As with most demos, the material is rougher and more primitive than their final versions. There is more of a thrash feel as Browning is still exploring his vocal style and isn’t quite as guttural. The keyboards play an essential role in their second demo, which the band is known for. This is an excellent look into the birth of a vital early death metal outfit.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Drago)

The Order of Apollyon – 'The Sword and The Dagger' - Listenable Records

The Order of Apollyon – ‘The Sword and The Dagger’. Listenable Records

The Order of Apollyon – ‘The Sword and The Dagger’ (Listenable)

Genre: Death Metal
The Order of Apollyon’s founding member BST has completely revamped his lineup for The Sword and The Dagger, including a couple members of long-running French outfit Temple of Baal. The Order of Apollyon keep with their death/black metal aesthetic. No strangers to furious speed, they’re obviously technically solid as a rock, but they’re not afraid to let loose and stray from the path.

Scorching black metal and chugging death metal balance with an abundance of atmosphere. Tremolos race beneath hammering percussion and guttural vocals. Behemoth fans can get behind the epic touches and there’s a worldly feeling to it without being as overt as Nile or Cult of Fire. It’s an impressive and interesting listen in a genre often dragged down by normalcy.

Rating: 3.5
(Matt Hinch)

Ranger – 'Where Evil Dwells' - Spinefarm Records

Ranger – ‘Where Evil Dwells’. Spinefarm Records

Ranger – ‘Where Evil Dwells’ (Spinefarm)

Genre: Speed Metal
Dust off those patched vests and bulletbelts, kids! Because you’ll be scrambling for them when you hearWhere Evil Dwells, the debut full-length from Finnish shredders Ranger. They embody the spirit of the early ‘80s and the drive to be the fastest.

As expected, Ranger rip and thrash with youthful exuberance and the chops to back it up. Galloping rhythms and scorching leads showcase their ability to shred. The volatile twin guitars threaten to break into frenetic solos at any moment. If you can get past the sharply pitch shifting vocals and their position way out front, you’ll have a lot of fun with this.

Rating: 3.5
(Matt Hinch)

Reign Of Fury - 'Death Be Thy Shepherd' - Static Tension Recordings

Reign Of Fury – ‘Death Be Thy Shepherd’. Static Tension Recordings

Reign Of Fury – ‘Death Be Thy Shepherd’ (Static Tension)

Genre: Thrash Metal
Reign Of Fury are a relatively new band based in the U.K., but sound like they could have been an ’80s Bay Area thrash group. On their sophomore release Death Be Thy Shepherd they are heavily influenced by classic bands, especially Metallica.

The production is fairly modern sounding, but their style is vintage thrash with a lot of melody and plenty of shredding. Vocalist Bison Steed has a lot of  Hetfield in his voice, especially on tracks like the “Unforgiven”-like “All Is Lost.” Their songwriting is ambitious, with a couple of tracks in the 10 minute range. It’s derivative, but still a well-executed thrash album.

Rating: 3
(Chad Bowar)

Sleeping with Sirens – ‘Madness’ - Epitaph Records

Sleeping with Sirens – ‘Madness’. Epitaph Records

Sleeping with Sirens – ‘Madness’ (Epitaph)

Genre: Post Hardcore
Kellin Quinn and Orlando, Florida’sSleeping With Sirens have another hit album on their resume. Panic! at the Disco, The Used and Memphis May Fire are intimately channeled here in songs like the dumb-defiant “Kick Me” and the sugary toaster-strudel “Go Go Go,” which reportedly has something to do withAmerican Pie.

The pant-load of poppier-than thou post-hardcore band influences get flogged in nearly every song as Quinn seeks the peaks of castrati overload and what helium can do not only to the male voice but to the content of metally-core tracks.“The Strays” is mildly interesting with its acoustic change up in orchestration and glockenspiel arrangement. It’s the catchiest thing on an album that works its heavy metal like fifty shades of Carly Rae Jepsen.

Rating: 2
(Todd Lyons)

The Slow Death - ‘Ark’ - Chaos Records

The Slow Death – ‘Ark’. Chaos Records

The Slow Death – ‘Ark’ (Chaos)

Genre: Funeral Doom/Death Metal
Tragedy surrounds The Slow Death’s third album Ark. With the unfortunate demise of vocalist Gregg Williamson hovering over the proceedings, the band’s dreary doom metal is given an extra touch of sadness.

Commanding female vocals interlock with deep grunts, while the sparse keys help to invoke a downtrodden atmosphere. The big addition to the group is Pallbearer vocalist/guitarist Brett Campbell, who provides scorching leads throughout. It’s an admirable contrast to the leisurely pace that defines the music. At 75 minutes, Ark is an intimidating, yet gratifying record that requires several full play throughs.

Rating: 4
(Dan Marsicano)

New Heavy Metal Album Releases: March 17, 2015

The Answer – Raise A Little Hell (Napalm)
Ashes Of Moon – The Darkness Where The Past Lay Sleeping (Aural)
Attack Vertical – The Great Waste(Tenacity)
Bad Guys – Bad Guynaecology (Riot Season)
Beautality – Einfalen: A Tale Ov Torment & Triumph

(Nordavind)
Bulldozing Bastard – Under The Ram (High Roller)
Crimson Swan – Unlit (Quality Steel)
Crom Dubh – Heimweh (Van)
Darke Complex – Widow EP (Spinefarm)
Dirty Fingers – 250 Dollars (Illogic)
Dissident Clone – State Of Dysphoria EP (Tridroid)
Dodheimsgard – A Umbra Omega (Peaceville)
Drakkar – Run With The Wolf (My Kingdom)
Dynfari – Vegfero Timans (Code 666)
Father Murphy – Croce (The Flenser)
Flummox – Phlummoxygen (Tridroid)
Ghost Bath – Moonlover (Northern Silence)
Horizont – Break the Limit (Rise Above)
Ideogram – Life Mimics Theatre (Aural)
Katavasia – Sacrilegious Testament (Floga)
Macabre Omen – Gods Of War: At War (Van)
Moonspell – Extinct (Napalm)
Negative Self – Negative Self (High Roller)
Nocturnus – The Science of Horror (Nuclear War Now!)
Norse – Pest (Transcending Obscurity)
The Order of Apollyon – The Sword and the Dagger (Listenable)
Purple Nail – Embrace The Dark (Aural)
Pyramids – A Northern Meadow (Profound Lore)
Ranger – Where Evil Dwells (Spinefarm)
Reign Of Fury – Death Be Thy Shepherd

(Static Tension)
Rellik – Spiraling Infinite Chaos (HPGD)
Simbiose – Economical Terrorism (Anticorpos)
Sleeping With Sirens – Madness (Epitaph)
The Slow Death – Ark (Chaos)
Yorblind – Blind…But Alive (Klonosphere)

STATIC-X Frontman WAYNE STATIC Died After Mixing Alcohol And Prescription Drugs

STATIC-X frontman Wayne Static died after mixing a cocktail of Xanax and other powerful prescription drugs with alcohol, BLABBERMOUTH.NET can exclusively reveal.

The 48-year-old Static, whose real name was Wayne Richard Wells, was just getting ready to head out on co-headlining tours with POWERMAN 5000 and DROWNING POOL when he was found dead at his home in Landers, California on November 1, 2014.

BLABBERMOUTH.NET has obtained a copy of the official coroner’s report which has just been released. The report states: “On November 1, at approximately 0700 hours, [Wayne] and his wife went to bed. His wife stated that just prior to going to bed, he crushed one-half of a 30 mg oxycodone pill and consumed it. The oxycodone had been prescribed to his wife. He also drank an unknown amount of alcohol. His wife awoke at around 1530 hours. She found the decedent dead in the bed and called 911 at 1547 hours. Paramedics arrived and confirmed death at 1600 hours, noting rigor mortis and lividity. There was no evidence of foul play or any indication a struggle had taken place.”

The report continues: “[Wayne‘s] wife said he took oxycodone, Xanax (alprazolam) and alcohol to relieve panic attacks. He took Xanax on a daily basis and was compliant with the prescribed dosage. His wife stated he would occasionally have his own prescription for oxycodone, but he would usually take hers. The decedent also had a history of gynecomastia… His wife stated both she and the decedent had a history of cocaine and ecstasy abuse, but they stopped using illicit drugs in 2009.

“The decedent’s mother stated he was a self-admitted alcoholic. She believed his drinking had been a problem for about two years. Both his wife and his mother stated that he was not suicidal.”

The official cause of death is listed on the coroner’s report as “mixed prescription drug (oxycodone, hydromorphone, alprazolam) with alcohol toxicity, hours, due to chronic prescription drug and alcohol abuse, years.” The “manner of death” is given as “natural.”

Statements from both Static‘s widow, former porn star Tera Wray, and a publicist back in November dismissed rumors that his passing was drug related or the result of a drug overdose. Wray said at the time: “Wayne was not taking drugs. If anything, he was a drinker, and did not OD.” She added: “We all know that both Wayne and I had abused narcotics with alcohol in the past, which I am sure took a toll on his body, heart and soul.”

PAPA ROACH singer Jacoby Shaddix apologized for remarks he made shortly after Static‘s death, suggesting that Wayne‘s passing was caused by a drug overdose. Shaddix told Loudwire, “I read a blog online that said it was an O.D., and I posted online, ‘Too many dudes dying because of drugs. It’s terrible.’ Apparently, it’s not drugs, so I put on my Facebook that I was incredibly sorry that I jumped the gun if that’s not the truth. My heart goes out to his family, regardless. My intention wasn’t to drag him through the mud or anything.”

A native of Michigan who later moved to Chicago, Wayne Static founded STATIC-X in 1994 after the break-up of his previous band, DEEP BLUE DREAM. Static played in that group with SMASHING PUMPKINS frontman Billy Corgan.

STATIC-X became one of the most popular acts in the so-called “nu metal” movement, selling more than one million copies of its 1999 debut, “Wisconsin Death Trip”. The disc included the rock radio hit “Push It”.

STATIC-X released five more studio albums, with the last being “Cult Of Static” in 2009. The band broke up shortly after that, reformed again with a new lineup in 2012, then disbanded permanently in June 2013.

Static released his first and only solo album, “Pighammer”, in 2011.
Read more at http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/exclusive-static-x-frontman-wayne-static-died-after-mixing-alcohol-and-prescription-drugs/#aq2uh7Rz0337eoB5.99

Heavy Metal Album Reviews: Week of March 10, 2015

The ratings are on a 5 star scale.

Alkaloid - 'The Malkuth Grimoire' -

Alkaloid – ‘The Malkuth Grimoire’.

Alkaloid – ‘The Malkuth Grimoire’ (Self)

Genre: Progressive Death Metal
Alkaloid are a new band made up of extreme metal veterans including Dark Fortress vocalist/guitarist Morean, Aborted guitarist Danny Tunker Spawn Of Possession guitarist Christian Muenzner, Obscura bassist Linus Klausenitzer and Blotted Science drummer Hannes Grossmann. They went the crowd funding route and self-released The Malkuth Grimoire.

The album is ambitious and creative, with 12 songs clocking in at more than 70 minutes. They mix technical and extreme death metal with progressive elements, flowing between brutality and experimentation without missing a beat. The musicianship is top-notch and the arrangements interesting,and though a bit long manages to maintain interest throughout.

Rating: 4
(Chad Bowar)

Apocrophex - ‘Suspended From the Cosmic Altaar’ - Manicidic Records

Apocrophex – ‘Suspended From the Cosmic Altaar’.Manicidic Records

Apocrophex – ‘Suspended From the Cosmic Altaar’ (Manicidic)

Genre: Death Metal
There’s no doubting the technical appeal of Apocrophex’s death metal. The bendy guitar leads, the overabundant bass drumming, the riffs that seem to distort time and space; this musical duo are very capable and prove it a multitude of times.

However, that doesn’t always translate into memorable songwriting. There are moments where they get close, like the steady groove the title track plants itself in and the lush bass lines throughout closer “Exposed Organics.” More often, it’s a whole bunch of notes that fuse into a song that doesn’t leave an impression. That’s the great flaw that stifles Apocrophex’s debut.

Rating: 3
(Dan Marsicano)

Dehuman – ‘Graveyard of Eden’ - Kaotoxin Records

Dehuman – ‘Graveyard of Eden’. Kaotoxin Records

Dehuman – ‘Graveyard of Eden’ (Kaotoxin)

Genre: Death Metal
Belgian death metal quartet Dehuman are fighting the good fight with their second full-length release in Graveyard of Eden, a strict and heavy onslaught of guitar-centric intensity that soars and falters on its USDM formula, a take-no-prisoners methodology that hears the band giving their all to bridge the treacherous divide of melody and savagery.

Dehuman’s blend of Death’s melodic bursts—and hankering for wicked solos—and the pummeling resolve of a band like Morbid Angel is certainly on display, and on a track like “Obedience to Pestilence,” this union works wonders. But the consistent, unerring velocity ultimately exhausts rather than enthralls, making the listener crave for more multi-tempered tracks like “Ov Madness” and “Goddess of Sins.” Dehuman should heed their name and resort to something beyond the norm.

Rating: 3
(Evan Mugford)

Desert Near the End – ‘Hunt for the Sun’ - Total Metal Records

Desert Near the End – ‘Hunt for the Sun’. Total Metal Records

Desert Near the End – ‘Hunt for the Sun’ (Total Metal)

Genre: Thrash Metal
A rare album from Greece that doesn’t dote on the heroic Alexander, Athens band Desert Near the End crash out a crazy kind of Machine Head thrash stripped of nuance and stoked up on double-caffeinated Ouzo. There’s plenty of Blind Guardian influence everywhere, especially in the epic feel of the angular melodies.

The slap-thrash “Storm on My Side” has a hard-core edginess that highlights call-and-response vocals from long-suffering founding members Alexandros Papandreou and bassist Akis Prasinikas.  Eastern European Thrash at its barest ornamentation, it makes for roughly 49 minutes of decent head-banging,

Rating: 3.5
(Todd Lyons)

Eternal Solstice – 'Remnants of Immorality' - Dark Descent Records

Eternal Solstice – ‘Remnants of Immorality’. Dark Descent Records

Eternal Solstice – ‘Remnants of Immorality’ (Dark Descent)

Genre: Death Metal
Remnants of Immorality has been a long time coming. It’s Dutch death metallersEternal Solstice’s first full-length since 1997’s Demonic Fertilizer. But the wait is worth it as the group slashes and screams its way through nine tracks of sonic savagery.

Dual growling/screeching vocals appear often to great effect, falling close to a duet between Glen Benton and D. Randall Blythe. The Deicide and Lamb of God comparisons don’t end there. Eternal Solstice shred and groove along the same lines as both bands with plenty of solos and mosh-ready moments. Slower marches lead into speed-fueled aggression with an ear for Slayer, Master of Puppets and Obituary. It rips. It rages. It sweats and shreds. Bang. Your. Head.

Rating: 4
(Matt Hinch)

Europe - 'War Of Kings' - UDR Music

Europe – ‘War Of Kings’. UDR Music

Europe – ‘War Of Kings’ (UDR)

Genre: Hard Rock/Heavy Metal
Saddled with the hair band label for their monster hits like “The Final Countdown” and “Carrie,” Europe have been making quality hard rock albums since reforming over a decade ago. That’s the case with their latest release, War Of Kings.

Europe circa 2015 play tight, bluesy hard rock/metal with a lot of hooks and great guitar work from John Norum. Vocalist Joey Tempest has a distinctive voice that hasn’t lost any power or range. The production by Dave Cobb (Rival Sons) gives the album a timeless sound, and if you haven’t listened to Europe since the ’80s you may be pleasantly surprised by their current output.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Evil Invaders - ‘Pulses of Pleasure’ - Napalm Records

Evil Invaders – ‘Pulses of Pleasure’. Napalm Records

Evil Invaders – ‘Pulses of Pleasure’ (Napalm)

Genre: Speed/Thrash Metal
The title of the opener to Evil Invaders’ debut album, “Fast, Loud ‘n’ Rude,” is a brash slogan to this Belgium group’s speed metal. Songs whip out of control with flashy guitar solos, soaring falsettos, and galloping momentum. It’s hard to contain oneself when the band gets moving with no limits imposed.

The guitar work is the attraction, though a few songs get through on their own with a sing-along chorus, as with “Venom.” A subtle extended interlude in “Blinded” leads up to closer “Master of Illusion,” which seems taken from Powerslave-era Iron Maiden. Pulses of Pleasure is for the head bangers who suffer from a constant bout of whiplash.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Marsicano)

Garden of Worm – 'Idle Stones' - Svart Records

Garden of Worm – ‘Idle Stones’. Svart Records

Garden of Worm – ‘Idle Stones’ (Svart)

Genre: Doom Metal
Garden of Worm are back with their first full-length since 2010 in Idle Stones. The Finnish trio work through nearly 43 minutes and four tracks of melodic and jammy doom.

There’s an Americana-type jangle that runs through the guitars complementing the prog and psych leanings. (No surprise there as they’re named after a King Crimson song.) The clean vocals are nice and add to the retro feel. Their doom though exudes warmth and melancholy rather than ominousness. While there are moments of brilliance, they do have a tendency to drift. That’s not always a drawback but the nearly 20 minute closer can lose the listener around halfway through. Overall it’s solid but some brevity wouldn’t hurt.

Rating: 3.5
(Matt Hinch)

Harm's Way - 'Rust' - Deathwish, Inc.

Harm’s Way – ‘Rust’. Deathwish, Inc.

Harm’s Way – ‘Rust’ (Deathwish)

Genre: Hardcore
Rust, the latest release from Chicago’sHarm’s Way, sees the band making a conscious move away from the more traditional hardcore approach of their past to a forward-thinking fusion of aggression and industrial augmentation. While retaining the influence of acts like Ringworm and New Lows, Harm’s Way also incorporate some of the most memorable traits of Godflesh and Nailbomb.

The album’s got a ton of energy. While the industrial elements are great for adding texture, it’s when the programming takes a backseat to the band’s metal-edged vitriol that Harm’s Way shines brightest. Look for a hefty take-away on the first spin, but also plan on finding more to dig on repeat listens.

Rating: 4
(Schuler Benson)

Haust  - 'Bodies' - Fysisk Format

Haust – ‘Bodies’. Fysisk Format

Haust – ‘Bodies’ (Fysisk Format)

Genre: Black Metal/Hardcore
For their latest album Bodies, the Norwegian band Haust have added guitarist Trond Mjøen (Haraball, Ulver) to the mix. There are also some guest musicians including Henning Wisth of Okkultokrati

Haust have a unique sound that combines black metal with hardcore, crust and noise. The songs are fairly accessible, but have plenty of grit and edge. Sometimes melodic, other times cacophonous, the harsh vocals tie everything together. Slow doom, midtempo black metal and furious hardcore, this album has all of that and more.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

New Heavy Metal Album Releases: March 10, 2015

New Metal ReleasesAgnostic Front – Another Voice Re-Release (Metal Mind)
Apocrophex – Suspended From The Cosmic Altar (Manicidic)
Arstidir Lifsins – Aldafoor Ok Munka Drottinn (Van)
Ashcloud – Abandon All Light (Xtreem)
Cancer Bats – Searching For Zero (Metal Blade)
Code – Mut (Agonia)
Conceived By Hate / Akheron – Coalition of Death Split (Morbid Skull)
Decline Of The I – Rebellion (Agonia)
Dehuman – Graveyard of Eden (Kaotoxin)
Desert Near The End – Hunt For The Sun (Metal Scrap)
Devast – Into Decimated Reality (Gore House)
Dhampyr – Oceanclots (Acephale Winter)
Dope Stars Inc. – TeraPunk (Distortion)
Dwell – Dwell EP (Blood & Ink)
Enslaved – In Times (Nuclear Blast)
Eternal Solstice – Remnants Of Immortality (Dark Descent)
Europe – War of Kings (Hell & Back)
Evil Invaders – Pulses of Pleasure (Napalm)
Furia – Nocei (Pagan)
Garden of Worm – Idle Stones (Svart)
Gorefest – La Muerte Re-Release (Metal Mind)
Gorefest – Mindloss and Demos Re-Release (Metal Mind)
Gorefest – Soul Survivor/Chapter 13 Re-Release (Metal Mind)
Harm’s Way – Rust (Deathwish)
The Haunting Presence – The Haunting Presence EP (Hells Headbangers)
Haust – Bodies (Fysisk Format)
Heavydeath – Eternal Sleepwalker (Svart)
Imperial Triumphant – Abyssal Gods (Code 666)
Invincible Force – Satan Rebellion Metal (Dark Descent)
Iron Kobra – Might & Magic (Dying Victims)
Judas Priest – Defenders of the Faith Re-Release (Columbia / Legacy)
Kollwitz – Dissonance (Fysisk Format)
Kurhan – Glod (Arachnophobia)
Melechesh – Enki (Nuclear Blast)
The Midnight Ghost Train – Cold Was The Ground (Napalm)
Mnemic – The Audio Injected Soul Re-Release (Metal Mind)
Mnemic – Mechanical Spin Phenomena Re-Release (Metal Mind)
Morbid Evils – In Hate With The Burning World (Svart)
Mortals/Repellers – Split EP (Broken Limbs)
Motor Sister – Ride (Metal Blade)
Oblivionized – Life Is A Struggle, Give Up (Secret Law)
Ovid’s Withering – Scryers Of The Ibis Re-Release (Unique Leader)
Pendulous – A Palpable Sense Of Love & Loss (Baneful Genesis)
Porta Nigra – Kaiserschnitt (Debemur Morti)
Primal Fear – Metal Is Forever: The Very Best Of Primal Fear Re-Release (Metal Mind)
Primal Fear – Seven Seals Re-Release (Metal Mind)
Psycroptic – Psycroptic (Prosthetic)
Reach – Reach Out To Rock (Cargo)
Red Moon Architect – Fall (Playground)
Sacral Rage – Illusions in Infinite Void (Cruz del Sur)
Sacrilegium – Wicher Re-Release (Pagan)
Santa Cruz – Santa Cruz (Spinefarm)
Secret of Boris – Your Ghost (Cabo)
Sinner – The End Of Sanctuary Re-Release (Metal Mind)
Steel Bearing Hand – Steel Bearing Hand (Unholy Anarchy)
Terveet Kadet – Lapin Helvetti (Svart)
Truppensturm / Thorybos – Approaching Conflict Split (Van)
Uhrijuhla – Jokainen On Vapaa Lintu (Svart)
Uli Jon Roth – Scorpions Revisited (UDR)
Urfaust – Apparitions (Van)
Wardenclyffe – Control All Delete (Van)

Heavy Metal Album Reviews: Week of March 3, 2015

The ratings are on a 5 star scale.

Acherontas ‘Ma-IoN (Formulas Of Reptilian Unification)’ - W.T.C.

Acherontas ‘Ma-IoN (Formulas Of Reptilian Unification)’. W.T.C.

Acherontas ‘Ma-IoN (Formulas Of Reptilian Unification)’ (W.T.C.)

Genre: Black Metal
Formed from the remains of Stutthof, Greek black metal stalwarts Acherontashave always impressed me with their straightforward take on classic black metal, a trend that continues on their latest full-length. Applying the right mixture of blastbeats, atmospherics, and traces of melody on Ma-IoN (Formulas Of Reptilian Unification), Acherontas wrap the entire album into an accessible package with clear production and a modern, beefy sound.

Reminiscent of similar bands such as Enthroned, Acherontas know their way around the genre well, ending up with a slightly melodic, symphonic sound minus the keyboards and the pomposity that plagues so many other bands in the subgenre. Ma-IoN (Formulas Of Reptilian Unification) is a solid release from a solid band, no more, no less.

Rating: 3.5
(Dave Schalek)

Caveat – 'Kobayashi Maru' - Tridroid Records

Caveat – ‘Kobayashi Maru’. Tridroid Records

Caveat – ‘Kobayashi Maru’ (Tridroid)

Genre: Stoner Metal
It’s not easy to slide Caveat and their newest EP Kobayashi Maru into a particular genre. Simply put, the band mashes together two seemingly disparate genres in stoner and death metal with plenty of ominous doom floating around as well.

Caveat bring more than enough riffs, mostly of the groovy variety. But as noted can drop the pace to a plod. Through it all they keep the can of whoop-ass open. Countering the powerful easiness is a deep, low death/doom scream. It’s an interesting dynamic, but the growls don’t dominate. There is room for the massive riffs to breath. Heavy stoner metal with menace, bite, bluesy swagger, and a bass solo!

Rating: 3.5
(Matt Hinch)

Helrunar - 'Niederkunfft' - Prophecy Productions

Helrunar – ‘Niederkunfft’. Prophecy Productions

Helrunar – ‘Niederkunft’ (Prophecy)

Genre: Black Metal
On their fifth album Niederkunfft, the German duo Helrunar take a different lyrical approach. Instead of the Northern mythology explored in earlier albums, this time around they delve into Europe in the Middle Ages. However, most of the songs are sung in German, so to English speaking listeners the topical shift won’t be noticed.

Musically Helrunar incorporate slower, doom elements with black metal. There’s a lot of variety in tempo and texture, with the band mixing regal instrumental sections with more intense and extreme parts. They have expanded their musical and lyrical horizons on this album, and have done it very effectively.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Hiram-Maxim - 'Hiram-Maxim' - Aqualamb Records

Hiram-Maxim – ‘Hiram-Maxim’. Aqualamb Records

Hiram-Maxim – ‘Hiram-Maxim’ (Aqualamb)

Genre: Doom/Psychedelic Metal
Hiram-Maxim are named after the inventor of the first portable, fully automatic machine gun. They describe the sound of their self-titled debut album as “doomgaze.”

The songs are slow and epic, with the four tracks clocking in at 36 minutes. You’ll hear dense, fuzzed out extreme parts, but also mellow and ambient sections. The vocals range from whispers to spoken word to screams. It’s sometimes straightforward, but much of the time the songs delve into experimental territory. It’s a challenging listen at times, as Hiram-Maxim push boundaries and explore different sonic territories.

Rating: 3
(Chad Bowar)

Isabrut – 'Isabrut' - Iron Bonehead Productions

Isabrut – ‘Isabrut’. Iron Bonehead Productions

Isabrut – ‘Isabrut’ (Iron Bonehead)

Genre: Death Metal
Canada has produced some of the best death metal as of late and Isabrut are fighting to be included in the discussion with their self-titled EP. Isabrut aren’t as technical as Archspire, as chaotic as Thantifaxath or very “core”. They take a more traditional approach, preferring to destroy through hammering rhythms and insidious attitude.

Isabrut‘s death metal is chunky and thunderous mixing blazing runs with forceful riffs. Mid-paced romp and thrashiness worm their way in as well. To make matters worse (in a good way) black metal tremolos cut to the bone. Closer “Prophecy” even call to mind Arise-era Sepultura. It’s a nasty and gnarled EP.

Rating: 3.5(Matt Hinch)

Kjeld – ‘Skym’ - Hammerheart Records

Kjeld – ‘Skym’. Hammerheart Records

Kjeld – ‘Skym’ (Hammerheart)

Genre: Black Metal
Inspired by the majestic ancient tradition of their Frisian heritage, Kjeld’s sound is rooted in traditional black metal landscapes. Their debut offering Skym is a cold desolate affair that blends brutal aural assaults with melodic sensibilities. The use of angular guitar chords brings a dissonance to the proceedings and works well with the shrieking vocals.

The lyrics are native to their Frisian language and are spewed forth with relentless abandon by vocalist Skier. Their strength lies in the ability to easily bounce between blast beats and melodic guitar passages. A strong debut as Kjeld shows maturity not typically found this early in a band’s career.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Drago)

Monsterworks - 'The Existential Codex' - Eat Lead & Die Records

Monsterworks – ‘The Existential Codex’. Eat Lead & Die Records

Monsterworks – ‘The Existential Codex’ (Eat Lead & Die)

Genre: Heavy Metal
After releasing two albums each in both 2013 and 2014, New Zealand’s prolificMonsterworks are out with their first and probably not last 2015 release, The Existential Codex.

Even though they churn out albums at a breakneck pace, the quality is always good. They explore numerous genres from traditional metal to death metal to prog. The songs are sometimes straightforward and groovy, sometimes progressive and experimental, and always compelling. It’s a solid album, and if it’s not what you’re looking for, just wait a few months for their next effort.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Pelican - 'The Cliff' - Southern Lord Recordings

Pelican – ‘The Cliff’. Southern Lord Recordings

Pelican – ‘The Cliff’ (Southern Lord)

Genre: Post Metal
Chicago’s Pelican have long been regarded as one of the best and most influential instrumental bands working today. They have never really neededvocals to get their point across, and have only ever recorded vocals to one track in six years. With the release of The Cliff EP, the band has added number two to their “with vocals” list. The voice? The Life and Times’ Allen Epley. The result? A successful, albeit melancholy, love song.

The next two tracks are remixes of the song.. The first, handled by Justin Broadrick (Godflesh), drops the vocal entirely in favor of beefed-up guitars and layers of noise. The second, reworked by Aaron Harris and Bryant Clifford Meyer (Palms, Isis), keeps the vocal, but buries it in a wall of sound and fuzzy, wuzzy warmth. The final track “The Wait” was originally to be included on the band’s Forever Becoming record, but was cut due to time constraints. It’s back and it is pure Pelican… without vocals.

Rating: 3.5
(JH Statts)

Subversion - ‘Animi’ - Rogue Records

Subversion – ‘Animi’. Rogue Records

Subversion – ‘Animi’ (Rogue)

Genre: Technical Metal/Metalcore
Subversion’s melodic tech death will find favor with those who idolize groups like Periphery and Meshuggah. Their sophomore album is pulsating with boisterous screams, start-stop guitar riffs, and periods of anthemic singing. Sweeps of electronic and symphonic sounds give the music a purposeful edge.

The album reaches its high point with the final two tracks. “Novation” is a rousing jam capped off by a momentous breakdown near the end. The title track gets itself in an infectious groove, the keyboards adding weight to the otherwise low-key finish. Though the rest of the album doesn’t quite match up to that pair of songs, Animi is a more consistent record than their debut.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Marsicano)

UFO - 'A Conspiracy Of Stars' - SPV Records

UFO – ‘A Conspiracy Of Stars’. SPV Records

UFO – ‘A Conspiracy Of Stars’ (SPV)

Genre: Hard Rock
The legendary UFO have been rocking for more than 45 years, and show no signs of slowing down with their latest album A Conspiracy Of Stars.

Original vocalist Phil Mogg still sounds great, and guitarist Vinnie Moore, who has been with UFO since 2003, is one of the best in the business. The songs on the album are melodic and catchy with excellent musicianship and plenty of shredding from Moore. There’s  ample diversity as well, with uptempo arena rockers and midtempo bluesy tracks.

Rating: 4
(Chad Bowar)

New Heavy Metal Album Releases: March 3, 2015

New Metal ReleasesAcherontas – Ma IoN (Formulas of Reptilian Unification) (WTC)
Apostate – Time of Terror(Ferrrum)
Autumnia – Two Faces Of Autumn (Solitude)
Bleak – Bleak EP (Blasphemour)
Caveat – Kobayashi Maru EP (Tridroid)
Cherubs – 2 Ynfynyty (Brutal Panda)
Death Engine – Mud (Throatruiner)
Devathorn – Vritra (WTC)
Disrupted – Heavy Death EP (Apocalyptic)
Dysrider – Bury The Omen (Tenacity)
Embrional – The Devil Inside (Hellthrasher)
A Forest Of Stars – Beware The Sword You Cannot See (Prophecy)
Fossils – The Meating EP (Indisciplinarian)
From Ashes To New – Downfall EP (Better Noise)
F–k Off – Hell On Earth II (Revisited & Faster) (Xtreem)
Glaciation – Sur les Falaises de Marbre (Osmose)
Godless Angel – Harvester Of Shadows (Inverse)
Helrunar – Niederkunfft (Lupus Lounge)
Hiram-Maxim – Hiram-Maxim (Aqualamb)
Imperial Triumphant – Abyssal Gods (Code 666)
In Other Climes – Leftover (Bastardized)
Isabrut – Isabrut (Iron Bonehead)
Ithaqua – Initiation To Obscure Mysteries (Iron Bonehead)
The Jury and the Saints – The Jury and the Saints (SPV)
Kjeld – Skym (Hammerheart)
Lamentations of the Ashen – Libertine Cyst (Fragile Branch)
Leucrota – Demo (Sentient Ruin)
Leviathan – Scar Sighted (Profound Lore)
Maestus – Voir Dire (Domestic Genocide)
Monox – Perception Changes (Fat Brek)
Monsterworks – The Existential Codex (Eat Lead & Die)
Night – Soldiers Of Time (Gaphals)
Negura Bunget – Tau (Lupus Lounge /Prophecy)
Sabertooth Zombie – Human Performance IV (Twelve Gauge)
Sannhet – Revisionist (The Flenser)
Scorpions – Return To Forever (Universal)
Sentinel Beast – Depths of Death Re-Release (Marquee)
Sewercide – Severing The Mortal Cord (Infernal Devastation)
Sons Of Texas – Baptized In The Rio Grande (Razor & Tie)
Subversion – Animi (Rogue)
Tahtiportti – Tahtiportti (Svart)
Tauusk – Hermit (Cimmerian Shade)
Thunderheart – Night Of The Warriors (Killer Metal)
Trident – Shadows (War Anthem)
Triumvir Foul – An Oath Of Blood and Fire (Godz ov War / Third Eye Temple)
UFO – A Conspiracy of Stars (SPV)
Various Artists – Immortal Randy Rhoads: The Ultimate Tribute (UDR)

Heavy Metal Album Reviews: Week of February 24, 2015

Aktor – ‘Paranoia’ - High Roller Records

Aktor – ‘Paranoia’. High Roller Records

Aktor – ‘Paranoia’ (High Roller)

Genre: Heavy Metal
Chris Black is constantly moving forward, as his work ethic is commendable. After High Sprits and Dawnbringer releases in 2014 he is back with his latest creationAktor. Their debut release Paranoia is rooted in psychedelic tendencies and heavily influenced by ‘70s progressive rock. Aktor are more suited in the rock world and is the least heavy of all of Black’s projects.

As always, Black’s melodies are infectious and seep into your consciousness the more you hear them. Opener “Devil and Doctor,” “Where Is Home” and “Gone Again” are recognizably stamped with Black’s memorable melodies. Black has an amazing ability that allows for all of his bands to have a similar feel while still retaining a unique identity.

Rating: 4
(Dan Drago)

Astral Blood - ‘Astral Blood’ - Tridroid Records

Astral Blood – ‘Astral Blood’. Tridroid Records

Astral Blood – ‘Astral Blood’ (Tridroid)

Genre: Black Metal
Prepare thy sacrifice for the glory of Astral Blood and their self-titled debut EP! Okay, so you don’t have to kill for it, but it’s definitely worth some pain. This Minnesota-based black metal group makes quite an impression over 16 necrotic minutes. Most of Astral Blood moves at mid-paced-to-quicker speeds but when they kick into high gear things get absolutely frigid.

They use just the right amount of symphonic keys to make it sound epic without going over the top. The keys bleed atmosphere and majesty over merciless black metal. A strange, haunting and oddly sensual spoken word interlude slides in with Holly Axelrod’s poetic narration. Astral Blood’s tempered theatrics and scathing delivery definitely deserve your attention.

Rating: 3.5
(Matt Hinch)

Atomic Aggressor - 'Sights of Suffering’ - Hells Headbangers Records

Atomic Aggressor – ‘Sights of Suffering’. Hells Headbangers Records

Atomic Aggressor – ‘Sights of Suffering’ (Hells Headbangers)

Genre: Death Metal
Chilean old school death metal upstartsAtomic Aggressor bring the pain like it is still the late 1980s. They are riding a strong wave that could be classified asAltars Of Madness but with a renewed fervor that showcases a modern sharpness combined with the wonderfully old school.

They pull together elements of the strong roots of South American death metal, whether it be their fellow countrymen in Pentagram or the forefathers the likes of Sarcofago and Sepultura. A great debut from a band that pays homage to their roots without falling victim to copyright infringement; fans of OSDM will dig this album very much.

Rating: 4
(Tom Campagna)

Below The Sun - ‘Envoy’ - Temple Of Tortuous Records

Below The Sun – ‘Envoy’. Temple Of Tortuous Records

Below The Sun – ‘Envoy’ (Temple of Torturous)

Genre: Sludge/Doom Metal
Below the Sun’s aim is to transcend past space and dimensions with this enthralling release. Sludgy, yet ever-evolving, riffs stretch to gargantuan lengths (sometimes too long). There’s a gravitas to the songwriting that makes each minute seem as if it’s building to a formidable conclusion.

The unintelligible growls and bellows become a distraction from the transcendent music. Honestly, the album would’ve been better without them. The band thrives in a minimalistic environment, where words aren’t a required means of expression. When the album reaches those points, as it does on the last two tracks, that’s when the group turns into a substantial entity.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Marsicano)

Carach Angren - 'This Is No Fairytale' - Season Of Mist

Carach Angren – ‘This Is No Fairytale’. Season Of Mist

Carach Angren – ‘This Is No Fairytale’ (Season Of Mist)

Genre: Symphonic Black Metal
The Dutch metal outfit Carach Angren are back once again with their blend of furious blast beats and landscape orchestrations. Their fourth full length This is No Fairy Tale is a conceptual story that deals with abuse, deprivation and seclusion. A straight up horror, it unfolds as a fairy tale dealing with two children’s adventures to break away from darkness.

The story flows like a King Diamond penned effort where narration and the common thread between songs work seamlessly to create an eerie atmosphere. A cinematic feeling permeates throughout as the symphonic elements work congruently with the thematic aspect. Another powerful frightening tale that Carach Angren have become masters at portraying.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Drago)

Chiefs - ‘Tomorrow’s Over’ - Roosevelt Row Records

Chiefs – ‘Tomorrow’s Over’. Roosevelt Row Records

Chiefs – ‘Tomorrow’s Over’ (Roosevelt Row)

Genre : Stoner Rock
Formerly Phoenix, Arizona’s bohemian Roosevelt Row house band, Chiefs move to San Diego to go where the buffalo roam, or so they offer in Tomorrow’s Over’s first song “Buffalo Roam.” The chunky desert rock riffs and thick brown sound give the Chiefs a signature stoner spirit. As the album sinks in it becomes apparent that Tomorrow’s Over isn’t a haphazard title but rather a subtle nod to the doomier elements buried in all the sludge. 

“Tesla” generates an electrical crispiness to the overall crunch of the album. “1999” is one year minus a Y2K meltdown, and if not for the weakness of the album’s vocals, the song would have brought down all the wine bars in La Jolla with an apoplectic genre-busting burst. Cali sunshine with a heart of darkness delivered through the vocal delivery of William Ginsberg, while beatniks wrestle hippies for the best hash all makes for a curious rush.

Rating 3.5
(Todd Lyons)

Crypt Sermon - ‘Out of the Garden’ - Dark Descent Records

Crypt Sermon – ‘Out of the Garden’. Dark Descent Records

Crypt Sermon – ‘Out of the Garden’ (Dark Descent)

Genre: Doom Metal
This debut album checks off the essential qualities of doom: ascending melodic vocals, fret-scorching guitar leads, mythical reverie. All of them done with a nod to groups like Candlemass and Saint Vitus, without directly mimicking those timeless acts.

Though there a few quicker moments in “Heavy Riders,” the album functions in a blissful mid-tempo style. The lofty ambition of the eight-minute “Into the Holy of Holies”—the tender acoustic beginning picking up to a joyful main riff—is an accurate depiction ofCrypt Sermon’s range. The band isn’t reshaping the genre, but their inspired work instills confidence for their subsequent releases.

Rating: 4
(Dan Marsicano)

Dr. Living Dead – ‘Crush the Sublime Gods’ - Century Media Records

Dr. Living Dead – ‘Crush the Sublime Gods’. Century Media Records

Dr. Living Dead – ‘Crush the Sublime Gods’ (Century Media)

Genre: Thrash Metal/Hardcore
Combining the riffs of thrash metal with the attitude and aggression of hardcore is the path that Sweden’s Dr. Living Deadhave been exploring throughout their career. Back with their third release Crush the Sublime Gods, it’s their first with a new vocalist and drummer. The production is light years better than their previous releases as the guitars are incredibly thick and heavy.

New vocalist Dr. Mania is much closer in style to Suicidal Tendencies singer Mike Muir as he perfectly executes not only his hardcore bark but also his unique melodic vocals. There are also hints of Spreading the Disease era Anthrax with a healthy dose of D.R.I. as well. When they tap into their metal roots is when the band is at their best.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Drago)

Eclipse – ‘Armageddonize’ - Frontiers Records

Eclipse – ‘Armageddonize’. Frontiers Records

Eclipse – ‘Armageddonize’ (Frontiers)

Genre: Hard Rock
Coming off the critically acclaimed Bleed & Scream, Sweden’s Eclipse have returned three years later withArmageddonize. Equal in stature, the release is filled with massive hooks, grandiose vocal melodies and tight musicianship. They have developed a mature AOR sound that has much more in common with Whitesnake than the countless hair bands of the ‘80s.

The record starts off with a bang as “I Don’t Wanna Say I’m Sorry” is remarkably catchy with hooks that will remain long after the song has ended. Armageddonize is an instantly accessible affair that finds the band bringing energy and strong songwriting to the table once again.

Rating: 4
(Dan Drago)

Falling in Reverse - ‘Just Like You’ - Epitaph Records

Falling in Reverse – ‘Just Like You’. Epitaph Records

Falling in Reverse – ‘Just Like You’ (Epitaph)

Genre: Metalcore
Falling in Reverse, from the strip club capital of the world, Las Vegas, do a nice strip down with band interaction on Just Like You.  Basically a solo outing for Ronnie Radke, the best songs “Chemical Prisoner” and “Brother” act as bookends for an unremarkable example of metalcore.

“Just Like You” goes American Idiot with the awful hit single’s precious corollary that he, Ronnie, is an a–hole just like you. What can be said about any metal album that uses “OMG” in a couple of its song’s lyrics? Embarrassing. Better than their last album, the dreadful Fashionably Late, this contribution to the arts will  end up high on the sales charts.

Rating: 2
(Todd Lyons)

New Heavy Metal Album Releases: February 24, 2015

New Metal ReleasesAethyr – Corpus (Cimmerian Shade)
The Agonist – Eye of Providence (Century Media)
Aktor – Paranoia (High Roller)
All That Remains – The Order of Things (Razor & Tie)
Andsolis – Vigil (Quality Steel)
Ashes In Vein – Ashes In Vein (Pavement)
Astral Blood – Astral Blood EP (Tridroid)
Atomic Aggressor – Sights of Suffering (Hells Headbangers)
An Autumn For Crippled Children – The Long Goodbye (Wicker Man)
Bedemon – Child of Darkness (Relapse)
Below The Sun – Envoy (Temple Of Tortuous)
Benighted – Brutalive the Sick DVD (Season of Mist)
Black Star Riders – The Killer Instinct (Nuclear Blast)
Burweed – Hide (Inverse)
Carach Angren – This Is No Fairy Tale (Season Of Mist)
Chiefs – Tomorrow’s Over (Roosevelt Row)
Crest of Darkness – Evil Messiah EP (My Kingdom)
Crimson Wind – Last Poetry Line (Pitch Black)
Crypt Sermon – Out Of The Garden (Dark Descent)
Dead End – Forever Is Not Eternal (Vic)
Deadstar Assembly – Blame It On The Devil (Standby)
Dr. Living Dead – Crush The Sublime Gods (Century Media)
Eclipse – Armageddonize (Frontiers)
Endlesshade – Wolf Will Swallow The Sun (Rain Without End)
Ensiferum – One Man Army (Metal Blade)
Eternal Tapestry – Wild Strawberries (Thrill Jockey)
Falling In Reverse – Just Like You (Epitaph)
Fashion Week – Pret-a-Porter (Solar Flare)
Fetid Zombie – Grotesque Creation (Metalhit)
Furyon – Lost Salvation (Dream)
Gian – All Life Erased (Inverse)
Goat Semen – Ego Svm Satana (Hells Headbangers)
Graveyard After Graveyard – Hellhound On My Trail (Chaos)
Griever – Our Love Is Different (Vitriol)
Hacavitz – Darkness Beyond (Dark Descent)
Halshug – Blodets Band (Southern Lord)
Human Waste – Harvest Remnants (Xtreem)
The Inspector Cluzo – Gasconha Rocks (Suicidal)
Izah – Sistere (Nordvis)
Johansson & Speckmann – Mask Of The Treacherous (Vic)
Keep of Kalessin – Epistemology (Indie)
Krysantemia – Finis Dierum (Memorial)
Legion of Andromeda – Iron Scorn (At War With False Noise / Unholy Anarchy)
Malsanctum – Metamorbid Fetishization (Iron Bonehead)
Mangled – Through Ancient Times (Vic)
Nasty – Shokka (Good Fight)
Necrowretch – With Serpents Scourge (Century Media)
New Plague – New Plague EP (Fly The Light)
Oceans Ate Alaska – Lost Isles (Fearless)
Pelican – The Cliff EP (Southern Lord)
Prophasis – Boundaries (Imminence)
Red – Of Beauty and Rage (Sony)
Revolution Saints – Revolution Saints (Frontiers)
Riti Occulti – Riti Occulti Re-Release (Noravind)
Rob Zombie – Spookshow International Live (Universal)
Ruby The Hatchet – Valley of the Snake (Tee Pee)
Six of Swords – Polar Vortex EP (Sorrow Carrier)
Skeyes – Empty Mirrors EP (Imminence)
Skogen – Vittra Re-Release (Nordvis)
Solefald – World Metal Kosmopolis Sud (Indie)
Soundcrawler – The Dead-End Host (Klonosphere)
Terror Empire – The Empire Strikes Black (Nordavind)
Them Country Bastardz – Sick Daze (Smokehouse)
Torche – Restarter (Relapse)
Uriah Heep – Live at Koko (Frontiers)
Vassafor / Temple Nightside – Call of the Maelstrom Split (Iron Bonehead)
Warhorse – As Heaven Turns To Ash Re-Release (Southern Lord)
The Whorehouse Massacre – Altar Of The Goat Skull/VI (Transcending Obscurity)
The Wolf Council – The Wolf Council (Static Tensions)

Heavy Metal Album Reviews: Week of February 17, 2015

The ratings are on a 5 star scale.

Barshasketh/Void Ritual – 'Split' - Broken Limbs Recordings

Barshasketh/Void Ritual – ‘Split’. Broken Limbs Recordings

Barshasketh/Void Ritual – ‘Split’ (Broken Limbs)

Genre: Black Metal
Broken Limbs Recordings present an excellent split featuring black metal actsBarshasketh and Void Ritual. Barshasketh began in New Zealand but now (as a full band) calls Scotland home. Their two songs, both breaking the eight minute mark, are full of swarming guitars, blistering tremolos and the expected black metal snarl. That venom balances with slower, more melodic, emotional movements as well, all with subtle ancient undertones.

Albuquerque’s Void Ritual take the b-side with three tracks dedicated to various cults. Lone member Daniel Jackson’s snarl falls more on the death metal end but his black metal is white hot. Ungodly swift, the melodies sit lower in the mix teased out by atmosphere. It’s a devastating display from one of USBM’s up-and-comers.

Rating: 4
(Matt Hinch)

Black Pussy – ‘Magic Mustache’ - Made In China

Black Pussy – ‘Magic Mustache’. Made In China

Black Pussy – ‘Magic Mustache’ (Made In China)

Genre: Stoner Metal
Portland, Oregon’s Black Pussy are back on top with a killer slab of new tunes called Magic Mustache. Featuring tight, ’70s guitar riffs and trippy keys, these guys know how to get things done. “Let’s Start A War” gets things going with a stoned out intro that gives way to a bluesy, Kyuss-like riff. This goodness is just the beginning.

Black Pussy worship Queens of the Stone Age and Kyuss. You’d swear that “For The Sake Of Argument” was a song that didn’t make it onto QOTSA’s Rated R. At the same time, they incorporate enough riffs and late ’60s/early ’70s organ tones of their own to give this record an original and unique sound. Throughout the ten songs that make up Magic Mustache, they never once falter. Stand out tracks include “Protopipe” and “Lions Breath.”

Rating: 4.5
(Ken Kopija)

Brothers of the Sonic Cloth – ‘Brothers of the Sonic Cloth’ - Neurot Recordings

Brothers of the Sonic Cloth – ‘Brothers of the Sonic Cloth’. Neurot Recordings

Brothers of the Sonic Cloth – ‘Brothers of the Sonic Cloth’ (Neurot)

Genre: Sludge/Doom Metal   
It has been almost 15 years since Tad Doyle put out a record. While I would prefer not to wait this long in between his releases, this new endeavor with Brothers of the Sonic Cloth is well worth the wait.Brothers of the Sonic Cloth hands down features Tad’s heaviest work to date. The opening track “Lava” is proof of this, while it sets the monumental pace for the destruction to come; it just gets heavier from there.

Featuring veteran bassist Peggy Doyle and Dave French (The Anunnaki) on drums, this well-oiled machine pull you in and trudge effortlessly through five thick tracks of dark, apocalyptic sludge ridden doom. You cannot escape, and you do not want to. This debut is only the beginning of great things to come. One hundred words is nowhere near enough characters to do this record justice.

Rating: 4.5
(Ken Kopija)

CDC – ‘End’ - Get This Right Records

CDC – ‘End’. Get This Right Records

CDC – ‘End’ (Get This Right)

Genre: Hardcore
Pennsylvania DIY hardcore quartet CDChave returned with their first release in five years, End. An uncompromising display of brutally honest angst, held together by an ‘in your face’ vocal performance that does not get lost on the record, END features great 4/4 hardcore anthems, as well as an impressive closer; ‘Temple’ which takes the band into a melodic territory that is not out of place.
With this impressive EP, fans should be excited as to what else CDC will come up with in the future.

Rating: 3.5
(Edward Banchs)

Death Karma – 'The History of Death & Burial Rituals Part 1' - Iron Bonehead Recordings

Death Karma – ‘The History of Death & Burial Rituals Part 1’. Iron Bonehead Recordings

Death Karma – ‘The History of Death & Burial Rituals Part 1’ (Iron Bonehead)

Genre: Death Metal
The History of Death & Burial Rituals Part 1 is the debut full length from Czech duo Death Karma which is comprised of two members of Cult of Fire. Knowing that last fact it should come as no surprise that these six tracks are swollen with grandiosity and worldly affectations.

Each song talks about rituals from different countries (Slovakia, Madagascar, Mexico, Czech Republic, India and China), but you’ll need a lyric sheet to get the full picture. On the musical side it’s a fusion of death and black metal with Hammond organs providing a sense of doom and atmosphere. Brutality and power decay alongside melody, majesty and complication. It’s a break from the norm actually quite brilliant.

Rating: 4
(Matt Hinch)

Deivos – ‘Theodicy’ - Selfmadegod Records

Deivos – ‘Theodicy’. Selfmadegod Records

Deivos – ‘Theodicy’ (Selfmadegod)

Genre: Technical Death Metal
While they aren’t as flashy and as kinetic as the long-hairs that haunt the United States west coast, Polish technical death metal band Deivos have been definite mainstays in the subgenre since their 2006 debut, Emanation from Below. Nine years later and the quintet are back at it with their fourth cut, Theodicy, an unorthodox joyride of endless tempo changes spread across a quasi-industrial backdrop.

Interspersed with electronic passages, Deivos deliver fine-tuned death metal that hits on many of the Polish scene staples—creative and winding guitar work; audible, voluble bass; decipherable textbook roaring; and relentless octopod drumming. At only six tracks in length, Theodicy utilizes its time with deadly efficiency, stocked with riffs and patterns that, while not always show-stopping, remain consistently and heavily effective. Recommended for those who enjoyed Souls of Damnation-era Blood Red Throne.

Rating: 4
(Evan Mugford)

Dephosphorus/Haapoja – 'Collaboration' - Handshake, Inc.

Dephosphorus/Haapoja – ‘Collaboration’. Handshake, Inc.

Dephosphorus/Haapoja – ‘Collaboration’ (Handshake Inc.)

Genre: Grindcore
This isn’t so much a split as it is aCollaboration between Finland’s Haapojaand Greece’s Dephosphorus. On each lead track the bands trade vocalists and there’s some crossover with guitarists as well. Specifically Haapoja’s Pekka Kivela’s solo on Dephosphorus’s “Shades of Reality” which is dedicated to Slayer’s Jeff Hanneman.

Other than the sharp Slayer flavour on “Shades,” Dephosphorus continue to impress with their “astrogrind”. The percussion is insane. There’s groove buried in there of the neck-snappin’, break something, hardcore variety. And the impassioned vocals can keep you up at night. The vocals are equally as intense on the Haapoja side. However, they’re backed by a fuzzier tone and restless riffage bleeding black metal over their ADHD-friendly grind. It’s a complementary collaboration yielding intense results.

Rating: 4
(Matt Hinch)

Ecnephias - 'Ecnephias' - My Kingdom Music

Ecnephias – ‘Ecnephias’. My Kingdom Music

Ecnephias – ‘Ecnephias’ (My Kingdom)

Genre: Death/Gothic Metal
The fifth album from the Italian bandEcnephias is a self-titled affair. The band’s brand of dark metal combines gothic and death metal elements.

The songs are melodic and atmospheric and infused with plenty of melancholy, which is heightened by the baritone singing vocals. There are also more extreme parts with death metal vocals and added intensity. They smoothly transition between styles, with plenty of lengthy instrumental sections that help bridge the gaps. It is a long album at nearly 70 minutes, making it a daunting but enjoyable listen.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Furor Gallico - 'Songs From The Earth' - Scarlet Records

Furor Gallico – ‘Songs From The Earth’. Scarlet Records

Furor Gallico – ‘Songs From The Earth’ (Scarlet)

Genre: Folk Metal
Nearly five years after their debut, Italian folksters Furor Gallico return with Songs From The Earth. The 8 piece band utilizes instruments such as violin, tin whistle, Celtic harp and bouzouki.

Their style ranges from soothing to raucous. Mellow acoustic sections ramp up into upbeat jam sessions. The vocals are diverse as well, utilizing melodic singing, harsh yells and death metal growls in multiple languages. They aren’t as well known as some of their folk metal brethren, but Furor Gallico have delivered an entertaining and enjoyable sophomore album.

Rating: 4
(Chad Bowar)

Harrow - 'Fallow Fields' - Broken Limbs Recordings

Harrow – ‘Fallow Fields’. Broken Limbs Recordings

Harrow – ‘Fallow Fields’ (Broken Limbs)

Genre: Blackened Folk Metal
Fallow Fields is the third full-length album from Harrow, who hail from British Columbia, Canada. The band mixes folk elements with atmospheric black metal.

There are only four songs on the album, but each one is an epic, ranging from about 9 to 14 minutes in length. Every track is diverse, with ebbs and flows between mellow folk and more extreme black metal. Singing and rasping vocals add even more contrast. The ever-shifting nature of the songs avoids monotony, holding interest throughout.

Rating: 3
(Chad Bowar)

New Heavy Metal Album Releases: February 17, 2015

New Metal Releases36 Crazyfists – Time & Trauma (Spinefarm)
At The Hollow – What I Hold Most Dear (Spinefarm)
Barshasketh / Void Ritual –Split (Broken Limbs)
Black Pussy – Magic Mustache (Made In China)
Blood Tribe – Infernal Acts Of Man (Dark Harvest)
Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth – Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth (Neurot)
Carnation – Cemetery Of The Insane (Final Gate)
CDC – End (Get This Right)
Colossus – Drunk On Blood… (Killer Metal)
Death Karma – The History of Death & Burial Rituals Part I (Iron Bonehead)
Deivos – Theodicy (Selfmadegod)
Dephosphorus/Haapoja – Collaboration Split (Handshake)
Ecnephias – Ecnephias (My Kingdom)
Enemy Insects / Radical Discharge – Split EP (Unholy Anarchy)
Frankenstein Rooster – The Nerdvrotic Sounds Escape (Scarlet)
Furor Gallico – Songs From The Earth (Scarlet)
Harrow – Fallow Fields (Broken Limbs)
King Woman – Doubt EP (The Flenser)
Primitive Man – Home Is Where The Hatred Is EP (Relapse)
Publicist UK – Original Demo Recordings (Static Tension)
Salythia – Death D’Core EP (Dead Inside)
Sandrider / Kinski – Sandrider + Kinski Split (Good To Die)
Sarpantium – Blessed Be My Brothers (Willowtip)
Saxon – Heavy Metal Thunder: Bloodstock Edition (UDR)
Saxon – The Saxon Chronicles DVD/CD Re-Release (UDR)
Scanner – The Judgement (Massacre)
Sovereign – Nailing Shut The Sacrosanct Orifice (Broken Limbs)
Stormwitch – Season Of The Witch (Massacre)
Sumac – The Deal (Profound Lore)
Syn Ze Sase Tri – Stapin Peste Stapini (Code 666)
Unhold – Towering (Czar Of Bullets)
Vardan – The Night, The Loneliness (Moribund)
Wende – The Third And The Noble (Moribund)
Whyzdom – Symphony For A Hopeless God (Scarlet)
Wind Rose – Wardens of the West Wind (Scarlet)

Heavy Metal Album Reviews: Week of February 10, 2015

Abstracter – ‘Wound Empire’ (Sentient Ruin)

Genre: Blackened Doom/Sludge Metal
Oakland, California’s Abstracter are back with a fantastic new record. The band, consisting of Mattia Alagna (vocals), Robin Kahn (guitar), Donovan Kelley (bass)  and Emad Dajani (drums) are releasing Wound Empire through various outlets and on multiple formats.  I’ve been a fan since their first release, 2012s Tomb of Feathers, so I was very eager to give this one a listen.

Featuring four songs that clock in at 40 plus minutes, Abstracter do not disappoint. Firing on every cylinder available, the band plows through the songs “Lightless,” “Open Veins,” “Cruciform” and “Glowing Wounds,” with each track weaving an intricate, dark tale. Take note. Abstracter are a force to be reckoned with.

Rating: 4
(Ken Kopija)

Adrenaline Mob – ‘Dearly Departed’ - Century Media Records

Adrenaline Mob – ‘Dearly Departed’. Century Media Records

Adrenaline Mob – ‘Dearly Departed’ (Century Media)

Genre: Heavy Metal
Dearly Departed is a collection of covers and rarities from Adrenaline Mob. While it’s not earth shattering, it’s not bad either. Each track is its own entity that gives the listener a diverse musical experience, but the production value is slightly lower than I anticipated. Mike Orlando’s guitar work is fantastic, but I cannot get past its overly fuzzy tone. Russell Alllen’s beautifully raspy vocals are on point, and the combination of A.J. Pero’s drums and Erik Leonhardt’s bass work is tight, but the overall package could use a little polish.

A great metal cover of “Devil Went Down To Georgia” and a tender acoustic version of “All On The Line” from 2012’s Omerta are real standout tracks that make the album a worthwhile investment. I think that Adrenaline Mob fans will enjoy Dearly Departed, but I wouldn’t recommend using it to hook new fans.

Rating: 3.5
(Diana M. Marsh)

Ahamkara - 'The Embers Of The Stars' - Bindrune Recordings

Ahamkara – ‘The Embers Of The Stars’. Bindrune Recordings

Ahamkara – ‘The Embers Of The Stars’ (Bindrune)

Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal
Ahamkara are the British duo of Steve Black and Michael Blenkarn (Wodensthrone). The Embers Of The Stars is their debut album.

It’s majestic and atmospheric, with layers of synths augmenting the guitars. The sound ranges from oppressive and extreme to reserved and introspective. Each of the four tracks is at least 10 minutes long, with numerous shifts in tempo and intensity. The vocals are the typical tortured black metal screams and rasps. The album is more about ebbs and flows than hooks and riffs.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Amber Sea - 'Infantile Vision' - Famined Records

Amber Sea – ‘Infantile Vision’. Famined Records

Amber Sea – ‘Infantile Vision’ (Famined)

Genre: Progressive Metal
On their debut EP Infantile Vision, the French band Amber Sea start with a progressive palette, and then add several other genres to the mix.

There are melodic parts, death metal influences, metalcore breakdowns and plenty of prog. The vocals alternate between guttural growls and singing. One of their influences is Monuments, so it’s only appropriate vocalist Chris Barretto from that band makes a guest appearance on “Deci(mate).”

Rating: 3
(Chad Bowar)

Bonz - 'Broken Silence' - Pavement Entertainment

Bonz – ‘Broken Silence’. Pavement Entertainment

Bonz – ‘Broken Silence’ (Pavement)

Genre: Rap Metal
Stuck Mojo were one of the pioneers of rap metal in the ’90s. The group’s original vocalist Bonz is back with his own band, whose debut album is Broken Silence.

There are the obvious similarities to Stuck Mojo with numerous other influences ranging from Run DMC to Body Count to Red Hot Chili Peppers. The songs are an extremely catchy blend of metal and old school hip-hop with some memorable guitar riffs. Rap metal fans will want to check this one out.

Rating: 3
(Chad Bowar)

Call of The Void – ‘Ageless’ - Relapse Records

Call of The Void – ‘Ageless’. Relapse Records

Call of The Void – ‘Ageless’ (Relapse)

Genre: Sludge/Crust
Ageless, the new full-length from Denver doom punks Call of the Void, is a barn burner. The band honors the aggression of their first record while mindfully evolving, injecting the past formula with more sludge and tempering it with more variation.

Call of the Void’s delivery displays a more focused assault this time around. WhileAgeless is just as fast and sloppy as their past output, they aren’t afraid to stray from their “blast and bang” approach in order to pay homage to their groovier, doomier influences. Fans of Tragedy, Trap Them, Cursed and Eyehategod will all find something to love on Ageless.

Rating: 4
(Schuler Benson)

Chastain - 'The 7th Of Never' - Tribunal Records

Chastain – ‘The 7th Of Never’. Tribunal Records

Chastain – ‘The 7th Of Never’ (Tribunal)

Genre: Heavy/Power Metal
Chastain returned to the scene a couple years ago after a near decade long gap between albums. Now Tribunal Records is reissuing a couple of the band’s early releases.

The 7th Of Never was their third full-length, originally released in 1987. The new version has been remastered and features a couple of instrumental bonus tracks. David T. Chastain’s guitar wizardry and Leather Leone’s powerful vocals are a potent combination, and this was one of their best albums. Along with The 7th Of Never, their 1988 effort The Voice Of The Cult is also being re-released.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Cowards – ‘Rise to Infamy’ - Deadlight Entertainment

Cowards – ‘Rise to Infamy’. Deadlight Entertainment

Cowards – ‘Rise to Infamy’ (Deadlight)

Genre: Hardcore/Sludge
If the shrill feedback from Cowards’second album doesn’t send shivers through a listener, the horrid screams might do the job. The compact songs throughout this monstrous release ramp up better than the lengthier cuts from their 2012 debut. A blackened hardcore vibe interweaves with a sludgy drive.

The group balks at any kind of passive attitude to their music. These ten tracks have an immediate charge backing them up, whether it’s the directness of “Frustration (Is My Girl)” or the stifled static build-up of “So Easy.” The angry passion seething through Rise to Infamy will garner the band its share of eager supporters.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Marsicano)

Demoncy - ‘Joined In Darkness’ - Forever Plagued Records

Demoncy – ‘Joined In Darkness’. Forever Plagued Records

Demoncy – ‘Joined In Darkness’ (Forever Plagued)

Genre: Black Metal
One of the first bands out of the early USBM scene, North Carolina’s Demoncyhave been kicking around since the early 1990s. Essentially a one man band that occasionally plays live shows with session musicians, Demoncy are straight out of the Beherit school of black metal with low-pitched, rasped vocals and an extremely muddy, yet catchy, sound.

Joined In Darkness is a long out of print classic, although a vinyl re-release appeared in 2011. Originally Demoncy’s second album and released in 1999, the album is now being given a wider release on CD in digipack form, courtesy of Forever Plagued Records. The release of the album will serve to increase Demoncy’s profile, as they will be embarking on a short tour of the United States in the spring which will include an appearance at Maryland Death Fest.

Rating: 3.5
(Dave Schalek)

Dwell – 'Vermin and Ashes' - Hells Headbangers Records

Dwell – ‘Vermin and Ashes’. Hells Headbangers Records

Dwell – ‘Vermin and Ashes’ (Hell’s Headbangers)

Genre: Death/Doom Metal
Vermin and Ashes is the stunning debut from Denmark’s Dwell. The album consists of their demo plus three new songs. It’s a perfect blend of traditional doom’s downtrodden nature and death metal’s grit with slightly gothic and charred aspects and tortured, anguished, demonic vocals.

It’s blessedly dynamic, mixing a determined plod with steamrolling riffs and soul-scarring solos. Melody co-mingles with ferocious tone and thunderous percussion. Whether flattening or slow-burning like the dying embers of a fire, atmospheric and eerie synths compliment the downfall. Then there’s “Become the Void.” It’s an ambient and psychedelically meditative departure from the burly, haunting and melancholic death/doom that surrounds it. Vermin and Ashes is a stellar 26 minute introduction to a band with an undoubtedly high ceiling across multiple sub-genres.

Rating: 4.5
(Matt Hinch)

New Heavy Metal Album Releases: February 10, 2015

New Metal ReleasesAbstracter – Wound Empire(Sentient Ruin)
Adrenaline Mob – Dearly Departed (Century Media)
Ahamkara – The Embers of the Stars (Bindrune/Nordvis)
Amber Sea – Infantile Vision(Famined)
Annulment – Celestial Mother Of The Handless Path(Blasphemour)
Blacklisted – When People Grow, People Go (Deathwish)
Bloodscribe – Prologue To The Apocalypse (Gore House)
Bonz – Broken Silence (Pavement)
Call Of The Void – Ageless (Relapse)
Chastain – The 7th of Never Re-Release (Tribunal)
Chastain – The Voice of the Cult Re-Release (Tribunal)
Cowards – Rise To Infamy (Deadlight)
Dan Deagh Wealcan – Two Straight Horizontal Lines… (Metal Scrap)
Demoncy – Joined in Darkness Re-Release (Forever Plagued)
The Dreaming – Rise Again (Metropolis)
Dwell – Vermin and Ashes (Hells Headbangers)
Embryo – Embryo (Logic (Il)logic)
En Esch – Spank! (Distortion)
Exhumed – Gore Metal Redux: A Necrospective (Relapse)
Finsterforst – Mach Dich Frei (Napalm)
Gehennah – Metal Police (Metal Blade)
Generichrist – Taste of Death (HPGD)
Gorelust – We Are The Undead (PRC)
Grinder – Dawn For The Living Re-Release (Tribunal)
Harm’s Way – Rust (Deathwish)
Hate – Crusade Zero (Napalm)
Heaving Earth – Denouncing The Holy Throne (Lavadome)
Holycide – Toxic Mutation EP (Xtreem)
Lykaion – Heavy Lullabies (Inverse)
Marduk – Frontschwein (Century Media)
Monolith – Against The Wall of Forever (Funeral Noise)
Mourning Mist – Mourning Mist (Forever Plagued)
Outer Heaven – Diabolus Vobiscum EP (Melotov)
Putrid Offal – Mature Necropsy (Kaotoxin)
Retox – Beneath California (Epitaph)
Rwake – Xenoglossalgia: The Last Stage of Awareness (Relapse)
Taake – Stridens Hus (Candlelight)
Thulcandra – Ascension Lost (Napalm)
Twingiant – Devil Down (Medusa Crush)
Wells Valley – Matter As Regent (Bleak)
Zoax – Is Everybody Listening? EP (Century Media)

New Heavy Metal Album Releases: February 3, 2015

Armageddon – Captivity & Devourment (Listenable)
Atomicide – Chaos Abomination (Iron Bonehead)
Black Cilice – Mysterious (Iron Bonehead)
Blind Guardian – Beyond the Red Mirror (Nuclear Blast)
Callisto – Secret Youth (Svart)
Chip Z’Nuff – Strange Time (Deadline)
The Clan Destined – In The Big Ending Re-Release (Hammerheart)
Dead In The Manger – Cessation (20 Buck Spin)
Deathbreed – New World Order (Rogue)
Devilish Impressions – Adventvs (Hammerheart)
Dodsfall – Kaosmakt (Osmose)
Fulgore – Stratagem (Housecore)
Game Over – For Humanity Re-Release (Scarlet)
Gnaw Their Tongues – Collected Atrocities 2005-2008 (Crucial Blast)
Goryl – Father of Witches/Father of Evil Witches (Medusa Crush)
Hellish Outcast – Stay of Execution (Listenable)
Hic Iacet – The Cosmic Trance Into The Void (Iron Bonehead)
Iron Lamb – Fool’s Gold (High Roller)
Keeper/Sea Bastard – Split (Medusa Crush)
Leah – Kings & Queens (Inner Wound)
A Life Of Torment – Fracture/Conscious (Blasphemour)
Melanchoholics – Solar Cafe (Eibon)
Orden Ogan – Ravenhead (AFM)
Orghanon – Figures In Slow Motion (Eibon)
Saor – Roots (Northern Silence)
Shadowspawn – Ashes Of Sorrow EP (HPGD)
Spiralism – Chakras (Inverse)
A Swarm of the Sun – The Rifts (Version Studio)
U.D.O. – Decadent (AFM)
Ululate – Back To Cannibal World (Xtreem)
Various Artists – (We’ve Got) Fiends In Low Place: Heavy Vibes Internationale (Eolian Empire)
Wake The Nation – Sign Of Heart (Inverse)
Wolfheart – Winterborn Re-Release (Spinefarm)
Yesterday’s Saints – Generation of Vipers (Draconum)
Zex – Fight For Yourself (Magic Bullet)

Heavy Metal Album Reviews: Week of February 3, 2015

The ratings are on a 5 star scale.

Atomicide - 'Chaos Abomination' - Iron  Bonehead Productions

Atomicide – ‘Chaos Abomination’. Iron Bonehead Productions

Atomicide – ‘Chaos Abomination’ (Iron Bonehead)

Genre: Death/Thrash Metal
After releasing several demos over the past decade, the Chilean trio Atomicideunleashed their debut album a couple years ago. They follow that up with Chaos Abomination.

It’s raw death metal with thrash influences. The tempos are generally fast, with dense riffs and flailing drums. The guttural vocals have plenty of echo and are low in the mix. It’s a chaotic ride at times when the speed becomes nearly blinding, but just before heading off the rails they dial it back into a groove for a bit before stomping on the accelerator again.

Rating: 3
(Chad Bowar)

Black Cilice – 'Mysteries' - Iron Bonehead Recordings

Black Cilice – ‘Mysteries’. Iron Bonehead Recordings

Black Cilice – ‘Mysteries’ (Iron Bonehead)

Genre: Black Metal
Listening to Mysteries, the third LP from Portuguese one-man black metal entityBlack Cilice can be a trying endeavour. The mysterious project takes the idea of lo-fi very seriously on these six tracks of frost-bitten kvlt black metal.

Most listeners will likely have a hard time reconciling the distant percussion, the tremolo melodies (however beautiful they may be) hiding in the mix, and the static, cracked and ancient sounding synths/vocal howls. No doubt intentional production values aside, the parts that make the whole are well done and effective at invoking feelings of cold bitterness and deep-rooted melancholia. It’s just too bad it didn’t sound better. Then again, it’s not supposed to.

Rating: 3
(Matt Hinch)

Callisto – ‘Secret Youth’ - Svart

Callisto – ‘Secret Youth’. Svart

Callisto – ‘Secret Youth’ (Svart)

Genre: Atmospheric Sludge Metal/Post-Hardcore
Feeling moody? Good, so are Finnish quintet Callisto and their fourth full-length release Secret Youth, a record that hears a lighter approach to the band’s otherwise heavy and emotive footfall. It’s a post-hardcore party, for sure, and while the punch is definitely spiked with typically somber guitar passages, the overall effect is quite haunting.

Helmed by the plaintive vocal work of Jani Ala-Hukkala, whose cleans greatly outweigh the album’s occasional bursts of harsh roars, Secret Youth wields a distinctly subdued and partially gothic mélange, like some muddled pairing of Beastmilk and Mouth of the Architect. Not every song hits a softened nerve, but tracks like “Lost Prayer” and “Ghostwritten” manage to find their way under your skin and into your bloodstream in rapid succession.

Rating: 3.5
(Evan Mugford)

The Clan Destined – ‘In The Big Ending’ - Hammerheart Records

The Clan Destined – ‘In The Big Ending’.Hammerheart Records

The Clan Destined – ‘In The Big Ending’ (Hammerheart)

Genre: Folk Metal

Fronting the likes of thrash icons Sabbat and the innovative folk band Skyclad, vocalist Martin Walkyier has endured and been hollering out his melodies since the mid ’80s. His latest band is The Clan Destined, who unveil their debut offeringIn the Big Ending. Their sound fuses straightforward metal and punk with the familiar folk melodies that were featured throughout his Skyclad project.

The EP features five originals and a Julian Cope cover as it clocks in at just under thirty minutes. Walkyier’s melodies are infectious and unique as he consistently presents an individualistic style. Originally recorded in 2004, it is finally seeing the light of day despite the fact that Walkyier is the only member still in the band since the recording.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Drago)

Daemon Pyre - 'Daemon Pyre' - New Justice Records

Daemon Pyre – ‘Daemon Pyre’. New Justice Records

Daemon Pyre – ‘Daemon Pyre’ (New Justice)

Genre: Death Metal
Daemon Pyre hail from Sydney Australia, and were formed from the ashes of the band As Silence Breaks. Their self-titled debut album is diverse, but also cohesive.

The songwriting is excellent, blending memorable grooves and pounding riffs with atmospherics that add even more depth. Some parts are dense and technical, but the next groove is always right around the corner.  Vocalist Sam Rilatt also delivers a varied performance, his harsh vocals ranging from guttural growls to tortured yells. The album wraps up with a guest appearance from Psycroptic vocalist Jason Peppiatt.

Rating: 4
(Chad Bowar)

Dead in the Manger – ‘Cessation’ - 20 Buck Spin Records

Dead in the Manger – ‘Cessation’. 20 Buck Spin Records

Dead in the Manger – ‘Cessation’ (20 Buck Spin)

Genre: Grindcore/Black Metal
Dead in the Manger’s full-length debut layers on contemptuous attitudes and seething fierceness on par with their first EP Transience. The members keep their identities cloaked in secrecy, putting all the focus on the raging music. Their black metal/grind hybrid is amped up, as is the melodic leanings present on most tracks.

The pacing switch from manic to reserved has no hitches. For an album this cerebral, there are moments that could be considered tranquil, however fleeting they may be. Like their EP, with the songs being labeled in parts, Cessation is invaluable as a complete listening experience.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Marsicano)

Devilish Impressions – ‘Adventvs’ - Hammerheart Records

Devilish Impressions – ‘Adventvs’. Hammerheart Records

Devilish Impressions – ‘Adventvs’ (Hammerheart)

Genre: Black Metal
Three years after their last release, Poland’s Devilish Impressions are ready to unload a stopgap EP before they finalize their latest full-length album.Adventvs is two tracks that clock in at seventeen minutes and is the perfect amalgamation of different genres. Rooted in black metal, they also combine death and symphonic elements throughout for a diverse affair.

“Adventvs Regis” is a torrid ten-minute ambitious track that blends blast beats, gothic overtones and groove inspired riffs all coinciding with vocalists Quazarre’s hellish shrill vocals. The tremolo picking and orchestration of “Meteoron” brings to mind modern day Septic Flesh that includes a melodic breakdown showcasing their strong songwriting.

Rating: 4
(Dan Drago)

Gnaw Their Tongues - ‘Collected Atrocities 2005-2008‘ - Crucial Blast Recordings

Gnaw Their Tongues – ‘Collected Atrocities 2005-2008‘. Crucial Blast Recordings

Gnaw Their Tongues – ‘Collected Atrocities 2005-2008‘ (Crucial Blast)

Genre: Black Metal/Experimental
Prior to the release of 2007’s An Epiphanic Vomiting of Blood, Gnaw Their Tongues released a set of ultra-limited EPs and tracks, which quickly went out of print. Here, they are presented in all of their disgusting, grimy, densely layered glory.

Each track, simply put, sounds like the soundtrack to something terrible happening. Utilizing influences from noise, doom metal, drone, black metal and industrial, Collected Atrocities 2005-2008 turns out to have a pretty apt title.

Rating: 3
(James Gamble)

Goryl – 'Father of Witches & Father of Evil Witches' - Medusa Crush Records

Goryl – ‘Father of Witches & Father of Evil Witches’. Medusa Crush Records

Goryl – ‘Father of Witches & Father of Evil Witches’ (Medusa Crush)

Genre: Minimalist Metal
Father of Witches & Father of Evil Witches is the combination of two EPs by those names receiving a very limited cassette release. Both appeared last summer and are the work of the instrumental one-man unit known asGoryl, who takes a minimalist approach using only a slightly overdriven lone guitar.

There’s plenty of feel here as it sounds like he’s just letting his heart dictate what the fingers are doing. Bluesy, droning passages repeat with minor changes that never take away from the recording’s emotional heart. It’s not very exciting though as it’s the sort of contemplative music that could soundtrack sitting in a rocking chair on the porch thinking about life’s triumphs and tribulations.

Rating: 3
(Matt Hinch)

Hellish Outcast – ‘Stay of Execution’ - Listenable Records

Hellish Outcast – ‘Stay of Execution’. Listenable Records

Hellish Outcast – ‘Stay of Execution’ (Listenable)

Genre: Thrash Metal
Hellish Outcast are a thrash metal band from Bergen Norway who are excellent when blasting away your eardrums at the beginning of this album. One track that stands out is “I Can No Longer See The Sun.”

After a solid first half of an album the consistency drops quite a bit as some of the songs go on for a bit too long and tend to drag. If you are looking for some decent thrash early in this calendar year then perhaps Hellish Outcast are for you.

Rating: 3
(Tom Campagna)

New Heavy Metal Album Releases: January 27, 2015

New Metal ReleasesAir Raid – Point Of Impact (High Roller)
Andsolis – Vigil (Quality Steel)
Angelus Apatrida – Hidden Evolution (Century Media)
Archgoat – The Apocalyptic Triumphator (Debemur Morti)
Ascension – The Dead Of The World (Season Of Mist)
Avoral – War Is Not Over (Club Inferno)
Battleaxe – Power From The Universe (SPV)
Battle Beast – Unholy Savior (Nuclear Blast)
Black Sheep Wall – I’m Going To Kill Myself (Season Of Mist)
The Body and Thou – You, Whom I Have Always Hated (Thrill Jockey)
By The Patient – Gehenna (Lifeforce)
Condor – Duin (Gomorrah)
The Cyon Project – Tails of Pain (Pavement)
Deprive – Into Oblivion (Memento Mori)
Diablo Blvd. – Follow the Deadlights (Nuclear Blast)
Discourse – Sanity Decays (Closed Casket)
Falloch – This Island, Our Funeral (Candlelight)
Funeral For A Friend – Chapter and Verse (Distiller)
Grimoire – L’aorasie Des spectres rêveurs EP (Eisenwald)
If These Trees Could Talk – Above The Earth, Below The Sky Re-Release (Metal Blade)
If These Trees Could Talk – Red Forest Re-Release (Metal Blade)
Ingested – The Architect of Extinction (Century Media)
Iron Witch – The First Four Beers (Witch Hunter)
Jorn Lande and Trond Holter – Dracula: Swing of Death (Frontiers)
Level 10 – Chapter 1 (Frontiers)
Lord Dying – Poison Altars (Relapse)
Napalm Death – Apex Predator: Easy Meat (Century Media)
Nervecell – Psychogenocide Re-Release (Unique Leader)
Night Demon – Curse of the Damned (Century Media)
Nightingale – Retribution (Inside Out)
No Spill Blood – Heavy Electricity (Sargent House)
One-Way Mirror – Capture (Pavement)
Pat Travers Band – Live At The Iridium NYC (Frontiers)
Periphery – Juggernaut: Alpha (Sumerian)
Periphery – Juggernaut: Omega (Sumerian)
RVNT – Vulnerable EP (We Are Triumphant)
Sodom – Sacred Warpath EP (SPV)
Solanum / Epi-Demic – Passages To Lunacy Split (HPGD)
Sumokem – The Madness of Lu Shen Ti Vol. 1 (Handshake)
Sweet & Lynch – Only To Rise (Frontiers)
Tervahaat – Tervahaat (Nordvis)
Thurisaz – Thurisaz: Live & Acoustic CD/DVD (Sleazy Rider)
Trial – Vessel (High Roller)
Venom – From The Very Depths (Spinefarm)
Visigoth – The Revenant King (Metal Blade)
Vivus Humare- Einkehr (Eisenwald)
Voices – London (Candlelight)
Vulturium Memoriae – Nato Per Ragioni Ignote (Avantgarde)
Winds of Genocide – Usurpring the Throne of Disease (Pulverised)
Xibalba – Tierra Y Libertad (Southern Lord)
Youth Funeral – See You When I See You (Twelve Gauge)

New Heavy Metal Album Reviews: January 20, 2015

The ratings are on a 5-star scale.

Alpha Tiger – ‘ iDentity’ - SPV Records

Alpha Tiger – ‘ iDentity’. SPV Records

Alpha Tiger – ‘ iDentity’ (SPV/Steamhammer)

Genre:  Traditional Heavy Metal
With catchy guitar riffs, power metal styled vocals, and pummeling drum work, Alpha Tiger have taken old school heavy metal to the next level with their third release,iDentity. Think Fates Warning and Queensryche, but with tighter solos, vocals that are powerful but not over the top, and touches of a Hammond organ here and there to round out the softer intros and ballad-ish songs.

Tommy Newton, who has worked with UFO, Gama Ray, and many metal acts, did a fantastic job mixing and mastering this recording; the quality can be heard from beginning to end. For those of you that like their metal more traditional/old school I fully recommendiDentity.

Rating: 3.5
(Diana M. Marsh)

Arcane - 'Known/Learned' - Sensory Records

Arcane – ‘Known/Learned’. Sensory Records

Arcane – ‘Known/Learned’ (Sensory)

Genre: Progressive Metal
After a more than five year span between albums, Australia’s Arcane make up for the absence with the two hour epic double album Known/Learned.

It’s a very diverse effort. From acoustic sections to mellow piano driven parts to rock based tracks to all out metal, there are a ton of different styles, textures and tempos throughout. The songwriting and musicianship are excellent, and the performance of vocalist Jim Grey is especially noteworthy. His voice is very expressive and dynamic, sometimes quiet and reserved, other times belting it out. Holding a listener’s attention for two hours can be a challenging task, but prog fans will find that this compelling and varied release is up to that challenge.

Rating: 4
(Chad Bowar)

Armageddon – ‘Captivity & Devourment’ - Listenable Records

Armageddon – ‘Captivity & Devourment’. Listenable Records

Armageddon – ‘Captivity & Devourment’ (Listenable)

Genre: Melodic Death Metal
After disbanding in 2002, Sweden’sArmageddon have reformed after a thirteen year break with their fourth full length release Captivity & Devourment. After leaving Arch Enemy in 2012, guitarist extraordinaire Christopher Amott has decided to concentrate solely on his past band. Flirting with power metal on their last few releases, they have returned to the melodic death metal sound of their earlier recordings.

The blistering title track comes roaring out of the gates with blast beats and complex riffing, Matt Hallquist supplying ripping screams. Unfortunately, he has recently left the band. As always, Amott’s leads are world class and flowing with technical brilliance. Well worth the long wait.

Rating: 4
(Dan Drago)

Bullet – ‘Storm of Blades’ - Metalville/Nuclear Blast Records

Bullet – ‘Storm of Blades’. Metalville/Nuclear Blast Records

Bullet – ‘Storm of Blades’ (Metalville/Nuclear Blast)

Genre: Heavy Metal
Combining the classic metal style of Judas Priest and Accept, Bullet are a throwback straightforward punch to the face. With their fifth release Storm of Blades, they continue down the same path of simplistic riffs, anthemic choruses and gravelly melodies all fused together.

They seem to be more in their element when the tempo is cranked and the energy is pushed, like on the explosive title track and the steamrolling “Run With the Hunted.” “Tornado” brings forth visions of AC/DC, but the Teutonic titans inspire most of their material. It would be a nice change of pace if their next release concentrated more on their quicker paced material front to back.

Rating: 3
(Dan Drago)

Caïna - ’Settler Of Unseen Shores’ - Broken Limbs Recordings

Caïna – ’Settler Of Unseen Shores’. Broken Limbs Recordings

Caïna – ’Settler Of Unseen Shores’ (Broken Limbs)

Genre: Black Metal/Post Metal
An amalgamation of black metal and post metal with plenty of quiet, introspective melodies, the U.K.’s Caïna has been generally well regarded over the course of six full-length albums. Previously mostly a one-man project with Andrew Curtis-Brignell handling all vocals and instruments, Caïna return with Cold Fell vocalist Laurence Taylor taking on some of the duties.

The result, Settler Of Unseen Shores, is darker in tone than most of the past albums from Caïna with a greater emphasis on black metal with blastbeats, dissonance and harsh vocals. Sprawled out over six tracks including a 15-minute closer, Settler Of Unseen Shores also has plenty of quieter moments, showcasing Curtis-Brignell’s ability to bring together different genre elements into a cohesive whole.

Rating: 4
(Dave Schalek)

Chapel of Disease – ‘The Mysterious Ways Of Repetitive Art’ - FDA Rekotz Records

Chapel of Disease – ‘The Mysterious Ways Of Repetitive Art’. FDA Rekotz Records

Chapel of Disease – ‘The Mysterious Ways Of Repetitive Art’ (F.D.A. Rekotz)

Genre: Death Metal
Chapel of Disease’s debut albumSummoning Black Gods was a huge reflection of old school death metal. By the band’s second and most recent albumThe Mysterious Ways of Repetitive Art,Chapel of Disease have redefined their music with more well written songs of maleficent death metal.

The Mysterious Ways of Repetitive Art still has the sound signature that Chapel of Disease carved in their debut album, but with a less raw production revolving around more chunky, thrashy and melodic riffs, eight to 10 minutes epic songs and the reverberant voice of Laurent Teubl. The result is a stronger album that still sounds perfectly old school that’s slightly touched by modern structures.

Rating: 3.5
(Arash Khosronejad)

Crack House – ‘The Hits Just Keep On Coming’ - Horror Pain Gore Death Productions

Crack House – ‘The Hits Just Keep On Coming’.Horror Pain Gore Death Productions

Crack House – ‘The Hits Just Keep On Coming’ (HPGD)

Genre: Hardcore Punk/Thrash
Philadelphia outfit Crack House nail together the acidic elements of Gwar, Black Flag, and bits of every human-hater from Nekrofilth to Repulsion, and manage to put out a nasty little gem of ugly commentary on the depravity of urban despair. “Crack House” is a sick piece of singalong snot, while “March of the Crackheads” is self-evident, putrid and somehow hypnotic.

Clear away the vomitus, the EP swirls in its tracks and find a vicious attack on the depths of self-abuse. The drop-ins before each song are cue cards to the evils of self-loathing and victimization, not only of those whose lives are lost to a chemical idol, but also to the writing on the wall for all of society. Crack House go for debauchery and shock on this EP and, perhaps unintentionally, crank out a searing statement.

Rating: 4
(Todd Lyons)

Dead City Ruins – ‘Dead City Ruins’ - Metalville Records

Dead City Ruins – ‘Dead City Ruins’. Metalville Records

Dead City Ruins – ‘Dead City Ruins’ (Metalville)

Genre: Heavy Metal
Blending the free spirit of punk with a straightforward rock ‘n’ roll style is the formula on Australia’s Dead City Ruins’ self titled sophomore release. Dirty riffs and memorable melodies abound as the band sounds like it gave birth to the filthy lovechild of Black Sabbath and AC/DC.

“Til Death” is the clear highlight as the band embodies classic Black Sabbath with excellent vocal melodies and a groove induced simplistic riff. The record closes with a solid cover of AC/DC’s “Rock ‘N’ Roll Damnation” with Whitfield Crane (Ugly Kid Joe) supplying his monster vocals. At times the blueprint works but the songs are a little bloated and could be streamlined.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Drago)

Garotting Deep/Fōr – 'Void Asceticism' - Iron Bonehead Productions

Garotting Deep/Fōr – ‘Void Asceticism’. Iron Bonehead Productions

Garotting Deep/Fōr – ‘Void Asceticism’ (Iron Bonehead)

Genre: Black Metal
Void Asceticism is the split from Calgary’sGarotting Deep and Sweden’s Fōr.Garotting Deep is the solo project of a man named Phil also known as Imperator in Bone Chalice. Here he plays a lo-fi style of black metal more intent on atmosphere and bitter cold guitar work than calculated cleanliness. It’s loose yet incisive, sometimes with a rollicking nature. It includes a well done cover of Wardruna’s “Heimta Thurs”.

The mysterious Fōr take a different approach on the b-side in some respects. While also lo-fi and atmospheric, they’re inherently evil and chaotic. They brutalize the listener with hellish heaviness and a feral hatred. Scorching and plodding, Fōr is bent on esoterically ruining your mood.

Rating: 3
(Matt Hinch)

Panzer – ‘Send Them All To Hell’ - Nuclear Blast Records

Panzer – ‘Send Them All To Hell’. Nuclear Blast Records

The German Panzer – ‘Send Them All To Hell’ (Nuclear Blast)

Genre: Heavy Metal
Legendary vocalist Schmeir of thrash metal titans Destruction and the recently departed members of Accept, Herman Frank and Stefan Schwarzmann have decided to join forces in the Teutonic supergroup Panzer. Their debut offeringSend Them All To Hell is the perfect amalgam of both bands. Playing straight for the throat metal that is heavily reminiscent of the last few Accept releases, they also stray into faster, heavier territory.

Schmeir adopts a more melodic vocal style than the later day Destruction releases and ironically captures the charm of his earlier preferred style. He sounds re-energized and displays an incredible power to his voice. Each track pummels the listener into submission, as it’s a very promising debut that showcases the trio’s talent.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Drago)

New Heavy Metal Album Releases: January 20, 2015

Alpha Tiger – Identity (SPV)
Angra – Secret Garden (Ear Music)
Arcane – Known/Learned(Sensory)
Armageddon – Captivity & Devourment (Listenable)
Biotoxic Warfare – Lobotomized (Slaney)
New Metal ReleasesBreathless – Return To Pangea (Xtreem)
Bullet – Storm of Blades (Metalville)
Caina – Setter of Unseen Snares (Broken Limbs)
Chapel of Disease – The Mysterious Ways of Repetitive Art (FDA Rekotz)
Crack House – The Hits Just Keep On Coming EP (HPGD)
Dead City Ruins – Dead City Ruins (Metalville)
Dragonhammer – The Blood Of The Dragon Re-Release (My Kingdom)
Dragonhammer – Time For Expiation Re-Release (My Kingdom)
Garotting Deep / For – Void Asceticism Split (Iron Bonehead)
Gnosis – The Third-Eye Gate (Nuclear War Now!)
Gurd – Fake (Czar of Crickets)
Implode – Terra Pericoloa: I of Everything Chapter II EP (Cramada)
Kruger – Adam and Steve (Listenable)
Lectern – Fratricidal Concelebration (Sliptrick)
Lonewolf – Cult of Steel (Massacre)
Mellowtoy – Lies (Scarlet)
Messiah’s Kiss – Get Your Bulls Out! (Massacre)
Midnight Bullet – Lose My Face (Inverse)
Motorhead – Stage Fright Blu-ray (SPV)
Nachtreich / Spectral Lore – The Quivering Lights Split EP (Bindrune)
Obscure Infinity – Perpetual Descending Into Nothingness (FDA Rekotz)
Project 86 – Knives To The Future (Team Black)
Raunchy – Vices.Virtues.Visions (Massacre)
Satan’s Host – Pre-Dating God Parts 1 & 2 (Moribund)
Serious Black – As Daylight Breaks (AFM)
Simus – Vox Vult (Bakerteam)
UFO – Showtime Blu-ray (SPV)
Vardan – Verses From Ancient Times (Moribund)
Voices of Destiny – Crisis Cult (Massacre)

Happy Martin Luther King Jr Day 2015

Martin Luther King Jr Day

(officially Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.) is an American federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around the time of King’s birthday, January 15. The floating holiday is similar to holidays set under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act.

King was the chief spokesman for nonviolent activism in the civil rights movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law. The campaign for a federal holiday in King’s honor began soon after his assassination in 1968. President Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law in 1983, and it was first observed three years later. At first, some states resisted observing the holiday as such, giving it alternative names or combining it with other holidays. It was officially observed in all 50 states for the first time in 2000.

martin-luther-king

Heavy Metal Album Reviews: Week of January 13, 2015

The latest heavy metal album reviews, including releases from Convent Guilt, Desolate Shrine, Einherjer, Ghoulgotha, Hateful Abandon, Karma To Burn, The Last Ten Seconds Of LIfe, Manilla Road, Pain Of Salvation, Shredhead and Volahn.

The ratings are on a 5 star scale.

Convent Guilt - 'Guns For Hire' - Shadow Kingdom Records

Convent Guilt – ‘Guns For Hire’. Shadow Kingdom Records

Convent Guilt – ‘Guns For Hire’ (Shadow Kingdom)

Genre: Traditional Metal
They sound like they have been around for decades, but Australia’s Convent Guiltare a relatively new band. Guns For Hireis their debut album.

They would have fit in perfectly in the late ’70s/early ’80s New Wave Of British Heavy Metal scene. The album mixes that vintage style with Australian hard rock to create a songs that are catchy and memorable with a throwback vibe. There’s not a lot of complexity or variety here, just straightforward old school metal with elements of everyone from Saxon to Diamond Head to AC/DC.

Rating: 3
(Chad Bowar)

Desolate Shrine – 'The Heart of the Netherworld' - Dark Descent Records

Desolate Shrine – ‘The Heart of the Netherworld’.Dark Descent Records

Desolate Shrine – ‘The Heart of the Netherworld’ (Dark Descent)

Genre: Death Metal
Finland’s Desolate Shrine deliver as expected on their third album, The Heart of the Netherworld. Not a surprise as Dark Descent is near flawless at releasing quality death/doom. After a disconsolate intro, Desolate Shrine launch into their infernal and twisted death metal. Oppressive atmosphere weighs heavy balanced by an equal feeling of reaching for the sky.

“We Dawn Anew”’s piano beginning is a welcome change of pace from channeling the loudest of darknesses, however brief. The 14-minute track is spun with more obvious melodies than much of the rest as the album’s highlight traverses a deadly and shifting landscape. The Heart of the Netherworld is over an hour of terrorizing and nuanced death metal beckoning forth atmospheric and desolate doom.

Rating: 4
(Matt Hinch)

Einherjer – ‘Av Oss, For Oss’ - Indie Recordings

Einherjer – ‘Av Oss, For Oss’. Indie Recordings

Einherjer – ‘Av Oss, For Oss’ (Indie)

Genre: Viking Metal
As it was, so shall it be. Viking metalersEinherjer have released an album that not only tells a story, but transports their listeners back to the days of old. Back to the days of our ancestors, when myth and lore were a way of life and tales of battles, conquests, and Nordic might were spread far beyond the frosty shores of Northern Europe.

Av Oss, For Oss is an incredible album full of vocals black as night tempered by melodic guitar riffs, rolling drums rhythms, and hauntingly beautiful key work. Fans of Norwegian black metal, symphonic black metal or folk metal will certainly find Av Oss, For Oss to their liking.

Rating 4
(Diana M. Marsh)

Ghoulgotha – ‘The Deathmass Cloak’ - Dark Descent Records

Ghoulgotha – ‘The Deathmass Cloak’. Dark Descent Records

Ghoulgotha – ‘The Deathmass Cloak’ (Dark Descent)

Genre: Doom/ Death Metal
I’ve kept my eye on San Diego’sGhoulgotha after catching them as an opening act at some random show a couple of years ago. Consisting of a rather catchy, and nasty, amalgam of doom and death metal with a wacky gimmick guitar sported by frontman W. Sarantopoulos, Ghoulgotha made enough of an impression on me such that I was looking forward to this debut full-length.

Unfortunately, The Deathmass Cloak is a disappointment with nearly unlistenable chunks of songs given to starts, stops, and time changes that grate upon your nerves almost instantly. To their credit, though, Ghoulgotha are mixing things up with quirky songwriting, but the result leaves much to be desired.

Rating: 2
(Dave Schalek)

Hateful Abandon – 'Liars/Bastards' - Candlelight Records

Hateful Abandon – ‘Liars/Bastards’. Candlelight Records

Hateful Abandon – ‘Liars/Bastards’ (Candlelight)

Genre: Post-Industrial Metal
A brief conversation on Twitter withHateful Abandon reveals Liars/Bastards to be an admitted love letter to their influences. According to their Facebook page (isn’t social media handy?) those influences include old Killing Joke, Skinny Puppy and Throbbing Gristle. For more recent comparisons look at Psalm Zero or a less heavy Godflesh.

Any connections Hateful Abandon have to a black metal sound are long gone as a throbbing post-industrial aesthetic is the main focus. Lots of samples/field recordings and non-traditional instrumentation provides an imaginative backdrop for what would serve well as a soundtrack to a coldly thrilling post-apocalyptic scene. Hateful Abandon are holding on to a “metal” tag tenuously, but there’s plenty for metalheads to enjoy and the bands promises their next will carve deeper into their unique sound.

Rating: 3.5
(Matt Hinch)

Karma to Burn – ‘Arch Stanton’ - FABA

Karma to Burn – ‘Arch Stanton’. FABA

Karma to Burn – ‘Arch Stanton’ (FABA)

Genre: Instrumental Stoner Metal
West Virginia’s true sons of the bud are one of those bands that make you and your friends snap your faces away from the necks of your beer bottles and look to the stage. Maybe it’s a rainy Thursday night and Sierra are in town, or a hot summer Tuesday when Weedeater roll in, and you go to see, smoke, drink and groove.

Karma to Burn put an end to passivity. They rock hard and yet keep the groove firmly in the alligator clips of the head banger nod. 20 years of wicked professionalism make them splendid at bagging up music to do stuff by. In some states, you need a medical license to sell what they offer. They do it by the numbers. Opener “Fifty Seven” is a true burner.

Rating: 3
(Todd Lyons)

The Last Ten Seconds Of Life - 'Soulless Hymns' - Density Records

The Last Ten Seconds Of Life – ‘Soulless Hymns’.Density Records

The Last Ten Seconds Of Life – ‘Soulless Hymns’ (Density)

Genre: Deathcore
Pennsylvania’s The Last Ten Seconds Of Life are back with the crushing new albumSoulless Hymns, which is their third full-length.

One thing that helps set this band apart from the deathcore masses is their deliberate tempo. Several songs move along at a slow pace, with periodic mid-tempo groovy moments. That increases the heaviness factor, especially the breakdowns, which are nearly in slow motion. Vocalist Storm Strope (which would also be a great name for a TV weatherman), gives a diverse performance with a variety of ominous growls and yells.

Rating: 3
(Chad Bowar)

Manilla Road – ‘Out of the Abyss’ - Shadow Kingdom Records

Manilla Road – ‘Out of the Abyss’. Shadow Kingdom Records

Manilla Road – ‘Out of the Abyss’  (Shadow Kingdom)

Genre:  Heavy/Power Metal
Manilla Road continue to re-release their back catalog as fans eagerly anticipate the release of a new LP in 2015. Out of the Abyss is the album following the epic foursome that spans Crystal Logic, Open the Gates, The Deluge, and Mystification. However this doesn’t mean this album doesn’t hit as hard.

Mark Shelton and crew’s final album of the ‘80s was another staple of their already patented epic heavy metal. Fans of the band will want to get a hold of this excellent release; however newer fans may want to start earlier in the discography. Out of the Abyss is a solid Manilla Road album, but not their best.

Rating: 3.5
(Tom Campagna)

Pain Of Salvation - 'Falling Home' - Inside Out Music

Pain Of Salvation – ‘Falling Home’. Inside Out Music

Pain Of Salvation – ‘Falling Home’ (Inside Out)

Genre: Progressive Rock/Metal
Swedish progsters Pain Of Salvationreturn with the acoustic album Falling Home. It includes reimagined versions of older songs, cover songs and a new track.

They put a variety of spins on the older material. Some arrangements are jazzy, others are more progressive, and they also do some that are pretty faithful to the originals. The cover songs are  Dio’s “Holy Diver,” done in a lounge meets reggae style that’s certainly a lot different than the original, but it works. Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day” is the other cover song. This album has a pretty narrow target audience, but avid Pain Of Salvation fans will appreciate the creativity of these acoustic tracks.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Shredhead - 'Death Is Righteous' - Mighty Music

Shredhead – ‘Death Is Righteous’. Mighty Music

Shredhead – ‘Death Is Righteous’ (Mighty)

Genre: Thrash Metal
With a name like Shredhead, it’s not difficult to figure out that they are a thrash band. Death Is Righteous is the second album from the Israeli band.

They mix old-school influences with modern touches to create music that is potent and catchy. The vocals are combination of thrash barks and edgy singing that’s rough but effective. Ripping solos and galloping riffs are the norm, with plenty of mid-tempo groove mixed in. They brought aboard noted producer Tue Madsen to do the mixing and mastering, and he did a good job letting the band’s heaviness and power shine through, while adding just enough gloss and polish.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Volahn - 'Aq’Ab’Al' - Iron Bonehead Productions

Volahn – ‘Aq’Ab’Al’. Iron Bonehead Productions

Volahn – ‘Aq’Ab’Al’ (Crepusculo Negro/Iron Bonehead)

Genre: Black Metal
California’s Volahn is the founding and most well known band of the Black Twilight Circle movement, a movement residing upon its own label, Crepusculo Negro. An interesting intersection between low-fi black metal and Mesoamerican occult themes, the Black Twilight Circle can be most readily sampled on the titanic compilationTLILTIC TLAPOYAUAK, but the heart and soul is really Volahn.

A one man musical entity, Volahn consists of a fast combination of furious guitar work, blastbeats, a few keyboards, melodies, and rasped vocals that periodically segue into acoustic guitar and spoken word passages that reinforce the Mesoamerican themes. The acoustic passages reveal Volahn’s fascination with Spanish classical guitar, a welcome element to one of the more artistically interesting new bands on the USBM scene.

Rating: 4
(Dave Schalek)

New Heavy Metal Album Releases: January 13, 2015

New Metal Releases6:33 – Deadly Scenes(Kaotoxin)
Benediction – Grind BastardRe-Release (Metal Mind)
Benediction – Killing MusicRe-Release (Metal Mind)
Benediction – Organised Chaos Re-Release (Metal Mind)
Benediction – Subconscious Terror / The Grand Leveller Re-Release (Metal Mind)
Benediction – Transcend The Rubicon / The Dreams You Dread Re-Release (Metal Mind)
Candlemass – Candlemass Re-Release (Metal Mind)
Candlemass – Lucifer Rising Re-Release (Metal Mind)
Clawfinger – Life Will Kill You Re-Release (Metal Mind)
Convent Guilt – Guns For Hire (Shadow Kingdom)
The Crown – Death Is Not Dead (Century Media)
Desolate Shrine – The Heart of the Netherworld (Dark Descent)
Doomraiser – Reverse (Passaggio Inverso) (BloodRock)
Einherjer – Av Oss, For Oss (Indie)
Exlibris – Aftereal (Metal Mind)
The German Panzer – Send Them All To Hell (Nuclear Blast)
Ghoulgotha – The Deathmass Cloak (Dark Descent)
Hateful Abandon – Liars/Bastards (Candlelight)
Infernal Manes – Infernal Manes (Edged Circle)
Karma To Burn – Arch Stanton (FABA)
The Last Ten Seconds of Life – Soulless Hymns (Density)
Manilla Road – Out of the Abyss Re-Release (Shadow Kingdom)
Nailgun Massacre – Boned, Boxed and Buried (Xtreem)
Opul – Levels EP (Nefarious Industries)
Pain of Salvation – Falling Home (Inside Out)
Palisades – Mind Games (Rise)
Shredhead – Death Is Righteous (Mighty)
Sylosis – Dormant Heart (Nuclear Blast)
Synodik – A Matter Of Perception (Imminence)
Volahn – Aq’ab’al (Iron Bonehead / The Ajna Offensive)
Witchrider – Unmountable Stairs (Fuzzorama)

Heavy Metal Album Reviews: Week of January 6, 2015

The reviews are on a 5 star scale.

Chaos - 'Violent Redemption' - Transcending Obscurity

Chaos – ‘Violent Redemption’. Transcending Obscurity

Chaos – ‘Violent Redemption’ (Transcending Obscurity)

Genre: Thrash Metal
When you think of thrash metal hotbeds, India probably isn’t the first country to come to mind. But Chaos have been flying the flag for the genre for a decade and have garnered a loyal following in their homeland. As fans await a new album later this year, the band’s 2013 debut Violent Redemption is being reissued.

You’ll hear plenty of old school thrash influences from both the Bay Area and Europe. They are able to crank up the tempo to gallop, but also dial it back to a more moderate groove. The guitar work is excellent and JK provides potent thrash style vocals. Even though their vibe is old school, the production is modern, providing even more potency to their sound.

Rating: 4
(Chad Bowar)

Dethlehem - 'Destroyers Of The Realm' -

Dethlehem – ‘Destroyers Of The Realm’.

Dethlehem – ‘Destroyers Of The Realm’ (Self)

Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania purveyors of RPG metal are back with their third album, Destroyers Of The Realm.

The subject matter of the songs and corny member names like
Brutalitus The Bloodbeard and Overlord Brom give them a unique identity. And while the interludes are cheesy, the music is not. It’s solid melodic death metal with power metal influences that has catchy hooks, excellent guitar work and a combination of harsh and singing vocals.  The production is excellent as well, with mastering from Jens Bogren (Opeth, At The Gates).

Rating: 3
(Chad Bowar)

Hooded Menace - 'Gloom Immemorial' - Doomentia Records

Hooded Menace – ‘Gloom Immemorial’. Doomentia Records

Hooded Menace – ‘Gloom Immemorial’ (Doomentia)

Genre: Death/Doom Metal
As fans await a new album in 2015 from Finland’s Hooded Menace, the compilation Gloom Immemorial will help fill the void. It has a lot of various material collected in one convenient release.

The 76 minute long album includes tracks from their 2007 demo The Eyeless Hordealong with “I, Devil Master” recorded for the Live Evil Vol. 1 compilation. There are also songs from Hooded Menace’s numerous splits and EPs released over the past several years. If you’ve only listened to the band’s studio albums, you’ve missed a lot of great music on those EPs and splits, and now have the chance to easily scoop them up.

Rating: 4
(Chad Bowar)

Sata Kaskelottia - 'Sata Kaskelottia' - Inverse Records

Sata Kaskelottia – ‘Sata Kaskelottia’. Inverse Records

Sata Kaskelottia – ‘Sata Kaskelottia’ (Inverse)

Genre: Stoner/Sludge/Progressive Metal
By balancing thick, sludgy rhythms with intricate guitar leads and powerful vocals,Sata Kaskelottia (which when translated to English means 100 sperm whales) have created a unique sound that needs to be heard, rather than explained . While relatively new to the metal scene, their self-titled debut release  is certain to garner some serious attention from the metal community.

Each track offers the listener something different either through varying vocals, rhythm work, or guitar leads, yet the album as a whole still maintains its progressive, sludge metal feel .Fans of early Mastodon, Red Fang and Baroness are certain to enjoy this release.

Rating: 3.5
(Diana M. Marsh)

A Skylit Drive - 'Rise: Ascension' - Tragic Hero Records

A Skylit Drive – ‘Rise: Ascension’. Tragic Hero Records

A Skylit Drive – ‘Rise: Ascension’ (Tragic Hero)

Genre: Post Hardcore/Melodic Metalcore
2014 was a tumultuous year for A Skylit Drive, with harsh vocalist/bassist Brian White and drummer Cory La Quay exiting the band. After vocalist Michael “Jag” Jagmin and guitarist Nick Miller released several videos of them performing songs from 2013’s Rise acoustically, they decided to re-record the entire album that way, resulting in Rise: Ascension.

The songs were re-arranged, incorporating acoustic guitar, bass, piano, cello and other instruments. The songs hold up really well in the stripped down mode. They are mellower and more melodic than on the original album, but still have plenty of urgency and emotion.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Tourniquet - 'Onward To Freedom' - Pathogenic Records

Tourniquet – ‘Onward To Freedom’. Pathogenic Records

Tourniquet – ‘Onward To Freedom’ (Pathogenic)

Genre: Heavy/Thrash Metal
After a nearly decade long hiatus from 2003 to 2012, the reactivated Tourniquetare back with their second album in the past couple of years. Onward To Freedomis a concept album tackling the issues of animal cruelty and injustice.

Drummer Ted Kirkpatrick wrote the songs, and most of the vocals are done by guest singers such as Michael Sweet (Stryper), Mattie Montgomery (For Today) and Dug Pinnick (Kings X) along with narration from the legendary actor Ed Asner. Guitarists Marty Friedman, Chris Poland and others also appear. The songs on the album are bombastic and melodic traditional metal with some thrash influences. The guests provide diversity, and the concept ties everything together nicely.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Wardruna - 'Runaljod: Gap Var Ginnunga' - Indie Recordings

Wardruna – ‘Runaljod: Gap Var Ginnunga’. Indie Recordings

Wardruna – ‘Runaljod: Gap Var Ginnunga’ (Indie)

Genre: Folk/Ambient Metal
If you watched History Channel’s Vikings series, you’ve heard music fromWardruna’s album Runaljod: Gap Var Ginnunga. The band’s 2009 debut is now being reissued.

Wardruna use old school instruments likedeer-hide frame drums, kraviklyra, tagelharpe, mouth harp, goat horn and lur. Their lyrics are written in Norwegian, Old Norse and Proto-Norse, with vocals from former Gorgoroth and current God Seed singer Gaahl. The songs are atmospheric and ambient, not all that metal, but interesting and sometimes mesmerizing. The band is currently working on the third and final installment of the Runaljod trilogy.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Weight Of The Tide - 'Epilogue' - Undergroove Records

Weight Of The Tide – ‘Epilogue’. Undergroove Records

Weight Of The Tide – ‘Epilogue’ (Undergroove)

Genre: Heavy/Groove Metal
Vocalist/guitarist Mark Moots and drummer Jason Thomas were members of December for a decade until the band split in 2004. Now the two are part of the quartet Weight Of The Tide, whose debut album is Epilogue.

Their sound is packed with thick, sludgy riffs and catchy grooves. Even though they are from Nevada, there are southern influences in their musical DNA. Combine that with some retro stylings and good old hard rock and you have an album that has appeal to fans of several different genres.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Witchrist – 'Vritra' - Iron Bonehead Recordings

Witchrist – ‘Vritra’. Iron Bonehead Recordings

Witchrist – ‘Vritra’ (Iron Bonehead)

Genre: Black/Death Metal
A full month before the release of theirVritra EP, New Zealand’s Witchristannounced they were splitting up, makingVritra the band’s final release. No doubt fans will be disappointed as this and their split with Antediluvian were the first to include Bolzer’s KzR on vocals.

What we have on these final three tracks is down and dirty, blood under the fingernails blackened death metal. “Transmuting Rituals” and “The Golden Ascent” bury the listener in oppressive death metal scorn. “Haruspex” even pulls a sinister and merciless Candlemass doom flavor into the mix. Vritra is an intensely dark and vitriolic end to the band’s relatively brief existence well worth bloodying your ears with.

Rating: 3.5
(Matt Hinch)

2014 Best Heavy Metal DVDs

A lot of excellent metal related DVDs were released in 2014, including concerts, documentaries and more. Here are our picks for the top 5 metal DVDs of 2014.

Katatonia - Last Fair Day Gone Night - Peaceville Records

Katatonia – Last Fair Day Gone Night. Peaceville Records

1.  Katatonia – ‘Last Fair Day Gone Night’ (Peaceville)

To celebrate their 20th anniversary a few years ago, Katatonia did some special shows, which included playing their 2001 album Last Fair Deal Gone Down in its entirety. The 4-disc set Last Fair Deal Gone Night features their show from London’s Koko venue and other goodies.

Just the double CD concert and DVD version of it would be an excellent collection, but Katatonia take it one step further with a second DVD that’s a documentary. The extensive 136 minute documentary chronicles the band’s history from 1991 to 2011. It’s narrated by Jonas Renske, Anders Nystrom and Daniel Liljekvist. Archival photos and videos are shown as the band members talk about their history.

Lamb Of God - As The Palaces Burn - Epic Records

Lamb Of God – As The Palaces Burn. Epic Records

2.  Lamb Of God – ‘As The Palaces Burn’ (Epic)

The Lamb of God documentary As The Palaces Burn was originally supposed to feature the band’s fans from all over the world and how music can unite people in difficult times. The difficult times ended up being for the band after frontman Randy Blythe was arrested in the Czech Republic and charged with manslaughter in the death of a fan at a show.

The beginning of the film does feature a couple of different fans and their stories, but then the focus and the tenor shifts to Blythe and his ordeal. As The Palaces Burn documents a tragic event and its aftermath with skill and dexterity. It illuminates the legal part of the case while also delving into the emotional impact it had on Lamb Of God and those around them, all while being respectful and honoring to Daniel Nosek’s memory.

Gojira - Les Enfants Sauvages - Roadrunner Records

Gojira – Les Enfants Sauvages. Roadrunner Records

3.  Gojira – ‘Les Enfants Sauvages’ (Roadrunner)

Gojira have documented the tour cycle of their latest album with the DVD/CD live release, Les Enfants Sauvages. The band is no stranger to releasing live performances, as this is their third DVD in the last 10 years. The package is exquisite; in addition to the DVD there is also a matching CD version of the show and an excellent hardcover photo book, which documents the 150 shows they played on the tour.

The show itself is just shy of an hour and the band does an exceptional job of moving through its set list. Very little time is wasted between the songs. The camera work is distinctive as the shots bounce back and forth between clean shots of the band and angles that make the viewer feel like they are in the audience. It gives the feeling of actually being at the concert instead of in a living room.

The Black Dahlia Murder - Fool 'Em All - Metal Blade Records

The Black Dahlia Murder – Fool ‘Em All. Metal Blade Records

4.  The Black Dahlia Murder – ‘Fool ‘Em All’ (Metal Blade)

The Black Dahlia Murder’s Fool ‘Em All(whose cover art and title is an obvious nod to Metallica’s classic Cliff ‘Em Allvideo) once again is another triumph for Michigan five piece. The main backbone of the documentary is the tale of the death metal posse being out of place on the legendary touring punk festival Warped, which is supplemented with an almost endless amount of on the road hijinks and tomfoolery.

At times you could be forgiven for thinking that you’re watching a comedy film, with founding members Trevor Strnad and Brian Eschbach taking the lead roles in some alternate reality Seth Rogen-esque motion picture.The added 3D elements are intentionally lame, with the scenes in the third dimension simply involving the band clowning around in front of green screen backgrounds. The final section of the DVD follows the band on their European tour.

Scott Ian - Swearing Words In Glasgow - Megaforce Records

Scott Ian – Swearing Words In Glasgow. Megaforce Records

5.  Scott Ian – ‘Swearing Words In Glasgow’ (Megaforce)

For the past three decades, Scott Ian has been making music and traveling the world in Anthrax. During that time he has had a lot of interesting experiences and met a lot of famous people. He’s accumulated a ton of stories that you’d probably only hear if you knew him personally.

Last year, he decided to share some of those stories with the masses and embark on a spoken word tour in Europe.Swearing Words In Glasgow captures his show in Scotland. The format of the show is simple. It’s Ian with a microphone standing on stage telling funny and interesting stories about himself and his encounters with some other well-known musicians. It’s not the type of spoken word performance where someone is reading poetry or waxing eloquent on philosophy. It’s basically what you’d hear if you were sitting across from Ian at a bar having a beer together.

The Unsigned Underground: December 2014

Each month we bring you a handful of unsigned bands from across the globe that deserve your attention. They run the gamut from death, black, thrash, power and progressive metal all the way to hardcore and hard rock. Born from the underground, the metal community is only as strong as its independent music scene. Support these and other unsigned bands.

Interested in having your unsigned metal band featured in this column?
Email your promo material to heavymetal@aboutguide.com with the subject line Unsigned Underground. You must send a link to your recording and a bio. We will personally check out all submissions, but only the month’s best will be featured here.

BoneHawk – ‘Albino Rhino’ -

BoneHawk – ‘Albino Rhino’.

BoneHawk – ‘Albino Rhino’

Genre: Stoner Rock

On their new album Albino Rhino, Michigan-based rockers BoneHawk heat up the frozen Great Lakes with fuzzy, buzzed riffs and a fat bass tone that places them snugly within the Small Stone Records sound amidst the likes of Lo-Pan and Gozu.

Like the rhinoceros adorning its cover, the album’s skin is thick and tough. But the soulful vocals from Matt Helt float over the rollicking rock’n’roll and lend gentle contrast to the prevailing biker bar attitude, especially during the throbbing pulse of “Warchild” and the Lonely Kamel truck stop sleaze of “Sexy Beast.” BoneHawk likely never met an Orange amplifier they didn’t love.

Lavagoat – Ageless Nonsense -

Lavagoat – Ageless Nonsense.

Lavagoat – ‘Ageless Nonsense’

Genre: Psychedelic Doom/Death Metal

Apart from sounding like the most extreme, heavy metal Pokemon, Lavagoatalso happen to be a phenomenally talented Canadian band worth the challenge of describing. On Ageless Nonsense they invoke elements of each generation of doom while sounding like a completely different animal.

Think slow-motion Entombed if they were raised in the wilderness of Saskatchewan. Maybe Bison or Black Cobra if they galvanized within the Stockholm Swedeath scene. Better yet, just listen to this unpredictable slab of sludgy riffs, old school death and note their unique, adventurous spirit. From the psychedelic space rock of “Black Lotus” to the Pentagram crawl of “Cauldron,” the songs on this release are like volcano-dwelling Pokeballs. Catch ‘em all, heshers.

Lord Impaler – The Serpent Seal -

Lord Impaler – The Serpent Seal.

Lord Impaler – ‘The Serpent Seal’

Genre: Black Metal

Formed in 1998, this veteran Greek battalion has certainly watched trends come and go while remaining true to their biting melodic black metal. On The Serpent Seal they re-record and re-imagine four cuts from their demo days, and the resulting songs feel like they’ve carved from black ice and wrapped with barbed wire.

While the influences are audible, Lord Impaler aren’t some pastiche of frost-bitten Scandinavian black metal and Rotting Christ’s raw, scorched death.  They brandish blast beats and melodic riffage like weaponry, shifting from mid-tempo stomps to blazing Dissection passages with expertise. That’s the skill you expect from a band whose moniker implies they specialize in impaling royalty.

Theist – Theist -

Theist – Theist.

Theist – ‘Theist’

Genre: Crust/D-beat

Screw those studs into your battle vest and fasten your bullet belts. The eponymous album from Indonesian crust outfit Theist is black as old bong resin but still peppers its nasty scrum of sludge, scorched crust punk, and d-beat with surprising melodicism.

Thing Tink’s raspy shrieks sound like his vocal cords have been scraped down by years of guzzling paint thinner and bomb shrapnel. With his frantic narration, the diseased groove of “Flutter Clot” and “At the End of the Maze” elevates their nightmarish deathpunk to horror soundtrack territory, making this a singularly savage and resonating listen.

Universal Remonster/ Ampallang Infection – Universal Infection -

Universal Remonster/ Ampallang Infection – Universal Infection.

Universal Remonster/Ampallang Infection – ‘Universal Infection’

Genre: Grindcore

If your heartbeat races to the rhythm of grinding powerviolence, start salivating immediately over Universal Infection – a split album featuring Universal Remonsterand Ampallang Infection. Then go see a doctor, because that pulse rate is dangerously fast.

Universal Remonster – apart from sharing a name with an obscure character/episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force – are a dirty, scabby grind band from Baltimore, MD. Their music is brash, crass and content to be the ugliest in the room. Also from Maryland, Ampallang Infection appeared on this year’s A389 Mixtape and fit right in with their mouth-foaming, sleeping-in-the-gutter punk attitude – but with an industrial/electro exoskeleton. Plus, they know how to class up the joint with a song title like “Colostomy Bag Piñata” just in time for the holidays.

Best Heavy Metal Albums of 2014

This year in 2014, we have seen a lot of popular bands add to their collection of releases. Insomnium, Epica, Behemoth, and Judas Priest are some of the major bands this year. Usually it seems like there is one genre that controls the year’s releases, but this year it seems we had a good mix of Death, Power, Black and Traditional metal albums.

Below are my Top Heavy Metal Albums of 2014.

Agalloch – The Serpent & The Sphere

Agalloch – The Serpent & The Sphere

Genre: Black Metal
Released: May 13th

This is the only black metal album that made my list this year and is a nice creative change from the other releases this year. ‘The Serpent & The Sphere’ is labeled as an Atmospheric Black Folk metal album, you can find a nice pace and smooth sound throughout the album. It has full encasing sound that feels bigger than what four people can create.

Accept – Blind Rage

Accept – Blind Rage

Genre: Heavy Metal
Released: August 15th

If you are looking for a solid traditional heavy metal release in 2014, look no further than Accept’s ‘Blind Rage’. This album is fundamental heavy metal. These Germans know what they are doing. In ‘Blind Rage’ you will find power beats, power chords and high powerful singing.

Exodus – Blood In, Blood Out

Exodus – Blood In, Blood Out

Genre: Thrash Metal
Released: October 14th

Exodus is a legendary thrash metal band, and their album isn’t any short of that. ‘Blood In, Blood Out’ is fast, in your face, drum beats for 60 minutes straight. WARNING: You might have sudden urges to start swinging your fists and pushing people. Please keep a safe distance from people while listening to this album.

Machine Head – Bloodstone & Diamonds

Machine Head – Bloodstone & Diamonds

Genre: Groove Metal
Released: November 7th

Machine Head has had some interesting album releases throughout the years, but ‘Bloodstone & Diamonds’ is great. This groove metal album has some songs that you will enjoy and get stuck in your head, forcing you to play the album over and over again.

In Flames – Siren Charms

In Flames – Siren Charms

Genre: Alternative Metal
Released: September 9th

Yes we all know In Flames style has changed from what they are known for. But with all of that aside ‘Siren Charms’, their eleventh studio album, is a great release. We have seen their musical style change release from release, but I feel this is a good mix between the original In Flames and the new. You can read my full review of ‘Siren Charms’.

Eluveitie – Origins

Eluveitie – Origins

Genre: Folk Metal
Released: August 1st

Eluveitie is probably the most popular folk metal band in the industry, and people continue to enjoy their albums, including myself. ‘Origins’ is a typical solid album by Eluveitie, but like In Flames, they are slowly working their way to a more melodic sound. In ‘Origins’ you will find the classic instrument selections you find in all of Eluveitie albums with a good balance of heavy riffs and beats with folklore melodies.

Behemoth – The Satanist

Behemoth – The Satanist

Genre: Blackened Death Metal
Released: February 4th

Behemoth has always brought great death metal to their albums. ‘The Satanist’ was born with heavy riffs, fast beats and deep growls. This album has a little of everything you would expect in a death metal albums plus more. The mix of orchestra instruments throughout the album is a nice touch to highlight certain dynamics of their songs. This is a straight up cold blackened death metal album that fans will not be disappointed.

Insomnium – Shadows of the Dying Sun

Insomnium – Shadows of the Dying Sun

Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Released: April 29th

Insomnium always makes it on my list, doesn’t hurt that one of my favorite albums of all time is ‘Across the Dark’. Nevertheless their new album ‘Shadows of the Dying Sun’ is a solid album. Like most melodic death metal bands, each album turns more melodic than death. For anyone that is a fan of melodic death metal, they will love this album.

At The Gates – At War With Reality

At The Gates – At War With Reality

Genre: Death Metal
Released: October 28th

At The Gates continues to release top quality death metal albums. This is their first release in 19 years and after being out of the loop for that long, ‘At War With Reality’ hits on all cylinders. If you are an At The Gates fan or would like hear some great death metal, pick up this album. Even with all their success they didn’t make our Top 10 Death Metal Bands list, which most death metal fans have disagreed with.

Exmortus – Slave to the Sword

Exmortus – Slave to the Sword

Genre: Thrash Metal
Released: February 4th

Exmortus, for some reason I absolutely love this album, most people will wonder why it’s on my list. I couldn’t tell you why, except how impressed I am on the talent level of the guitarists. ‘Slave to the Sword’ is a perfect example of thrash metal. Fast beats and guitar riffs, crazy guitar solos and fantasy lyrics. If you want to hear some guitar shredding, Exmortus is the band for you.

Septicflesh – Titan

Septicflesh – Titan

Genre: Death Metal
Released: June 24th

Septicflesh albums seem to be a roll of the dice for me, but the album ‘Titan’ is a masterpiece. This album has great death metal, overlapping with melodic, overlapping with creative orchestrated instruments and symphony scores. There are some songs that have effects that sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher talking, but it works. This was an easy pick to make the top of the heavy metal list of 2014.

Arch Enemy – War Eternal

Arch Enemy – War Eternal

Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Released: June 4th

This is a cliché pick for the top album of 2014. But I can’t help it, I love this release. I was worried that when Angela Gossow left the band and Alissa White-Gluz joined that it would be a mess. With not being too much of an Arch Enemy fan, this album has some great features of death metal, great growls, song structure and guitar riffs with a nice melody.

– See more at: http://www.metalcallout.com/reviews/best-heavy-metal-albums-of-2014.html#sthash.8ZSg7e2N.dpuf

Heavy Metal Album Reviews: Week of December 16, 2014

The ratings are on a 5 star scale.

Astrakhan – 'A Tapestry of Scabs and Skin' - War On Music

Astrakhan – ‘A Tapestry of Scabs and Skin’. War On Music

1 . Astrakhan – ‘A Tapestry of Scabs and Skin’ (War on Music)

Genre: Progressive Sludge Metal
The new EP from Astrakhan, A Tapestry of Scabs and Skin includes the two tracks off The Pillarist EP and two new tunes. The four tracks are all crafted with meticulous precision forming an exploratory journey of epic progressive sludge.

That they’ve emerged from the Vancouver scene is apparent. They also display shades of Red/Blue-era Baroness and early Mastodon but their sound is all their own. The potent twin guitar attack brings engaging rhythms and an endless supply of riffs. They’re equally adept at pummelling heaviness as seeking out prog realms. A powerful vocal tandem works exceedingly well singularly and in harmonious glory. Seriously fantastic stuff.

Rating: 4.5
(Matt Hinch)

Drap - 'En Naturlig Dod' - Xtreem Music

Drap – ‘En Naturlig Dod’. Xtreem Music

0 . Drap – ‘En Naturlig Dod’ (Xtreem)

Genre: Grindcore/Crust
Take a big helping of grindcore, mix in a liberal dose of crust, toss in a hint of death and black metal, put it in a blender, and you’ll end up with En Naturlig Dod, the debut from Sweden’s Drap.

The songs careen along at maximum speed, driven by intense, angry vocals and clever riffs. There’s not a lot of finesse or subtlety, just a lot of aggression that’s surprisingly catchy. A little more variation in vocal delivery would make it even better.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Dysangelium - ‘Thanatos Askesis’ - W.T.C. Productions

Dysangelium – ‘Thanatos Askesis’. W.T.C. Productions

-1 . Dysangelium – ‘Thanatos Askesis’ (W.T.C.)

Genre: Black Metal
Germany’s Dysangelium have more than a degree of seriousness about them with their very slick debut full-length album,Thanatos Askesis. It has an air of orthodoxy with what is obviously intended to be a very serious black metal album. Well produced with a crystal clear production, Thanatos Askesis is also beefed up by good musicianship and varied songwriting.

Influenced by bands such as latter day Marduk and French bands such as, perhaps, Merrimack, Dysangelium are making a statement that they have their eyes on the top of the orthodox black metal heap. Although quite good, Dysangelium probably need a bit more experience as songs are unoriginal and derivative of genre forefathers. Still, there’s a great deal of promise on display with Thanatos Askesis.

Rating: 3.5
(Dave Schalek)

Ill Omen – 'Remnant Spheres of Spiritual Equilibrium' - Nuclear War Now! Productions

Ill Omen – ‘Remnant Spheres of Spiritual Equilibrium’. Nuclear War Now! Productions

-2 . Ill Omen – ‘Remnant Spheres of Spiritual Equilibrium’ (Nuclear War Now!)

Genre: Death/Doom Metal
Originally released on limited cassette back in 2012, Remnant Spheres of Spiritual Equilibrium by Ill Omen is now seeing a wider release. Four intertwined tracks of lo-fi death/doom make up this intriguing and absorbing album.

Much in the same vein as Loss, Remnantis terrifyingly depressive, moving with sloth-like procession towards inevitable doom. Ominous synths and a syrupy flow pace the plod. It’s saturated with bleak atmosphere and foreboding melodies. Deathly whispered vocals, like the voice of a desiccated corpse speak spiritually with deadly countenance. Night, stone walls, candles and an open soul are the perfect conditions forRemnant.

Rating: 3.5
(Matt Hinch)

Mesmur - 'Mesmur' - Code 666

Mesmur – ‘Mesmur’. Code 666

-3 . Mesmur – ‘Mesmur’ (Code 666)

Genre: Funeral Doom
If you’re looking for some happy holiday music, the self-titled debut from Mesmurprobably won’t fit the bill. If you’re looking for some dark, depressing music just in time for the holidays, this will do just fine.

The songs are lengthy with thick riffs and ample atmosphere. As you’d expect from the genre the tempos are generally slow to medium, but they do shift pretty regularly. There are lengthy instrumental sections that are somber and ethereal, while elsewhere the guttural vocals add an ominous touch. It’s an impressive and varied debut with some avant-garde stylings that help Mesmur stand out from the typical funeral doom band.

Rating: 4
(Chad Bowar)

Morbosidad - ‘Tortura’ - Nuclear War Now! Productions

Morbosidad – ‘Tortura’. Nuclear War Now! Productions

-4 . Morbosidad – ‘Tortura’ (Nuclear War Now!)

Genre: Black/ Death Metal
Lurking in the far corners of the underground is Texas’ Morbosidad (by way of Oakland), a blackened war metal machine barking out various blasphemies in guttural Spanish. A long running band with a discography as long as your arm, Morbosidad are probably the Latino version of bands such as Nocturnal Fear or Impiety with a focus on bullet belts, spikes, and warfare worshiping atrocities.

I would imagine that Tortura, a four- song EP, is as good a place to start as any in exploring Morbosidad and the music fits the band’s image. Grimy blackened death metal with low-fi attributes, plenty of all out blasts, and nary a moment of melody in sight is pretty much what you get; but, then again, you probably knew that already from looking at the EP cover art.

Rating: 3.5
(Dave Schalek)

Oktor - 'Another Dimension Of Pain' - Solitude Productions

Oktor – ‘Another Dimension Of Pain’. Solitude Productions

-5 . Oktor – ‘Another Dimension Of Pain’ (Solitude)

Genre: Doom/Death Metal
They have been around for more than a decade, but the Polish band Oktor have only done an EP, split and a compilation appearance. They make their full-length debut with Another Dimension Of Pain.

The album is very deliberate and unfolds slowly. Instrumental piano tracks are followed by epic doom/death metal songs of up to 17 minutes long. There are spoken word vocals, clean vocals and harsh vocals. The music is equally diverse, ranging from heavy doom to moderate metal to classical flavored atmospherics. There’s a lot of absorb, but with repeated listens you’ll really feel the musical and emotional impact.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

StarGazer - 'A Merging To The Boundless' - Nuclear War Now! Productions

StarGazer – ‘A Merging To The Boundless’. Nuclear War Now! Productions

-6 . StarGazer – ‘A Merging To The Boundless’ (Nuclear War Now!)

Genre: Black/Death Metal
The Australian trio StarGazer includes two members of Cauldron Black Ram. Even though they have been around for almost 20 years, A Merging To The Boundless is only their third full-length album.

After getting off to a black/death metal start, the album takes a lot of twists and turns. It’s avant-garde and experimental in places, groovy and melodic in others. There are parts that are mellow and progressive, others that are intense and oppressive. StarGazer blend various styles and ever-changing tempos and textures into an album that is cohesive and compelling.

Rating: 4
(Chad Bowar)

Thaw - 'Earth Ground' - Witching Hour Productions

Thaw – ‘Earth Ground’. Witching Hour Productions

-7 . Thaw – ‘Earth Ground’ (Witching Hour)

Genre: Black/Experimental Metal
The Polish trio Thaw return with their second album Earth Ground. They blend traditional black metal with experimental and noise elements.

It’s quite a diverse effort, as black metal alternates with noise, ambient and experimental sections. Some songs are dissonant and dense, while others are more regal and measured. They shift intensities and tempos numerous times within each song. There are moments where everything clicks, but also times when things don’t work as smoothly.

Rating: 3
(Chad Bowar)

Zero Down – ‘No Limit to the Evil’ - Minotauro Records

Zero Down – ‘No Limit to the Evil’. Minotauro Records

-8 . Zero Down – ‘No Limit to the Evil’ (Minotauro)

Genre: Heavy Metal/Hard Rock
If you’re an ‘80s metal child who’s been hankering for some of that good ole cheese, don’t look any further than No Limit to the Evil, the new album from Seattle’s Zero Down, an old-school quintet with punk rock in their veins whose carefree and polished rock ‘n’ roll should appease fans of Scorpions, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden.

In keeping with their 2008 sophomore release, Zero Down’s fourth harbors a slick Ed Repka cover and a maniacal Pentecostal minister, lending the album a particular throwback aesthetic that only grows when tracks like “Phantom Host” and “Black Rhino” come riding across your speakers. A solid toe-tapping time to be had by all, especially with a couple brews, but No Limit to the Evil is often a bit too silly (“Suicide Girl”), and far more run-of-the-mill than it is run-to-the-hills.

Rating: 3
(Evan Mugford)

Heavy Metal Album Releases: December 16, 2014

New Metal ReleasesAsking Alexandria – Live From Brixton and Beyond DVD (Sumerian)
Astrakhan – A Tapestry Of Scabs and Skin EP (War On Music)
Detente – Recognize No Authority (Xtreem)
From Hell – Dynasty (Naturmacht)
Ill Omen – Remnant Spheres Of Spiritual Equilibrium Re-Release (Nuclear War Now!)
Morbosidad – Tortura EP (Nuclear War Now!)
Oktor – Another Dimension Of Pain (Solitude)
Pineal – Smiling Cult EP (HPGD)
Self-Inflicted Violence – The Sanctimonious Hypocrites of Reality (Art of Propaganda)
Siege Mentality – Arrest Days (Witch Hunter)
Skybound – Darkfall EP (We Are Triumphant)
Solitvdo – Immerso In Un Bosco Di Querce (Naturmacht)
Zero Down – No Limit To The Evil (Minotauro)

Heavy Metal Album Releases: December 9, 2014

New Metal ReleasesAutere – Amal’l (Inverse)
Bailey – Long Way Down(Frontiers)
The Banner – Greying (Good Fight)
Bloodlash – Drowning Amidst The Nebulae EP (Inverse)
Bones – Awaiting Rebirth EP (Blood Harvest)
Centinex – Redeeming Filth (Agonia)
Crepuscolo – Revolution Evilution (HPGD)
Cretin – Stranger (Relapse)
Crossed Fire – Life’s A Gamble (Hellxis)
Cruachan – Blood For The Blood God (Trollzorn)
Decimination – Reign Of Ungodly Creation (Comatose)
Drap – En Naturlig Dod (Xtreem)
Emigrate – Silent So Long (Spinefarm)
Execration – Morbid Dimensions (Hells Headbangers)
Faithful Darkness – Archgod (Coroner)
Frowning – Funeral Impressions (Solitude)
Harem Scarem – Thirteen (Frontiers)
Jucifer – District of Dystopia (Nomadic Fortress)
Kouzin Bedlam – Longing For The Incomplete (Inverse)
Mammoth Black – Death Is Not Ashamed (Stonerkill)
Mesmur – Mesmur (Code 666)
Nervochaos – The Art of Vengeance (Greyhaze)
Ram / Portrait – Under Command Split EP (Metal Blade)
Sarpedon – Anomic Nation (Inverse)
Season of Ghosts – The Human Paradox (Coroner)
Stormcast – Frame of Mind (Pitch Black)
Thaw – Earth Ground (Witching Hour)
To Be A King – Fear Not EP (Imminence)
Unsacred – False Light (Forcefield)
Varathron – Untrodden Corridors of Hades (Agonia)
Vision Of Disorder – Still 20th Anniversary Re-Release (Dignified Bastard)
Witherscape – The New Tomorrow EP (Century Media)

Today Marks 10th Anniversary Of Dimebag Darrell’s Death

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Today (Monday, December 8) marks the 10th anniversary of the death of PANTERA and DAMAGEPLAN guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott. Abbott, one of the most beloved and respected musicians in hard rock, was shot onstage during a DAMAGEPLAN concert on this date in 2004 at the Alrosa Villa club in Columbus, Ohio by a 25-year-old ex-Marine named Nathan Gale. Gale murdered a total of four people and wounded three others before being killed himself by police officer James D. Niggemeyer, who arrived on the scene minutes after Gale began his rampage.

According to The Pulse Of Radio, Gale seemed to deliberately target Abbott, leading to speculation that the young man, who had a history of mental illness, held a grudge against Abbott and his brother, drummer Vinnie Paul, for the break-up of PANTERA in 2002. Columbus police closed their investigation in October of 2005 without establishing a motive for the shootings.

Abbott and Paul formed PANTERA in the mid-Eighties in Texas. The band recorded four independent albums before their 1990 major label debut, “Cowboys From Hell”, introduced a heavier sound and made them a favorite with metal fans. 1994’s “Far Beyond Driven” debuted at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 without benefit of a commercial hit single.

The group splintered in 2002 following the departure of volatile lead singer Philip Anselmo. Dime and Vinnie, as they were known to their fans, regrouped with DAMAGEPLAN, releasing the band’s debut album, “New Found Power”, in February of 2004. The group was touring in support of the record at the time of the shootings.

Abbott‘s death was a devastating blow to the close-knit hard rock and metal community. He was known to his fellow musicians for his hospitality, friendship and partying spirit, and was a legend among fans and peers for his powerful, innovative and unmistakable playing style.
Read more at http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/today-marks-10th-anniversary-of-dimebag-darrells-death/#lC1RLXKB8yoUF3l2.99

New Heavy Metal Album Reviews: Week of December 2, 2014

The ratings are on a 5 star scale.

Axenstar – ‘Where Dreams Are Forgotten’ - Inner Wound Records

Axenstar – ‘Where Dreams Are Forgotten’. Inner Wound Records

Axenstar – ‘Where Dreams Are Forgotten’ (Inner Wound)

Genre: Power Metal
Sweden’s Axenstar blend power and melody on their sixth release, Where Dreams Are Forgotten. Driven by intricate riffing and soaring melodies, they have a strong ability for composing memorable material. Like latter day Nocturnal Rights and Brainstorm, vocalist Magnus Winterwild utilizes a mid vocal range that flows well with the heavier style of power metal.

“The Return” captures the spirit of early Sonata Arctica, flowing smoothly with a ¾ time signature that peaks with an infectious chorus. Opener “Fear” rages out of the gate with blazing double bass drumming and an explosive guitar solo. Perfect for those that prefer their power metal a little tougher and heavier.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Drago)

Bhleg - 'Draumr Ast' - Nordvis Records

Bhleg – ‘Draumr Ast’. Nordvis Records

Bhleg – ‘Draumr Ast’ (Nordvis)

Genre: Black Metal
The duo of Bhleg are from Sweden, but their debut album Draumr Ast takes inspiration from the early days of Norwegian black metal.

The album uses simple repetitive riffs and atmospherics. Some songs are traditional black metal with raspy vocals, others are ambient and mellow instrumentals. There’s also some melodic singing. The mix is very treble-heavy, with the drums buried low in the mix and the bass virtually non-existent. Their influences include early Burzum and Ulver, and the album sounds like it was recorded in the ’90s.

Rating: 3
(Chad Bowar)

Bog Oak – ‘A Treatise on Resurrection and The Afterlife’ - Svart Records

Bog Oak – ‘A Treatise on Resurrection and The Afterlife’. Svart Records

Bog Oak – ‘A Treatise on Resurrection and The Afterlife’ (Svart)

Genre: Blackened Doom Metal
Gloomy doom metal, interspersed with a wonderful performance from vocalist Julie Seymour, makes for an engaging EP fromBog Oak. The fuzzy bass tones add to the noisy procession, while battering riffs illicit a brutal response. Seymour’s range is bountiful, as nasty growls give way to alluring harmonies.

Her melodic voice is the center point of the forlorn closer “A Sea Without Shore.” The punchy “Time Drift of Seasons” allows for a reprieve from the stifled mechanics of a tune like “The Science of the Afterlife.” Though seemingly emerging out of nowhere, Bog Oak have one of the best EPs of 2014.

Rating: 4
(Dan Marsicano)

Cadaveric Fumes/Demonic Oath - ‘Entwined In Sepulchral Darkness’ - Iron Bonehead Productions

Cadaveric Fumes/Demonic Oath – ‘Entwined In Sepulchral Darkness’. Iron Bonehead Productions

Cadaveric Fumes/Demonic Oath – ‘Entwined In Sepulchral Darkness’ (Iron Bonehead)

Genre: Death Metal
Iron Bonehead Productions gets down in the muck once again with a split MLP release. Featuring two French bands,Cadaveric Fumes and Demonic Oath,Entwined In Sepulchral Darkness sports two tracks from each. Both bands are similar in that each plays grimy death metal with a powerful, bottom heavy sound, guttural vocals, a punishing percussion and an evil, thoroughly rancid vibe.

First up are Cadaveric Fumes, whose contribution is quite good with a deep seated sense of power and a concentration on mid-paced dirges entwined with a few blasts. Demonic Oath have a low-fi fuzz to their sound, robbing the music of a bit of heft. Each band is still quite good, though, and merit further investigation.

Rating: 3.5
(Dave Schalek)

Eye of Solitude – 'Dear Insanity' - Kaotoxin Records

Eye of Solitude – ‘Dear Insanity’. Kaotoxin Records

Eye of Solitude – ‘Dear Insanity’ (Kaotoxin)

Genre: Funeral Doom
Eye of Solitude embrace the “solitude” portion of their name to extremes on Dear Insanity. It’s a 50-minute track full of the deepest emotions formed in a darkened heart. When music really connects, we feel we aren’t alone, and Dear Insanity is the sound of loneliness.

From the tortured screams below meditative ambiance to the monolithic funeral doom comes waves of pain and loss. Beasts rise amid mournful synths. Clean vocals play with shadowy ambiance. As powerful as the doom is, the quiet sections are particularly sorrowful, especially the piano.Dear Insanity takes the listener from the very depths of despair and madness to a glimpse of hope. The sepulchral, sombre and grievous piece is best experienced all at once.

Rating: 3.5
(Matt Hinch)

Fortress – ‘Unto the Nothing’ - Unholy Anarchy Records

Fortress – ‘Unto the Nothing’. Unholy Anarchy Records

Fortress – ‘Unto the Nothing’ (Unholy Anarchy)

Genre: Doom Metal
The first full-length release from Maryland trio Fortress is a lifeless spectacle of static appreciation. Fortress envelop themselves in the buzz of guitar feedback, which can go on for minutes without interruption. Though a few calmer moments come out from the noise, they are fleeting at best.

This is a punishing record, with immense growls bellowing out of some shape-shifting abyss. “Fight The Son” is furious compared to the rest of the album, which is content with a tempo bordering on funeral doom. The gruesome cover art is a fair omen of the diabolical dissonance that lies within.

Rating: 3
(Dan Marsicano)

Johnny Wore Black – ‘Walking Underwater Part 2’ - Dead Cherry Records

Johnny Wore Black – ‘Walking Underwater Part 2’.Dead Cherry Records

Johnny Wore Black – ‘Walking Underwater Part 2’ (Dead Cherry)

Genre: Alternative/Hard Rock
When he’s not a stuntman for Hollywood flicks like Fury and The Dark Knight, the enigmatic Jay is the mastermind behind UK rockers Johnny Wore Black. Playing moody yet distinctly radio-friendly music, JWB is releasing its second album of the year in the aptly titled Walking Underwater Pt. 2.

With many songs co-written by longtime Megadeth guitarist Dave Ellefson, the song quality remains at a consistent and catchy clip, ala “I Do Dissolve.” Jay’s vocals vary from good to mediocre, but the mellow style of music fits his tenor well, and while he’s no Whitman, his lyrical cadence is a selling point. Not a game-changer, but a surprisingly affecting album that features additional guest work by singers Sara Renar and Loretta Heywood.

Rating: 3.5
(Evan Mugford)

Lotus Thief – ‘Rervm’ - Svart Records

Lotus Thief – ‘Rervm’. Svart Records

Lotus Thief – ‘Rervm’ (Svart)

Genre: Metal/Ambient
Lotus Thief’s debut is an eclectic clashing of metal, rock, and ambient. It took almost as long to figure out a genre description for this album as the review itself did. That’s because of the band’s sharp ability to remain outside of stringent genre lines.

There’s a black metal aura in the rhythm work, though the tuneful female vocals are far away from that. Extended outros in most of the songs are built upon calming synths and placated atmospheric touches. Rervm’s philosophical lyrical content adds a riveting spark to what is a spirited beginning to this group’s career.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Marsicano)

Mors Principium Est - 'Dawn Of The 5th Era' - AFM Records

Mors Principium Est – ‘Dawn Of The 5th Era’. AFM Records

Mors Principium Est – ‘Dawn Of The 5th Era’ (AFM)

Genre: Melodic Death Metal
The Finnish melodeath band Mors Principium Est have been around for 15 years or so, and return with Dawn Of The 5th Era. As you probably deduced, it’s their fifth album.

This is the second album for guitarist Andy Gillion and the first for Kevin Verlay. Their performance on the album is excellent. Galloping thrash riffs combine with groovier mid-tempo parts and catchy solos that create plenty of diversity. Subtle keyboards add a layer of atmosphere. Longtime vocalist Ville Viljanen delivers powerful harsh vocals that are also perfectly understandable. It’s another solid effort from an underrated band.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

My Shameful – ‘Hollow’ - MFL Records

My Shameful – ‘Hollow’. MFL Records

My Shameful – ‘Hollow’ (MFL)

Genre: Doom Metal
Finland’s doom duo of My Shameful find themselves blurring the lines between the darkness and light on their fifth effort,Hollow. With an overwhelming doom signature, the album’s eight tracks also touch on a post metal feel, as well as an underlying black metal meddling in modicum.

The vocals are superb, as is the ambience, yet the album fails to connect on various levels, notably the overdrawn songwriting that is dangling more with anticipation instead of execution.

Rating: 2.5
(Edward Banchs)

New Heavy Metal Album Releases: December 2, 2014

New Metal ReleasesThe Amsterdam Red Light District – Gone For A While(Red Light)
Axenstar – Where Dreams Are Forgotten (Inner Wound)
Bhleg – Draumr Ast (Nordvis)
Black Fate – Between Visions & Lies (Ulterium)
Bloodbound – Stormborn(AFM)
Bog Oak – A Treatise on Resurrection and the Afterlife (Svart)
Bombnation – Night Invasion (PRC)
Cadaveric Fumes/Demonic Oath – Entwined In Sepulchral Darkness Split EP (Iron Bonehead)
Clorange – Instinct (PRC)
Corrections House – Writing History In Advance (War Crime)
Donnie Vie – The White Album (Cargo)
Eye of Solitude – Dear Insanity EP (Kaotoxin)
Famishgod – Devourers of Light (Xtreem)
Fortress – Undo The Nothing (Unholy Anarchy)
Harmony – Theatre of Redemption (Ulterium)
Hybrid Sheep – Free From The Clutches of Gods (Tenacity)
Ice Dragon – Dream Dragon (PRC)
Johnny Wore Black – Walking Underwater Pt. 2 (Dead Cherry)
Lotus Thief – Rervm (Svart)
Mors Principium Est – Dawn of the 5th Era (AFM)
Mothra – Desecrated Thoughts (Vic)
My Shameful – Hollow (Moscow Funeral League)
Neonfly – Strangers In Paradise (Inner Wound)
Nightglow – Orpheus (Bakerteam)
Obscurity – Vintar (Trollzorn)
Osada Vida – The After Effect (Metal Mind)
Reasons Behind – The Alpha Memory (Maple Metal)
Resumed – Alinations (Bakerteam)
Samael – Solar Soul Re-Release (Metal Mind)
Scapes – One:Unseen:One (Nihil Ultra)
Sinister – Afterburner Re-Release (Metal Mind)
Sinister – Aggressive Measures Re-Release (Metal Mind)
Skelethal – Interstellar Knowledge of the Purple Entity EP (Iron Bonehead)
Starbynary – Dark Passenger (Bakerteam)
Striver – Apocalypse Nightmare (PRC)
Triosphere – The Heart of the Matter (AFM)
Voivod – Infini Re-Release (Metal Mind)
Voivod – Katorz Re-Release (Metal Mind)
White Arms of Athena – White Arms of Athena (Prosthetic)