Heavy Metal Album Reviews: Week of November 25, 2014

The ratings are on a 5 star scale.

Amniac - 'Infinite' - Distroball

Amniac – ‘Infinite’. Distroball

Amniac – ‘Infinite’ (Distroball)

Genre: Sludge/Post Metal
Infinite is the debut album from the Greek band Amniac. Their sound is influenced by bands like Isis and Neurosis.

The songs are lengthy, with a few short instrumentals in between to cleanse the musical palate. They deliver thick, sludgy riffs along with post metal elements and extended instrumental sections. The riffs are pretty straightforward, but very effective. While they have a ways to go to reach the heights of their influences, Amniac are off to a good start.

Rating: 3
(Chad Bowar)

Baring Teeth - 'Ghost Chorus Among Old Ruins' - Willowtip Records

Baring Teeth – ‘Ghost Chorus Among Old Ruins’.Willowtip Records

Baring Teeth – ‘Ghost Chorus Among Old Ruins’ (Willowtip)

Genre: Progressive/Technical Death Metal
You’ll hear a lot of precise, technical musicianship on Baring Teeth’s second full-length album Ghost Chorus Among Old Ruins, but also a lot of creativity.

The band balances dense, technical sections with mellower, progressive parts. Frenzied riffs and flailing drums ease into groovier, more melodic areas before blasting off again. The result is an album that’s extremely challenging, but also has memorable moments and isn’t just an exhibition of technical mastery.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Child Bite – 'Strange Waste' - Housecore Records

Child Bite – ‘Strange Waste’. Housecore Records

Child Bite – ‘Strange Waste’ (Housecore)

Genre: Avant-Hardcore
I first heard of Child Bite through their performance at Housecore Horror Film Festival and figured a name like that would belong a bunch of crusty punks. But with the beards and goofy promo pics, the mix of art-noise, hardcore and sludge that they play on Strange Waste fits the bill.

The album is very busy with each member on their own plane which overlap just enough. The music carries a weird, manic energy like someone who desperately has to pee. It’s impossible to pigeonhole their eclecticism, but comparisons to other square-peg-round-hole bands (Mr. Bungle, Melvins) and Dead Kennedys (due to the Biafra-like vocals) aren’t hard to make. Strange sure, but not a waste.

Rating: 3.5
(Matt Hinch)

Cloudkicker – ‘Live with Intronaut’ - Century Media Records

Cloudkicker – ‘Live with Intronaut’. Century Media Records

Cloudkicker – ‘Live with Intronaut’ (Century Media)

Genre: Progressive Instrumental
Ben Sharp is Cloudkicker. He’s also one guy from Columbus, Ohio  who cranks out a ponderous amount of high quality instrumental metal and he posts it on the internet for free. No record labels for him he vows, though Live with Intronaut is an exception. Century Media helped put Ben and all the Intronaut members in an Austin studio, with some crowd noise added in post.

The album isn’t free, and while there is honor in taking payment for the pleasing the patrons,  Ben is following up with another free album in the forthcoming week to make up for his indulgence. Meshuggah time signatures, Isis (without the black flags), and one-man music machines like the brilliant Sufjan Stevens are starting points for Cloudkicker’s influences. “Subsume” Parts 1, 2 and 8 and “Dysphoria” are highlights in an album of highlights. The album is an intricate, hypnotic whirlwind of exquisite fusion metal.

Rating: 4
(Todd Lyons)

Cripper - 'Hyena' - Metal Blade Records

Cripper – ‘Hyena’. Metal Blade Records

Cripper – ‘Hyena’ (Metal Blade)

Genre: Thrash Metal
German thrashers Cripper have been around for a while, and Hyena is their fourth album. It’s their first for Metal Blade, which should help raise their global profile.

Cripper combine old-school galloping riffs with some modern groove and production. Vocalist Britta Gortz is a powerhouse, mixing death metal growls with thrash barks. Her distinctive style paired with a potent dual guitar attack makes for songs that are both memorable and shredtastic.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Fen – ‘Carrion Skies’ - Code 666 Records

Fen – ‘Carrion Skies’. Code 666 Records

Fen – ‘Carrion Skies’ (Code 666)

Genre: Black Metal
Blending the aggression and fury of black metal with atmospheric influences is the calling card of the UK’s Fen. Building on the success of recent releases, they have again achieved great success with their latest, Carrion Skies. A style that fits nicely along Winterfylleth and Agalloch, they bring enough distinctiveness to carve their own path.

The record is over an hour in length, but only features six tracks. Each song is layered and takes the listener on a cold dark journey. Fen continue to grow with each release and their latest finds them as creative as ever. They seemed to have found the perfect balance of dark angular riffs mixed with quieter passages, which adds depth to their songwriting.

Rating: 4
(Dan Drago)

The Flight of Sleipnir – ‘V.’ - Napalm Records

The Flight of Sleipnir – ‘V.’. Napalm Records

The Flight of Sleipnir – ‘V.’ (Napalm)

Genre: Doom Metal
Not being confined to a specific genre, Colorado’s The Flight of Sleipnir blend multiple styles to create an amalgam of layered movements. Simply titled V., their latest release is filled with mind altering doom heavy riffs that shift to psychedelic landscapes that take one on a soaring journey. Like Agalloch, they also utilize folk melodies to bring added atmosphere.

Only a two-piece, David Csicsely and Clayton Cushman are responsible for all instrumentation and vocals. They have a clear vision for their sound and execute it brilliantly. The material is thought provoking and more rewarding with each listen. Their latest album is grand in scope and should put them on everyone’s radar.

Rating: 4
(Dan Drago)

Full Of Hell - 'Full Of Hell + Merzbow' - Profound Lore Records

Full Of Hell – ‘Full Of Hell + Merzbow’. Profound Lore Records

Full Of Hell – ‘Full Of Hell + Merzbow’ (Profound Lore)

Genre: Grindcore/Hardcore
For their latest album, U.S. hardcore/grinders Full Of Hell have teamed up with Japanese noise musician Masami Akita, aka Merzbow for the aptly titled Full Of Hell & Merzbow.

The album contains plenty of blistering grind, delivered in short bursts of brutality. There are also avant-garde and experimental sections and slower but still intense tracks. Measured aggression and frenzied chaos co-exist seamlessly. It’s a challenging listen at times, but ultimately a rewarding one.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Last Leaf Down – ‘Fake Lights’ - Lifeforce Records

Last Leaf Down – ‘Fake Lights’. Lifeforce Records

Last Leaf Down – ‘Fake Lights’ (Lifeforce)

Genre: Atmospheric Metal
Whether you want to call it shoegaze, post-metal, or atmospheric metal, Last Leaf Down aim for a heightened emotional response with their debut. These 13 songs are firmly set in a dreamlike haze, where every instrument has a surreal tone encapsulated in this environment.

Excitement is kept to a low level, as mood and ambiance become primary objectives. The group is competent and knows how to pull the right emotive strings, but each song fades into the next with few detours. That makes for a record that reaches its climax early on, and never rises to it again.

Rating: 3
(Dan Marsicano)

Morodh - 'The World Of Retribution' - Witching Hour Productions

Morodh – ‘The World Of Retribution’. Witching Hour Productions

Morodh – ‘The World Of Retribution’ (Witching Hour)

Genre: Black Metal
Originally beginning as a one-man project, Russia’s Morodh are now a full-fledged band. The World Of Retribution is their debut.

Morodh play black metal of the depressive variety, evident by song titles such as “Regret,” “Desolation” and “Loneliness.” Raspy vocals contrast melancholy guitars and a somber atmosphere. They change things up with baritone melodic vocals on “Fatality,” and vary things up elsewhere as well in terms of tempo and intensity. The album is a real bummer, but in a good way.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

New Heavy Metal Album Releases: November 25, 2014

New Metal ReleasesAir Raid – Point of Impact (High Roller)
Amniac – Infinite (Distroball)
Anewrage – ANR (Sliptrick)
Attila – Guilty Pleasure (Razor & Tie)
Avatarium – All I Want EP (Nuclear Blast)
Aversions Crown – Tyrant (Nuclear Blast)
Baring Teeth – Ghost Chorus Among Old Ruins (Willowtip)
Buffalo Killers – Fireball of Sulk (Sun Pedal)
Child Bite – Strange Waste EP (Housecore)
Cloudkicker – Live With Intronaut (Century Media)
Cripper – Hyena (Metal Blade)
Desecravity – Orphic Signs (Willowtip)
Dirty Mike & the Boys/Violation Wound/First Class Elite – Grime! Greed! Gore! Split (HPGD)
Entrench – Violent Procreation (War Anthem)
Eternal Sex and War – Negative Monoliths (Quality Steel)
Fen – Carrion Skies (Code 666)
The Flight of Sleipnir – V (Napalm)
Full Of Hell – Full Of Hell & Merzbow (Profound Lore)
HIM – Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights Re-Release (The End)
HIM – Greatest Love Songs Vol. 666 Re-Release (The End)
HIM – Love Metal Re-Release (The End)
HIM – Razorblade Romance Re-Release (The End)
Hoods – Gato Negro (Artery)
Inquisitor – Walpurgis: Sabbath of Lust Re-Release (Hammerheart)
Karne – Faith In Flesh (Quality Steel)
Lae – Break The Clasp (The Compound)
Last Leaf Down – Fake Lights (Lifeforce)
Morodh – The World Of Retribution (Witching Hour)
Northumbria – Bring Down The Sky (Consouling Sounds)
Nubian Rose – Mental Revolution (Cargo)
Owl – The Last Walk EP (Zeitgeister)
Panikk – Unbearable Conditions (Xtreem)
Pentacle – The Fifth Moon…Beyond and Back (Vic)
Postmortem – The Bowls of Wrath (War Anthem)
Primordial – Where Greater Men Have Fallen (Metal Blade)
Schysma – Idyosyncrasy (Revalve)
Skalmold – Meo Vaettum (Napalm)
Sleipnir – V (Napalm)
Ten – Albion (Rocktopia)
Thomas Giles – Modern Noise (Metal Blade)
United Progressive Fraternity – Fall In Love With the World (Inside Out)
Wayfarer – Children of the Iron Age (Prosthetic)
Within Temptation – Let Us Burn – Elements & Hydra Live in Concert DVD/CD (Nuclear Blast)
Zom – Flesh Assimilation (Dark Descent)

New Heavy Metal Album Reviews: Week of November 18, 2014

The ratings are on a 5 star scale.

Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk Band – ‘Black Power Flower’ - Napalm Records

Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk Band – ‘Black Power Flower’. Napalm Records

Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk Band – ‘Black Power Flower’ (Napalm)

Genre: Stoner Rock
Similar to a couple other former Kyuss members, Brant Bjork is putting his name in lights and releasing a new record with a new group. Joined by the Low Desert Punk Band, the album is entitled Black Power Flower, and it’s pretty much what you expect: bluesy, slow-growing stoner rock that may have taken one too many bong hits to the head.

Drummer-turned-vocalist/guitarist Bjork does a nice job leading; his voice is suitably weathered, his lyrics waxing poetic and spacey, and his axe-work is soaked in enough blue-doom resin to keep things interesting. It’s a mellow affair, and a relatively repetitive one to boot, but songs like “Stokely Up Now” and “Buddha Time (Everything Fine)” should keep you nodding into the sunset.

Rating: 3
(Evan Mugford)

Cadaveria - 'Silence' - Scarlet Records

Cadaveria – ‘Silence’. Scarlet Records

Cadaveria – ‘Silence’ (Scarlet)

Genre: Black/Gothic Metal
The title of Cadeveria’s 2012 albumHorror Metal is also an apt description of the Italian band’s fifth full-length, Silence. There are a lot of cinematic elements that would make for an excellent horror movie soundtrack.

The album has plenty of gothic and black metal influences. They even get thrashy in places. Vocalist Cadaveria gives a diverse performance. She easily transitions between various screams and styles of melodic singing. The songs are angelic one moment, demonic the next. That makes for an album that’s well-executed and varied.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

The Deathtrip – ‘Deep Drone Master’ - Svart Records

The Deathtrip – ‘Deep Drone Master’. Svart Records

The Deathtrip – ‘Deep Drone Master’ (Svart)

Genre: Black Metal
Flat-footed songwriting raised up by an inspired vocal performance, The Deathtrip’s debut barrels out of mundane territory thanks to Aldrahn’s presence. The vocalist for Thorns and the short-lived supergroup Zyklon-B, Aldrahn puts a thematic take on the blasphemy he spews out.

Somehow, he is able to make filthy jams like “Something Growing in the Trees” and “Cocoons” infectious. The music itself is nothing to note, though “Syndebukken” strives for grander pastures with less than fruitful results. Fans who need a quick fill of black metal will get it from Deep Drone Master, but not much else.

Rating: 2.5
(Dan Marsicano)

Dimension - 'Revolution' - Nightmare Records

Dimension – ‘Revolution’. Nightmare Records

Dimension – ‘Revolution’ (Nightmare)

Genre: Progressive Metal
After a 7 year absence, the Denver, Colorado trio Dimension have returned with the double disc opus Revolution. You’ll hear extended instrumental jams with plenty of atmospherics, but also heavy, focused riffs.

David Quicho has a powerful voice and used a lot of texture and expression in his delivery. In addition to the original material, the band throws in a couple of cover songs as well: The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” and Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song.” There’s a lot of material to absorb, but the arrangements are compelling and the musicianship top-notch, holding interest throughout.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Dire Omen – ‘Wresting the Revelation of Futility’ - Dark Descent Records

Dire Omen – ‘Wresting the Revelation of Futility’.Dark Descent Records

Dire Omen – ‘Wresting the Revelation of Futility’ (Dark Descent)

Genre: Death Metal
Deep below the ninth circle of Hell you’ll find Dire Omen and their infernal debut LPWresting the Revelation of Futility. It’s a filth-ridden madness from the Edmonton trio threatening to unravel the fabric of reality.

Full blown chaos is forcibly molded into sinister and grotesque black/death bursting at the seams to enshroud the listener in the roots of all evil. Heart rates quicken and lumps form in the throat in the face of their arresting darkness. With lo-fi production yet instrumental clarity, Dire Omen unleash an unholy terror through broken chords and convention. Grinding intensity and an unfailing dedication to misery and hatred make this one of the year’s most truly terrifying releases.

Rating: 4
(Matt Hinch)

Ghost Brigade – ‘IV: One With the Storm’ - Season Of Mist

Ghost Brigade – ‘IV: One With the Storm’. Season Of Mist

Ghost Brigade – ‘IV: One With the Storm’ (Season of Mist)

 Genre: Doom/Death Metal
Continuing to straddle not just the divide between death and doom, but also one between grittier and more melodic variants of death metal, Ghost Brigade’sfourth full-length, IV – One With the Storm, is yet another Dark Tranquillity-meets-Insomnium affair with bits of old Hypocrisy strewn about.

While not quite as melodically inclined as the former, nor as downcast as Insomnium, these Finns actually sound quite non-committal on quite a number of tracks, with only “Aurora” and “Elama on Tulta” showing something in the way of fervor. Everything is as tight as one would expect, but somehow things never reach an optimum level of energy and/or excitement.

Rating: 2.5
(Neil Pretorius)

The Ghost Inside – ‘Dear Youth’ - Epitaph Records

The Ghost Inside – ‘Dear Youth’. Epitaph Records

The Ghost Inside – ‘Dear Youth’ (Epitaph)

Genre: Metalcore
The Ghost Inside, a two guitar, background-vocal heavy Jasta-Core band from L.A release Dear Youth, their fourth album. It’s stuffed with enough melodic guitar lines to make you forget that it threatens at any instant to spin into a Hatebreed tribute album.

The lyrics aren’t the usual metalcore bawling, but rather a cut above the standard. They are punky and defiant, even optimistic. The playing is perfectly serviceable, but the glossy production never seems to mirror the sweat that metalcore produces. “Avalanche” is a fine opener, but what was the band thinking with that middle minute in “Wide-Eyed?” When the clean vocals die, and Johnny Vigil returns, he sounds like the roar of all perdition’s screams. Skip track 9, and enjoy the rest, all you fans of The Ghost Inside.

Rating: 2.5
(Todd Lyons)

Hands Of Orlac - 'Figli Del Crepuscolo' - Horror Records

Hands Of Orlac – ‘Figli Del Crepuscolo’. Horror Records

Hands Of Orlac – ‘Figli Del Crepuscolo’ (Horror)

Genre: Doom/Stoner Metal
For their second full-length album Figli Del Crepuscolo, the Italian band Hands Of Orlac have relocated to Sweden. Even though their location has changed, their sound remains similar.

That sound is mid to uptempo doom/stoner metal with catchy riffs. Vocalist The Sorceress also plays the flute on a few of the tracks, giving those songs a dose of uniqueness. There’s definitely a retro flavor to the album, but the production is crisp and modern. Hands Of Orlac also have some progressive blood running through their veins, with several extended jams and lengthy songs.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Hombre Malo – ‘Persistent Murmur of Words of Wrath’ - Disciplin Records

Hombre Malo – ‘Persistent Murmur of Words of Wrath’. Disciplin Records

Hombre Malo – ‘Persistent Murmur of Words of Wrath’ (Disciplin)

Genre: Sludge/Hardcore
From the frozen fjords of Norway comesHombre Malo and their decidedly un-frosty second album, Persistent Murmur of Words of Wrath. Taking a page from compatriots Kvelertak, they take the hybridization of hardcore very seriously.

Their amalgamation of genres both within and without of tunes leans toward sludgecore. Filthy, overdriven tone and noisy angularity pummel and crash while keeping the listener off balance. Mix and match vocals and smart samples reflect their world views. They work in crust, doom and stoner sensibilities while keeping an eye on the hooks. You might even hear a touch of the Melvins and Neurosis if you listen closely. Spanish or Norwegian, boring definitely isn’t in their vocabulary.

Rating: 3.5
(Matt Hinch)

Kaledon – ‘Antillius: The King of the Light’ - Scarlet Records

Kaledon – ‘Antillius: The King of the Light’. Scarlet Records

Kaledon – ‘Antillius: The King of the Light’ (Scarlet)

Genre: Power Metal
Releasing their debut twelve years ago, Italy’s Kaledon have been one of the most prolific bands in the symphonic power metal scene. Only a year and half since their last release, they are back with their eighth studio album Antillius: The King of the Light. A concept album that tells the story of Antillius, the King of Kaledon who was introduced on earlier albums.

The musicianship is first rate as there are blazing guitar solos and exceptionally quick double bass drumming. Vocalist Marco Palazzi has a tremendous range, but thankfully never hits ear shattering levels. The gorgeous duet with Angela Di Vincenzo on “Elisabeth” is a great change of pace as the melodies are melancholy but still retain a memorable refrain.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Drago)

New Heavy Metal Album Releases: November 18, 2014

New Metal ReleasesAdaliah – Shedding Skin(Mediskare)
Albert Bell’s Sacro Sanctus –Deus Volt (Metal on Metal)
Anguish – Mountain (Dark Descent)
Aphotic Threnody – When Death Comes (Doomentia)
Axx of Hate – Risen (Mulligore)
Bloodbath – Grand Morbid Funeral (Peaceville)
Born of Fire – Dead Winter Sun (Pure Steel)
Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk Band – Black Power Flower (Napalm)
Cadaveria – Silence (Scarlet)
Carnal Agony – Preludes & Nocturnes (Sliptrick)
Crimson Blue – The Angelic Performance (My Kingdom)
Cuff – Transient Suffering Through the Ergosphere (Gore House)
Dantalion – Where Fear Is Born (Sleaszy Rider)
Darkher – The Kingdom Field (Prophecy)
The Dead – Deathsteps To Oblivion (Transcending Obscurity)
The Deathtrip – Deep Drone Master (Svart)
Dimension – Revolution (Nightmare)
Dire Omen – Wrestling the Revelation of Futility (Dark Descent)
Dominanz – Noxius (Industrial Silence)
Evil Spirit – Cauldron Messiah (Horror)
The Ghost Inside – Dear Youth (Epitaph)
Hands of Orlac – Figli Del Crepuscolo (Horror)
Hi-gh – Til Death and After (Metal on Metal)
Hombre Malo – Persistent Murmur of Words of Wrath (Disiplin)
In This Moment – Black Widow (Atlantic)
In Tormentata Quiete – Cromagia (My Kingdom)
Kaledon – Antillius: The King Of the Light (Scarlet)
Korzus – Legion (AFM)
Kult Ofenzivy – Nauky Ruznic (Iron Bonehead)
Metal Cross – Metal Cross (Horror)
Manimalism – Manimalism (Adversum)
Monster Magnet – Milking The Stars (Napalm)
Mortuary Drape – Spiritual Independence (Iron Tyrant)
Nesseria – Fractures (Throatruiner)
Paul Di’Anno – The Beast Arises DVD (Metal Mind)
P.O.D. – SoCal Sessions (Universal)
Satan – Trail of Fire: Live in North America (Listenable)
Scott Ian – Swearing Words in Glasgow DVD (Megaforce)
Senser – Stacked Up XX (Strike Back)
Sonata Arctica – Ecliptica Revisited: 15th Anniversary Edition (Nuclear Blast / Metalville)
Soulburn – The Suffocating Darkness (Century Media)
Stormvold – Third Bestial Mutilation (Xtreem)
Stubb – Cry Of The Ocean (Ripple)
Thanatos – Global Purification (Century Media)
These Are They – At The Feast of Seven Funerals (Unruly Sounds / The End)
Threshold – For The Journey (Nuclear Blast / Metalville)
Timeworm – Luminescent Wake (Disiplin)
Ulver – Trolsk Sortmetall 1993-1997 Box Set (Century Media)
V-Anger – In Shovel We Trust (Sliptrick)
While Heaven Wept – Suspended At Aphelion (Nuclear Blast)
Xtrmst – Xtrmst (Dim Mak)

New Heavy Metal Album Reviews: Week of November 11, 2014

The ratings are on a 5 star scale.

Anatomy Of Habit - 'Ciphers + Axioms' - Relapse Records

Anatomy Of Habit – ‘Ciphers + Axioms’. Relapse Records

Anatomy Of Habit – ‘Ciphers + Axioms’ (Relapse) Genre: Post Metal
It’s difficult to categorize or label the sound of Chicago’s Anatomy Of Habit and their second full-length Ciphers + Axioms. They incorporate a lot of different elements and genres.

Doom metal is a noticeable influence, with heavy riffs and slow tempos. There are also hints of ’80s alternative in the vein of Joy Division along with ’90s shoegaze, noise rock and post metal. The album only has two tracks, each one clocking in at around 20 minutes, but the band’s constant shifts and sonic evolution holds interest throughout.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Crazy Lixx - 'Crazy Lixx' - Frontiers Records

Crazy Lixx – ‘Crazy Lixx’. Frontiers Records

Crazy Lixx – ‘Crazy Lixx’ (Frontiers) Genre: Hard Rock
They are from Sweden, but Crazy Lixx’ssound is straight out of the Sunset Strip. On their self-titled fourth album the band continues their hair metal worship.

The songs are catchy, arena-ready anthems with giant hooks and numerous guitar solos. The band brought aboard Mats Leven (Candlemass, Therion) to do backing vocals on several tracks. They also did a new version of “Heroes Are Forever” from their debut album. This album will hit the spot for those who grew up in the hair metal era, especially the track ‘Girls Of The ’80s,” an ode to females of that time period.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Downfall Of Gaia –‘Aeon Unveils The Thrones Of Decay’ - Metal Blade Records

Downfall Of Gaia –‘Aeon Unveils The Thrones Of Decay’. Metal Blade Records

Downfall Of Gaia –‘Aeon Unveils The Thrones Of Decay’ (Metal Blade) Genre: Black Metal
The massive doom and black metal withinDownfall of Gaia’s third album Aeon Unveils The Thrones Of Decay gives weight to the band’s potential. With the exception of the alluring interlude “Ascending the Throne,” the songs reach out anywhere between eight and eleven minutes. An unsteady concoction of stark melodies and jumbled monstrosities constructs the anatomy of the songwriting.

Multiple vocalists use a brew of screams and shouts to inject further uneasiness in. Closing instrumental “Excavated” effectively builds from a slow churn to a blistering output to a piano-led outro. Listeners who gave their last offering a chance should do the same for this record.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Marsicano)

Haken – ‘Restoration’ - InsideOut Music

Haken – ‘Restoration’. InsideOut Music

Haken – ‘Restoration’ (Inside Out) Genre: Progressive Metal
Certain bands can grab your attention instantly just by the superiority of their musicianship. England’s Haken showcase their penchant for writing brilliant and complex musical landscapes on their latest EP, Restoration. Clocking in at 33 minutes, the release is made up of just three songs that have been reworked from their original demo.

The centerpiece is the nineteen-minute plus “Crystallised,” a roller coaster of diversity that contains more riffs than most modern albums. Mike Portnoy makes a guest appearance and adds his remarkable drumming to the fray. Not following current trends, Haken instead hearken back to the earlier days of prog and puts their explosive musicianship on display.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Drago)

Hollow Earth - 'Silent Graves' - Panic Records

Hollow Earth – ‘Silent Graves’. Panic Records

Hollow Earth – ‘Silent Graves’ (Panic) Genre: Metallic Hardcore
Silent Graves is the debut album from Michigan’s Hollow Earth, whose lineup includes former Shai Halud membersSteve Muczynski (vocals) and Mike Moynihan (guitar).

The album sometimes careens along at a breakneck pace, other times slowing the tempo to a mid-tempo groove or a crushing crawl without sacrificing any intensity. The vocals are hardcore yells, dripping with anger and passion. It’s an extremely diverse effort, even including a four-minute instrumental halfway through.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

The House of Capricorn – 'Morning Star Rise' - Svart Records

The House of Capricorn – ‘Morning Star Rise’. Svart Records

The House of Capricorn – ‘Morning Star Rise’ (Svart) Genre: Hard Rock
It’s been quite a year for New Zealand metal. This time the Kiwis making all the racket are The House of Capricorn and their third album of apocalyptic devil rock,Morning Star Rise.

The House of Capricorn praise Lucifer much in the same way as Ancient VVisdom, via catchy riffs, vocal melodies and a sense of doom that doesn’t rely on mountain-crumbling tone.  They’ve got a freakshow swinging creepiness akin to Bloody Hammers but with more diversity and honestly darker lyrical content. Closing epic “Dragons of Revelation” revels in doom and shows off a Type O Negative approach to gothic melodies. This devil rock is catchy as sin.

Rating: 3.5
(Matt Hinch)

Krokodil – ‘Nachash’ - Spinefarm Records

Krokodil – ‘Nachash’. Spinefarm Records

Krokodil – ‘Nachash’ (Spinefarm) Genre: Groove Metal/Progressive Sludge
Picking a genre is usually a clear-cut process, but such is not the case with UK’s Krokodil and their debut full-length album Nachash, a broiling cauldron of wicked groove metal and other genre spices that often sounds too good, and too heavy, to be true. Like their street-drug namesake, this album is addictive stuff.

Formed from the acts Cry For Silence, Hexes, Gallows and SikTh, this sextet play a rough-and-tumble form of metal with harsh roars and occasionally croons, adding snippets of melody to an otherwise concussive affair that never skirts on attitude. Of particular note is the phenomenal rhythm section of SikTh drummer and bassist Dan ‘Loord’ Foord and James Leach, a duo that lends the record a distinct nu-metal nostalgia with all of its tribalism and bubbling bass lines. If said nu-metal reference raises a flag, fret not: Nachash is a keenly composed medley of hammering groove and gobsmacking riffs.

Rating: 4
(Evan Mugford)

Methedras - 'System Subversion' - Pavement Entertainment

Methedras – ‘System Subversion’. Pavement Entertainment

Methedras – ‘System Subversion’ (Pavement) Genre: Thrash Metal
It has been five years since the last album from the Italian band Methedras, who rerturn with their fourth effort System Subversion.

There’s plenty of galloping thrash to be heard, but the band combines it with elements of groove and death metal. That, along with a beefy production, gives it a very modern feel. The vocals are a combination of thrash style barks and death metal growls with a little melodic singing. Eros Mozzi handles all the guitar work, and does an excellent job. From groovy riffs to shredding solos he shows versatility and skill.

Rating: 3
(Chad Bowar)

Ne Obliviscaris – ‘Citadel’ - Season Of Mist

Ne Obliviscaris – ‘Citadel’. Season Of Mist

Ne Obliviscaris – ‘Citadel’ (Season of Mist) Genre: Extreme Progressive Metal
Australia’s Ne Obliviscaris, a six-piece cyclone of symphonic beauty and terrifying roar, pushes themselves into this year’s top-ten album contender territory. Lead Obliviscarian Xenoyr, or Mark Campbell to the rest of his clan, conducts the fury through six masterpiece tracks that equal a more cohesive whole than their previous, albeit wondrous, Portal of Ifrom 2012.

Citadel never goes where you expect. It keeps you off-balance between the serpentine virtuosity of Tim Charles’ violin, swaths of the finest progressive metal heard since Opeth’s heyday and the psychotic explosiveness dispensed by guitars down-tuned low enough to knock on hell’s back door. The polarizing clean vocals from Charles’ ornamental tenor may turn some away from repeated listens, but outside of the unabashedly pretentious song titles larded onto five of the tracks, Ne Obliviscaris have crafted a wickedly unforgettable album.

Rating: 4.5
(Todd Lyons)

Red Enemy - 'Red Enemy' ( - Mediaskare Records

Red Enemy – ‘Red Enemy’ (. Mediaskare Records

Red Enemy – ‘Red Enemy’ (Mediaskare) Genre: Metalcore
Red Enemy hail from Dublin, Ireland. Their self-titled album is packed with intensity and groove.

You’ll hear genre conventions like breakdowns, but the band changes things up in terms of tempo and intensity to avoid monotony. Technical and precise sections give way to lengthy and creative instrumental breaks. One area that could use more variety is the vocals. They are potent and passionate, but have a similar delivery throughout. Still, this is a band with an interesting take on the genre and a lot of potential.

Rating: 3
(Chad Bowar)

New Heavy Metal Album Releases: November 11, 2014

New Metal ReleasesAnatomy of Habit – Ciphers + Axioms (Relapse)
Arkadia – Unrelenting(Inverse)
Arroganz – Tod & Teufel (FDA Rekotz)
Broughton’s Rules – Anechoic Horizon(Relapse)
Cadaveric Spasm/Clit Eastwood – Split (HPGD)
Carcass – Surgical Remission / Surplus Steel EP (Nuclear Blast)
Crazy Lixx – Crazy Lixx (Frontiers)
Deliverance – Stay of Execution Re-Release (Roxx)
Devilment – The Great and Secret Show (Nuclear Blast)
Downfall of Gaia – Aeon Unveils the Thrones of Decay (Metal Blade)
Foreseen HKI – Helsinki Savagery (20 Buck Spin)
Ghost Brigade – IV: One With the Storm (Season of Mist)
Haken – Restoration EP (Inside Out)
Hollow Earth – Silent Graves (Panic)
The House of Capricorn – Morning Star Rise (Svart)
Job For a Cowboy – Sun Eater (Metal Blade)
Just Before Dawn – The Aftermath (Chaos)
King Diamond – Dreams of Horror (Metal Blade)
Kontrust – Explositive (Napalm)
Krokodil – Nachash (Spinefarm)
Lebensnacht – Uudelleensyntynyt Ikuiseen Pimeyteen (Naturmacht)
Machine Head – Bloodstone & Diamonds (Nuclear Blast)
Methedras – System Subversion (Pavement)
Mothership – Mothership II (Ripple)
Nangilima – The Dark Matter (Xtreem)
Ne Obliviscaris – Citadel (Season of Mist)
Old Man Gloom – The Ape of God (Profound Lore)
Project 86 – Knives To the Future (Team Black)
Red Enemy – Red Enemy (Mediaskare)
Resistance – The Seeds Within (Pavement)
Saille – Eldritch (Code 666)
Silent Planet – The Night God Slept (Solid State)
Sky Harbor – Guiding Lights (Basick)
Sleep of Monsters – Produces Reason (Svart)
Soen – Tellurian (Spinefarm)
SSS – Limp Gasp Collapse (Prosthetic)
Usnea – Random Cosmic Violence (Relapse)
Various Artists – Ragnarok Juletide (Spinefarm)
Vengeance Rising – Released Upon the Earth Re-Release (Roxx)
Within Temptation – Enter / The Dance Re-Release (Nuclear Blast)

New Heavy Metal Album Reviews: Week of November 4, 2014

The ratings are on a 5 star scale.

Adimiron - 'Timelapse' - Scarlet Records

Adimiron – ‘Timelapse’. Scarlet Records

Adimiron – ‘Timelapse’ (Scarlet)

Genre: Progressive/Death Metal
The Italian band Adimiron return with their fourth album Timelapse. They are a progressive metal band that infuses elements of death and thrash into their sound.

The combination makes for a nice balance of complexity and extremity. Heavy riffs and blastbeats meld into mellower progressive sections. The vocals are mostly melodic with some harsher moments, but Andrea Spinelli delivers both styles with abrasiveness. As you’d expect from a progressive album, there are some lengthy instrumental sections, but the band stays on the rails with plenty of melody and groove, mostly staying away from wonky and experimental forays.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Apostle of Solitude – ‘Of Woe and Wounds’ - Cruz del Sur Music

Apostle of Solitude – ‘Of Woe and Wounds’. Cruz del Sur Music

Apostle of Solitude – ‘Of Woe and Wounds’ (Cruz del Sur)

Genre: Doom Metal/Stoner Metal
Indianapolis doom metal quartet Apostle of Solitude are back after a four-year break with their third full-length release Of Woe and Wounds, a slow and soulfully groovy record that should appease the dirty blue palates of fans who adhere to the call of acts like Down, Age of Taurus, Witch Mountain, or The Gates of Slumber, a band to which vocalist/guitarist Chuck Brown had played drums for.

While the south-meets-Black Sabbath template is nothing new to your standard doom fare, Brown’s vibrant voice certainly helps lend distinction, sounding not so far removed from a Dax Riggs acolyte. The band’s song-writing chops have definitely improved, with songs like “Die Vicar Die” and “Siren” emerging emotive and affecting amid the chugging and head-banging. Plenty of riffs, hooks, and heaviness to dig into from one rock-solid doom band.

Rating: 4
(Evan Mugford)

Ascension – 'Deathless Light' - W.T.C. Records

Ascension – ‘Deathless Light’. W.T.C. Records

Ascension – ‘Deathless Light’ (World Terror Committee)

Genre: Black Metal
Dispelling any doubts that the four-year gap since 2010’s Consolamentum might have taken the winds out of their sails,Deathless Light sees Germany’s publicity-shy but occult-friendly Ascension picking up right where they left off with their last album.

Ostensibly a primer for their as yet untitled forthcoming full-length, Deathless Light is a brisk two-track EP injected in equal degree with Aosoth’s chaotic black metal as well as slower, more sinister atmospheres redolent of classic Ondskapt. The title track is a good example of the former approach, while “Garden of Stone” has a more melancholy vibe to it that sees the band at their pensive best.

Rating: 3
(Neil Pretorius)

Decaying – 'One To Conquer' - Hellthrasher Records

Decaying – ‘One To Conquer’. Hellthrasher Records

Decaying – ‘One To Conquer’ (Hellthrasher)

Genre: Death Metal
One To Conquer is the fourth album in four years from Finnish death metallistsDecaying. That’s quite the pace, but the album is not lacking in energy nor does it come off flat as the enthusiasm of old school death is evident.

Matias Nastolin’s vocals go from guttural to desperate, the latter being much like Martin Van Drunen. The comparison doesn’t end there as like Hail of Bullets, this is war themed throughout. Musically it’s OSDM with touches of thrash, epic/doom moments and plenty of melody bleeding over merciless tone and high-calibre armour-piercing percussion. One To Conquer doesn’t engage in any new offensives but the “for fans of Bolt Thrower and Hail of Bullets” tag hits the target.

Rating: 3.5
(Matt Hinch)

Doombringer – ‘The Grand Sabbath’ - Nuclear War Now!

Doombringer – ‘The Grand Sabbath’. Nuclear War Now!

Doombringer – ‘The Grand Sabbath’ (Nuclear War Now)

Genre: Death/Black Metal
You would think a band namedDoombringer would bring the doom, but while the Polish group’s debut does often sound like the end of days, the demise is summoned by black and death metal. The Grand Sabbath brings together that tunnelling feeling of black metal and the sonic weight of death metal. Exhilarating evil enforces a scorched earth policy leaving nothing unaffected by their raging darkness.

The listener is caught in a coil of hate and cocooning tremolos as Doombringer move through an array of speeds and moods. “Nocturnal Assembly” is a full-on death cage-rattler with ominous tones, and “Grand Sabbath Reaps Souls” finally brings a sense of doom to their fierce and tonally atmospheric blackened death.

Rating: 3.5
(Matt Hinch)

Exalt - 'Pale Light' - New Damage Records

Exalt – ‘Pale Light’. New Damage Records

Exalt – ‘Pale Light’ (New Damage)

Genre: Metallic Hardcore
Pale Light is the sophomore album fromExalt, who hail from Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. It’s a potent dose of metallic hardcore.

The band does a nice job changing up tempos. From menacing mid-tempo grooves to frantic uptempo tracks, there’s no shortage of aggression. There’s even a ballad of sorts in the title track. The vocals are typical hardcore barks/yells delivered with passion and intensity. Exalt do a nice job infusing plenty of variety into their hard-hitting attack.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Falls of Rauros – ‘Believe In No Coming Shore’ - Bindrune Recordings

Falls of Rauros – ‘Believe In No Coming Shore’. Bindrune Recordings

Falls of Rauros – ‘Believe In No Coming Shore’ (Bindrune)

Genre: Black Metal
With acoustic-led passages and folksy melodies, Falls of Rauros’ third albumBelieve In No Coming Shore moves their atmospheric black metal sound forward. The group is proficient with all the styles they embark on, whether it’s supercharged rhythm and dizzying riffs or the distinct jams they go off on in most of the songs.

The album reaches its stride in the energetic tide that comes out of the harmonized leads on the title track and the tranquil beginning to “Waxen Voices.” The band works off the template of past releases, fine-tuning and tightening up the songwriting to reach a worthwhile outcome.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Marsicano)

Heart In Hand – ‘A Beautiful White’ - Century Media/Siege Of Amida Records

Heart In Hand – ‘A Beautiful White’. Century Media/Siege Of Amida Records

Heart In Hand – ‘A Beautiful White’ (Century Media/Siege Of Amida)

Genre: Melodic Metalcore
In 2008, Heart In Hand came off the line of the metalcore factory in Southampton, England. A Beautiful White is their third album and continues the melodic angst of their previous album, Almost There.“There’s more in life than hate,” “You are the reason, I now doubt myself everyday” and similar lyrical content pour from vocalist Charlie Holmes fervent delivery.

“Mae,” “A Beautiful White,” and “Poison Pen Letters” slash their meaty hooks around as the album careers from breakdown to breakdown. The guitar lines plumb the circuitous riffs reminiscent of everyone from The Edge (U2), to Clayton Stevens (Touché Amoré) and even Lee Malia (Bring Me The Horizon). The album brings anthems, passion, and hooks, but not enough stick in your memory.

Rating: 3
(Todd Lyons)

Liv Kristine – ‘Vervain’ - Napalm Records

Liv Kristine – ‘Vervain’. Napalm Records

Liv Kristine – ‘Vervain’ (Napalm)

Genre: Gothic Metal
It has been over a decade since Liv Kristine departed Theatre of Tragedy and continued to carve a path for her solo career.  The Leaves Eyes singer is back with Vervain, her fifth solo album but her third in the last four years. Featuring her angelic voice throughout, she does an excellent job of combining an operatic style with pop sensibilities.

Musically it isn’t far removed from later day Theatre of Tragedy where gothic overtones are blended seamlessly with driving guitar rock. Her duet with Doro Pesch on the doom obsessed “Stronghold of Angels” finds both vocalists at the top of their game. “Hunters” is irresistible with it’s groove induced bass line and hook laden chorus. Kristine again displays that she has one of the most beautiful voices in metal.

Rating: 4
(Dan Drago)

Lyriel – ‘Skin and Bones’ - AFM Records

Lyriel – ‘Skin and Bones’. AFM Records

Lyriel – ‘Skin and Bones’ (AFM)

Genre: Gothic Metal
Combining Celtic and gothic influences over the past decade, Germany’s Lyrielare back with their fifth release Skin and Bones. Bringing a more developed and up to date sound to their songwriting, the band is carried by the beautiful vocals of Jessica Thierjung. The production is tighter and thicker and the guitars are featured more than the keyboards as in past releases.

Ex-Scar Symmetry singer Christian Älvestam makes a guest appearance on “Black and White.” His aggressive vocals blend well with Theirjung’s soaring melodies. Opener “Numbers” captures a folk essence with a memorable catchy chorus. With thirteen songs and almost pushing an hour in length, the release does lose some steam towards the end but overall this is one of their stronger releases.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Drago)

New Heavy Metal Album Releases: November 4, 2014

New Metal ReleasesAbsentia Lunae – Vorwarts(ATMF)
Adimiron – Timelapse(Scarlet)
Animus Mortis – Testimonia(ATMF)
Apostle of Solitude – Of Woe and Wounds (Cruz del Sur)
Ascension – Deathless Light EP (WTC)
Cavalera Conspiracy – Pandemonium (Napalm)
Coil Commemorative Enslave – L’Infinita Vanita Del Tutto (ATMF)
Decaying – One To Conquer (Hellthrasher)
Divine: Zero – The Cold Asylum (Quality Steel)
Doombringer – The Grand Sabbath (Nuclear War Now!)
Embracer – My Father’s Will (Imminence)
Exalt – Pale Light (New Damage)
Falls Of Rauros – Believe In No Coming Shore (Bindrune)
Fides Inversa – Mysterium Tremendum et Fascinans (W.T.C.)
Epitaph – Crawling Out of the Crypt (High Roller)
Foul Body Autopsy – So Close To Dehumanization (Grindscene)
Funerals – Human Ruin EP (Blasphemour)
Graveyard Shifters – Brainwashed By Moonshine EP (Eternal Sound)
Greber – Kiln Hardened Psalms (Handshake)
Gus G – I Am The Fire Expanded Edition (Century Media)
Heart In Hand – A Beautiful White (Siege of Amida / Century Media)
Helldorados – Lessons in Decay (Massacre)
Hell In the Club – Devil On My Shoulder (Scarlet)
Homewrecker – Circle of Death (A389)
Horror Vacui – Return Of The Empire (HPGD)
Inconcessus Lux Lucis – Crux Lupus Corona EP (I Voidhanger)
Ladder Devils – Clean Hands (Brutal Panda)
Laster – De Verste Verte Is Hier (Broken Limbs)
Liv Kristine – Vervain (Napalm)
Lord of Pagathon – Nekros Philia (Inverse)
Lordi – Scare Force One (AFM)
Lyriel – Skin and Bones (AFM)
Mare Cognitum – Phobos Monolith (I Voidhanger)
Nader Salek – The Malefic: Chapter III EP (Self)
Obtruncation – Abode of the Departed Souls (Vic)
Pestilential Shadows – Ephemeral (Seance)
Pharoah – Negative Everything (A389)
Piss Vortex – Piss Vortex (Indisciplinarian)
The Prophecy 23 – Untrue Like A Boss (Massacre)
Psychostick – IV: Revenge Of The Vengeance (Self)
Putrid Evocation – Echoes of Death (Xtreem)
Sahhr – Sahhr EP (Domestic Genocide)
Sick/Tired – Dissolution (A389)
Sidious – Revealed In Profane Splendour (Kaotoxin)
Sinners Burn – Disturbing Creatures (Vic)
The Skull – For Those Which Are Asleep (Tee Pee)
Sleeping Pulse – Under the Same Sky (Prophecy)
Spiders – Shake Electric (Spinefarm)
Tongues – Thelesis Ignis (I Voidhanger)
Toothgrinder – Schizophrenic Jubilee EP (Spinefarm)
The Treatment – Running With the Dogs (Spinefarm)
Walking Dead On Broadway – Aeshma (Impericon)
Witch Meadow – Cry of the Wolf (Divebomb)

Update Issued On Wayne Static’s Death

After it was announced yesterday that Wayne Static had passed away, rumors began circulating the cause of death was drug related. Today the following press release was issued by Wayne Static’s publicist regarding the situation:

“Today is a sad day in the music industry – Front-man and founding member Wayne Static of Static-X passed away quietly in his sleep at his home last night.

“The couple was getting ready to leave for a Fall/Winter tour this morning. They were to have left the night before on Halloween, but decided they would head out early in the morning November 1st.

“The couple, known for partying heavy, had left hard drugs in 2009 and had not touched them since. Static’s first solo album – Pighammer – was a tribute to his new non-drug life and hoped it would help others to get clean from hard chemical drugs.

“More official information about his passing will be released in the following days. This is not a drug related incident or an O. D. Please be courteous to his family and wife and leave positive messages.”

Static-X Frontman WAYNE STATIC Dead At 48

waynestaticsolo2014_638

Singer/guitarist Wayne Static (born Wayne Richard Wells) of the industrial metal band STATIC-X has passed away at the age of 48. His death was confirmed by Wayne‘s publicists at FiXT Publicity.

No further details are currently available, but some of Wayne‘s associates have indicated that his passing may have been the result of a drug overdose.

Jacoby Shaddix (PAPA ROACH): “RIP Wayne…. This is so sad. Too many musicians are dying from overdoses. I’m serious, addiction is real and takes fools out. No one is invincible. So glad I live a sober life today. The number of friends that I have lost to addiction is crazy. If you are struggling witn addiction, get some help before it’s too late. I know drugs and partying are part of the ‘rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle,’ but damn, how many more gotta die??? Fuck the lifestyle, I want life!!!! See you on the other side, Wayne….”

Dino Cazares (FEAR FACTORY): “He’s a legend, a great guy and songwriter. It sucks to lose a friend to something that you wish you could’ve helped him for. R.I.P. Wayne Static.”

Billy Corgan (SMASHING PUMPKINS): “I am shocked to hear that Wayne Wells (Wayne Static) has passed away. I played with him in his first band, DEEP BLUE DREAM, in 1987/88. He was a real gentleman, and loved music (and KISS, Ace in particular). Even had his the hood of his car painted with the KISS logo.”

Corey Taylor (SLIPKNOT, STONE SOUR): “I am absolutely devastated to hear about Wayne Static‘s death. A good man and a good friend. My thoughts are with his family and friends.”

Aaron Lewis (STAIND): “My heart goes out to Wayne‘s family. He was my friend. Many shows and tours together. I’m stunned and shocked. RIP my dear friend #speechless”

KORN frontman Jonathan Davis said: “Rest in peace, Wayne. I’m speechless right now. I’m losing too many of my friends. I’ll see you on the other side, brother.”

Johnny Kelly (DANZIG, TYPE O NEGATIVE, KILL DEVIL HILL): “Very sad to hear that Wayne Static passed away. Always a nice guy. Gone too soon.”

John 5 (ROB ZOMBIE, MARILYN MANSON): “Very saddened to hear that Wayne Static has passed away in his sleep. I performed with Wayne for our friend Nancy Sayle‘s ‘Rock Against MS’ show in 2013 and worked with him for his track ‘Cannibal’ in 2007. My thoughts are with his wife and family and friends.”

Cristina Scabbia (LACUNA COIL): “Shocked. Waking up with the horrific news someone you knew died is the worst feeling in the world… R.I.P. Wayne.”

Devin Townsend: “Bummer about Wayne Static. =( Never met the guy. Really liked ‘Machine’ R.I.P.”

FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH drummer Jeremy Spencer wrote: “What a shame. R.I.P. Wayne Static.”

FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH guitarist Jason Hook added: “So sad. Wayne Static of STATIC-X just passed away. RIP brother.”

FEAR FACTORY said: “We would like to send out our condolences to the Wells family R.I.P. Wayne Static.”

David Ellefson (MEGADETH): “This is just horribly sad news. I have such great memories of our tours together over the years. Wayne was truly an originator, innovator and milestone contributor to metal music. My condolences to the STATIC-X organization and family.”

Morgan Rose (SEVENDUST): “Crushed to hear the news of Wayne Static passing away. We played many shows together. Horrible news. RIP Wayne.”

Mikey Doling (SNOT, SOULFLY): “So sad about Wayne Static‘s passing. RIP Brudda.”

David Draiman (DISTURBED): “Goodbye old friend.”

Shaun Glass (BROKEN HOPE, THE BLOODLINE, SOIL) stated: “I lost a friend today. Beyond mad and saddened at the same time. SO many memories. R I P Wayne.”

Otep Shamaya: “Very sad to hear about the loss of Wayne Static. He was so sweet and talented. Our condolences to his family, friends, and fans.”

Miguel “Meegs” Rascon (COAL CHAMBER): “Wayne, this was the one photo taken when we were on tour with you with WE ARE THE RIOT. So happy I have this. You were part of the nu metal movement that shaped the metal scene in L.A. with COAL CHAMBER and countless others. We were a scene. Untouchable. Family. Hungry… I will miss you, brother. RIP. I’m your homeboy forever, wherever you are. Much love.”

DJ Ashba (GUNS N’ ROSES, SIXX: A.M.): “You will truly be missed. God bless your family, friends and fans in this moment of sadness.”

Shawn Drover (MEGADETH): “Sad to hear of Wayne Static‘s passing. Way too young… Such a shame.”

Pete Loeffler (CHEVELLE): “Just heard about Wayne Static passing away. Sad news indeed. We played with STATIC-X a hell of a lot over the years. RIP bro.”

Former DEVILDRIVER guitarist Jeff Kendrick wrote: “Very sorry to hear about Wayne Static‘s passing. R.I.P.”

SOIL said: “We are beside ourselves with sadness right now. Another legend lost. We will miss you, brother.”

Steev Esquivel of SKINLAB stated: “Very sad to hear. Rest in peace, Wayne!!!”

Dave Navarro (JANE’S ADDICTION): “RIP WAYNE STATIC”

Shavo Odadjian (SYSTEM OF A DOWN): “REST IN PEACE BROTHER!!”

Micah Electric, drummer of Hollywood-based industrial rockers 9ELECTRIC, has posted the following message on Facebook:

“My friend Wayne Static has passed away.

“So glad to have known him, recorded with him, toured with him, partied with him and had MANY real conversations with him. He was a good soul who chose the wrong path.

“He will be missed.”

STATIC-X released six studio albums between 1999 and 2009 before disbanding. Static then launched a solo career and released his debut solo album, “Pighammer”, in 2011.

Wayne was scheduled to take his solo band back on the road for a co-headlining tour with POWERMAN 5000 starting on November 6 in Waterloo, Iowa.

Wayne married former porn star Tera Wray in January 2008.

New Heavy Metal Album Reviews: Week of October 28, 2014

The ratings are on a 5 star scale.

Annihilated - 'XIII Steps To Ruination' - Unique Leader Records

Annihilated – ‘XII Steps To Ruination’. Unique Leader Records

Annihilated – ‘XIII Steps To Ruination’ (Unique Leader)

Genre: Brutal Death Metal
The Los Angeles based trio Annihilatedare a new band made up of veteran musicians: vocalist/guitarist Eric Matranga (ex-Grotesque), bassist Eric Cohen (Flesh Consumed) and drummer Scott Fuller (Abysmal Dawn).

XIII Steps To Ruination is an intense dose of brutal death metal with dense arrangements and guttural vocals. In this genre, lack of variety can be a problem, but Annihilated periodically ease up to let the songs breathe, add groovy parts or insert samples. It’s a battering ram of riffage and blastbeats that’s crushing, but also memorable.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Astral Doors – ‘Notes from the Shadows’ - Metalville Records

Astral Doors – ‘Notes from the Shadows’. Metalville Records

Astral Doors – ‘Notes from the Shadows’ (Metalville)

Genre: Heavy Metal/Power Metal
Led by the empowering pipes of Civil War and Wuthering Heights frontman Nils Patrik Johansson, Swedish heavy metal band Astral Doors have returned withNotes from the Shadows, the band’s seventh full-length release and a return to prominence that many fans had been long hoping for since 2006’s Astralism.

Backed by a huge production, Joachim Nordlund’s guitar riffs hit like bricks and Johansson’s vocals, honed from the Ronnie James Dio camp of singing, uplift tracks like “Die Alone” or the anthemic “In the Name of Rock.” It’s straightforward, butt-kicking heavy metal with hooks and energy to spare.

Rating: 3.5
(Evan Mugford)

Beyond Creation – ‘Earthborn Evolution’ - Season Of Mist

Beyond Creation – ‘Earthborn Evolution’. Season Of Mist

Beyond Creation – ‘Earthborn Evolution’ (Season of Mist)

Genre: Progressive//Technical Death Metal
Three years removed from one of 2011’s most technical and highly debated albums in The Aura, Montreal-based progressive death metal band Beyond Creation have returned with Earthborn Evolution, yet another foray into musical acrobatics that succeeds in widening the eyes, raising a pulse, and making your favorite artists look downright pedestrian at their instruments.

Feeling so much more like progressive death than its technical variant, Beyond Creation have once again placed themselves atop the zenith of virtuoso musicians, standing arms akimbo with the likes of Obscura, Gorod, Spawn of Possession, and, say, Ouroboros. While the skills on display are seemingly peerless, Beyond Creation’s song-writing has become even more refined. Earthborn Evolution is a breathless and uniquely satisfying standout effort.

Rating: 4.5
(Evan Mugford)

Black Map - '...And We Explode' - Minus Head Records

Black Map – ‘…And We Explode’. Minus Head Records

Black Map – ‘…And We Explode’ (Minus Head)

Genre: Hard Rock/Heavy Metal
…And We Explode is the full-length debut from San Francisco’s Black Map, whose lineup includes vocalist/bassist Ben Flanagan (Trophy Fire), guitarist Mark Engles (Dredg) and drummer Chris Robyn (Far).

The songs are mainly straight-ahead hard rock with a few stoner metal riffs and some progressive moments that help add a little variety. Flanagan sometimes sings in a very smooth style that has a ’90s alt-rock vibe, but also adds a grungy edge when needed. The musicianship of all three members is good, but drummer Robyn gives the album’s strongest performance.

Rating: 3
(Chad Bowar)

Black Veil Brides - 'Black Veil Brides IV' - Lava/Universal Records

Black Veil Brides – ‘Black Veil Brides IV’. Lava/Universal Records

Black Veil Brides – ‘Black Veil Brides IV’ (Lava/Universal)

Genre: Hard Rock/Heavy Metal
For their fourth album, Black Veil Bridesbrought aboard producer Bob Rock. That’s appropriate, because Rock has produced Motley Crue, who are one of the ’80s glam bands that BVB were inspired by.

Their look may be taken from that era, butBlack Veil Brides IV is mostly modern hard rock with heavy riffs and big melodies. The singalong choruses are tailor made for arenas, as are the numerous guitar solos. There are also the requisite power ballads like “Walk Away.”  Hard rock bands these days can be hard to tell apart, but Black Veil Brides have developed a strong, identifiable brand along with a loyal fan base, and this album will satisfy that fan base.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Deserted Fear – ‘Kingdom of Worms’ - FDA Rekotz Records

Deserted Fear – ‘Kingdom of Worms’. FDA Rekotz Records

Deserted Fear – ‘Kingdom of Worms’ (F.D.A. Rekotz)

Genre: Death Metal
Death metal quartet Deserted Fear may be from Germany, but they sure as heck sound like they’re from Denmark or the Netherlands on their second full-length album Kingdom of Worms. Plodding kick drums, a crunched-over guitar tone, and a militant pace carry this album into the warzone, even if the trenches are getting a little cramped.

Mixed and mastered by Dan Swanö, the band opt for a Swedish meets old-school U.S. death metal vibe and end up delivering something eerily similar to killer acts like Illdisposed, Ferocity, or Hail of Bullets. It’s a heavy and head-banging time, but it also moseys along, seeming all too content to dole out a parade of Paul Baayens riffs.

Rating: 3
(Evan Mugford)

Generation of Vipers – 'Coffin Wisdom' - Translation Loss Records

Generation of Vipers – ‘Coffin Wisdom’. Translation Loss Records

Generation of Vipers – ‘Coffin Wisdom’ (Translation Loss)

Genre: Progressive Sludge Metal
Tennessee trio Generation of Vipers are tilling some fertile ground on their newest effort Coffin Wisdom. What Josh Holt (guitar/vocals), B.J. Graves (drums) and Travis Kammeyer unearth as they churn through a varied 38 minutes is hard to pin down.

Punishing sludge and deceptive noise collide with shades of AmRep. Muscularity and groove find their place as they lay down bruising riffs through open spaces, making every note count. “You Deserve This” breaks out the strings and gets quite downtrodden and Neurosian. “Haunting” is just that. It’s quite a dynamic album and maybe it’s because I’m Canadian but there’s similarities to be heard with KEN Mode and Bison B.C.

Rating: 4
(Matt Hinch)

Giant Squid – 'Minoans' - Translation Loss Recordings

Giant Squid – ‘Minoans’. Translation Loss Recordings

Giant Squid – ‘Minoans’ (Translation Loss)

Genre: Progressive Doom Metal
Minoans is the first Giant Squid full-length since 2009’s The Ichthyologist and is three years removed from the progressive doom group’s Cenotes EP. Anticipation has been high and the quintet does not fail to deliver up to expectations.

As expected, Minoans is grand in scale and scope. The focus of the concept album moves to the Mediterranean and is lyrically beholden to the Bronze Age Greek owing much to mastermind Aaron Gregory. Andy Southard’s keys and the cello of Jackie Perez Gratz (both also contribute vocals) supplement the orchestration giving the music a stark magnificence. Minoans mixes gracefulness and thunderous doom, mirroring the sea’s duality of beauty and danger. It’s lush and flowing with a foreboding essence and majestic melodies making it their best effort to date.

Rating: 4
(Matt Hinch)

Hideous Divinity – 'Cobra Verde' - Unique Leader Records

Hideous Divinity – ‘Cobra Verde’. Unique Leader Records

Hideous Divinity – ‘Cobra Verde’ (Unique Leader)

Genre: Technical Death Metal
Cobra Verde is the second full-length from Italian technical death metal hordeHideous Divinity. It’s a concept album based on the Werner Herzog film of the same name and includes a cover of “The Last and Only Son” by Ripping Corpse.

Coming from a former member of Hour of Penance it’s no surprise this is uncompromisingly brutal and mind-boggingly technical. But it achieves its aims without coming off as too self-indulgent. As such, the razor-sharp execution and pulverizing bpm is incorporated with graspable death metal concepts making it actually quite enjoyable. As exhilarating as the ceaseless battering can be, it does feel a little one-dimensional. However, in the absence of senseless wankery, 43 minutes of neck-breaking brutality does the trick.

Rating: 3.5
(Matt Hinch)

Horrified - 'Descent Into Putridity' - Memento Mori

Horrified – ‘Descent Into Putridity’. Memento Mori

Horrified – ‘Descent Into Putridity’ (Memento Mori)

Genre: Death Metal
Horrified are a young British band, but the influences on their debut album Descent Into Putridity are decidedly from the old school. Their sound draws from numerous classic death metal bands including Autopsy, Pestilence, Dismember and others.

It’s a raw sounding album, with the band changing up tempos from crushing mid-tempo grooves to galloping, frenzied riffs. They slow things way down on the title track before resuming warp speed. Daniel Alderson’s throat-shredding vocals are energetic throughout as Horrified tip their caps to the past while trying to forge their own identity.

Rating: 3

New Heavy Metal Album Releases: October 28, 2014

New Metal Releases2 Wolves – Shelter (Inverse)
Abysmal Dawn – Obsolescence (Relapse)
Aeonsgate – Pentalpha (The Church Within)
All Hell – The Devil’s Work (HPGD)
Anaal Nathrakh – Desideratum (Metal Blade)
Animal – Instinct (We Are Triumphant)
Annihilated – XIII Steps To Ruination (Unique Leader)
As Blood Runs Black – Ground Zero (Standby)
At The Gates – At War With Reality (Century Media)
Astral Doors – Notes From the Shadows (Metalville)
Atriarch – An Unending Pathway (Relapse)
Beyond Creation – Earthborn Evolution (Season of Mist)
Black Map – …And We Explode (Minus Head)
Black Veil Brides – Black Veil Brides (Lava / Republic)
Blood Freak – Squalor (Willowtip)
Blood God – Blood Is My Trademark (Massacre)
Crobot – Something Supernatural (Wind-up)
Cut Teeth – Night Years (Topshelf)
Dawnbringer – Night of the Hammer (Profound Lore)
Deserted Fear – Kingdom of Worms (FDA Rekotz)
Devin Townsend – Z2 (Inside Out)
Emit – Spectre Music of an Antiquary Re-Release (Crucial Blast)
Eyes of Mara – Eyes of Mara (Imminence)
Generation of Vipers – Coffin Wisdom (Translation Loss)
Giant Squid – Minoans (Translation Loss)
He Whose Ox Is Gored – Rumors EP (Bleeding Light)
Hideous Divinity – Cobra Verde (Unique Leader)
Horrified – Descent Into Putridity (Memento Mori)
If I Were You – The Sleepless (Manifest)
In Faith – There’s A Storm Coming (Rocktopia)
Kattah – Lapis Lazuli (Bakerteam)
Kiss – Love Gun Re-Release (Universal)
Latitude Egress – To Take Up The Cross (Art of Propaganda)
Megasonic – Intense (Mausoleum)
Metal Machine – Free Nation (Dream)
Mind Maze – Back From The Edge (Inner Wound)
Mob Rules – Timekeeper (SPV)
Mysticum – Planet Satan (Peaceville)
Necrophagia – WhiteWorm Cathedral (Season of Mist)
Nero Di Marte – Derivae (Prosthetic)
Nick Oliveri – Leave Me Alone (Schnitzel)
No Mercy – Widespread Bloodshed (Love Runs Red) Re-Release (Suicidal)
Obituary – Inked in Blood (Relapse)
Obliterations – Poison Everything (Southern Lord)
Oraculum – Sorcery of the Damned (Invictus)
Pianos Become The Teeth – Keep You (Epitaph)
Requiem – The Unexplainable Truth (Cleopatra)
Riot V – Unleash the Fire (SPV)
Sister Sin – Black Lotus (Victory)
Spider Kitten – Behold Mountain. Hail Sea. Venerate Sky. Bow Before Tree.(Undergroove)
Spiders & Snakes – Year of the Snake (Sensei)
Tantal – Expectancy (Bakerteam)
Thomsen – Unbroken (eOne)
Transport League – Boogie From Hell (Metalville)
Unearth – Watchers of Rule (eOne)
Vesania – Deus Ex Machina (Metal Blade)
Witchmaster – Antichristus Ex Utero (Osmose)
Wizard Rifle – Here In The Deadlights (Seventh Rule)

New Heavy Metal Album Reviews: Week of October 14, 2014

The Acacia Strain – ‘Coma Witch’ - Rise Records

The Acacia Strain – ‘Coma Witch’. Rise Records

The Acacia Strain – ‘Coma Witch’ (Rise)

Genre: Death Metal/Hardcore
Longtime deathcore purveyors The Acacia Strain are back with their seventh full-length release in Coma Witch, a bleak, vitriolic, and pummeling ode to the chug-goddess that witnesses the addition of two new guitarists and the departure of original axe-hacker Daniel ‘DL’ Laskiewicz.

The band’s penchant for ominous notes and colossal rhythms remains viciously intact, but The Acacia Strain’s complacency towards the writing process ultimately delivers little more than burly roars and indistinguishable down-tuned hammering, resulting in an album that feels far too tedious and one-dimensional. By the time the red-cheeked chest-beating has all but dispersed, the monstrous and promising doom-closer “Observer” tries its best to inject some much-needed hot air into this deflated witch.

Rating: 2.5
(Evan Mugford)

At Dusk – ‘Anhedonia’ - Broken Limbs Recordings

At Dusk – ‘Anhedonia’. Broken Limbs Recordings

At Dusk – ‘Anhedonia’ (Broken Limbs)

Genre: Black Metal
At Dusk, a one-man project from California, stays confined to a raw emotional state throughout these four tracks. The black metal is on the melancholy side, a depressing atmosphere even with sparse piano and organ accompaniment. The musician behind this band, Korihor, screams and shrieks until it seems like his voice is ready to give out.

Every bit of himself is left in these recordings, and it’s almost like we are peering through the eyes of a figure succumbed to a torturous life. Anhedonia is a striking debut that will be difficult for many to get into, but through the struggle will come a grim satisfaction.

Rating: 4
(Dan Marsicano)

Baptists - 'Bloodmines' - Southern Lord Recordings

Baptists – ‘Bloodmines’. Southern Lord Recordings

Baptists – ‘Bloodmines’ (Southern Lord)

Genre: Metallic Hardcore
Bloodmines is the second album from the Canadian band Baptists, and like their debut, it’s a punishing and furious slab of noisy metallic hardcore.

Most songs gallop along at a brisk pace with plenty of aggression and emotional vocals. The band varies the tempo and intensity to avoid monotony and create a more well-rounded effort, even getting into doom territory on a couple of tracks. They weave melody and groove into the cathartic songs, making for an album that will both crush and stay stuck in your skull.

Rating: 4
(Chad Bowar)

Better Left Unsaid - 'The Reisssues' - InGrooves Music Group

Better Left Unsaid – ‘The Reisssues’. InGrooves Music Group

Better Left Unsaid – ‘The Reisssues’ (InGrooves)

Genre: Heavy Metal
As you can garner from the title,Reissues gathers older material from Calfiornia’s Better Left Unsaid along with some newly released goodies.

The collection includes 2010’s Only The Dead To Witness and 2013’s self-titled album. In addition, there are a couple previously unreleased songs and several demos. The band’s sound is aggressive and groovy with thick riffs. They are at their best when the intensity is ratcheted up and the vocals are harsh. The more ‘core influenced tracks with singing vocals are effective as well, just not as potent.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Calm Hatchery – ‘Fading Reliefs’ - Selfmadegod Records

Calm Hatchery – ‘Fading Reliefs’. Selfmadegod Records

Calm Hatchery – ‘Fading Reliefs’ (Selfmadegod)

Genre: Death Metal
As technically proficient and musically pounding as you’d expect from a Polish death metal band, Calm Hatchery’sthird full-length Fading Reliefs takes no prisoners. Like early Decapitated and Lost Soul, it’s a very riffy, death-by-decibels affair that offers very little in the way of respite.

They expend enough energy to power a small city but when all is said and done only the choppy riffs of “Luminous Bardo Transition” (very reminiscent of Nile’s “Lashed to the Slave Stick”) stood out from the din. Serviceable, but too one-dimensional in its assault.

Rating: 2.5
(Neil Pretorius)

Cara Neir/Venowl – 'Split' - Broken Limbs Recordings

Cara Neir/Venowl – ‘Split’. Broken Limbs Recordings

Cara Neir/Venowl – ‘Split’ (Broken Limbs)

Genre: Crust/Experimental/Noise
It’s hard to make sense of this split as each side is so different than the other. Crusty Texan duo Cara Neir take the “A” side with three tracks. One sees their speedfreak blackened crust punk take center stage. The second is all about the post-metal melodies and clean half-spoken vocals. It sounds more like Explosions In The Sky than just explosions. The third and longest blend the two previous adding artfulness and epicness.

Illinois-based Venowl contribute a 20-minute live track of droning, filthy noise/doom. Groaning feedback and stabbing, murderous downstrokes punctuate the formless noise. Torturous, haunted screams howl from beneath a hidden sub-basement. You can practically taste the feral energy. Trying to wrap your head around this is gonna hurt.

Rating: 3.5
(Matt Hinch)

Drone - 'Drone' - Metalville Records

Drone – ‘Drone’. Metalville Records

Drone – ‘Drone’ (Metalville)

Genre: Thrash/Metalcore
The latest album from the German band Drone is a self-titled effort. They are influenced by classic Teutonic thrash, but also metalcore and groove metal.

The songs have galloping thrash riffs, but also mid-tempo grooves and periodic breakdowns. The vocals combine singing and screaming. It’s an interesting combination of styles, from ’80s thrash to Pantera-style grooves to modern metalcore. They do a good job keeping things cohesive, and the songwriting diversity has improved since their last album.

Rating: 3
(Chad Bowar)

Eden Circus – ‘Marula’ - Lifeforce Records

Eden Circus – ‘Marula’. Lifeforce Records

Eden Circus – ‘Marula’ (Lifeforce)Drone – ‘Drone’

Genre: Melodic Post Metal
On their debut release Marula, Eden Circus play on the listener’s emotions by creating a haunting atmosphere and riveting dynamics. They focus on esoteric chord phrasings and do an excellent job of shifting time signatures. If you combine the best elements of Ghost Brigade and Tool, you would get a clear picture of their direction.

The songwriting is ambitious and complex in nature. Most of the material cracks the six-minute mark and demands the listener’s attention. The songwriting unravels itself the more you listen as the layers continue to reveal themselves. Not overly heavy but the excellent use of dynamics makes for an appealing release.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Drago)

Favorite Weapon - 'Sixty Saragossa' - Rise Records

Favorite Weapon – ‘Sixty Saragossa’. Rise Records

Favorite Weapon – ‘Sixty Saragossa’ (Rise)

Genre: Metalcore/Rock
After the demise of Woe, Is Me last year, vocalist Hance Alligood has formed the new project Favorite Weapon. Their debut album Sixty Saragossa incorporates some elements of metalcore along with a mainstream flavor.

The vocals are mostly melodic, with a few screams here and there. The songs are extremely catchy with accessible melodies. Some tracks have beefy guitars and are in in the hard rock realm, but others are straight up rock with some ’90s pop/punk vibes.

Rating: 3
(Chad Bowar)

Hang the Bastard – ‘Sex in the Seventh Circle’ - Siege Of Amida/Century Media Records

Hang the Bastard – ‘Sex in the Seventh Circle’. Siege Of Amida/Century Media Records

Hang the Bastard – ‘Sex in the Seventh Circle’ (Siege Of Amida/Century Media)

Genre: Stoner Metal/Sludge Metal
If it wasn’t easy to genre-tag England’sHang the Bastard before, their latest release Sex in the Seventh Circle makes it even trickier. Bassist-turned-vocalist Tomas Hubbard has helped redefine the band’s stoner-sludge sound with his brand of crackling and acerbic black metal screeches; a distinction that may divide the HTB camps who preferred the original roars of former frontman Christopher Barling.

The result, thankfully, is still a heavy ride. Stoked with rolling grooves and doom-drenched chords, Hang the Bastard’s energy remains a selling point, even if the tracks tend to blur from all the southern-fried smoke. Simon Grubb’s power drumming remains a game-changer, and the band’s take on acid rock with “Mists of Albion” is conquered nicely, not to mention a cool change of pace.

Rating: 3.5
(Evan Mugford)

New Heavy Metal Album Releases: October 14, 2014

New Metal ReleasesAlice Cooper – Raise The Dead: Live From Wacken DVD (UDR)
Allen/Lande – The Great Divide (Frontiers)
Amaranthe – Massive Addictive (Spinefarm)
Amulet – The First (Century Media)
The Body / Sandworm – Split (Thrill Jockey)
Carnality – Dystopia (Memorial)
Cemetery Filth – Screams From The Catacombs EP (White Ship)
Dalton – Pit Stop (Frontiers)
Deep Purple – Live In Verona DVD (Eagle Rock)
Encoffination – III – Hear Me, O’ Death (Sing Thou Wretched Choirs) (Selfmadegod)
From Earth – Dark Waves (Wormholedeath)
Holy Dragons – Dragon Inferno (Pitch Black)
Indestructible Noise Command – Black Hearse Serenade (Ferocious)
Inferion – This Will Decay (HPGD)
Khaos – Risen (MRR)
Kingdom Of Giants – Ground Culture (InVogue)
Nuclear Perversion – Desolation Rituals (Iron Bonehead)
Oozing Wound – Earth Suck (Thrill Jockey)
Pitch Black Forecast – As the World Burns (Ferocious)
Scott Walker + Sunn O))) – Soused (4AD)
Slipknot – .5: The Gray Chapter (Roadrunner)
Soulskinner – Crypts of Ancient Wisdom (Xtreem)
Too Close To Touch – Too Close To Touch EP (Epitaph)
Ufomammut – XV DVD (Supernatural Cat)
Varsity – Lights EP (We Are Triumphant)
Wrekmeister Harmonies – Then It All Came Down (Thrill Jockey)

New Heavy Metal Album Reviews: Week of October 14, 2014

The ratings are on a 5 star scale.

The Acacia Strain – ‘Coma Witch’ - Rise Records

The Acacia Strain – ‘Coma Witch’. Rise Records

The Acacia Strain – ‘Coma Witch’ (Rise)

Genre: Death Metal/Hardcore
Longtime deathcore purveyors The Acacia Strain are back with their seventh full-length release in Coma Witch, a bleak, vitriolic, and pummeling ode to the chug-goddess that witnesses the addition of two new guitarists and the departure of original axe-hacker Daniel ‘DL’ Laskiewicz.

The band’s penchant for ominous notes and colossal rhythms remains viciously intact, but The Acacia Strain’s complacency towards the writing process ultimately delivers little more than burly roars and indistinguishable down-tuned hammering, resulting in an album that feels far too tedious and one-dimensional. By the time the red-cheeked chest-beating has all but dispersed, the monstrous and promising doom-closer “Observer” tries its best to inject some much-needed hot air into this deflated witch.

Rating: 2.5
(Evan Mugford)

At Dusk – ‘Anhedonia’ - Broken Limbs Recordings

At Dusk – ‘Anhedonia’. Broken Limbs Recordings

At Dusk – ‘Anhedonia’ (Broken Limbs)

Genre: Black Metal
At Dusk, a one-man project from California, stays confined to a raw emotional state throughout these four tracks. The black metal is on the melancholy side, a depressing atmosphere even with sparse piano and organ accompaniment. The musician behind this band, Korihor, screams and shrieks until it seems like his voice is ready to give out.

Every bit of himself is left in these recordings, and it’s almost like we are peering through the eyes of a figure succumbed to a torturous life. Anhedonia is a striking debut that will be difficult for many to get into, but through the struggle will come a grim satisfaction.

Rating: 4
(Dan Marsicano)

Baptists - 'Bloodmines' - Southern Lord Recordings

Baptists – ‘Bloodmines’. Southern Lord Recordings

Baptists – ‘Bloodmines’ (Southern Lord)

Genre: Metallic Hardcore
Bloodmines is the second album from the Canadian band Baptists, and like their debut, it’s a punishing and furious slab of noisy metallic hardcore.

Most songs gallop along at a brisk pace with plenty of aggression and emotional vocals. The band varies the tempo and intensity to avoid monotony and create a more well-rounded effort, even getting into doom territory on a couple of tracks. They weave melody and groove into the cathartic songs, making for an album that will both crush and stay stuck in your skull.

Rating: 4
(Chad Bowar)

Better Left Unsaid - 'The Reisssues' - InGrooves Music Group

Better Left Unsaid – ‘The Reisssues’. InGrooves Music Group

Better Left Unsaid – ‘The Reisssues’ (InGrooves)

Genre: Heavy Metal
As you can garner from the title,Reissues gathers older material from Calfiornia’s Better Left Unsaid along with some newly released goodies.

The collection includes 2010’s Only The Dead To Witness and 2013’s self-titled album. In addition, there are a couple previously unreleased songs and several demos. The band’s sound is aggressive and groovy with thick riffs. They are at their best when the intensity is ratcheted up and the vocals are harsh. The more ‘core influenced tracks with singing vocals are effective as well, just not as potent.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Calm Hatchery – ‘Fading Reliefs’ - Selfmadegod Records

Calm Hatchery – ‘Fading Reliefs’. Selfmadegod Records

Calm Hatchery – ‘Fading Reliefs’ (Selfmadegod)

Genre: Death Metal
As technically proficient and musically pounding as you’d expect from a Polish death metal band, Calm Hatchery’sthird full-length Fading Reliefs takes no prisoners. Like early Decapitated and Lost Soul, it’s a very riffy, death-by-decibels affair that offers very little in the way of respite.

They expend enough energy to power a small city but when all is said and done only the choppy riffs of “Luminous Bardo Transition” (very reminiscent of Nile’s “Lashed to the Slave Stick”) stood out from the din. Serviceable, but too one-dimensional in its assault.

Rating: 2.5
(Neil Pretorius)

Cara Neir/Venowl – 'Split' - Broken Limbs Recordings

Cara Neir/Venowl – ‘Split’. Broken Limbs Recordings

Cara Neir/Venowl – ‘Split’ (Broken Limbs)

Genre: Crust/Experimental/Noise
It’s hard to make sense of this split as each side is so different than the other. Crusty Texan duo Cara Neir take the “A” side with three tracks. One sees their speedfreak blackened crust punk take center stage. The second is all about the post-metal melodies and clean half-spoken vocals. It sounds more like Explosions In The Sky than just explosions. The third and longest blend the two previous adding artfulness and epicness.

Illinois-based Venowl contribute a 20-minute live track of droning, filthy noise/doom. Groaning feedback and stabbing, murderous downstrokes punctuate the formless noise. Torturous, haunted screams howl from beneath a hidden sub-basement. You can practically taste the feral energy. Trying to wrap your head around this is gonna hurt.

Rating: 3.5
(Matt Hinch)

Drone - 'Drone' - Metalville Records

Drone – ‘Drone’. Metalville Records

Drone – ‘Drone’ (Metalville)

Genre: Thrash/Metalcore
The latest album from the German band Drone is a self-titled effort. They are influenced by classic Teutonic thrash, but also metalcore and groove metal.

The songs have galloping thrash riffs, but also mid-tempo grooves and periodic breakdowns. The vocals combine singing and screaming. It’s an interesting combination of styles, from ’80s thrash to Pantera-style grooves to modern metalcore. They do a good job keeping things cohesive, and the songwriting diversity has improved since their last album.

Rating: 3
(Chad Bowar)

Eden Circus – ‘Marula’ - Lifeforce Records

Eden Circus – ‘Marula’. Lifeforce Records

Eden Circus – ‘Marula’ (Lifeforce)Drone – ‘Drone’

Genre: Melodic Post Metal
On their debut release Marula, Eden Circus play on the listener’s emotions by creating a haunting atmosphere and riveting dynamics. They focus on esoteric chord phrasings and do an excellent job of shifting time signatures. If you combine the best elements of Ghost Brigade and Tool, you would get a clear picture of their direction.

The songwriting is ambitious and complex in nature. Most of the material cracks the six-minute mark and demands the listener’s attention. The songwriting unravels itself the more you listen as the layers continue to reveal themselves. Not overly heavy but the excellent use of dynamics makes for an appealing release.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Drago)

Favorite Weapon - 'Sixty Saragossa' - Rise Records

Favorite Weapon – ‘Sixty Saragossa’. Rise Records

Favorite Weapon – ‘Sixty Saragossa’ (Rise)

Genre: Metalcore/Rock
After the demise of Woe, Is Me last year, vocalist Hance Alligood has formed the new project Favorite Weapon. Their debut album Sixty Saragossa incorporates some elements of metalcore along with a mainstream flavor.

The vocals are mostly melodic, with a few screams here and there. The songs are extremely catchy with accessible melodies. Some tracks have beefy guitars and are in in the hard rock realm, but others are straight up rock with some ’90s pop/punk vibes.

Rating: 3
(Chad Bowar)

Hang the Bastard – ‘Sex in the Seventh Circle’ - Siege Of Amida/Century Media Records

Hang the Bastard – ‘Sex in the Seventh Circle’. Siege Of Amida/Century Media Records

Hang the Bastard – ‘Sex in the Seventh Circle’ (Siege Of Amida/Century Media)

Genre: Stoner Metal/Sludge Metal
If it wasn’t easy to genre-tag England’sHang the Bastard before, their latest release Sex in the Seventh Circle makes it even trickier. Bassist-turned-vocalist Tomas Hubbard has helped redefine the band’s stoner-sludge sound with his brand of crackling and acerbic black metal screeches; a distinction that may divide the HTB camps who preferred the original roars of former frontman Christopher Barling.

The result, thankfully, is still a heavy ride. Stoked with rolling grooves and doom-drenched chords, Hang the Bastard’s energy remains a selling point, even if the tracks tend to blur from all the southern-fried smoke. Simon Grubb’s power drumming remains a game-changer, and the band’s take on acid rock with “Mists of Albion” is conquered nicely, not to mention a cool change of pace.

Rating: 3.5
(Evan Mugford)

New Heavy Metal Album Releases: October 14, 2014

New Metal ReleasesThe Acacia Strain – Coma Witch (Rise)
Ancient VVisdom – Sacrificial (Magic Bullet)
Arabrot – I Modi EP (Fysisk Format)
At Dusk – Anhedonia (Broken Limbs)
Audio Porn – Midnight Confessions (JK)
Aurin – Catharsis (Pavement)
Baptists – Bloodmines (Southern Lord)
Beastmilk – Use Your Deluge EP Re-Release (Magic Bullet)
Bethlehem –Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia(Prophecy)
Better Left Unsaid – The Reissues(InGrooves)
Blut Aus Nord – Memoria Vetusta III: Saturnian Poetry (Debemur Morti)
Calm Hatchery – Fading Reliefs(Selfmadegod)
Cara Neir / Venowl – Split (Broken Limbs)
Chasing Safety – Season Of The Dead(Outer Loop)
Climates – Bodyclocks (Artery)
Cognition – Cognition (JK)
Crone – Gehenna EP (Prophecy)
Drone – Drone (Metalville)
Dystopia – Human = Garbage Re-Release (Tankcrimes)
Eden Circus – Marula (Lifeforce)
Exodus – Blood In, Blood Out (Nuclear Blast)
Favorite Weapon – Sixty Saragossa (Rise)
Fit For A King – Slave To Nothing (Solid State)
Fleshworld/Gazers/Viscera – Split (Unquiet)
Hang the Bastard – Sex in the Seventh Circle (Siege of Amida / Century Media)
Heroes of Vallentor – The Warriors Path Part I (Inverse)
Horrendous – Ecdysis (Dark Descent)
House of Lightning – Lightworker (Translation Loss)
Inter Arma – The Cavern EP (Relapse)
Itnuveth – The Way Of The Berserker (Xtreem)
KMFDM – Our Time Will Come (Metropolis)
Knight Area – Hyperdrive (Lasers Edge)
Kreyskull – Tower Witch (Inverse)
Like Monroe – Things We Think, But Never Speak (eOne)
Lunatic Soul – Walking On a Flashlight Beam (Kscope)
The Lurking Corpses – Workin’ For The Devil (Hells Headbangers)
Manes – Be All End All (Debemur Morti)
Manhack – Dominicide EP (Autumn + Colour)
MoE – 3 (Fysisk Format)
Maplerun – Restless (Pavement)
Mastercastle – Enfer De La Bibliotheque Nationale (Scarlet)
The Melvins – Hold It In (Ipecac)
Menace Ruine – Venus Armata (Profound Lore)
Midnight Sin – Sex First (Bakerteam)
My Brother The Wind – Once There Was A Time When Time and Space Were One(Free Electric Sound)
Noturnall – Noturnall (Metalville)
Occultation – Silence In The Ancestral House (Profound Lore)
October 31 – Bury the Hatchet (Hells Headbangers)
Old Lines – No Child Left Behind (No Sleep)
Ozzy Osbourne – Memoirs of a Madman DVD/CD (Epic)
Pig Destroyer – Mass & Volume EP (Relapse)
Planethard – Now (Scarlet)
Process of Guilt / Rorcal – Split EP (Bleak)
Rebellious Spirit – Obsession (SPV)
Revocation – Deathless (Metal Blade)
Rings Of Saturn – Lugal Ki En (Unique Leader)
Riot Horse – This Is Who We Are (Metalville)
Sanctuary – The Year the Sun Died (Century Media)
Sarea – This Is Not Goodbye (Doolittle)
Scar Symmetry – The Singularity (Phase 1 – Neohumanity) (Nuclear Blast)
Septycal Gorge – Scourge of the Formless Breed (Comatose)
Sloths – Twenty Years EP (The Ghost Is Clear)
Starkill – Virus of the Mind (Century Media)
Swallowed – Lunarterial (Dark Descent)
Tarnkappe – Tussen Hun En De Zon (Hammerheart)
Thy Serpent’s Cult – Sedition, Sorcery and Blasphemy (Ordo)
Today Is the Day – Animal Mother (Southern Lord)
Transmaniacon – The Darkening Plain (New Heavy Sounds)
Volunteer – Goner EP (Forge Again)
Weed Is Weed – Blunt Force Trauma (Ripple)
Wormwood – Wormwood (Magic Bullet)
Zelorage – So You’re A Mess (Inverse)

New Heavy Metal Album Reviews: Week of October 7, 2014

The ratings are on a 5 star scale.

Alunah – 'Awakening the Forest' - Napalm Records

Alunah – ‘Awakening the Forest’. Napalm Records

Alunah – ‘Awakening the Forest’ (Napalm)

Genre: Doom Metal
Ever wonder what Subrosa would sound like without the violins? Well, the title track from Alunah’s third album Awakening the Forest is a pretty good approximation. Monolithic, thick as tar doom backing the bluesy presence of vocalist/guitarist Soph Day. But not all songs sound the same. The tunes come slow and steady, feeding off a steady diet of Black Sabbath and classic doom.

The riffs are huge and hypnotic and the psychedelics entrancing, giving off the foreboding sense that doom’s best possess. Day’s fluid delivery is such that her adaptability fills the mold required by the album’s stylistic flow. They may not veer far from the well trod stoner/doom path but there’s something bewitching about Alunah that stirs up an ache inside.

Rating: 3.5
(Matt Hinch)

As Light Dies - 'The Love Album: Volume 1' ( - Maa Productions

As Light Dies – ‘The Love Album: Volume 1’ (. Maa Productions

As Light Dies – ‘The Love Album: Volume 1’ (Maa)

Genre: Black/Death Metal
The Spanish band As Light Dies return with The Love Album: Volume 1, their first effort in four years. Like their previous albums, there are a lot of avant-garde and experimental moments.

The songs shift from heavy black/death metal to progressive to accessible. Tempos and intensities are constantly changing, as are the vocal styles. Mellow melodic singing gives way to aggressive growls and yells. As Light Dies are a band always taking chances and pushing the envelope, and although all their experiments don’t work, enough of them do to keep the listener interested.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Castle Freak – ‘Still Rotting’ - Tridroid Records

Castle Freak – ‘Still Rotting’. Tridroid Records

Castle Freak – ‘Still Rotting’ (Tridroid)

Genre: Death Metal/Grindcore
Undoubtedly named after the Full Moon production featuring Jeffrey Combs, Philly death-grind quartetCastle Freak are set to release their debut EP Still Rotting, a low-fi whirlwind of buzzing licks and devilish vocals built around a motif of cult horror films.

Be it C.H.U.D. or Return of the Living Dead, Castle Freak pay grotesque tribute to shock cinema with jagged riffs and off-color lyrics about zombies, madmen, and marijuana. While the rough production is self-inflicted, its down-and-dirty attitude adds a chiseled charm fans of Repulsion should revel in. This short EP bleeds out a little too soon, but it’d make for a rad split with Cannabis Corpse.

Rating: 3.5
(Evan Mugford)

Exotype - 'Exotype' - Rise Records

Exotype – ‘Exotype’. Rise Records

Exotype – ‘Exotype’ (Rise)

Genre: Metalcore
On their self-titled debut album, Florida’s Exotype blend metalcore with electronic elements. The songs are heavy, combining harsh vocals with melodic singing.

It’s nothing original, but Exotype execute it really well, with songs that are well-written and catchy. There’s plenty of diversity as well, helped by the addition of those electronic elements. The band brings aboard Chad Ruhling from For The Fallen Dreams to guest on a track, and electronic artist Rekoil lends his talents to “For Those Afraid To Speak.” They’re a new band well worth checking out if you’re a metalcore fan.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Godflesh - 'A World Lit Only By Fire' - Avalanche Recordings

Godflesh – ‘A World Lit Only By Fire’. Avalanche Recordings

Godflesh – ‘A World Lit Only By Fire’ (Avalanche)

Genre: Industrial Metal
After an absence of more than a decade, industrial metal legends Godfleshreturned earlier this year with a new EP. Now they unleash the full album A World Lit Only By Fire.

The album’s sound is classic Godflesh with plenty of heavy riffs and aggressiveness, but also great grooves and melody. Justin Broadrick and G.C. Green deliver industrial and mechanical soundscapes that are sometimes bleak, but never sterile sounding. The album is a great combination of early influences and modern production, creating something fresh and compelling. Godflesh fans will dig this and a whole new generation of listeners will have the chance to hear and appreciate them.

Rating: 4.5
(Chad Bowar)

Gormathon – ‘Following the Beast’ - Napalm Records

Gormathon – ‘Following the Beast’. Napalm Records

Gormathon – ‘Following the Beast’ (Napalm)

Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Sweden’s Gormathon are back with their sophomore album Following the Beast after a three-year break between releases. Capturing the key elements of Amon Amarth and Insomnium is their calling card as they generate a lot of melody intertwined within their death metal roots. Guitar players Stefan Jonsson and Markus Albertson both shred, as there are countless mind blowing solos.

From the opening galloping guitar riff of “Remedy,” the band unleashes an endless headbanging journey. Vocalist Tony Sunnhag is remarkable, shifting between soaring melodic vocals and deep guttural death growls. “Remember” is the perfect change of pace as the tempo is considerably slower and contains an unforgettable chorus. “Celestial Warrior” and “In Benevolence” find the band at their fiercest.

Rating: 4
(Dan Drago)

Hurtsmile - 'Retrogrenade' - Slipkid Records

Hurtsmile – ‘Retrogrenade’. Slipkid Records

Hurtsmile – ‘Retrogrenade’ (Slipkid)

Genre: Hard Rock
Retrogrenade is the second album fromHurtsmile, which features vocalist Gary Cherone (Extreme). Also in the band are his brother Mark Cherone on guitar, bassist Joe Pessia (Tantric) and drummer Dana Spellman.

The band’s sound is sometimes driving hard rock, other times mellower mainstream/classic rock, but always extremely melodic and catchy. Tracks like “Big Government” hearken back to Extreme’s funk metal beginnings. Cherone’s voice still sounds great and there’s some excellent guitar work on this diverse and enjoyable album.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Lavatory – ‘Morbid Terror’ - Pulverised Records

Lavatory – ‘Morbid Terror’. Pulverised Records

Lavatory – ‘Morbid Terror’ (Pulverised)

Genre: Death Metal
Lavatory’s unpolished death metal is what holds together this audacious full-length. Though their band name could be twisted around to make enough bathroom jokes to take up a full page, the music is grim and serious. Terror, mayhem, and selfish destruction echo through each shouted word, and the raw guitar tones reaffirm the anarchic elements.

It’s clear the Malaysian band looks to the past for inspiration, culling their sound from the forefathers of the genre. Lavatory bring a youthful spark to their interpretation of death metal, though Morbid Terror lacks memorable qualities apart from a few catchy choruses.

Rating: 3
(Dan Marsicano)

Lo-Pan – 'Colossus' - Small Stone Recordings

Lo-Pan – ‘Colossus’. Small Stone Recordings

Lo-Pan – ‘Colossus’ (Small Stone)

Genre: Hard Rock
Colossus, the fourth album from riff rockers Lo-Pan, sounds pretty much as you’d expect a band on Small Stone to sound. Their working man, no frills approach to the power of the riff appeals to a wide range of listeners who appreciate it when a band just wants to rock out.

Said riffs are of the tasty stoner variety, greased up from road-doggin’ so they slide right into that sweet spot where groove dominates. Given the vocals, I can’t see why Lo-Pan couldn’t light up rock radio phone lines. The “Three Days Grace being introduced to Silverchair by The Music’s Robert Harvey” delivery has accessibility written all over it. With enough hooks to drain a lake and energy to spare, I bet Lo-Pan put on a great party.

Rating: 3
(Matt Hinch)

Mausoleum Gate – ‘Mausoleum Gate’ - Cruz del Sur Music

Mausoleum Gate – ‘Mausoleum Gate’. Cruz del Sur Music

Mausoleum Gate – ‘Mausoleum Gate’ (Cruz Del Sur)

Genre: NWOBHM
Finland’s Mausoleum Gate are treading the waters of the NWOBHM circa 1975 or so on their self titled debut full-length album. Employing a rather weak, analog production, Mausoleum Gate are definitely showing their influences with songs seemingly lifted from Judas Priest albums released before British Steel. The riffs are rather simple with a bit of a pop-oriented sound, and the vocals from V-P Varpula are melodic and high-pitched.

The approach doesn’t work very well, though, as the musicianship is merely adequate and the songs are not very interesting. But, deeper in, the album gets more progressive with the introduction of keyboards as, all of a sudden, Mausoleum Gate sound as if they’re coming from Deep Purple more than anything else. These moments do work well, and rescue this album from a rather dismal score.

Rating: 3
(Dave Schalek)

New Heavy Metal Album Releases: October 7, 2014

New Metal ReleasesAlexanred – Always Active (Inverse)
Algoma – Reclaimed By The Forest (Dead Beat)
Alive Like Me – Only Forever (Rise)
Alunah – Awakening the Forest (Napalm)
As Light Dies – The Love Album: Volume 1 (Maa)
As We Draw – Mirages (Throatruiner)
Atkins May Project – Empire of Destruction (Gonzo)
Audrey Horne – Pure Heavy (Napalm)
A Breach of Silence – The Darkest Road (Eclipse)
Castle Freak – Still Rotting (Tridroid)
Chainfist – Scarred (Mighty Music)
Cold Blue Mountain – Old Blood (Halo of Flies)
Couch Slut – My Life As a Woman (Handshake)
Exoto – Beyond The Depths Of Hate (Vic)
Exotype – Exotype (Rise)
Godflesh – A World Lit Only By Fire (Avalanche)
Gormathon – Following the Beast (Napalm)
Hellion – Karma’s a Bitch EP (New Renaissance)
Hurtsmile – Retrogrenade (Slipkid)
In Search of Sun – The World Is Yours (Raging Demon)
Keep The Promise – A Peaceful Mission Of War (To React)
Lavatory – Morbid Terror (Pulverised)
Lo-Pan – Colossus (Small Stone)
Madmans Esprit – Nacht (ATMF)
Maggie’s Madness – Waking Up The Dead (Starlight)
Mausoleum Gate – Mausoleum Gate (Cruz del Sur)
Nova – II Ritorno (ATMF)
Ohhms – Bloom (Holy Roar)
Orange Goblin – Back From The Abyss (Candlelight)
Pyre – Human Hecatomb (Chaos)
Rigor Mortis – Slaves To The Grave (Rigor Mortis)
Sixx:A.M. – Modern Vintage (Eleven Seven)
Solitary Sabred – Redemption Through Force (Pitch Black)
Stench – Venture (Agonia)
Sumia – Until We Shine Again (Inverse)
Texas Hippie Coalition – Ride On (Carved)
Vomitile – Mastering the Art of Killing (Pitch Black)
Winterfylleth – The Divination of Antiquity (Candlelight)
Womit Angel – Holy Goatse (Inverse)

New Heavy Metal Album Reviews: Week of September 30, 2014

The ratings are on a 5 star scale.

Between the Buried and Me – ‘Future Sequence: Live at the Fidelitorium’ - Metal Blade Records

Between the Buried and Me – ‘Future Sequence: Live at the Fidelitorium’. Metal Blade Records

Between the Buried and Me – ‘Live at the Fidelitorium’ DVD (Metal Blade)

Genre: Progressive Metal
Between the Buried and Me’s second live album has the group playing The Parallax II: Future Sequence from front to back. Unlike Colors Live, which played around with a similar premise, this was recorded in studio instead of at a show. A live atmosphere is traded in for a more intimate setting.

The musicianship is flawless, the performance is filmed with minimal cuts, and the use of guest musicians like a string quartet gives the music a warranted boost. Bonus material is present with behind the scenes and interview footage, but the real value comes from the live set, which is as sharp as the band have ever played.

Rating: 4
(Dan Marsicano)

Black Crown Initiate – ‘The Wreckage of Stars’ - eOne Music

Black Crown Initiate – ‘The Wreckage of Stars’. eOne Music

Black Crown Initiate – ‘The Wreckage of Stars’ (eOne)

Genre: Progressive Death Metal
Having introduced themselves in 2013’sSong of the Crippled Bull EP, Reading, Pennsylvania’s Black Crown Initiatehave wasted little time in delivering unto the masses their full-length premiere, The Wreckage of Stars, another eccentric and dynamic outing and a golden avowal that this quintet are poised to make waves across the metal expanse.

Not so unlike last year’s debut from Anciients, Black Crown Initiate employ a rich and warm sound. Layered and seasonal, sweet and septic, the band weaves imperturbably between melodic progressive passages and blazing tech-death virtuosity. eOne Music, their label, is claiming Black Crown Initiate as the next big thing. With such creative heaviness on display in The Wreckage of Stars, it’s damn near impossible to deny their claim.

Rating: 4.5
(Evan Mugford)

Butcher Babies - 'Uncovered' EP - Century Media Records

Butcher Babies – ‘Uncovered’ EP. Century Media Records

Butcher Babies – ‘Uncovered’ EP (Century Media)

Genre: Groove Metal/Metalcore
After last year’s full-length debut album, Butcher Babies return with the covers EP Uncovered. Each of the five band members picked a track to cover for the record.

There’s a wide variety of artists covered, from ZZ Top to Donny Osmond to the ’60s one-hit wonder Napoleon XIV. Butcher Babies put their own heavy style into the covers, giving the original goofy vibe of “They’re Coming To Take Me Away” a little more ominous and dangerous feel. Breakdowns and the dual vocals of Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey make “Crazy Horses” sound little like Osmond’s version. It’s a nice stopgap for fans as they await the band’s next full-length.

Rating: 3
(Chad Bowar)

Die Choking - ‘II’ - The Compound

Die Choking – ‘II’. The Compound

Die Choking – ‘II’ (The Compound)

Genre: Grindcore
For their latest release, it would be easy to just cut and paste my review of Die Choking’s self-titled January debut EP. Following the same formula of five ultra-intense tracks in under six minutes, II sees the Philly grind crew stepping it up and keeping their foot on the gas, plowing through just about anything in their way.

Slicing and dicing with all the subtlety and efficiency of a box cutter, Die Choking gut the listener with powerviolent speed, utter brutality and a caustic disregard for anything less than all out sonic warfare. Six minutes of this kind of relentless grind battering is about all a sane person could withstand, but who needs sanity anyway?

Rating: 4(Matt Hinch)

Excel – ‘Split Image’ - Southern Lord Recordings

Excel – ‘Split Image’. Southern Lord Recordings

Excel – ‘Split Image’ (Southern Lord)

Genre: Crossover Thrash Metal
Originally released in 1987, Excel’s Split Image perfectly executed metal riffs with a punk attitude. Back in the day, tons of skateboarding was carried out with Excel being blasted out of a boom box. What sets them apart from other crossover bands are their riffs are more metal centric while vocalist Dan Clements is firmly rooted in the punk world.

The five minute plus title track is a bonafide classic. A meaty down picked guitar riff rips out of the speakers as the song implements different changes before blasting into a mosh pit inducing mayhem. Not as polished as their excellent follow up The Joke’s on You, their debut is a cornerstone of skater metal. The reissue contains their early hard to find demos Refuse to Quit and Personal Onslaught.

Rating: 4
(Dan Drago)

Internal Bleeding – ‘Imperium’ - Unique Leader Records

Internal Bleeding – ‘Imperium’. Unique Leader Records

Internal Bleeding – ‘Imperium’ (Unique Leader)

Genre: Death Metal
Imperium is Internal Bleeding’s first album in a decade, and that break has done little to silence their brutal cries. New vocalist Keith DeVito is eerily reminiscent of Obituary’s John Tardy, though the music maintains the slamming chugs of past recordings.

It’s a sound that has been mimicked for years, but considering the band were arguably at the forefront of that style back in the ‘90s, they do it well. Slight risks are taken that show maturity, such as the acoustic flourishes on “Castigo Corpus Meum” and the three-part “Patterns of Force.” In a career that seemed long over, the band has rebounded in a major way with their fifth full-length.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Marsicano)

Khold - ‘Til Endes’ - Peaceville Records

Khold – ‘Til Endes’. Peaceville Records

Khold – ‘Til Endes’ (Peaceville)

Genre: Black Metal
Norway’s Khold, a band with connections to the Nocturno Culto-fronted Sarke and with Tulus, return with Til Endes, their first album since 2008. Consisting of mid-paced, very cold (pun intended) black metal, Til Endes picks up where Khold left off after five prior full-lengths.

Although not tremendously original, Khold are especially good at blending a cold atmosphere with very catchy, mildly progressive guitars, nice bass lines (especially on “Hengitt,” the album closer), greasy vocals, and a certain black n’ roll vibe descended from Volcano by Satyricon. Toss in a loose cover, in Norwegian, of “Troops Of Doom” by Sepultura, and you have a winner.

Rating: 4
(Dave Schalek)

Kissin' Dynamite - 'Megalomania' - AFM Records

Kissin’ Dynamite – ‘Megalomania’. AFM Records

Kissin’ Dynamite – ‘Megalomania’ (AFM)

Genre: Traditional Metal
On their fourth studio albumMegalomania, the German bandKissin’ Dynamite add a little more variety to their arsenal while still staying true to their sound.

The band is at their strongest on uptempo arena rockers like the opening track “DNA,” with meat and potatoes riffs and straightforward melodies. There are plenty of melodic and memorable tracks on the album, and vocalist Johannes Braun gives a strong performance. They change things up tempowise and add in different influences that are sometimes modern, other times more retro.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Laika - ‘Somnia’ - Filth Regime

Laika – ‘Somnia’. Filth Regime

Laika – ‘Somnia’ (Filth Regime)

Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Winnipeg, Manitoba appears to have an emerging metal scene. That scene includes melodic death metallers Laika. The band features current/former/live members of Wilt and Endless Chaos. Their second full-length Somniasounds very modern and definitely North American.

The first thing that jumps out is how gloriously prominent the growling bass is. It cuts right through the twin guitar attack as half of a tight rhythm section. Complex and sometimes syncopated riffs are tempered by the melodic keyboards yet bolstered by passionate vocals. The hooks come in spades and the moshability is heavy as well. It’s not without its small flaws, but it grows like a fungus and is definitely recommended for melodic death metal fans.

Rating: 3.5
(Matt Hinch)

Mr. Big – ‘…The Stories We Could Tell’ - Frontiers Records

Mr. Big – ‘…The Stories We Could Tell’. Frontiers Records

Mr. Big – ‘…The Stories We Could Tell’ (Frontiers)

Genre: Hard Rock
Mr. Big are back with …The Stories We Could Tell, their second album (eighth overall) since getting back together in 2009. Containing the hard rocking swagger of their early material, all of the original members are back on board. The musicianship of the individual band members is mind blowing, but I have always felt they downplayed their talent in Mr. Big, and that trend continues.

Guitar virtuoso Paul Gilbert unleashes some shredding solos throughout to cement his status as one of the best in the industry. The songs are more uptempo with only a few ballads sprinkled in. Bassist Billy Sheehan has found great success with his new band Winery Dogs and they execute this style of music even better.

Rating: 3
(Dan Drago)

New Heavy Metal Album Releases: September 30, 2014

New Metal Releases1349 – Massive Cauldron of Chaos (Season of Mist)
Amplifier – Mystoria (Superball)
Ancestral Legacy – Terminal (Whispering Voice)
Between the Buried and Me – Future Sequence: Live at the Fidelitorium DVD (Metal Blade)
Black Autumn – Losing the Sun (Rain Without End)
Black Crown Initiate – The Wreckage of Stars (eOne)
Butcher Babies – Uncovered EP (Century Media)
Corova – Rise of the Taurus (Bastardized)
Davey Suicide – Worldwide Suicide (Standby)
Decapitated – Blood Mantra (Nuclear Blast)
Die Choking – II (The Compound)
Dire Peril – Queen Of The Galaxy EP (Dead Inside)
Dream Theater – Breaking the Fourth Wall DVD (Roadrunner)
Electric Wizard – Time To Die (Spinefarm)
Emil Bulls – Sacrifice To Venus (AFM)
Enchant – The Great Divide (Inside Out)
Evergrey – Hymns For the Broken (AFM)
Excel – Split Image (Southern Lord)
Finch – Black To Oblivion (Razor & Tie)
Flying Colors – Second Nature (Mascot)
Internal Bleeding – Imperium (Unique Leader)
J.B.O. – Nur die Besten Werden Alt (AFM)
Jon Lord, Deep Purple & Friends – Celebrating Jon Lord (Eagle Rock)
Katatonia – Last Fair Day Gone Night CD/DVD (Peaceville)
Khold – Til Endes (Peaceville)
Kissin’ Dynamite – Megalomania (AFM)
Laika – Somnia (Filth Regime)
Marmozets – The Weird and Wonderful Marmozets (Roadrunner)
Meshuggah – I Re-Release (Nuclear Blast)
Meshuggah – The Ophidian Trek DVD/CD (Nuclear Blast)
Mike LePond’s Silent Assassins – Mike LePond’s Silent Assassins (UDR)
Mr. Big – …The Stories We Could Tell (Frontiers)
Necroholocaust – Holocaustic Goat Metal (Iron Bonehead)
Nightbringer – Ego Dominus Tuus (Season of Mist)
Nonpoint – The Return (Razor & Tie)
Overcharge – Accelerate (Unspeakable Axe)
Phobocosm – Deprived (Dark Descent)
Puig Destroyer – Puig Destroyer (No Sleep)
Sempiternal Dusk – Sempiternal Dusk (Dark Descent)
Sick of It All – The Last Act of Defiance (Century Media)
Sol Invictus – Once Upon A Time (Prophecy)
Soulbender – Soulbender II (Rat Pak)
Steve Rothery Band – Live in Rome (Inside Out)
Temple of Void – Of Terror and the Supernatural (Rain Without End)
Thank You Scientist – Maps of Non-Existent Places (Evil Ink)
Torch Runner – Endless Nothing (Southern Lord)
Unwilling Flesh – Between the Living and the Dead (Eihwaz)
White Empress – Rise of the Empress (Peaceville)
Witch Mountain – Mobile of Angels (Profound Lore)
Woodtemple – Forgotten Pride (Sacrilege)
Zodiac – Sonic Child (Prosthetic)

New Heavy Metal Album Reviews: Week of September 23, 2014

The latest heavy metal reviews, including releases from All Them Witches, Beak, Bloodtruth, Charm City Devils, Disasterhate, Divider, Emeth, The Family Ruin, Onkel Tom, Pulvis Et Umbra, Stryper and Villainy.

The ratings are on a 5 star scale.

All Them  Witches - 'Lightning At The Door' -

All Them Witches – ‘Lightning At The Door’.

All Them Witches – ‘Lightning At The Door’ (Self)

Genre: Psychedelic
Named after the classic 1968 movie ‘Rosemary’s Baby,’ the Nashville bandAll Them Witches dub their sound “psychedelta blues.”

The songs on the album range from quirky and soulful to straight ahead blues rock to heavy, psychedelic doom. There’s plenty of atmosphere throughout, and the band leaves plenty of room in each song for instrumental displays. You’ll even hear a fiddle on the country-flavored instrumental “Romany Dagger.” All Them Witches have a southern vibe and the album has more twists and turns than the mighty Mississippi River.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Beak – 'Let Time Begin' - Someoddpilot Records

Beak – ‘Let Time Begin’. Someoddpilot Records

Beak – ‘Let Time Begin’ (Someoddpilot)

Genre: Post-Sludge
The latest band from Chicago making a name for themselves by stepping outside genre conventions and pushing the envelope is post-metal/sludge quartet Beak. Their sophomore releaseLet Time Begin is an expansive yet powerful concept album that “explores the primordial and cosmic origins of man’s greatest strife.”

A militant stomping rhythm section anchor’s an approach steeped in melody and braced by a backbone of tremendously powerful riffs. The intensity of the percussion and barking (and occasionally vocoded) vocals challenge the swollen beauty of soaring melodies and the decisive pull of seductive groove. Let Time Begin is a journey of compelling sonic explorations bridging the gap between muscularity and progressiveness for fans of ISIS, later-day Enslaved and even Tool.

Rating: 4
(Matt Hinch)

Bloodtruth - 'Obedience' - Unique Leader Records

Bloodtruth – ‘Obedience’. Unique Leader Records

Bloodtruth – ‘Obedience’ (Unique Leader)

Genre: Death Metal
After being formed in 2009 by Fleshgod Apocalypse vocalist/bassist Paolo Rossi and drummer Francesco Paoli along with Five Hundred Murders guitarist Stefano Rossi Ciucci, Bloodtruth’slineup has changed considerably for their debut album Obedience. Ciucci remains, joined by three new members.

The album is straightforward brutal death metal with potent vocals from Luigi Valenti (Death Of All Gods). There’s plenty of crushing heaviness, but also moments of groove and melody. It’s nothing new or groundbreaking, but the songs are effective and the musicianship is excellent.

Rating: 3
(Chad Bowar)

Charm City Devils – ‘Battles’ - The End Records

Charm City Devils – ‘Battles’. The End Records

Charm City Devils – ‘Battles’ (The End)

Genre: Hard Rock
After scoring a major hit with their cover of “Man of Constant Sorrow,”Charm City Devils are back with their third full-length Battles. The band’s southern hard rock vibe is once again at the forefront of their sound. They have an uncanny ability of crafting straightforward memorable anthems as the record is filled with them front to back.

“Want” contains a swampy groove that contains a classic in your face Rolling Stones swagger. The radio friendly “Lying to Yourself” is dominated by clean guitars and a memorable chorus that won’t leave your head. They do an admirable job of changing up their styles between each song for needed diversity. It’s nice to see a band find success when they don’t follow trends and stick to their roots.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Drago)

Disasterhate - 'Mirroring The Abyss' - Club Inferno Entertainment

Disasterhate – ‘Mirroring The Abyss’. Club Inferno Entertainment

Disasterhate – ‘Mirroring The Abyss’ (Club Inferno)

Genre: Thrash/Death Metal
After releasing an EP seven years ago, the Italian band Disasterhate return with their debut full-length Mirroring The Abyss.

The album has plenty of old-school thrash style riffs, but also many modern elements. You’ll hear some industrial sections, death metal and even some progressive and black metal influences. There are two female vocalists, mixing potent screams with spoken word and singing parts. The band has a unique sound, making this an interesting and diverse album.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Divider – ‘All Barren' - Glory Kid Ltd.

Divider – ‘All Barren’. Glory Kid Ltd.

Divider – ‘All Barren’ (Glory Kid)

Genre: Sludge/Hardcore
These guys from Long Island, New York have some anger stewing from within themselves that gets to thrive on their debut full-length. After a first track blooming with uneasy tempos, the majority of the album is two-to-three minute songs that go from suffocating to relentless.

Closer “Silently Marching” breaks the template with a sublime jam complete with melodic vocals and an immersive second half. The track is an indication that Divider have vast range beyond just snippy, even-paced tunes. More of that on future releases could be what differentiates them from many other groups.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Marsicano)

Emeth – ‘Aethyr’ - Xtreem Music

Emeth – ‘Aethyr’. Xtreem Music

Emeth – ‘Aethyr’ (Xtreem)

Genre: Technical Death Metal/Grindcore
With a name that means ‘truth’ in Hebrew, rest assured that Emeth have never delivered what pundits would cite as ‘false’ metal. Technical, brutal, grinding, this Belgian quintet play death served at an intoxicating clip. But following a six-and-a-half year hiatus and a major lineup change, how much has Emeth changed, and what does their fourth full-length release, Aethyr, have in store for old fans?

While not as booming as 2008’s colossal Telesis, Aethyr finds Emeth’s latest incarnation toiling even deeper in tech-death territory. The lead guitar exchanges are frenetic, aiding the record’s melodic sci-fi sensibilities, and new vocalist Boris Cornelissen adds a dense anthropoidal roar. Albeit overwrought, Aethyr should appeal to speed freaks, death-mechs, and grindaholics.

Rating: 3.5
(Evan Mugford)

The Family Ruin - 'Dearly Departed' - KBB Records

The Family Ruin – ‘Dearly Departed’. KBB Records

The Family Ruin – ‘Dearly Departed’ (KBB)

Genre: Hard Rock/Modern Metal
The British band The Family Ruin are the newest signing of KBB Records, the label co-founded by Asking Alexandria’s Ben Bruce. Dearly Departed is their debut album.

The Family Ruin blend hard charging riffs with melodic elements. If you listen to rock radio, you’ve probably heard their catchy single “Let’s Go.” The album has plenty of accessible songs like that one along with some harder edged metalcore style tracks with both singing and screaming and a breakdown or two. There’s even a piano ballad, “Haunting,” which shows the wide spectrum of styles and influences on the album.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Onkel Tom – ‘H.E.L.D.’ - SPV Records

Onkel Tom – ‘H.E.L.D.’. SPV Records

Onkel Tom – ‘H.E.L.D.’ (Steamhammer/SPV)

Genre: Thrash Metal
In 1995 longtime Sodom frontman Thomas “Angelripper” Such formedOnkel Tom, a side project consisting of German thrash metal drinking covers.H.E.L.D. is their sixth release and this time around the record is composed of all original material. The songs are all sung in German and like Sodom, the material blends the fine line between punk and thrash.

The songs are based around alcohol themes as they deal with being sloshed, hung-over and barely being able to stand. The mood is loose and fun while still maintaining memorable melodies. Cool guitar riffs are blended with punk infused chord progressions and Angelripper sounds incredible vocally. “Im Suff” is the highlight and will have you drunkenly howling along.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Drago)

Pulvis Et Umbra - 'Implosion Of Pain' ( - Pavement Entertainment

Pulvis Et Umbra – ‘Implosion Of Pain’ (. Pavement Entertainment

Pulvis Et Umbra – ‘Implosion Of Pain’ (Pavement)

Genre: Thrash/Death Metal
When you hear a metal artist is a one-man band, the assumption is that the genre will probably be black metal. Not the case with Pulvis Et Umbra and mastermind Damy Mojitodka. His second album Implosion Of Painblends thrash and death metal.

The songs have a lot of ebb and flow. There are dense death metal sections, galloping thrash riffs, groovy parts and some shredding guitar solos. The tempo and intensity shift constantly,but Mojitodka’s throat-shredding vocals are always at full throttle. His screams and growls add extremity and emotion to the album.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Stryper - 'LIve At The Whisky' - Frontiers Records

Stryper – ‘LIve At The Whisky’. Frontiers Records

Stryper – ‘Live At The Whisky’ (Frontiers)

Genre: Hard Rock/Heavy Metal
Stryper’s Live At The Whisky CD/DVD was recorded in 2013 in Los Angeles in support of their latest album No More Hell To Pay. The setlist included 16 songs from throughout their career.

No More Hell To Pay is represented by four songs, including their cover of “Jesus Is Just Alright.” You’ll also hear some Stryper classics like “Free,” “Always There For You,” “To Hell With The Devil” and “Soldiers Under Command,” although their biggest hit “Honestly” is not included. The DVD portion includes the show along with a couple of videos and a band interview.  The band sounds great, and recording it in an iconic venue like the Whisky where they played back in their formative years is a nice touch.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Villainy – ‘Villainy I’ - Hammerheart Records

Villainy – ‘Villainy I’. Hammerheart Records

Villainy – ‘Villainy I’ (Hammerheart)

Genre: Thrash Metal
Originally issued in 2013, Villainy’sdebut Villainy I is getting its long overdue release on vinyl. Containing nine relentless hard hitting old school tracks, the band does an excellent job of combining thrash metal with black, death and doom influences. Vocalist Reinier Vrancken embodies a youthful Schmeir from the Teutonic legends Destruction.

There is a strong Celtic Frost vibe on certain tracks to add diversity. “And Now She Is Perfect” and “Charlatan” bring the crushing power of doom with esoteric chords and eerie vocals. The quick paced “A Journey into an Enigma” could have been an outtake on Infernal Overkill with its excellent throwback riff and aggression. If Morbid Talesand Sentence of Death are two of your favorite albums, this is a must have.

Rating: 4
(Dan Drago)

New Heavy Metal Album Releases: September 23, 2014

New Metal ReleasesAeges – Above & Down Below (The Mylene Sheath)
Affiance – Blackout (Bullet Tooth)
Audio Porn – Midnight Confessions (JK)
Beak – Let Time Begin (Someoddpilot)
Burn Halo – Wolves of War (Epochal)
Charm City Devils – Battles (The End)
Charnia – Dageraad (Consouling Sounds)
Deep Purple – Graz 1975 (Earmusic / Eagle Rock)
Disasterhate – Mirroring The Abyss (Club Inferno)
Divider – All Barren (Glory Kid Ltd.)
The Family Ruin – Dearly Departed (KBB)
Highway Dreams – Wonderful Race (Street Symphonies)
Onkel Tom – H.E.L.D. (SPV)
Pulvis Et Umbra – Implosion of Pain (Pavement)
Radium Valley – Tales From the Apocalypse (Pavement)
Rise of the North Star – Welcome (Repression)
Stryper – Live At the Whisky CD/DVD (Frontiers)

New Heavy Metal Album Reviews: Week of September 16, 2014

The latest heavy metal album reviews, including releases from Albez Duz, Algebra, Antropomorphia, Black Moth, Brainoil, The Contortionist, Crucified Barbara, Death Penalty, Flyleaf, Freak Kitchen, Gust, Ides Of Gemini, Ingurgitating Oblivion, Iron Reagan, Lago, Lord Volture, Malpractice, Martyrvore, Myrkur, Noctem, Obey The Brave, Old Wounds, Philm, Redemption, Shards of Humanity, Siftercide, Snailking, Texas In July, Unaussprechlichen Kulten and Xerath.

The ratings are on a 5 star scale.

Albez Duz - ‘The Coming Of Mictlan’ - Iron Bonehead Productions

Albez Duz – ‘The Coming Of Mictlan’. Iron Bonehead Productions

Albez Duz – ‘The Coming Of Mictlan’ (Iron Bonehead)

Genre: Gothic/Doom Metal
With the untimely death of Peter Steele and Glenn Danzig’s descent into self parody and buffoonery, metal lacks a crooner. These days, nobody seems to be carrying the torch lit by Elvis Presley and Roy Orbison; at least, where metal is concerned. Well, look no further than Alfonso Brito Lopez of Germany’s newest goth/death/doom rock sensation Albez Duz. With an approach somewhere in between Type O Negative and Triptykon, Albez Dez are one of only a handful of bands treading these waters.

At their best when delving into doom metal territory on their second full-lengthThe Coming Of Mictlan, Albez Duz are anchored by the melodic, sonorous, and sometimes somnambulistic vocals of Lopez. The results are mixed, but The Coming Of Mictlan is unique, if nothing else. If Type O Negative is your thing (well, on the heavier side, that is), then this may be right up your alley.

Rating: 3.5
(Dave Schalek)

Algebra – ‘Feed The Ego’ - Unspeakable Axe Records

Algebra – ‘Feed The Ego’. Unspeakable Axe Records

Algebra – ‘Feed The Ego’ (Unspeakable Axe)

Genre: Thrash Metal
Swiss thrash outfit Algebra are out to prove that European thrash metal is alive and well, especially when you come from the same country as Celtic Frost and Coroner. They even include some of the latter’s progressive style,  a huge plus.

While the band is thrash at heart, they aren’t afraid to throw in some technical flourishes and even make musical allusions similar to the heaviest of thrash bands: Exodus and Destruction. If straight up thrash metal that doesn’t skimp on the blunt force heaviness is something that you crave, Algebra’s calculated effort will leave you wanting to come back for more.

Rating: 4
(Tom Campagna)

Antropomorphia – ‘Rites ov Perversion’ - Metal Blade Records

Antropomorphia – ‘Rites ov Perversion’. Metal Blade Records

Antropomorphia – ‘Rites ov Perversion’ (Metal Blade)

Genre: Death Metal
Antropomorphia return with their hectic style of death metal, which includes plenty of sexual depravity and other acts of bodily harm. Punishing riffs and breakneck speed are what make this band so potent. From there they can slow to a gallop on a song like “Nekrovaginal Secretions” and they can blow the doors off with “Carved To Pieces.”

The band even included a cover of Death’s “Open Casket” to further solidify their position in the death metal scene. This is a solid entry to 2014’s death metal canon and one that doesn’t let up.

Rating: 3.5
(Tom Campagna)

Black Moth – ‘Condemned to Hope’ - New Heavy Sounds

Black Moth – ‘Condemned to Hope’. New Heavy Sounds

Black Moth – ‘Condemned to Hope’ (New Heavy Sounds)

Genre: Stoner Metal/Psych Rock
Following up their stinging 2012 debut The Killing Jar, Leeds quintetBlack Moth have returned with a sophomore surge entitledCondemned to Hope, a delirium of achingly smooth and grooved-out rock filtered through a bottle of absinthe and the velvety temptations of siren-singer Harriet Bevan.

An odd offshoot of stoner metal, Black Moth continue to beguile with their yesteryear stitchings. The result is a psychedelic tapestry housing the grungy funk of garage rock and the occult-licked fume of incense. As even and as hard-hitting as its predecessor, Condemned to Hope adds a savory film of sex and blood to the evening air.

Rating: 4
(Evan Mugford)

Brainoil – ‘Brainoil’ - Tankcrimes Records

Brainoil – ‘Brainoil’. Tankcrimes Records

Brainoil – ‘Brainoil’ (Tankcrimes)

Genre: Sludge Metal
Seldom talked about in the sludge community, Oakland’s Brainoil are the legitimate West Coast answer to NOLA’s Eyehategod, and their crushingly awesome self-titled debut in 2003 proved just that. Now, with the help of hardcore aficionados Tankcrimes, this hidden gem of a record is getting its just desserts with a stellar reissue.

Over the course of seven knuckle-dragging tracks, the trio mash gravelly grooves and alpha-punk attitude with doomed-out tones and Greg Wilkinson’s searing cries into an album that has the devil in its details. Really, Brainoil is an essential sludge release and about as worthy of a reissue as you’ll find.

Rating: 4
(Evan Mugford)

The Contortionist – ‘Language’ - eOne Music/Good Fight Entertainment

The Contortionist – ‘Language’. eOne Music/Good Fight Entertainment

The Contortionist – ‘Language’ (eOne/Good Fight Music)

Genre: Progressive Metal
The Contortionist are one of the shining new bands in the recent wave of progressive metal, and it’s not hard to hear that ’90s prog/death metal legends Cynic are a large influence on the Indianapolis six piece. The waves of beautiful ambient passages are oft-punctured with dissonant guitars and growling vocals.

The heavy sections are good, but it’s the lush soundscapes and spacey vocals of tracks like “Primordial Sound” and “Intuition” that make Language a captivating, ethereal release by the young band.

Rating 4
(Andrew Kapper)

Crucified Barbara – ‘In The Red’ - Despotz Records

Crucified Barbara – ‘In The Red’. Despotz Records

Crucified Barbara – ‘In The Red’ (Despotz)

Genre: Hard Rock/Metal   
Catchy, driving tunes are whatCrucified Barbara do best with their newest release In The Red. Opener “I Sell My Kids For Rock N’ Roll” is a middle finger to those who think the band are ready to settle down, and this sneering attitude continues to gleam off of the other ten tracks.

There’s not much more to the album than a continuous flow of upbeat jams, but that’s perfectly acceptable. Though the second half of In The Red does not match the exhilarating quality of the first few songs, the massive ball of energy Crucified Barbara let out is too infectious to ignore.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Marsicano)

Death Penalty – ‘Death Penalty’ - Rise Above Records

Death Penalty – ‘Death Penalty’. Rise Above Records

Death Penalty – ‘Death Penalty’ (Rise Above)

Genre: Heavy/Doom Metal
Death Penalty as a whole are a completely new entity. However, it is the pieces that make up the band that add to its familiarity. Take one part Cathedral (Gaz Jennings) and one part Serpentcult (Michelle Nocon) and you have Death Penalty; a powerful and doomy traditional heavy metal band  that melds  the best parts of the former  bands.

Nocon’s vocals are haunting and Jennings’ guitar work evokes the best of mid era Cathedral, especially The Ethereal Mirror and The Carnival Bizarre. This is a fresh take on heavy metal in that it is both female fronted and not a psychedelic metal band. Think something like Christian Mistress with Jennings’ guitar tone. The riffs and solos come alive and reach greater heights thanks to Nocon’s pipes that suit this music quite well.  Powerful vocals and riffs make this debut a must have for traditional metal enthusiasts.

Rating: 4.5
(Tom Campagna)

Flyleaf - 'Between The Stars' - Loud and Proud Records

Flyleaf – ‘Between The Stars’. Loud and Proud Records

Flyleaf – ‘Between The Stars’ (Loud and Proud)

Genre: Hard Rock
Not only do Flyleaf have a new vocalist (Kristen May) on their latest album Between The Stars, they also have a new producer (Don Gilmore) and a new record label. But even with all the changes, their sound remains pretty consistent.

There are plenty of hard-hitting songs with soaring melodies along with more mainstream tracks and a ballad or two. May fits right in on vocals, although her voice isn’t as instantly recognizable as Lacey Sturm’s. May has a lot of versatility and the ability to sing with different tones and textures and the power to belt it out when needed. The new era of Flyleaf is off to a strong start.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Freak Kitchen - 'Cooking With Pagans' - The Lasers Edge

Freak Kitchen – ‘Cooking With Pagans’. The Lasers Edge

Freak Kitchen – ‘Cooking With Pagans’ (The Lasers Edge)

Genre: Heavy Metal
It’s hard to pigeonhole the Swedish trio Freak Kitchen, who return withCooking With Pagans, their first studio album in five years. They deliver a variety of styles with stellar musicianship.

From bluesy hard rock to experimental metal to progressive rock, the songs have a lot of variety. Some tracks are completely straightforward with serious lyrics, while others have a more light-hearted attitude and goofy titles like “I Don’t Want To Golf” and “(Saving Up For An) Anal Bleach.” Freak Kitchen are able to pull off either style with equal ability, making for an interesting and entertaining album.

Rating: 4
(Chad Bowar)

New Heavy Metal Album Releases: September 16, 2014

New Metal ReleasesAbusiveness – Bramy Nawii (Arachnophobia)
Aevangelist – Writhes In the Murk (Debemur Morti)
Albert Bell’s Sacro Sanctus – Deus Volt (Metal on Metal)
Albez Duz – The Coming of Mictlan (Iron Bonehead)
Algebra – Feed The Ego (Unspeakable Axe)
Alternative 4 – The Obscurants (Prophecy)
Anthrax – Chile On Hell DVD (Megaforce)
Antropomorphia – Rites Ov Perversion (Metal Blade)
Black Moth – Condemned To Hope (New Heavy Sounds)
Bloodtruth – Obedience (Unique Leader)
Brainoil – Brainoil (Tankcrimes)
Brotherhood – Till Death (Southern Lord)
Bunker 66 – Screaming Rock Believers (High Roller)
Cannibal Corpse – A Skeletal Domain (Metal Blade)
The Contortionist – Language (eOne / Good Fight)
Crucified Barbara – In the Red (Despotz)
Death Penalty – Death Penalty (Rise Above)
Emeth – Aethyr (Xtreem)
Flyleaf – Between the Stars (Loud & Proud)
Freak Kitchen – Cooking With Pagans (Lasers Edge)
Gust – Gust (Southern Lord)
Ides of Gemini – Old World New Wave (Neurot)
Ingurgitating Oblivion – Continuum of Absence (Willowtip)
Iron Reagan – Tyranny of Will (Relapse)
Kruller – Grounds For Termination EP (HPGD)
Lago – Tyranny (Battleground)
Lord Volture – Will To Power (Mausoleum)
Majestic Downfall / The Slow Death – Split (Chaos)
Malpractice – Turning Tides (Sensory)
Matyrvore – Malevolent Desolation EP (Iron Bonehead)
Mortuus – Grape of the Vine (Ajna Offensive)
Motionless in White – Reincarnate (Fearless)
Myrkur – Myrkur EP (Relapse)
Noctem – Exilium (Prosthetic)
Nothgard – Age of Pandora (Trollzorn)
Num Skull – Ritually Abused Re-Release (Relapse)
Oberon – Dream Awakening (Prophecy)
Obey the Brave – Salvation (Epitaph)
Obscure Burial – Ephiphany (Invictus)
Old Wounds – Death Projection EP (Good Fight)
Philm – Fire From the Evening Sun (UDR)
The Pineapple Thief – Magnolia (Kscope)
Red Zone Rider – Red Zone Rider (Magna Carta)
Redemption – Live From the Pit (Sensory)
Reverorum Ib Malacht – De Mysteriis Dom Christi (Ajna Offensive)
Sepultura and Les Tambours du Bronx – Metal Veins: Alive at Rock in RioDVD/CD (Eagle Rock)
Shards of Humanity – Fractured Frequencies (Unspeakable Axe)
Siftercide – Siftercide (Nailjar)
Slash – World on Fire (Dik Hayd)
Sleepwave – Broken Compass (Epitaph)
Snailking – Storm (Consouling Sounds)
Society Sucker – Society Sucker EP (Get This Right)
Sons of Crom – Riddle of Steel (Debemur Morti)
Stallion – Rise and Ride (High Roller)
Stryvigor – Forgotten By Ages (Svarga)
Texas In July – Bloodwork (Equal Vision)
Towers of Flesh – Antithetical Conjurations (Candlelight)
Unaussprechlichen Kulten – Baphomet Pan Shub-Niggurath (Iron Bonehead)
Villainy – Villainy I (Hammerheart)
Xerath – III (Candlelight)

New Heavy Metal Album Reviews: Week of September 9, 2014

Autumn's Dawn – 'Gone' - Eisenwald Records

Autumn’s Dawn – ‘Gone’. Eisenwald Records

Autumn’s Dawn – ‘Gone’ (Eisenwald)

Genre: Post Black Metal
Autumn’s Dawn are a new project from Aussie vets Sorrow (Germ, ex-Woods of Desolation) and Anguish (Rise of Avernus). Described as depressive black metal, their debut full-length Gone could only slightly be further from the truth. Elements of black metal are present, but it’s far too emo to fall into that category.

Gone is a mix of sorrowful rhythms, woe-is-me (but catchy) melodies and some bleak atmosphere with cursed blackened screams playing bad cop to broken-hearted clean vocals. The black metal and emo-core parts are serviceable on their own, but their integration with each other seems incongruous and forced. No doubt their feelings are genuine, but the expression needs work to sound less (barely) post-adolescent.

Rating: 2.5
(Matt Hinch)

Crimson Shadows – ‘Kings Among Men’ - Napalm Records

Crimson Shadows – ‘Kings Among Men’. Napalm Records

Crimson Shadows – ‘Kings Among Men’ (Napalm)

Genre: Melodic Death/Power Metal
Fusing the aggressive tendencies of melodic death metal with the precision and upbeat instrumentation of power metal has become more prominent over the years. On their sophomore releaseKings Among Men, Canada’sCrimson Shadows are the epitome of that fusion. The songs tend be on the longer side, climaxing with the ten minute plus “Moonlit Skies and Bloody Tides.”

Opener “Rise to Power” perfectly showcases the band’s amazing musicianship in all facets. The dexterity and technicality is downright stunning. The pace is non-stop as each song blends into the next without much divergence. The perfect amalgam of the musicianship of Dragonforce and the riffs of Children of Bodom, Crimson Shadows are the perfect blend of two distinct genres.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Drago)

Godhunter/Secrets Of The Sky - ‘GH/OST:S’ Split - The Compound/Battleground Records

Godhunter/Secrets Of The Sky – ‘GH/OST:S’ Split. The Compound/Battleground Records

Godhunter/Secrets Of The Sky – ‘GH/OST:S’ Split (The Compound)

Genre: Sludge/Doom Metal   
Godhunter and Secrets of the Skycontribute to this four-track split, as each band gets an even number of songs. Though both bands have contrasting styles—Godhunter’s sludgy directness clashes with Secret of the Sky’s atmospheric forcefulness—they make for a compatible team.

“Pursuit/Predator” is a heavy template for Godhunter to properly play off of, while Secrets of the Sky banks on a forlorn sentiment with “The Star.” Both bands try out ten-minute experimental pieces, which work with varying degrees of success. It would definitely be worth these two groups to explore further collaborations beyond this split alone.

Rating: 3
(Dan Marsicano)

Hod - ‘Book Of The Worm’ - Arctic Music Group

Hod – ‘Book Of The Worm’. Arctic Music Group

Hod – ‘Book Of The Worm’ (Arctic)

Genre: Blackened Death Metal
San Antonio horde Hod return withBook Of The Worm, their second proper full-length album. A hybrid of black and death metal, Hod are a ferocious live band with a huge stage presence loaded with jean jackets, spikes and bullet belts, headbanging, and lots of PBR tall cans. Book Of The Worm is much in the same vein with a delivery similar to that of Deströyer 666.

Blastbeats, lots of fast riffing, downshifts in tempo to a chugging pace, you name it, Hod have the shtick down pat. Working against Hod, however, is a decided lack of originality and an overly clean production on Book Of The Worm that should be much dirtier. Nonetheless, if you like Deströyer 666 and like minded bands, add Hod to your playlist.

Score: 4
(Dave Schalek)

Lonely Kamel – 'S--t City' - Napalm Records

Lonely Kamel – ‘S–t City’. Napalm Records

Lonely Kamel – ‘S–t City’ (Napalm)

Genre: Stoner/Hard Rock
Although they’re from Norway it’s not churches the boys in Lonely Kamel are burning, it’s barns. As in, their newest and fourth album S–t City is a real barn burner! Mind you it does drop into some slow-burning grooves, but it’s never short on riffs.

First off, that cover! And within you’ll find an abundance of tasty licks and scorching solos, nods to Black Sabbath and other ’70s riffage, desert sensibilities and old school rock and roll vibes to spare. Psychedelic touches add flavor and a heavy dose of blooze motivates the riff machine. Fans of Sabbath, CoC, Black Label Society, Monster Magnet and Motorhead need to strap a saddle on this Kamel and ride on into S–t City.

Rating: 3.5
(Matt Hinch)

Megaton Leviathan – ‘Past 21 Beyond The Arctic Cell’ - Seventh Rule Recordings

Megaton Leviathan – ‘Past 21 Beyond The Arctic Cell’.Seventh Rule Recordings

Megaton Leviathan – ‘Past 21 Beyond The Arctic Cell’ (Seventh Rule)

Genre: Psychedelic/Doom Metal    
Megaton Leviathan’s second album vacates the realm of psychedelic more so than any of their previous releases. Though their fuzzy, distorted past sneaks up, much of the material is subdued, letting the listener get lost in waves of dreamy, melancholy moods. “Past 21” builds off of restrained guitars and rolling percussion, paving the way for glum-sounding strings near the conclusion.

A translucent guitar solo on “Arctic Cell” is a sharp deviation from the hypnotic darkness. It’s not hard to be entranced by these four songs, and they should pop out in a live setting with some visual representation included.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Marsicano)

The Order Of Israfel - 'Wisdom' - Napalm Records

The Order Of Israfel – ‘Wisdom’. Napalm Records

The Order Of Israfel – ‘Wisdom’ (Napalm)

Genre: Doom Metal
The Order Of Israfel are a relatively new band, but their debut album Wisdom has plenty of throwback elements. The Swedes embrace the classic ’70s sound while adding in other flavors to spice things up a bit.

It’s a bold move to open an album with a nearly 10 minute song, but they pull it off with the varied title track that mixes in some acoustic parts and atmospherics amongst the heavy doom riffs. The band also speeds up the tempo on some of the tracks, adding a groovy contrast to the deliberate, crushing sections. It’s a bit long at 64 minutes, and the 3 minute spoken word piece “The Vow” is completely unnecessary, but it’s still a compelling slab of doom.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Phobia – ‘Grind Core’ - Deep Six Records

Phobia – ‘Grind Core’. Deep Six Records

Phobia – ‘Grind Core’ (Deep Six)

Genre: Grindcore
The album title says it all. Orange County’s Phobia have been doling out fast-forward carnage for nearly 25 years, and their latest EP Grind Core hears the band delivering some of their most ferocious music to date.

Grind Core hits like a Mack truck that proceeds to drag you down Interstate Five while ripping off eight tracks in about nine minutes. Blending crust-layered punk with seething death metal, this 7-inch is Phobia doing what they do best – blasting away without a care in the world and putting the grind scene on notice. Irate and incendiary.

Rating: 3.5
(Evan Mugford)

Project Arcadia - 'A Time Of Changes' - Nightmare Records

Project Arcadia – ‘A Time Of Changes’. Nightmare Records

Project Arcadia – ‘A Time Of Changes’ (Nightmare)

Genre: Heavy/Power Metal
Five years after their debut, the Bulgarian band Project Arcadiareturn with the new album A Time Of Changes. One of those changes the title refers to is a new singer. They have added the Swedish vocalist Urban Breed to their ranks along with a couple other new members.

The album is melodic metal with power and prog influences. The songs are bombastic with a lot of hooks and singalong choruses. Progressive sections add diversity, and Breed’s vocals are also varied. He can sing with subtlety and emotion on the more subdued songs and belt it out when needed.

Rating: 3
(Chad Bowar)

Steak – 'Slab City' - Napalm Records

Steak – ‘Slab City’. Napalm Records

Steak – ‘Slab City’ (Napalm)

Genre: Stoner Rock
Loud, trippy, and groove-laden; all the things you want from stoner rock. It’s not the most sophisticated of genres, but it can be one of the most satisfying, and Steak’s Slab City definitely ticks all the right boxes.

There are some nice indulgences on the riff side too, with track “Liquid Gold” ending on what sounds like the peyote ramblings of an electric guitar. The prog-obsessive in me wishes there was a bit more of this, because it’s the kind of sound that you could just lie down (in a smoky room, obviously) and get lost in the hazy sludginess of it all. A great choice while the weather’s still warm.

Rating: 3.5
(Sam Thornton)

Striker – ‘City of Gold’ - Napalm Records

Striker – ‘City of Gold’. Napalm Records

Striker – ‘City of Gold’ (Napalm)

Genre: Speed Metal
Metal is filled with a plethora of bands picking up the retro flag and carrying the torch forward. Canada’sStriker are clearly one of the top bands that embrace the past and interpret it with their own spin. On their third release City of Gold, the band has outdone themselves and delivered a frantic neck breaking induced metal lesson.

The band has an obvious Judas Priest influence that is brought to the forefront on the British Steel inspired “Start Again.” The energy behind the songwriting is intense with the relentless pacing of “All For One,” “Crossroads” and “Rise Up” showcasing their speed metal influences. The band had some member changes since their last release and the new members have brought a liveliness that the band has never shown.

Rating: 4
(Dan Drago)

Thousand Foot Krutch - 'Oxygen: Inhale' - TFK Records

Thousand Foot Krutch – ‘Oxygen: Inhale’. TFK Records

Thousand Foot Krutch – ‘Oxygen: Inhale’ (TFK)

Genre: Hard Rock
Thousand Foot Krutch have been around for nearly two decades, and their eighth studio album is Oxygen: Inhale. It follows the path of their recent releases while throwing a few curveballs to keep things interesting.

The electronic elements are there, but so are heavy guitar riffs. There are a lot of memorable melodies and songs destined for both secular and Christian radio. Trevor McNevan gives his usual diverse performance ranging from rapping to singing. From anthemic tracks such as “Born This Way” to heavier songs like “Give It To Me’ to ballads like “Light Up,” TFK fans will find plenty to like on this album, which is heavier and catchier than 2012’s The End Is Where We Begin.

Rating: 4
(Chad Bowar)

Heavy Meta

New Heavy Metal Album Releases: September 9, 2014

New Metal ReleasesAutumn’s Dawn – Gone(Eisenwald)
Cries of the Captive –Imperialist Re-Release (Imminence)
Crimson Shadows – Kings Among Men (Napalm)
Crucified – Dead of Sleep(Get This Right)
Digitalife – Nemesis (Imminence)
Funereus – Return of the Old Goat (Forever Plagued)
Godhunter / Secrets of the Sky – Ghosts Split (The Compound)
Hod – Book of the Worm (Arctic)
In Flames – Siren Charms (Sony/RED)
Lonely Kamel – S–t City (Napalm)
Megaton Leviathan – Past 21: Beyond the Arctic Cell (Seventh Rule)
The Order of Israfel – Wisdom (Napalm)
Phobia – Grindcore EP (Deep Six)
Pord – Wild (Solar Flare)
Project Arcadia – A Time of Changes (Nightmare)
The Sabbathian – Ritual Rites (Svart)
A Sound of Thunder – The Lesser Key of Solomon (Mad Neptune)
Steak – Slab City (Napalm)
Striker – City Of Gold (Napalm)

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

The latest heavy metal album reviews, including releases from Black Tongue, Black Twilight Circle, Bloodsoaked, Burzum, Code Orange, Empress AD, Horned Almighty, Incite, The King Is Blind, Krieg, Nostril Caverns, Set and Setting and Wolf.

Black Tongue – ‘Born Hanged/Falsifier’ - Century Media Records

Black Tongue – ‘Born Hanged/Falsifier’. Century Media Records

Black Tongue – ‘Born Hanged/Falsifier’ (Century Media)

Genre: Deathcore/Downtempo
Heavier than heavy itself, UK’s Black Tongue have taken the deathcore genre to it’s slowest possible conclusion with the Born Hanged/Falsifier double EP.

Songs like “Coma” and “H.C.H.C” are so downtuned and the tempo crawls at such a low pace that they sound like they’re at risk at falling apart, but the five piece keep it just tight enough to make it to the next snare hit/open chug. Not a great deal of diversity from track to track, but it’s made up for by huge levels of sheer vitriol and crushing brutality.

Rating: 4
(Andrew Kapper)

Black Twilight Circle (Various Artists) ‘Tliltic Tlapoyauak’ - The Ajna Offensive

Black Twilight Circle (Various Artists) ‘Tliltic Tlapoyauak’. The Ajna Offensive

Black Twilight Circle (Various Artists) ‘Tliltic Tlapoyauak’(The Ajna Offensive)

Genre: Black Metal
The Black Twilight Circle are a growing movement of black metal musicians based in Southern California. Composed of sixteen songs and clocking in with a running time of nearly two hours, this compilation is a comprehensive look at the artists within the movement. Although twenty bands are featured with perhaps the most well known being scene leaders Volahn, Tukaaria, and Arizmenda, I suspect that the amount of sharing of members amongst the various bands reads like an ancestral family tree of European monarchies that stretches back centuries.

Most of the music is pretty similar, consisting of dissonant, blastbeat ridden black metal with a bleak, low- fi sound similar to the rawer stuff to come out of the Norwegian second wave, but the most interesting elements occur within songs that reveal the undoubtedly Meso-American roots of most of the musicians. Uneven at best, Tliltic Tlapoyauak is, nonetheless, a good way to investigate the Black Twilight Circle.

Score: 3.5
(Dave Schalek)

Bloodsoaked ‘Religious Apocalypse’ - Comatose Music

Bloodsoaked ‘Religious Apocalypse’. Comatose Music

Bloodsoaked ‘Religious Apocalypse’ (Comatose)

Genre: Brutal Death Metal
Bloodsoaked began life as a one man death metal band with founder Peter Hasselbrack playing all of the instruments while being backed up by a drum machine. Now a duo, Bloodsoaked tour with a backing band and have lofted themselves upwards from humble beginnings. Although the outfit has not released a proper full-length since 2011, Bloodsoaked stay relevant with Religious Apocalypse, a fix up EP of sorts with a mix of new tracks, covers, and live cuts.

The originals are slickly played, modern death metal that deftly avoids a ‘slam’ tag and the live tracks are worth a listen. What are most notable are the covers, however; straight up, by the numbers versions of “You’re In Love” by Ratt and “Shake Me” by Cinderella! The songs are true to the original versions with the same pace, guitar sound, the works. The only difference is the guttural vocals, but you’ll rapidly discover that both songs, especially “You’re In Love,” are top notch hair metal anthems. Who’d have thought?

Score: 3.5
(Dave Schalek)

Burzum – ‘The Ways of Yore’ - Candlelight Records

Burzum – ‘The Ways of Yore’. Candlelight Records

Burzum – ‘The Ways of Yore’ (Candlelight)

Genre: Ambient Black Metal
I’ll admit to enjoying Burzum’s first two albums after Varg was released from prison. But starting withUmskiptar, his output has become increasingly strange. His latest album The Ways of Yore can hardly even be considered metal at all.

The album is largely key/synth based ambience and hypnotic repetition. Varg does have a way of layering sounds to soothing effect, but very little of this does anything. His chanting croon sounds out of key, like a senile old man in a porch chair. As stated, it’s quite odd, self-indulgent and a little more than eccentric. Plus, at an hour and nine minutes, it’s a lot of boring to sit through if you’re not “out of your mind” yourself.

Rating: 2.5
(Matt Hinch)

Code Orange – ‘I Am King’ - Deathwish Records

Code Orange – ‘I Am King’. Deathwish Records

Code Orange – ‘I Am King’ (Deathwish)

Genre: Hardcore/Metal
Whether they’re Steeler fans or not, Pittsburgh’s Code Orange exude much of the same toughness and attitude made synonymous by said NFL team and their blue-collar fans. The quartet’s second album is the declarative I Am King, a robust and refreshing blast of metallic hardcore that should cater to an audience much broader than the subgenre’s typical spinning back-fister.

Dropping Kids from their name, Code Orange, while still quite young in appearance, deliver a record that is simply mature beyond their years. In part to a faultless production job by Kurt Ballou at his God City Studios, I Am Kingroutinely shifts from mellow to meltdown while embracing an industrial edge too sharp to not drag your wrists along. Fiercely enjoyable.

Rating: 4.5
(Evan Mugford)

Empress AD - 'Still Life Moving Fast' - Roadrunner/The End Records

Empress AD – ‘Still Life Moving Fast’. Roadrunner/The End Records

Empress AD – ‘Still Life Moving Fast’ (Roadrunner/The End)

Genre: Progressive Metal
British newcomers Empress ADmake quite an impact with their debut album Still Life Moving Fast. It’s a dynamic and varied effort.

The band combines heavy, sludge-laden riffs and harsh vocals with more delicate and mellow melodic singing. The songs shift easily between metal and rock,with dense and aggressive sections giving way to more accessible but still progressive parts. It’s an album with a lot of depth and diversity from a band set to make some waves in the progressive genre;

Rating: 4
(Chad Bowar)

Horned Almighty – ‘World Of Tombs’ - Scarlet Records

Horned Almighty – ‘World Of Tombs’. Scarlet Records

Horned Almighty – ‘World Of Tombs’ (Scarlet)

Genre: Black Metal
The pairing of crusty punk and black metal tangles into an unhinged sound on Horned Almighty’s fifth album. At times channeling Darkthrone circa the late 2000s, the band is able to make catchy, yet devilish, music. “Blessed by Foulness” is seven minutes of hardened doom, while “In Torture We Trust Pt. II” is a polished sequel to a decade-old track.

A wicked cover of Autopsy’s “Twisted Mass of Burnt Decay” makes for a great bonus track for those who pick up the digipak version. The ease in which World of Tombs progresses from song to song leaves behind a magnificent impression.

Rating: 4
(Dan Marsicano)

Incite - 'Up In Hell' - Minus Head

Incite – ‘Up In Hell’. Minus Head

Incite – ‘Up In Hell’ (Minus Head)

Genre: Thrash Metal
Phoenix thrashers Incite have a few new members for their third album Up In Hell. They combine old school galloping thrash riffs with groove metal to create a sound that’s extreme and catchy.

Richie Cavalera is the stepson of Max Cavalera (Soulfly, ex-Sepultura), and is definitely influenced by him. His vocals are passionate and potent. The guitar work on the album is excellent as well, transitioning easily between maximum speed and more moderate grooves.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

The King is Blind – ‘The Deficiencies of Man’ - Mordgrimm Records

The King is Blind – ‘The Deficiencies of Man’. Mordgrimm Records

The King is Blind – ‘The Deficiencies of Man’ (Mordgrimm)

Genre: Death Metal
The King is Blind are a new(ish) project featuring former members of Entwined, Extreme Noise Terror and Cradle of Filth. After two demos the British quartet unleashes their debut EP, The Deficiencies of Man. On these four tracks they inject some doom and a thrashiness into old school death metal.

There’s technicality to go along with razor sharp tone and Steve Tovey’s vicious beastly growls. There’s a fire within TKiB that burns with the heat of a razed church. Pulverizing rhythms, a sinister edge and a monolithic Celtic Frost iciness collide with visceral chugs and a circling menace. You can hear the motivation in these bangin’ tunes. This band could go places. Fast.

Rating: 4
Matt Hinch)

Krieg – ‘Transient’ - Candlelight Records

Krieg – ‘Transient’. Candlelight Records

Krieg – ‘Transient’ (Candlelight)

Genre: Black Metal
Once the vanguard of the most raw and vitriolic brand of U.S. black metal, Krieg have gradually evolved into a more multifaceted beast with all their post-The Black Houseoutput, and latest effort Transient in particular, is equally indebted to the sounds and styles of post-black metal, ambient and even industrial.

Proceedings kick off on a devastating note as blasts and cold tremolo riffs grind away on “Order of the Solitary Road,” while a track like “To Speak with Ghosts” channels the subtle post-black melodies of labelmates Woe. Some groove is also discernible throughout, imbuing the album with a rollicking sense of forward motion. Couple this with mainman N. Jameson’s (a.k.a. Imperial) emotionally charged vocals and Transient is proof positive that there’s still a lot of piss & vinegar left in the tank.

Rating: 3.5
(Neil Pretorius)

New Heavy Metal Album Releases: September 2, 2014

New Metal ReleasesAxel Rudi Pell – Into the Storm Deluxe Edition (SPV)
Black Tongue – Born Hanged/Falsifier Re-Release (SOAR / Century Media)
Black Twilight Circle – Tliltic Tlapoyauak (The Ajna Offensive)
Blood Of Kingu – Dark Star On The Right Horn of the Crescent Moon (Season Of Mist)
Bloodsoaked – Religious Apocalypse (Comatose)
Burzum – The Ways of Yore (Candlelight)
Code Orange – I Am King (Deathwish)
The Color Morale – Hold On Pain Ends (Fearless)
Cowards – Shooting Blanks & Pills Re-Release (Secret Handshake)
Dark Fortress – Venereal Dawn (Century Media)
Emblazoned – Eucharistiae Sacramentum (Deepsend)
Earth – Primitive and Deadly (Southern Lord)
Empress AD – Still Life Moving Fast (The End)
Faithsedge – The Answer of Insanity (Scarlet)
Hammerfall – (r)Evolution (Nuclear Blast)
The Haunted – Exit Wounds (Century Media)
Horned Almighty – World of Tombs (Scarlet)
Incite – Up In Hell (Minus Head)
The King Is Blind – The Deficiencies Of Man EP (Mordgrimm)
Krieg – Transient (Candlelight)
Meridian – The Awful Truth (Victory)
Neopera – Destined Ways (Armoury)
Nethermost – Noetic (HPGD)
Nostril Caverns – Inside the Cell/The Dying’s Last Breath (Tridroid)
Oecist – XVIII EP (Crowquill)
Pig Heart Transplant – For Mass Consumption (20 Buck Spin)
Richie Kotzen – The Essential Richie Kotzen CD/DVD (Loud and Proud)
Set and Setting – A Vivid Memory (Prosthetic)
Solace of Requiem – Casting Ruin (ViciSolum)
Solstafir – Otta (Season of Mist)
Trascendental – Nothingness (Xtreem)
Vermin Womb – Permanence EP (Throatruiner)
Weedeater – …And Justice For Y’all Re-Release (Season of Mist)
Weedeater – Sixteen Tons Re-Release (Season of Mist)
Wolf – Devil Seed (Century Media)
YOB – Clearing the Path To Ascend (Neurot)

New Heavy Metal Album Reviews: Week of August 26, 2014

Adrenaline Rush – ‘Adrenaline Rush’ (Frontiers)

Genre: Pop Metal
Formerly part of the teen-pop duo Peaches, vocalist Tåve Wanning has formed a new project Adrenaline Rush. Their eponymous debut record adds her pop sensibilities to dirty ‘80s style rock. The songs are centered on big hooks, but they aren’t overly memorable.

The songwriting tends to be formulaic and a tad basic. Vocally she might be better suited for the pop market. The band she has surrounded herself with are talented, as the guitar solo in “Change” is excellent. The bands draw will be Tåve’s looks, but that alone isn’t enough to overcome the bands average ability to compose a song.

Rating: 2.5
(Dan Drago)

Bastard Sapling – ‘Instinct Is Forever’ - Gilead Media

Bastard Sapling – ‘Instinct Is Forever’. Gilead Media

Bastard Sapling – ‘Instinct Is Forever’ (Gilead/Forcefield)

Genre: Black Metal
Indulging in Bastard Sapling’s second album is an experience that’ll be hard to overlook. After their excellent Dragged From Our Restless Trance debut, the group’s frostbitten black metal has far greater force backing it on this album. Though headstrong tempos are common, the acoustic splendor of “Elder” is a necessary separation from the animalistic tempers.

Haunting vocals from Windhand’s Dorthia Cottrell on “Lantern At The End Of Time” cement the 11-minute opus as the album’s high point. There’s a marked effort to digress from conventions, like the sharp guitar solos and tuneful groove of “The Killer in Us All.” Instinct is Forever is vital for those that champion all styles of extreme metal.

Rating: 4.5
(Dan Marsicano)

Blackwolfgoat – ‘Drone Maintenance’ - Small Stone Recordings

Blackwolfgoat – ‘Drone Maintenance’. Small Stone Recordings

Blackwolfgoat – ‘Drone Maintenance’ (Small Stone)

Genre: Drone/Instrumental
The latest full-length fromBlackwolfgoat, the solo project of guitarist Darryl Shepard, comes in the manifestation of a semi-concept album. Revolving around a maintenance man who repairs broken drones, the instrumental work supports this futuristic vision. The songs aim for a cinematic approach, like a droning take on a Hollywood film soundtrack.

Shepard knows how to pace the music, unleashing a bundle of clashing moods with just his guitar. The songs are trimmed to avoid excess, and the backstory gives a unified perspective to the whole album. Listen to Drone Maintenance in one sitting to get the most absolute value out of this gem.

Rating: 4
(Dan Marsicano)

Dying Out Flame – 'Shiva Rudrastakam' - Xtreem Music

Dying Out Flame – ‘Shiva Rudrastakam’. Xtreem Music

Dying Out Flame – ‘Shiva Rudrastakam’ (Xtreem)

Genre: Vedic Death Metal
To view Dying Out Flame as a novelty act would be doing their debut Shiva Rudrastakam a gross disservice. The Nepalese group have carved out a niche as the first band (to my knowledge) defiling ears with Vedic death metal. It’s a breath of fresh  air in a genre that can easily be stagnant.

Dying Out Flame mix a pulverizing style of brutal death metal with “Hindu classical modalities” and their Vedic philosophy. The death metal is top notch and technical while the traditional music is uplifting and spine slithering with occasional female vocals. But Dying Out Flame are at their best the more they blend the two. Melody meets ferocity. East meets West. And the results are fantastic. Breathe it in.

Rating: 4
(Matt Hinch)

English Dogs – ‘The Thing With Two Heads’ - Candlelight Records

English Dogs – ‘The Thing With Two Heads’. Candlelight Records

English Dogs – ‘The Thing With Two Heads’ (Candlelight)

Genre: Thrash Metal/Hardcore
English Dogs continue to bring forward their meld of hardcore punk and thrash metal on The Thing With Two Heads, their first full length in 12 years. Fans of Discharge, Anti-Nowhere League, and The Exploited should find themselves right at home with this style of music.

The difference between the previously mentioned bands and this is the incredibly crisp production value that is very modern sounding; so take that as you will. In the end, this is a really fun mix of genres and showcases the best of both worlds.

Rating: 3.5
(Tom Campagna)

Enuff Z'Nuff - 'Covered In Gold' - Cleopatra Records

Enuff Z’Nuff – ‘Covered In Gold’. Cleopatra Records

Enuff Z’Nuff – ‘Covered In Gold’ (Cleopatra)

Genre: Hard Rock
Enuff Z’Nuff’s heydey was in the late ’80 and early ’90s, as they had radio hits such as “Fly High Michelle” and “New Thing.” Their last studio album was in 2010, and they return with the covers album Covered In Gold.

The track listing is all older songs, ranging from Motown (Smokey Robinson’s “Tears Of A Clown”) to ’80s pop/rock (Prince’s “When Doves Cry”) to ’90s grunge (Nirvana’s “All Apologies”). Other artists’ songs they cover include the Beatles, Cheap Trick, David Roth and perhaps the strangest selection, Joey Scarbury’s light rock “Greatest American Hero” theme. The covers are pretty faithful to the originals, but with an Enuff Z’Nuff twist making it more than a karaoke album.

Rating: 3
(Chad Bowar)

Force of Darkness – ‘Absolute Verb of Chaos and Darkness’ - Hells Headbangers Records

Force of Darkness – ‘Absolute Verb of Chaos and Darkness’. Hells Headbangers Records

Force of Darkness – ‘Absolute Verb of Chaos and Darkness’ (Hells Headbangers)

Genre: Blackened Thrash Metal
Playing non-stop blackened hyper blast thrash, Chile’s Force of Darkness have returned with their new EP Absolute Verb of Chaos and Darkness. Steeped in the aura of early Kreator and Sodom blended with Sarcofago, their relentless attack is intense. It’s centered on blast beat drumming and tremolo guitar riffs merged with the brutal vocal grind of Nabucodonosor III.

The hellish “Abraxas Revenge” finds the band at their most intense, a hybrid ofObsessed By Cruelty era Sodom and early Celtic Frost. The EP is twenty minutes of constant intensity that  never lets up and packs a huge punch. It’s on par with their excellent self titled debut.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Drago)

Karma to Burn - ‘Arch Stanton’ - Faba/Deepdive Records

Karma to Burn – ‘Arch Stanton’. Faba/Deepdive Records

Karma to Burn – ‘Arch Stanton’ (Faba/Deepdive)

Genre: Stoner/Desert Rock
Karma to Burn’s Arch Stanton — titled for the name on the grave where the treasure is buried in The Good, The Bad and the Ugly — successfully sticks to the band’s tried and true recipe of no fuss, mostly instrumental riffage with numbers serving as song titles. The only “vocals” on the album come from that classic Western’s dialogue.

The biggest change on Arch Stanton is the new lineup, which, regardless, doesn’t much alter the band’s sound: Guitarist Will Mecum is now joined by a new rhythm section of drummer Evan Devine and bass player Rob Halkett. Standout tracks include punch-in-the-face opener “Fifty Seven,” slower and bluesier “Fifty Three.”

Rating: 4
(Karen A. Mann)

Machinae Supremacy – ‘Phantom Shadow’ - Spinefarm Records

Machinae Supremacy – ‘Phantom Shadow’. Spinefarm Records

Machinae Supremacy – ‘Phantom Shadow’ (Spinefarm)

Genre: Power Metal
Gaining popularity by contributing songs through various games and systems, Sweden’s Machinae Supremacy are indeed a unique brand of metal. The band is now seven records into their fifteen-year career with the release of Phantom Shadow. Combining video game soundscapes with odd time signatures and larger than life choruses is what stands at the heart of the band’s sound.

Their first attempt at a true concept album, there are sixteen tracks at a little over an hour. The band’s sound is schizophrenic at times as they easily bounce back and forth between genres and break into the soundtrack of your favorite childhood game on a whim. Absolutely playing by their own rules, the band has matured and released their strongest material to date.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Drago)

Monsterworks - 'Overhaul' - Eat Lead and Die Records

Monsterworks – ‘Overhaul’. Eat Lead and Die Records

Monsterworks – ‘Overhaul’ (Eat Lead and Die)

Genre: Heavy Metal
Less than six months after their last album, the prolific New Zealand band Monsterworks return withOverhaul. It’s a little more straightforward than their last effort, but there are still a lot of progressive and experimental moments.

Traditional riffs and grooves with melodic singing give way to growls and extended instrumental sections. Monsterworks are constantly changing and shifting styles, but do it in a way that flows really well. The 6 songs clock in at 35 minutes, culminating in the epic 12 minute closer “Resolution.” Their fourth album in two years shows they have a deep well of creativity, and I’m guessing we’ll see another release in the not too distant future.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Sea of Bones – ‘The Earth Wants Us Dead’ - Gilead Media

Sea of Bones – ‘The Earth Wants Us Dead’. Gilead Media

Sea of Bones – ‘The Earth Wants Us Dead’ (Gilead)

Genre: Doom Metal/Psychedelic/Drone
Sometimes too much of a good thing can, well, become less so. Connecticut’s Sea of Bones are a doom/drone trio who recently had their 2013 sophomore release The Earth Wants Us Dead remastered for vinyl. Nearly 92 minutes in duration, the album is a venerable monster, home to a closing 39-minute title track that buries the listener, and ultimately itself, under a bed of smothering din.

With agonized vocals and deep, shuddering riffs, the doom malaise is seasoned with black and sludge metal. The production and sheer heaviness is hard to ignore, but this ambitious, often psychedelic journey tramps too far into the fog. Colossal no doubt, and ideal for diehard fans of drone-doom.

Rating: 3
(Evan Mugford)

X-Drive - 'Get Your Rock On' - Frontiers Records

X-Drive – ‘Get Your Rock On’. Frontiers Records

X-Drive – ‘Get Your Rock On’ (Frontiers)

Genre: Hard Rock
X-Drive are a new band, but they have some veteran members. Founding guitarist Jeremy Brunner recruited vocalist Keith St. John (Montrose), bassist James LoMenzo (ex-Megadeth, White Lion) and drummer Fred Fischer (Midline). The album’s title Get Your Rock On is an apt description of the music.

They play straight-ahead blues based hard rock with an ’80s vibe. The songs are catchy and melodic with plenty of blazing guitar solos. They mix in a few ballads and mid-tempo numbers along with arena rock anthems. They would have been huge in the ’80s, and fans of that era of music will dig X-Drive.

Rating: 3
(Chad Bowar)

New Heavy Metal Album Releases: August 26, 2014

New Metal ReleasesAlong Came a Spider – Resurgence (Standby)
Bastard Sapling – Instinct Is Forever (Gilead)
Blackwolfgoat – Drone Maintenance (Small Stone)
Circle II Circle – Live at Wacken (Official Bootleg) (Armoury)
English Dogs – The Thing With Two Heads (Candlelight)
Famous Last Words – Council of the Dead (InVogue)
Force of Darkness – Absolute Verb of Chaos and Darkness (Hells Headbangers)
Invent, Animate – Everchanger (Tragic Hero)
Machinae Supremacy – Phantom Shadow (Spinefarm)
Monsterworks – Overhaul (Eat Lead and Die)
Motorhead – Aftershock Tour Edition (UDR)
Opeth – Pale Communion (Roadrunner)
Sea of Bones – The Earth Wants Us Dead (Gilead)
Thousand Foot Krutch – Oxygen: Inhale (TFK)
X-Drive – Get Your Rock On (Frontiers)

New Heavy Metal Album Reviews: Week of August 19, 2014

American – ‘Coping With Loss’ (Sentient Ruin)

American - 'Coping With Loss'

Sentient Ruin Laboratories

Genre: Black Metal/Noise
After a few singles and demos and a split with Crone, the Virginia bandAmerican emerge with their debut full-length, Coping With Loss.

It’s a wide-ranging album exploring the depths and darkness with many different styles. There’s traditional black metal with vocals buried deep in the mix. There are also sludgy sections with a nice groove, contrasted with dense, noisy parts. Lengthy ambient parts are also injected into many of the songs. There’s a lot of ebb and flow to American’s compositions, making for a compelling album save for the closing 18 minute track, which doesn’t have the payoff needed for such a long song.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Black Trip – ‘Goin’ Under’ (Prosthetic)

Black Trip – ‘Goin’ Under’

Prosthetic Records

Genre: Hard Rock/Heavy Metal
Sweden’s Black Trip are a real throwback to the immense melody of bands like Thin Lizzy, which might seem a bit odd since this band contains members from Nifelheim, Exhumed, Enforcer, and Entombed.

Showcasing that just about any retro rock band from Sweden is worth their weight in gold, the musicianship is top notch and the songwriting is excellent as well. For fans of the classics and for people who enjoy ample amounts of melody with their heavy metal, Black Trip succeed.

Rating: 4
(Tom Campagna)

Children of Technology – ‘Future Decay’ (Hells Headbangers)

Children of Technology – ‘Future Decay’

Hells Headbangers Records

Genre: Thrash Metal
Italy’s Children of Technology blend a punk intensity with the thrash tendencies of the legendary Teutonic big three. Their sophomore release Future Decay is thirty minutes of a non-stop intense beat down. The band returns with a new guitar and bass player and don’t miss a beat.

Each track is straight to the point and never lets up but the band hits their stride on the old school onslaught “Under the Ripping Storm.” The main riff could have been taken right from Destruction’s Infernal Overkill. Vocalist DeathLörd Astwülf utilizes a throaty tone and also imitates the squeal of Schmier impeccably. In the same style of Toxic Holocaust and Midnight, Children of Technology should receive the same attention and success.

Rating: 4
(Dan Drago)

Cross Examination – ‘Dawn of the Dude’ (Organized Crime)

Cross Examination – ‘Dawn of the Dude’

Organized Crime Records

Genre: Crossover/Thrash Metal
Party-crashing crossover unit Cross Examination are back from a six-year hiatus with their second EP, Dawn of the Dude, a no-frills 4:20 free-for-all of manic crossover thrash ideal for your favorite beer-swilling D.R.I. offender or Municipal Waste-case.

With its skate-park sensibility, Dawn of the Dude is rude and in-your-face, with Devil Dan (aka Kegmaster Dan) crapping verbal and the riffs skidding and grooving right off the rails. The album zooms by far too fast, but it remains a welcome road-rash of a return for these St. Louis speed-freak rapscallions.

Rating: 3.5
(Evan Mugford)

Darkness Divided – ‘Written In Blood’ (Victory)

Darkness Divided - 'Written In Blood'

Victory Records

Genre: Metalcore
San Antonio’s Darkness Divided make a strong entry to the Christian metalcore scene with their debut album Written In Blood.

It has the typical metalcore styling such as breakdowns, but they do a few things to set themselves apart from the masses. One is the diverse vocals. There is some melodic singing, but the harsh vocals are very potent and the band’s strength. Gerard Mora utilizes various growls, screams and yells to avoid monotony. They mix catchy riffs with crushing ones, and add atmosphere and other subtle touches to give the album even more variety.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Deadlock – ‘The Re-Arrival’ (Lifeforce)

Deadlock – ‘The Re-Arrival’

Lifeforce Records

Genre: Modern Metal
Releasing their debut effort back in 2002, modern melodic death metal band Deadlock are back with a two disc release The Re-Arrival. The first disc contains songs that the band has chosen to re-record from earlier in their career and three brand new tracks. The second disc is for the die-hard fan, which contains some hard to find demos and unreleased material.

The new slant on the material is in line with their current musical approach and the material is better for it. The band consists of two vocalists: Sabine Scherer who supplies the melodic vocals and John Gahlert who joined the band in 2011 handles the gruff approach. Scherer has a gorgeous clean voice and shines on the emotionally charged “A New Era” and the insanely catchy “Earthlings.” This is the perfect jumping on point if you are not familiar with Deadlock.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Drago)

Dictated – ‘The Deceived’ (Metal Blade)

Dictated – ‘The Deceived’

Metal Blade Records

Genre: Brutal Death Metal
Dutch brutal death metallers Dictated unveil their second full length album The Deceived; their first for Metal Blade. Their sound is very reminiscent of Dying Fetus, with the obvious omission being the bombastic and stellar guitar soloing.

The guitarists (both of whom are female) prefer to bludgeon away while vocalist York Keijzer spits visceral venom on the masses. The potential for the band to break through is there, but they have yet to realize their full potential. If blastbeats and midtempo sections are your thing, then Dictated may be for you.

Rating: 3
(Tom Campagna)

Empire Auriga – ‘Ascending The Solar Throne’ (Moribund)

Empire Auriga – ‘Ascending The Solar Throne’

Moribund Records

Genre: Dark Ambient/ Black Metal
Not many albums have been released in the “suicidal” black metal subgenre since the demise of Xasthur in 2010, but Michigan’s Empire Auriga, a trio, takes up the mantle on Ascending The Solar Throne. Their second album and the first since 2006, Ascending The Solar Throneconsists of programmed harmonics, synthesizers, and muted, spoken word vocals deep in a hazy background.

The result is dreamy, dark ambient/black metal with hints of a strummed guitar and even fainter hints of a beat, but this overly long album has virtually no variation. The debut, Auriga Dying, had much more structure, and you’ll find your attention wandering quite quickly as Ascending The Solar Throne quickly becomes background noise and not much else.

Rating: 3
(Dave Schalek)

Extinction A.D.- ‘Plague Prophecy’ (Good Fight)

Extinction A.D.- ‘Plague Prophecy’

Good Fight Recordings

Genre: Thrash Metal
Fourth-fifths of This Is Hell have gone full-on thrash metal with this debut EP from their new project Extinction A.D.. There’s little of the hardcore roots of their other band, as this group holds to a brash method of thrash. The energy given out from each member doesn’t dissipate, and the songs are tightly formed to avoid any lulls.

The venom-laced vocals spit out words like a submachine gun to match the keen riffs. Extinction A.D. avoid gimmicks or goofy mannerisms, a welcome departure from many contemporary thrash bands. Plague Prophecy is a bite-sized prize that finishes up right before monotony sets up.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Marsicano)

Grinder Blues – ‘Grinder Blues’ (Megaforce)

Grinder Blues – ‘Grinder Blues’

Megaforce Records

Genre:  Blues/Rock
Fans of Dug Pinnik need no explanation to the eclectic stylings that he has produced with various bands over the year. Yet, just when you think you heard him at his potential; the leader of the seminal band King’s X returns with a new project Grinder Blues, who have released their self-titled debut album.

His soul tinged voice and blues heart feel right at home on this record’s ten tracks. Collaborating with the Emmy Award winning Bihlman Brothers (Scot and Jabo), this collection of pure blues sounds and metallic tones is a rather enjoyable record.

Rating: 3.5
(Edward Banchs)

New Heavy Metal Album Releases: August 19, 2014

New Metal ReleasesAccept – Blind Rage (Nuclear Blast)
Ace Frehley – Space Invader (eOne)
Acrania – Totalitarian Dystopia (Unique Leader)
American – Coping With Loss (Sentient Ruin)
Big Engine – Shot Like A Rocket (Pavement)
Black Trip – Goin’ Under (Prosthetic)
Cardinals Folly – Our Cult Continues! (Shadow Kingdom)
Cenotaph – Riding Our Black Oceans Re-Release (Chaos)
Children Of Technology – Future Decay (Hells Headbangers)
Cross Examination – The Dawn of the Dude EP (Organized Crime)
Crucifyre – Black Magic Fire (Pulverised)
Darkness Divided – Written In Blood (Victory)
Deadlock – The Re-Arrival (Lifeforce)
Dictated – The Deceived (Metal Blade)
Diskord – Oscillations EP (Hellthrasher)
Dragonforce – Maximum Overload (Metal Blade)
Dying Out Flame – Shiva Rudrastakam (Xtreem)
Egypt Central – Murder In The French Quarter (Fat Lady)
Empire Auriga – Ascending The Solar Throne (Moribund)
Extinction A.D. – Plague Prophecy EP (Good Fight)
Ghast – Dread Doom Ruin (Todestrieb)
Grinder Blues – Grinder Blues (Megaforce)
Halcyon Way – Conquer (Nightmare)
He Is Legend – Heavy Fruit (Tragic Hero)
Johnny Touch – Inner City Wolves (Shadow Kingdom)
Joy – Under the Spell of Joy (Tee Pee)
Karma To Burn – Arch Stanton (Deepdive)
Khtoniik Cerviiks – Heptaedrone (Iron Bonehead)
King 810 – Memoirs of a Murderer (Roadrunner)
Midnight – No Mercy For Mayhem (Hells Headbangers)
Pallbearer – Foundations of Burden (Profound Lore)
Passion For Sorrow – Rotting Immortality (The Orchard)
Pillbuster – Brothel (Stonerkill)
Powerlord – The Awakening Re-Release (Shadow Kingdom)
Principality of Hell – Fire & Brimstone (WTC)
Proselyte – Our Vessel’s In Need (Gypsyblood)
Provocator – Antikristus (Moribund)
Punch – They Don’t Have To Believe (Deathwish)
Sacrocurse – Unholier Master (Hells Headbangers)
Six String Slaughter – Born Unspoiled (HPGD)
Sleeping Giant – Finished People (Century Media)
Sloth Herder / Horde of the Eclipse – Split (Unholy Anarchy)
Take Over and Destroy – Vacant Face (Comfort Point)
Those Who Bring the Torture – Piling Up (Selfmadegod)
Trioscapes – Digital Dream Sequence (Metal Blade)

New Heavy Metal Album Reviews: Week of August 12, 2014

Evil United – ‘Honored By Fire’ (MVD)

Evil United – ‘Honored By Fire’

MVD Records

Genre: Thrash Metal
Texas thrashers Evil United are ready to unleash their sophomore album Honored by Fire. The band is heavily influenced by Overkill and Zetro-era Exodus. Down picked and fast intricate aggressive guitar riffs are fused with an intense chewed on glass vocal style. Vocalist Jason McMaster is the current Dangerous Toys singer and also was the original vocalist of progressive thrash titans Watchtower.

The band does a nice job of changing up their tempos and keeping the material straight to the point. The majority of the material is around four minutes long and never overstays its welcome. The melodies aren’t overly memorable and follow the same rhythmic pattern. A solid release, but doesn’t stand out compared to some of the stellar thrash releases so far this year.

Rating: 3
(Dan Drago)

Funerary – ‘Starless Aeon’ (Midnite Collective)

Funerary - 'Starless Aeon'

Midnite Collective

Genre: Doom Metal
Phoenix, Arizona is a place that is sunny and warm. Funerary, who hail from the Valley of the Sun, are the exact opposite. Starless Aeon is their debut album.

The songs are bleak and atmospheric, plodding along at a glacial pace. Crushingly heavy riffs give way to lengthy ambient sections. The vocals are sometimes death metal growls, other times black metal shrieks, but always buried deep in the mix. The songs take a long time to develop, but have a lot of depth and intricacies that become more evident with each listen.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

John 5 – ‘Careful With That Axe’ (60 Cycle Hum)

John 5 – 'Careful With That Axe’

60 Cycle Hum

Genre: Guitar Instrumental
Careful With That Axe, John 5’s eighth studio album, shows the current Rob Zombie guitarist at the height of his chicken pickin’, guitar shreddin’ powers. Most instrumental albums end up sounding like cheesy vanity projects, but John 5 has always had a fun, albeit macabre, sense of humor (check out album opener “We Need To Have A Talk About John”) that makes him feel more like a down-to-earth guitar player than an egocentric virtuoso.

Over the course of 30 minutes, Mr. 5 jumps from modern metal (“This Is My Rifle” and “The Dream Slayer”) to country-fried acoustic cuts (“Jerry’s Breakdown” and “Jiffy Jam”) and even pulls out a beautiful, fleet-fingered flamenco composition from his bag of tricks (“El Cucuy”). With the release of Careful With That Axe, Marty Friedman’s Inferno definitely has some competition for most enjoyable instrumental album of 2014.

Rating: 4
(Kevin Sirois)

Mutilated Veterans – ‘Necro Crust Warhead’ (Hells Headbangers)

Mutilated Veterans – ‘Necro Crust Warhead’

Hells Headbangers Records

Genre: Death Metal
Infusing the D-beat destruction of Discharge with the aggression and inhuman vocals of early Napalm Death is the blueprint of death/crust newcomers Mutilated Veterans. Their debut EP Necro Crust Warhead is thirteen minutes of non stop annihilation. Featuring only two members who are responsible for the beat down, vocalist J.M. Dopico delivers a vicious performance that is unintelligible.

The majority of the riffs are straight up punk infused and up-tempo. Opener “March of the Mutilated” is like “Am I Evil” being performed from the pits of hell before ripping into an old school death metal assault. There is absolutely no variation between the songs and the EP length works to its benefit.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Drago)

The Order Of The Solar Temple – ‘The Order Of The Solar Temple’ (I, Voidhanger)

The Order Of The Solar Temple – ‘The Order Of The Solar Temple’

I, Voidhanger Recordings

Genre: Hard Rock/Traditional Heavy Metal/Occult Rock
Surely there are a few of you who wish the revivalist trend in hard rock and metal would come to an end. Not me. I’m a sucker for it. The good stuff, anyway. The Order Of The Solar Temple are just that… the good stuff. Their self-titled full-length is steeped in heavy rock ‘n’ roll, a bit of pop sensibility, and some NWOBHM swagger.

The Order Of The Solar Temple are every bit as talented, and rock just as hard as the bands they bring to mind; high-pitched vocals and lyrical content a la Mercyful Fate; riffs and harmonies reminiscent of Rainbow and Demon. They even cover Blue Öyster Cult and do a great job. Bottom line, they rock.

Rating: 3.5
(JH Statts)

Protokult – ‘No Beer In Heaven’ (Self)

Protokult - 'No Beer In Heaven'

Genre: Folk Metal
No Beer In Heaven is the second full-length album from the Canadian band Protokult. The rousing opening track “Get Me A Beer” is alcohol-fueled folk metal with similarities to bands like Korpiklaani, but they have many other facets, and that side is not shown again on the album.

The band has male singing vocals, male harsh vocals and operatic female vocals. The female vocals give many tracks a gothic metal vibe, and there are some power metal influences as well. It’s an extremely diverse album, so much so that it sometimes gets a bit disjointed. That’s especially the case with the disco instrumental “Brotokult” and the final song, the reggae tinged “We Smoke The Ganja.”

Rating: 3
(Chad Bowar)

Rabbits – ‘Untoward’ (Lamb Unlimited)

Rabbits – ‘Untoward’

Lamb Unlimited Records

Genre: Metal/ Noise/ Experimental
Rabbits are normally cute and cuddly. Mostly harmless. Non-violent. But these are a different species of rabbit. Portland’s Rabbits are just the opposite of these things. They’re loud, rude, and rock ‘n’ rollingly crude. Musically, Rabbits are all over the map, but somehow manage to bring things together in an impressive, scathing, controlled-burn kind of way.Untoward, the band’s newest release, finds them at the top of their game.

Untoward is braincrushingly good. It blasts off and keeps a manic tempo throughout. Standout tracks include “So Fake It’s Real” and “Reek And Ye Shall Find.” Fans of Unsane, Melvins, and Karp will dig this record. As good as they are, let’s all hope these particular rabbits don’t multiply.

Rating: 3.5
(JH Statts)

Shaved Women – ‘Just Death’ (Ektro)

Shaved Women – 'Just Death'

Ektro Records

Genre: Hardcore
What kind of name is Shaved Women? It’s the kind a bunch of punked-up hardcore dudes take for themselves. Given the “don’t like it? Punk off!” attitude the St. Louis band gives off, I wouldn’t question it, or their latest intoxicating effort Just Death.

Barking and coarse hardcore vocals direct the gnarly riffs swinging like haymakers and to-a-bloody-pulp percussion. It’s dirty, painfully raw and as threatening as a loose noose. Just Death personifies the DIY aesthetic and doesn’t care whether you like it or not. It’s vicious, volatile and a packed basement of fun. I imagine a Shaved Women show attendee would be taking their life in their own hands!

Rating: 3.5
(Matt Hinch)

Slaughterday – ‘Ravenous’ (FDA Rekotz)

Slaughterday – ‘Ravenous’

FDA Rekotz Records

Genre: Death Metal
Slaughterday follow up their debut LP Nightmare Vortex with this 4 track EP (3 originals and a cover of Acheron’s “Ave Satanas”) called Ravenous; an old school throwback to the death/doom of Autopsy and Asphyx.

The vocals are very low and gruff and are mixed well with the up and down pace of the music. Even some excellent melody is thrown in for good measure to help add some extra depth to this tried and true style of death metal. This German duo has a bright future ahead of them.

Rating: 4
(Tom Campagna)

Twitching Tongues – ‘World War Live’ (Closed Casket)

Twitching Tongues - 'World War Live'

Closed Casket Activities

Genre: Doom Metal/Hardcore
After two studio albums and a few splits/EPs, the L.A. band Twitching Tongues deliver their first live album World War Live. It was recorded in Van Nuys, California in front of a small but devoted crowd.

The majority of the songs in the set are from last year’s In Love There Is No Law. Their live chops are excellent, with the rumbling low end cranked up loud. The album captures the band’s vitality and energy and the power of their riff-heavy songs. Not every note is perfect, but that’s how it goes in a live show, and if the audience at the show didn’t seem to mind, you shouldn’t, either.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Unisonic – ‘Light of Dawn’ (Armoury)

Unisonic – ‘Light of Dawn’

Armoury Records

Genre: Power Metal
Not as instantly gratifying as their superb debut, Unisonic’s sophomore release Light of Dawn is a deeper more complex record that takes additional attention to unravel the excellent songwriting within. The band features former Helloween members Michael Kiske and Kai Hansen, who are both legends in the metal community. Their style is similar to the Keeper of the Seven Keys era with the pop sensibilities of Pink Cream 69 because of the influence of their bassist Dennis Ward,  a member of both bands.

The record packs an incredible punch as it begins with the blazing power metal anthem “Your Time Has Come” and the instantly remarkable “Exceptional,” which contains one of the best choruses of the year. It’s an excellent follow-up that solidifies the band as one of the true giants of the power metal genre.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Drago)

New Heavy Metal Album Releases: August 12, 2014

New Metal ReleasesAbysmal Lord – Storms Of Unholy Black Mass EP (Hells Headbangers)
Amenra / Madensuyu –Split (Consouling Sounds)
Atara / Miserable Failure – Hang Them Split (Kaotoxin)
Evil United – Honored By Fire (MVD)
Funerary – Starless Aeon (Midnite Collective)
Grifter – Return Of The Bearded Brethren (Ripple)
John 5 – Careful With That Axe (60 Cycle Hum)
Monumentomb – Ritual Exhumation (Metal Music Austria)
Rabbits – Untoward (Lamb Unlimited)
Shaved Women – Just Death (Ektro)
Slaughterday – Ravenous (FDA Rekotz)
Unisonic – Light of Dawn (Armoury)
Upon a Burning Body – The World Is My Enemy Now (Sumerian)

July 2014 Best Heavy Metal Albums

1. Judas Priest – ‘Redeemer of Souls’ (Epic)

Judas Priest - Redeemer of Souls

Epic Records

Redeemer of Souls is the first Judas Priest studio effort for guitarist Richie Faulkner, who joined the band in 2011 after the exit of K.K. Downing. The album gets off to a strong start with “Dragonaut,” a classic sounding track with dual guitars from Faulkner and Glenn Tipton and of course the unmistakable vocals of the metal god, Rob Halford. He utilizes more of his lower register on the album, but he is 62 years old.  He knows how to use vibrato, and sings with a lot of texture and variety.

More than 40 years into their career, Redeemer of Souls shows that Judas Priest are no nostalgia act. They are still creating vital, vibrant new music that will satisfy both longtime fans and attract a whole new generation of admirers.

2. Mortals – ‘Cursed To See The Future’ (Relapse)

Mortals – ‘Cursed to See the Future’

Relapse Records

It was love at first listen with Mortals and their debut Relapse release,Cursed to See the Future. The first 15 seconds of the love affair dealt with finding pleasure in their wall of sound, blending sludge, black metal, doom and thrash into something altogether new. By 45 seconds-in, I was enamored with the vocals as well. The remainder of the time was spent with my jaw on the floor, reeling from what an almost perfect record sounded like.

Mortals hail from Brooklyn and consist of Caryn Havlik (drums), Elizabeth Cline (Guitar) and Lesley Wolf (Bass). Fans of Buzzoven, Eyehategod, Goatsnake and Celtic Frost will find this record to be satisfying. I am pretty sure Cursed to See the Future will appear on quite a few end of the year lists. Pick it up and see for yourself.

3. Wolvhammer – ‘Clawing Into Black Sun’ (Profound Lore)

Wolvhammer - Clawing Into Black Sun

Profound Lore Records

Wolvhammer have operated under the mannerisms of black metal, the spirited attitude of punk, and the crushing spectacle of sludge metal. All of these styles blend and twist as a universal entity, neither one being more important than the other. Clawing into Black Sun is not a deviation from this, though there’s definitely something different about the band.

The band’s first two full-lengths were strong, but Clawing into Black Sunis beyond them in quality. Though not the easiest album to embrace, once it takes residence in a person’s subconscious long enough, giving it repeated listens will be a hard habit to crack.

4. Every Time I Die – ‘From Parts Unknown’ (Epitaph)

Every Time I Die - From Parts Unknown

Epitaph Records

From Parts Unknown sees the band cradling the familiar and appropriately straddling the unknown on their seventh record. Just when you think Every Time I Die were just about to settle into the comfort of their last record Ex-Lives, we get a surprise. The album’s sound is a no-nonsense delivery of awesome packed into just over 30 minutes of unpredictability.

From Parts Unknown is another chapter in their wonderful book. It’s true, honest, straightforward and unapologetic. It is all there: hardcore, punk, southern groove, and  plain ole’ dirty rock and roll.

5. Novembers Doom – ‘Bled White’ (The End)

Novembers Doom - Bled White

The End Records

Bled White further plots out the tantalizing atmospheric touches that were started back in 2007 with The Novella Reservoir. Going almost 70 minutes, this album has a bundle of material to take in, but strong pacing and an ability to not be a one-note entity works in favor of Novembers Doom.

It’s comforting to know that Novembers Doom are more than willing to step away from their death/doom roots. The death metal has not been completely dropped, but it’s been augmented with music with far greater finesse. Bled White is an ambitious record that is able to maintain both its quality and its poignant, bleak realism throughout.

New Heavy Metal Album Reviews: Week of August 5, 2014

Bölzer – ‘Soma’ (Invictus)

Bölzer – ‘Soma’

Invictus Productions

Genre: Experimental Death Metal
Bölzer’s second EP Soma can be a mind-blowing experience. The Swiss duo turns traditional death metal on its ear through not only blackening the overall feel, but through artistic nuance and adventurous riffs and arrangement.

Bölzer take an almost reverential or ritualistic approach to their craft. As technically precise as they are, it still comes from the gut. Heady lyrical themes and complex concepts challenge the listener beyond the harrowing brutality, ancient ominous presence, cracking percussion and deceiving catchiness. With Soma, Bölzer are pushing themselves internally as well as towards being a go-to band in today’s extreme metal landscape.

Rating: 4
(Matt Hinch)

Brimstone Coven – ‘Brimstone Coven’ (Metal Blade)

Brimstone Coven – ‘Brimstone Coven’

Metal Blade Records

Genre: Doom Metal
Psychedelic doom/vintage rockers Brimstone Coven are ready to release their eponymous debut record. The band harkens back to the late ‘60s and early ‘70s where they proudly wear their influences on their sleeves. They take a large dose of Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Black Sabbath and mix it with their own blend of hard rock.

There are plenty of meaty riffs and headbanging moments throughout. The drum break in the sludgy “The Black Door” finds the kick drum out of time and it becomes distracting. I applaud the band for not editing the drums in perfect time, but a better take should have been attempted. The release also includes their seven-track debut EP that was released back in 2011 as an added bonus.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Drago) 

Capture The Crown – ‘Reign Of Terror’ (Artery)

Capture The Crown – 'Reign Of Terror'

Artery Recordings

Genre: Metalcore
If Simon Cowell— undisputed king of being able to pump out soulless money-making drivel tentatively called music— decided to make a metal album, I’m almost certain it would sound very similar to Capture The Crown’s latest release.

This album ticks more ‘Yeah, this’ll go down great with fourteen year olds metalheads’ boxes than a Disturbed album; which is to say that it’ll probably sell pretty well, kids will buy the merchandise, and good fun will be had by all. So I doubt they care that I think their album is terrible dross. But come on guys, was the rapping bit really necessary?

Rating: 2
(Sam Thornton)

Cardinal Wyrm – ‘Black Hole Gods’ (Self)

Cardinal Wyrm - 'Black Hole Gods'

Genre: Doom Metal
Just over a year after their debut, the San Francisco trio Cardinal Wyrmreturn with Black Hole Gods. They blend downtuned goodness past and present with their own unique twist.

There are plenty of ’70s influences, especially the baritone vocals of Pranjal Tiwari. You’ll also hear flavors of modern occult rock and sludge. They do an excellent job of varying tempos from crushingly slow to upbeat. There’s a lot of variety in texture as well, with interesting changes of pace like the creepy organ-driven “Warden of the Swans.” Leila Abdul-Rauf (Vastum, Hammers of Misfortune) provides some backing vocals, a nice addition.

Rating: 4
(Chad Bowar)

Cemetery Fog –‘ Towards The Gates’ (Iron Bonehead)

Cemetery Fog –‘ Towards The Gates’

Iron Bonehead Productions

Genre: Death Metal
Finland’s Cemetery Fog aim to continue the long standing tradition of death metal coming from one of the genre’s oft-forgotten hotbeds. This is the band’s first release with underground powerhouse Iron Bonehead.

What we get from this 5 track EP is an intro, an outro and 3 songs that could have used a good trim time-wise and cacophonous keyboards that need to pump the brakes. Iron Bonehead has certainly seen its fair share of success with bands like Bolzer; unfortunately Cemetery Fog are just another young band looking to the past for inspiration and clumsily doing so.

Rating: 2
(Tom Campagna)

Columns – ‘Please Explode’ (Relapse)

Columns – ‘Please Explode’

Relapse Records

Genre: Grindcore
After several EPs, Please Explode is the first full-length from the North Carolina outfit Columns. Recorded at various times between 2010 and 2013, the album maintains a sense of cohesiveness throughout its 16 tracks. Wretched’s Adam Cody lends his multifaceted harsh vocals to the blasting barrage from the other members.

With song titles like “Punching Nancy Grace” and “Laid Off for X-Mas,” the band injects humor into their standoffish grindcore. They explore a death/grind style on the fleshed-out “What You’ve Done is Gone,” a slight deviation from the intense whiplash effect that dominates this well-designed album.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Marsicano)

Four Letter Lie – ‘Like Structures’ (Artery)

Four Letter Lie - 'Like Structures'

Artery Recordings

Genre: Metalcore/Post Hardcore
After a five year absence, the Minneapolis band Four Letter Lie return with a couple new members and the EP Like Structures.

The band injects doses of melody into their frenetic post hardcore. The songs are passionate and emotional, and there’s plenty of diversity. They bring back the melodic vocals they did not have on their last album, but balance it well. The harsh vocals carry the heavy load, and the singing is a nice change of pace. The handful of songs on the EP shows Four Letter Lie still has it, and their comeback is a welcome one.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Gnosis of the Witch – ‘Dauðr Burðr Þrysvar’ (Iron Bonehead)

Gnosis of the Witch - Dauðr Burðr Þrysvar

Iron Bonehead Productions

Genre: Black Metal
A frustrating case of style over substance, Gnosis of the Witch’ssophomore MLP Dauðr Burðr Þrysvar is imbued with a fairly intriguing atmosphere (thanks to the ambient touches and vaguely Resident Evil-ish melodies), but has nothing in the way of memorable riffs to back it up.

Akin to some of Abigor’s latter-day releases, the two songs on here somehow manage to sound organic, sterile, relaxed and terse all at once but at no point do they hit the elusive black metal sweet spot in the way the aforementioned Austrians do.

Rating: 2
(Neil Pretorius)

Kix – ‘Rock Your Face Off’ (Loud & Proud)

Kix - 'Rock Your Face Off'

Loud & Proud Records

Genre: Hard Rock
Nearly 20 years after their last studio album, Kix has returned with Rock Your Face Off. The band had a platinum album in the ’80s with Blow My Fuse and radio hits like “Don’t Close Your Eyes,” “Girl Money” and “Blow My Fuse.” They split in the mid-’90s before reuniting about a decade ago.

The 2014 edition of Kix still delivers bluesy hard rock with singalong choruses ready made for arenas. Steve Whiteman’s voice has held up well, and the guitar work on the album is excellent. They were lumped in with the hair bands in the ’80s, but their style has more in common with Cheap Trick than Poison or Dokken. As someone who enjoyed them back in the day, it’s good to hear Kix still kickin’.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Lelahell – ‘Al Insane​.​.​.’ (HPGD)

Lelahell - 'Al Insane​.​.​.The (Re​)​Birth of Abderrahmane'

Horror Pain Gore Death Productions

Genre: Death Metal
One of great things about metal is that its artists are from pretty much everywhere in the world. Lelahell hail from Algeria, and after an EP a couple years ago, return with their first full-length album Al Insane​.​.​.The (Re​)​Birth of Abderrahmane.

The album is technical and heavy. Waves of brutality combine with  melody and groove along with constantly shifting tempos and even some progressive flourishes. The vocals are mostly guttural death metal growls, but a few higher pitched black metal type screams are also used, which help add variety. Pinch harmonics are overused, but the arrangements and musicianship are excellent.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

New Heavy Metal Album Releases: August 5, 2014

New Metal ReleasesAlestorm – Sunset on the Golden Age (Napalm)
Avulsed – Carnivoracity Re-Release (Xtreem)
Belphegor – Conjuring The Dead (Nuclear Blast)
Blues Pills – Blues Pills (Nuclear Blast)
Bolzer – Soma (Invictus)
Brimstone Coven – Brimstone Coven (Metal Blade)
Capture The Crown – Reign of Terror (Artery)
Cardinal Wrym – Black Hole Gods (Self)
Cemetery Fog – Towards The Gates EP (Iron Bonehead)
Chaos Moon – Resurrection Extract (I, Voidhanger)
Cold World – How the Gods Chill (Deathwish)
Columns – Please Explode (Relapse)
Eluveitie – Origins (Nuclear Blast)
Entombed A.D. – Back To the Front (Century Media)
Four Letter Lie – Like Structures (Artery)
Fractured Spine – Memoirs Of A Shattered Mind (Inverse)
Gnosis of the Witch – Dauðr Burðr Þrysvar EP (Iron Bonehead)
Godsmack – 1000hp (Republic)
Holy Tongues – Weak People (Melotov)
John Gallow – Violet Dreams (I, Voidhanger)
John Garcia – John Garcia (Napalm)
Kix – Rock Your Face Off (Loud and Proud)
Lelahell – Al Insane…The (Re)Birth of Abderrahmane (HPGD)
Mastodon – Remission Re-Release (Relapse)
Mutilated Veterans – Necro Crust Warhead EP (Hells Headbangers)
Nachtmystium – The World We Left Behind (Century Media)
Ommadon – V (Dry Cough/Domestic Genocide)
The Order Of The Solar Temple – The Order Of The Solar Temple (I, Voidhanger)
Panopticon – Roads To The North (Bindrune / Nordvis)
Paul Gilbert – Stone Pushing Uphill Man (Shrapnel)
Saturn – Ascending (Live in Space) (Rise Above)
Shadow of the Torturer – Dronestown (Memento Mori)
Skid Row – United World Rebellion: Part 2 EP (Megaforce)
Star Insight – Messera (Inverse)
Swashbuckle – We Hate the Sea EP (Get This Right)
To Set Ablaze – The Life We Lead (Autumn + Colour)
Trudger – Dormiveglia (COF / Sell Your Soul)
Twitching Tongues – World War Live (Closed Casket)
Vardan – Enjoy of Deep Sadness (Moribund)
Void Ritual – Holodomor EP (Tridroid)
V.R.P.I. – Vexilla Regis Prodeunt Inferi (Memento Mori)
Wovenwar – Wovenwar (Metal Blade)

New Heavy Metal Album Releases: July 29, 2014

New Metal ReleasesAbolition A.D. – After Death Before Chaos (Pulverised)
AOV – Act of Violence (Inverse)
Fungonewrong – Fungonewrong (Legend Group)
Invidiosus – Malignant Universe (Tridroid)
Krigsgrav – The Carrion Fields (Naturmacht)
The Last Ten Seconds of Life – The Last Ten Seconds of Life: 2010-2012 (Density)
Mutilation Process – Flesh Eaters (HPGD)
Sacrificio – Sacrificio EP (Iron Bonehead)
SOS – Strength and Conditioning (316)
Taatsi – Amidst the Trees (Forever Plagued)
UnBreakable – Knockout (Dark Star)
Yakuza – Kabuki Mono (War Crime)

New Heavy Metal Album Releases: July 22, 2014

New Metal ReleasesAncient Altar – Ancient Altar (Midnite Collective)
Bastard Feast – Osculum Infame (Season Of Mist)
Boneyard – Fear of a Zombie Planet (HPGD)
Corrupt Moral Altar – Mechanical Tides (Season Of Mist)
Crown the Empire – The Resistance: Rise of the Runaways (Rise)
The Dagger – The Dagger (Century Media)
Dog Fashion Disco – Sweet Nothings (Rotten)
Downset – One Blood (Self) Echoes – The Pursuit (Universal Warning)
Electric Funeral – Total Funeral (Southern Lord)
Empyrium – The Turn of the Tides (Prophecy)
Entrails – Resurrected From the Grave (Demo Collection) (Metal Blade)
Exxxekutioner – Fear The Priest (Ulthar)
Fallujah – The Flesh Prevails (Unique Leader)
Forevermore – Telos (Solid State)
Fozzy – Do You Wanna Start A War (Century Media)
(Hed)pe – Evolution (Pavement)
Ill Nino – Til Death, La Familia (Victory)
Keitzer – The Last Defence (FDA Rekotz)
King of Asgard – Karg (Metal Blade)
Martyrdod – Elddop (Southern Lord)
Monarch – Sabbracadaver (Profound Lore)
Monolithe – 0 (Debemur Morti)
Monolithe – II Re-Release (Debemur Morti)
Mutilation Rites – Harbinger (Prosthetic)
Nidsang – Into the Womb of Dissolving Flames (Pulverised)
Omnihility – Deathscapes of the Subconscious (Unique Leader)
Overkill – White Devil Armory (eOne)
Provoke, Destroy – Vulture (Indianola)
Rage Nucleaire – ‘Black Storm of Violence (Season Of Mist)
Schammasch – Contradiction (Prosthetic)
Silent Screams – Hope For Now (Artery)
Spina Bifida – Ziyadah Re-Release (Memento Mori)
Varga – Return Of The Metal (Vargantuan)
Vices – New Breed (Melotov)
Within The Ruins – Phenomena (eOne)

Blues Legend Johnny Winter Dies

johnnywintersolo20122_638

Blues legend Johnny Winter died yesterday (Wednesday, July 16) at his hotel room in Zurich, Switzerland at the age of 70. His wife, family and bandmates are all saddened by the loss of their loved one and one of the world’s finest guitarists.

According to the Chicago Tribune, there was no indication of third-party involvement, and early signs pointed to a medically related incident.

A prosecutor has ordered an autopsy because the cause of death is unclear.

The news of Winter‘s death was first reported by American Blues Scene and Jenda Derringer, wife of Winter‘s former bandmate Rick DerringerJenda wrote on Facebook: “[Johnny] was not in good health and was very frail and weak.”

Johnny — elder brother of fellow music legend Edgar Winter — has always been one of the most respected singers and guitar players in rock and the clear link between British blues-rock and American Southern rock. Throughout the ’70s and ’80s, Johnny was the unofficial torch-bearer for the blues, championing and aiding the careers of his idols like Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker.

Former GUNS N’ ROSES drummer Matt Sorum paid tribute to Johnny Winter via Twitter. He wrote: “I’ve just become close with Edgar and I’m so sad for him and his family. They had plans to tour.”

The Blues magazine editor Ed Mitchell said this morning: “It’s no secret that Johnny has battled with ill health for many years — but he seemed to transcend that struggle when he played live. No one’s slide tone was as sweet, searing, stinging or fiery. Johnny Winter blazing away on a Gibson Firebird is an iconic blues image.

“He was the greatest slide blues guitarist that ever lived. We’ll always have him to thank for pulling Muddy Waters out of his funk in the Seventies and helping him record some of his greatest work: ‘Hard Again’‘I’m Ready’ and ‘King Bee’. All essential.”

Speaking to JournalStar.com last month, Johnny Winter said: “When I was about 12, I knew I wanted to be a musician. The blues had so much emotion and so much feeling; if you don’t have that, you’re not going to be good at it.”

Asked if there was anything left for him to accomplish, Winter said: “I’ve never won a Grammy on my own — I’d like to do that. The ones I’ve got have been with Muddy. I’ve been nominated a lot of times but never won.”

Regarding what he would like his legacy to be, Winter said: “I just hope I’m remembered as a good blues musician.”

Winter‘s big breakthrough came in 1968 when Rolling Stone writers Larry Sepulvado and John Burks featured him in a piece on the Texas Music scene, which prompted a bidding war among labels that Columbia eventually won.

Winter remained active up until his death and was scheduled to release a new studio album, “Step Back”, on September 2 via Megaforce Records. The follow-up to 2011’s “Roots” features a host of special guests, including Eric ClaptonBen HarperBilly GibbonsJoe PerryDr. JohnLeslie WestBrian Setzer and Joe Bonnamassa.

“As the great blues historian Robert Palmer once bluntly stated, ‘Texas’s blues pedigree is unsurpassed,” writes Brad Tolinski in the liner notes for the recent career-retrospective boxed set “Johnny Winter: True To The Blues”. “But of all of these bright lights, perhaps the most electrifying, exotic and resilient Texas export is a snowy white guitarist from Beaumont, whose truth-is-stranger-than-fiction given name is Winter. For well over five decades, John Dawson ‘Johnny’ Winter III has produced and played on some of the most exciting blues and rock recordings in the history of both genres. His absolute command of traditional music has earned him the respect of serious musicologists, while his tremendous agility, wicked speed and full-tilt aggression on the electric guitar and acoustic bottleneck has won over several generations of younger rock players looking to cop some the fastest and hottest licks ever committed to tape.”


Read more at http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/blues-legend-johnny-winter-dead-at-70/#hrwApSwC4aKoAAOE.99

New Heavy Metal Album Reviews: Week of July 15, 2014

Betraying The Martyrs – ‘Phantom’ (Sumerian)

Betraying The Martyrs - 'Phantom'

Sumerian Records

Genre: Deathcore/Metalcore 
Phantom is the second full-length from the French band Betraying The Martyrs. In addition to deathcore, they incorporate melodic vocals, orchestral elements and some progressive flourishes.

The result is more creative and diverse than the typical deathcore album. The band blends the various influences into a cohesive whole. The songs are sometimes bludgeoning and extreme with harsh vocals, other times very melodic and catchy. The orchestral parts add atmosphere and depth, and the band has stepped up both their songwriting and musicianship from their debut.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Chelsea Grin – ‘Ashes to Ashes’ (Artery/Razor & Tie)

Chelsea Grin – 'Ashes to Ashes'

Artery Recordings/Razor & Tie

Genre: Deathcore
Deathcore is extreme metal’s answer to pop music. However, sometimes it’s nice to listen to the musical equivalent of an ‘80s Arnie cinematic murder fest instead of putting on a pair of reading glasses and comparing the lyrics of Light Bearer’s album Lapsus to John Milton’s epic Paradise Lost. And Chelsea Grin’s latest effort is perfectly fine playing that role.

Ashes to Ashes is catchy, inoffensive and perfect for when you want to zone out and nod your head to the beat while doing something else. But then, the same could be said of nearly every other deathcore album I’ve listened to. It’s the type of album best used to get you in the party spirit.

Rating: 3
(Sam Thornton)

Coffinborn – ‘Beneath the Cemetery’ (Xtreem)

Coffinborn - 'Beneath the Cemetery'

Xtreem Music

Genre: Death Metal
The Hungarian band Coffinborn includes members of Gravecrusher and Carnage. Beneath The Cemetery is their debut EP.

The four songs on the album are brutal, old-school death metal. Once they crank up to full speed with blazing guitar solos, they are a powerful force. They vary the tempos as well, with equally crushing slow riffs and deep growls that are somewhat understandable. They are inspired by classic bands like Asphyx and Autopsy, and execute that style well. These four songs whet the appetite for a full album.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Death Vomit – ‘Gutted By Horrors’ (Xtreem)

Death Vomit - 'Gutted By Horrors'

Xtreem Music

Genre: Death Metal
As you can tell from the album art, band name and song titles like “‘Devoured By Carcass” and “Corpse Immolation,” you’re in for some brutality and extremity with Gutted By Horrors, the debut full-length from the Chilean band Death Vomit.

Their sound is raw and aggressive death metal with a nod to the old school. The production is bare bones with echoey guttural vocals. They change up tempos from groovy to breakneck with surprisingly catchy riffs and solid songwriting.

Rating: 3
(Chad Bowar)

Devilskin – ‘We Rise’ (Warlock)

Devilskin - 'We Rise'

Warlock Records

Genre: Hard Rock
Hailing from New Zealand, Devilskin have had a lot of success in their home country. Several singles have climbed the charts there, and now they are poised for success in the rest of the world.

The songs on We Rise are extremely catchy, but also pack a punch. Vocalist Jennie Skulander is a powerhouse able to belt it out, while  singing with restraint and emotion when needed. Most of the vocals are melodic singing, but there are screaming vocals in places that add an extra dimension to their sound. From ballads to mid-tempo rockers to upbeat anthems, this is a diverse album with memorable songs from a band whose future looks bright.

Rating: 4
(Chad Bowar)

Illuminate Me – ‘I Have Become A Corpse’ (Tragic Hero)

Illuminate Me - 'I Have Become A Corpse'

Tragic Hero Records

Genre: Metallic Hardcore
After initially beginning as a duo studio project, Florida’s Illuminate Meexpanded to a full band, released an EP, and now unleash their full-length debut I Have Become A Corpse.

The band infuses some chaotic punk elements and attitude alongside intense metallic hardcore. Their own vocals are good, and they also bring aboard some guest vocalists such as Garrett Rapp (The Color Morale), Jerry Roush (Glasscloud), and Landon Tewers (The Plot In You) that help add variety. The album flies by in a barrage of aggression that’s also infused with melody, although the vocals are all screams.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Lazer/Wulf – ‘The Beast of Left and Right’ (Retro Futurist)

Lazer/Wulf – ‘The Beast of Left and Right’

Retro Futurist Records

Genre: Experimental/Instrumental Metal
Spelling aside, Lazer/Wulf perfectly encapsulate the spirit of the new album The Beast of Left and Right. The Lazer end is the precision and intensity that went into its composition, the Wulf being the feral side relying on instinct, searching, hunting and capitalizing on opportunity.

The album is palindromic. The opposing songs draw off or counter each other. What we end up with is a nuanced and dynamic album of pinball riffage and prog explorations. There’s a jam feel, but as mentioned, this is all planned out. There’s groove, hooks, emotion, jazz-influenced percussion and sparse vocals bringing At The Drive-In to mind. This could easily be aimless, but it’s not. The brilliant planning definitely pays off.

Rating: 4
(Matt Hinch)

Volumes – ‘No Sleep’ (Mediaskare)

Volumes - 'No Sleep'

Mediaskare Records

Genre: Metalcore/Djent
The L.A. band Volumes are back with their sophomore album No Sleep. Like their debut, they bring a lot of influences and styles to their sound on this album. A lot of bands in this genre have two vocalists, but in Volumes’ case, both of them do screaming vocals. There are melodic vocals as well.

The songs run the gamut from technical to progressive to groovy. They are dynamic, going from mellow and accessible to loud and intense and back again. A couple of instrumentals bring down the intensity before the aggression resumes. The Cali djentlemen have upped their game onNo Sleep.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Vuyvr – ‘Incinerated Gods’ (Throatruiner)

Vuyvr – ‘Incinerated Gods’

Throatruiner Records

Genre: Black Metal
In the same frozen vein as their 2013 debut album Eiskalt, Swiss black metal quartet Vuyvr have returned with a live-recorded four-song EP entitled Incinerated Gods, a fleshed-out potpourri of pallid angles and atmospheric bleakness that should appeal to both sides of the blackened quarter.

Comprised of members who’ve cut their teeth within sludge and post-metal acts like Rorcal, Vancouver, and Impure Wilhelmina, Vuyvr deliver these four tracks with an exceptional amount of power, patience, and finesse. Incinerated Gods’ melding of wintry conventionality and blistering unorthodoxy should whet the palates of fans of Inter Arma, Zatokrev, Cobalt, and Coffinworm.

Rating: 3.5
(Evan Mugford)

New Heavy Metal Album Releases: July 15, 2014

New Metal ReleasesBetraying The Martyrs – Phantom (Sumerian)
Coffinborn – Beneath the Cemetery EP (Xtreem)
Demonic Resurrection – The Demon King (Candlelight)
Devilskin – We Rise (Warlock)
Grave Digger – The Return Of The Reaper (Napalm)
Illuminate Me – I Have Become A Corpse (Tragic Hero)
Kult of Taurus / Erevos Aenaon – Born of Fire, Forged By Death Split (Forever Plagued)
Lazer/Wulf – The Beast of Left and Right (Retro Futurist)
Lesch-Nyhan – Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome EP (HPGD)
Night By Night – NxN (Cargo)
Novembers Doom – Bled White (The End)
Pelican – Arktika (Self)
Rise Against – The Black Market (Interscope)
Suicide Silence – You Can’t Stop Me (Nuclear Blast)
Unaussprechlichen Kulten – Baphomet Pan Shub-Niggurath (Iron Bonehead)
United Nations – The Next Four Years (Temporary Residence)
Volumes – No Sleep (Mediaskare)
Vuyvr – Incinerated Gods (Throatruiner)
Yakuza – Samsara Re-Release (War Crime)
Yakuza – Transmutations Re-Release (War Crime)

New Heavy Metal Album Releases: July 8, 2014

New Metal Releases’68 – In Humor and Sadness (eOne / Good Fight)
Amberian Dawn – Magic Forest (Napalm)
Angist – Circle Of Suffering (Hammerheart)
Athanatos – Unholy Union (Iron Bonehead)
Bjarm – Imminence (Fono)
Chelsea Grin – Ashes To Ashes (Artery / Razor & Tie)
Connoisseur – Stoner Justice (Tankcrimes)
Corruption – Devil’s Share (Metal Mind)
Earthless Meets Heavy Blanket – In A Dutch Haze (Outer Battery / Roadburn)
English Dogs – The Thing With Two Heads (Candlelight)
Erimha – Reign Through Immortality (Victory)
Exordium Mors – The Apotheosis of Death (Iron Blood & Death)
Goatwhore – Constricting Rage Of The Merciless (Metal Blade)
Gotthard – Bang! (The End)
Hate Division – Order of the Enslaved (Blast Head)
The Hell – Groovehammer (Prosthetic)
Iron Man – Generation Void Re-Release (Shadow Kingdom)
Iron Man – The Passage Re-Release (Shadow Kingdom)
Islander – Violence & Destruction (Victory)
Judas Priest – Redeemer of Souls (Epic)
Kruk – Before (Metal Mind)
Lawrence’s Creation – Drop Zone (HPGD)
Ministry – Last Tangle In Paris CD/DVD (UDR / 13th Planet)
Monuments – The Amanuensis (Century Media)
My Iron Lung – Relief (Pure Noise)
Mortals – Cursed To See the Future (Relapse)
Origin – Omnipresent (Nuclear Blast)
Pinnick Gales Pridgen – PGP2 (Magna Carta)
The Relapse Symphony – Shadows (Standby)
Scars of Tomorrow – Failed Transmissions (Artery)
Sonic Syndicate – Sonic Syndicate (Nuclear Blast)
Steel Prophet – Omniscient (Cruz del Sur)
Ted Nugent – SHUTUP&JAM! (Frontiers)
Terminal Death – Terminal Death (Shadow Kingdom)
Vintersorg – Naturbål (Napalm)
Wolves in the Throne Room – Celestite (Artemisia)
Wolvhammer – Clawing Into Black Sun (Profound Lore)
Zone Zero – The Lost Legacy (Shadow Kingdom)

New Heavy Metal Album Reviews: Week of June 24, 2014

ACxDC – ‘Antichrist Demoncore’ (Melotov)

ACxDC - ‘Antichrist Demoncore’
Melotev Records

Genre: Powerviolence
No, not that AC/DC. This is ACxDC, a powerviolence quintet from Los Angeles with their first full-length (a full decade after the band’s inception) entitled Antichrist Demoncore. ACxDC are well regarded within the powerviolence genre, an abrasive genre similar to grindcore, but with a greater emphasis on hardcore.

Uncompromising in their assault, ACxDC blast through sixteen songs in just over twenty minutes with an approach that is a direct descendant of hardcore, but with a metallic sound to the guitars and with violent shifts in tempo. ACxDC largely reside at the top of the powerviolence heap, a genre that seems to result in polarized opinions. Judge for yourself because, if nothing else, Antichrist Demoncore is a good introduction to the genre.

Rating: 3.5
(Dave Schalek)

Alraune – ‘The Process of Self-Immolation’ (Profound Lore)

Alraune – 'The Process of Self-Immolation'
Profound Lore Records

Genre: Black Metal
There’s good stuff coming out of Tennessee lately. Yautja, Black Tar Prophet and now black metallists Alraune and their haunting and visceral debut album The Process of Self-Immolation. Alraune will take your feet off the ground in a maelstrom of darkness and hate over 38 harrowing minutes.

It’s terrifyingly intense. Its raw, destructive black metal works intricacies into the bludgeoning making from a complex and rich sonic experience. Lamenting guitar melodies and needling tremolos coarse through your veins to squeeze the heart until tears of blood run down your face. An atmosphere of despair hangs heavy with introspective post-BM moments interspersed within the fiery wrath. TPoSI is corrosive, unforgiving and dense. The extent of anguish represented is beyond grasping. USBM of the highest order.

Rating: 4.5
(Matt Hinch)

Auroch – ‘Taman Shud’ (Profound Lore)

Auroch – ‘Taman Shud’
Profound Lore Records

Genre: Death Metal
For Auroch, excess is overrated. Their merciless death metal is handled in a clear-headed style, with an emphasis on directness. The band’s sense of brevity results in Taman Shud closing out around the 25-minute mark. They still make space for a few acoustic interludes, which don’t have much of a desired effect beyond moving the album past the length of a typical EP.

The album charges frantically in a manner appropriate from a band featuring members of the outrageous Mitochondrion. No-frills death metal is what Auroch are capable of, and their second album is a dizzying declaration of that fact.

Rating: 3.5
(Dan Marsicano)

Axegressor – ‘Last’ (Listenable)

Axegressor – ‘Last’
Listenable Records

Genre: Thrash Metal
Drawing from the more aggressive side of thrash metal, Finland’sAxegressor return with their third release, Last. Influenced by the classic sounds of Destruction, Sodom and Exodus, the band’s display of riff writing is an excellent throwback to the glory days of the genre. This is one of the better modern day thrash releases so far this year, as they completely capture the essence of the era.

At just over thirty-five minutes, the record flies by. Vocalist Johnny Nuclear Winter is the perfect combination of Schmier and Mille Petrozza with his blend of aggression and high-pitched shrieks. The strength of the band is in their precise riffing. The bass could have been more audible in the mix as the high end dominates.

Rating: 4
(Dan Drago)

Beige Eagle Boys – ‘You’re Gonna Get Yours’ (Reptilian)

Beige Eagle Boys – ‘You’re Gonna Get Yours’
Reptilian Records

Genre: Noise Rock/Punk
You’re Gonna Get Yours, the debut full-length from Detroit trio Beige Eagle Boys, is an odd, angry little album. All three band members share vocal duties and the result is as manic as the noise they create. For example, “Nothing’s Ever Good Enough – Scrambler” starts off with ‘90s-style alt-rock singing and then dissolves into pissed off caveman screaming.

Sure, the music is heavy as all hell, but the Beige Eagle Boys don’t come off as intimidating tough guys over these ten tracks. They’re more like the dudes you befriend but keep at arm’s length because they may or may not be totally insane. If you like your noise rock distorted and dirty, check this out immediately.

Rating: 3.5
(Kevin Sirois)

Blut Aus Nord & P.H.O.B.O.S. – ‘Triunity’ (Debemur Morti)

Blut Aus Nord & P.H.O.B.O.S. – ‘Triunity’
Debemur Morti Productions

Genre: Avant-garde Black Metal/Industrial Metal
Though continuously hailed as one of the forerunners of avant-garde black metal, the truth is that Blut Aus Nord have been resealing the same album over and over since 2003’s landmark The Work Which Transforms God. Their portion of the songs on Triunity continue in the same vein, with only the odd clean vocal inflections on “De Librio Arbitrio” breaking up the monotony.

Sadly the same goes for P.H.O.B.O.S., whose heavily industrial take on the genre fails to raise the nape hairs. Not terrible, per se, but both bands need to freshen things up lest they wish to become irrelevant.

Rating: 2
Neil Pretorius)

Cemetery Lust – ‘Orgies Of Abomination’ (Hells Headbangers)

Cemetery Lust - ‘Orgies Of Abomination’
Hells Headbangers Records

Genre: Death Metal
Cemetery Lust are just pure fun, as in bands that are wholly descended from Venom and Sodom and party hard like it’s 1984. Upbeat tempos, blistering riffs, and vocals somewhere between a growl and a rasp typify the delivery from Cemetery Lust, a quartet out of Portland, Oregon.

Though similar to bands such as Teitanblood and Vasaeleth, Cemetery Lust are considerably more upbeat and are clearly having fun with their tongues planted firmly in cheek. Think Midnight, and you’ve got the idea. With band members sporting monikers such as Evil Andrew, Nasty Nate, and so on, you might be quick to dismiss Cemetery Lust as silly nonsense and not much else; but, don’t be hasty. Cemetery Lust have the songwriting chops and knowledge of their forebears to deliver a rollicking album in Orgies Of Abomination.

Rating: 4
(Dave Schalek)

Dead By Wednesday – ‘Death Of The Rockstar’ (Ear One)

Dead By Wednesday - 'Death Of The Rockstar'
Ear One Productions

Genre: Metalcore
Dead By Wednesday have been around for a while, releasing a few albums on various labels. They have made a mark in their home state, winning back to back “best metal” accolades at the Connecticut Music Awards.

Death Of A Rockstar is a 5 song EP. The opening and closing tracks are intense metallic hardcore. Other songs are more in the metalcore vein with a greater emphasis on melodic vocals. Those aren’t as effective. “Shipwrecked” is an interesting track, almost proggy in places, and crushingly heavy in others.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Death Of An Era – ‘Black Bagged’ (Artery)

Death Of An Era - 'Black Bagged'
Artery Recordings/Razor & Tie

Genre: Metalcore/Deathcore
Black Bagged is the debut album from Columbus, Ohio’s Death Of An Era.They are a young band, still in high school when they formed in 2013.

Many of the songs are pummeling and aggressive deathcore with harsh vocals and some electronic elements that add flavor and diversity. Thoe are the album’s strongest, providing technicality and creativity. Other tracks are more in the metalcore vein, alternating singing and screaming. They tend to be more generic, but will also have more mass appeal.

Rating: 3
(Chad Bowar)

Ending Quest – ‘The Summoning’ (FDA Rekotz)

Ending Quest - 'The Summoning'
FDA Rekotz Records

Genre: Death Metal
Ending Quest are a Swedish trio, with two of their members also in the death metal band Desolator. After releasing a couple of demos, The Summoning is their first proper album.

There’s a seemingly endless supply of old school Swedish death metal bands. Ending Quest do the genre proud with excellent musicianship and quality songwriting, even though there’s not a whole lot of originality. If you like the Sunlight Studios sound and reliving the glory days of Swedish death metal, this will fit the bill just fine.

Rating: 3
(Chad Bowar)

New Heavy Metal Album Releases: June 24, 2014

New Metal ReleasesAbaddon Incarnate – Pessimist (Candlelight)
ACxDC – Antichrist Demoncore (Melotov)
Allegaeon – Elements of the Infinite (Metal Blade)
Alraune – The Process Of Self-Immolation (Profound Lore)
Auroch – Taman Shud (Profound Lore)
Axegressor – Last (Listenable)
Beige Eagle Boys – You’re Gonna Get Yours (Reptilian)
Black Sachbak – No Pay No Gain (Stormspell)
Blut Aus Nord / P.H.O.B.O.S. – Triunity Split (Debemur Morti)
Cannabis Corpse – From Wisdom To Baked (Season Of Mist)
Cemetery Lust – Orgies of Abomination (Hells Headbangers)
Channel Zero – Kill All Kings (Metal Blade)
Confession – Life and Death (Mediaskare)
Corrosion Of Conformity – IX (Candlelight)
Dead By Wednesday – Death Of The Rockstar EP (Ear One)
Death Of An Era – Black Bagged (Razor & Tie)
Deathkings – Destroyer Re-Release (Midnite Collective)
Decieverion – Deceiverion EP Re-Release (HPGD)
Devangelic – Resurrection Denied (Comatose)
Emperor – In The Nightside Eclipse – 20th Year Anniversary (Candlelight)
Ending Quest – The Summoning (FDA Rekotz)
Fair Warning – The Box (first 5 albums) (SPV)
Flesh Born – Han EP (Skeletal Lightning)
For All Those Sleeping – Incomplete Me (Fearless)
Godflesh – Decline and Fall EP (Avalanche)
Hrizg – Individualism (Moribund)
Imperial Triumphant – Shrine To The Trident Throne (Code666)
Inanimate Existence – A Never-Ending Cycle Of Atonement (Unique Leader)
Incantation – Dirges of Elysium (Listenable)
Kobra and the Lotus – High Priestess (Titan)
Marduk – Le Grande Danse Macabre Re-Release (Century Media)
Marduk – World Funeral Re-Release (Century Media)
Mastodon – Once More ‘Round the Sun (Reprise)
Mortualia – Blood of the Hermit (Moribund)
Mournful Congregation – Concrescence Of The Sophia EP (20 Buck Spin)
Nunslaughter – Angelic Dread (Hells Headbangers)
October Falls – Kaarna (Debemur Morti)
Outline In Color – Masks (Standby)
Powerwolf – The History of Heresy I (2004-2008) CD/DVD (Metal Blade)
Redemptor – The Jugglernaut (Guitarmanic)
The Relapse Symphony – Shadows (Standby)
Rog & Pip – Our Revolution (Rise Above)
Ronny Munro – Electric Wake (Rat Pak)
Septicflesh – Titan (Prosthetic)
Slaves – Through Art We Are All Equals (Artery)
Stigmhate – Zodacare Od Zodameranu (Bakerteam)
Tamerlan – Ain (Debemur Morti)
Tankard – R.I.B. (Nuclear Blast)
Vicious Rumors – Live You To Death 2: American Punishment (SPV)
Virgin Steele – Invictus Re-Release (SPV)
Virgin Steele – The Marriage Of Heaven & Hell I + II Re-Release (SPV)
Zgard – Contemplation (Svarga)

New Heavy Metal Album Releases: June 17, 2014

Azooma – A Hymn of the Ancient Monster EP (Xtreem)
Barghest – The Virtuous Purge (Gilead)
Boris – Noise (Sargent House)
Doomsday Mourning – Negligent Acts of Calculated Recklessness (To The Point)
Feed The Rhino – The Sorrow and The Sound(Siege Of Amida)
Fiends At Feast / Tragic Death – Purgatory Rites Split (HPGD)
Finntroll – Natten Med De Levande Finntroll Live (Spinefarm)
Incubus – Incubus Re-Release (Vic)
Leather Chalice – Luna EP (Broken Limbs)
Lecherous Gaze – Zeta Reticuli Blues (Tee Pee)
Lullacry – Legacy 1998-2014 (Spinefarm)
Mefisto – The Megalomania Puzzle Re-Release (Vic)
Moab – Billow (Scion AV)
Necuratul – Sanguine Lupus Graves (Forever Plagued)
Profetus – As All Seasons Die (Svart)
Radio Moscow – Magical Dirt (Alive Naturalsound)
Rippikoulu – Ulvaja (Svart)
Scare Don’t Fear – From The Ground Up (KBB)
Stars In Stereo – Leave Your Mark (Hundred Handed)
Taatsi – Season of Sacrifice (Forever Plagued)
Trepaneringsritualen & Sutekh Hexen – One Hundred Year Storm (Pesanta Urfolk)
Under The Church – Under The Church (Pulverised)
Vassafor / Sinistrous Diabolus – Split (Iron Bonehead)
Venowl – Patterns Of Failure Re-Release (Broken Limbs)
Wo Fat – The Conjuring (Small Stone)
Youth In Revolt – Love Is A Liars Game (Outerloop)