July 3rd, 2013 at 8:44am
Ratings are on a 5 star scale.
42 Decibel – ‘Hard Rock ‘N Roll’ (SPV)
Genre: Hard Rock
There are certain albums that are perfect for parties, and this is one of them. Hard Rock ‘N Roll is good time, blues-infused hard rock, drinkin’ music. With song titles including “Scotch Drinker,” “Drinkin’ Margaritas,” “Drunk Love” and “Gimme A Drink,” there’s a definite theme here.
The songs on the album are simple, straightforward and catchy. They have an AC/DC or Airbourne vibe with a similar vocal style. The most surprising thing about the album is that 42 Decibel hail from Argentina. Guess that shows that drinking, chasing women and the blues are universal.
Circle of Silence – ‘The Rise of Resistance’ (Massacre)
Genre: Power Metal
Employing more of a darkened thrash inspired style of power metal, Germany’s Circle of Silence release their fourth album The Rise of Resistance. Sharing more in common with Mystic Prophecy and Iced Earth, the guitars are heavy and riff oriented. Vocalist Niklas Keim sings in a forceful lower register vocal, which blends perfectly with the music.
The choruses are a huge focus as the songwriting is impressive. They do an excellent job of incorporating blazing fast sections and groove-oriented riffs. The guitar team of Tobias Pfahl and Christian Sommerfeld adopt Iron Maiden type solos with an added touch of complexity. The Rise of Resistance creates an excellent balance between the heaviness of the guitars and the melodic vocal lines.
Ecnephias – ‘Necrogod’ (Code 666)
Code 666 Records
Genre: Gothic Death Metal
Ethnic inspired gothic black metal that is an excellent combination of Rotting Christ and Moonspell, Italy’s Ecnephias are back with their fourth release Necrogod. A concept album inspired by pre-Christian cults of the southern hemisphere, it embodies different cultures throughout. The first half of Necrogod is mind blowing, but the second half loses a little momentum towards the end.
Never compelled to become overly aggressive, their material is mid paced, heavy and accessible. The guitar leads are melodic, memorable and tasteful and are the highlight of the record. Rotting Christ’ Sakis makes a guest appearance on “Voodoo (Daughter of Idols)” and his voice creates a musical symbiosis. Mastered by Dan Swano, he captures Ecnephias’ essence and attitude and in the process has helped to create the best album of their career.
July 3rd, 2013 at 8:37am
July 2nd, 2013 at 5:32am
42 Decibel – Hard Rock N Roll (SPV)
Anti Tank Nun – Fire Follow Me (Metal Mind)
Autopsy – The Headless Ritual (Peaceville)
Circle Of Silence – The Rise Of Resistance (Massacre)
Darkane – The Sinister Supremacy (Prosthetic)
Doogie White & La Paz – The Dark And The Light (Metal Mind)
Edenbridge – The Bonding (SPV)
Ecnephias – Necrogod (Code 666)
Famous Underground – Famous Underground (MVD)
Huntress – Starbound Beast (Napalm)
Impiety – Vengeance Hell Immemorial (Hells Headbangers)
Ivanhoe – Systematrix (Massacre)
J.D. Overdrive – Fortune Favors The Brave (Metal Mind)
Jussi Lehtisalo – The Complete Solo Works (Ektro)
Lazy Bonez – Vol. 1 (Inverse)
Manegarm – Legions Of The North (Napalm)
Max Pie – Eight Pieces – One World (Mausoleum)
Oliva – Raise The Curtain (AFM)
Raven – Rock Until You Drop: A Long Day’s Journey DVD (SPV)
Rebellious Spirit – Gamble Shot (SPV)
Sanktuary – Something Fierce (Spread The Metal)
Squash Bowels – Grindcoholism (Selfmadegod)
Stone Magnum – From Time…To Eternity (Rest In Peace)
June 26th, 2013 at 9:11am
Abormal Thought Patterns – ‘Manipulation Under Anesthesia’ (Lifeforce)
Genre: Instrumental Metal
After the demise of the prog band Zero Hour, three of its members formed the instrumental group Abnormal Thought Patterns. After a 2011 EP, Manipulation Under Anesthesia is their full-length debut. It’s definitely progressive, with a lot of shred elements as well.
There’s so much going on musically that you barely notice there’s no vocalist. Whether it’s aggressive and up-tempo metal or mellower progressive rock, Abnormal Thought Patterns keep things interesting. Even on tracks with a slower tempo and an almost peaceful vibe, there’s still shredding going on in the background. It gets really jazzy in places, such as “Calculating Patterns,” but the metal eventually returns.
Attila – ‘About This Life’ (Razor & Tie)
Razor & Tiea
On their latest release About This Life, Attila’s mission is simple: have fun, stir things up and kick a little ass. With song titles like “Middle Fingers Up” and “Break S–t” you know exactly where they are coming from.
The songs are typical deathcore, with ample breakdowns and pinch harmonics. The vocals range from hardcore yells to death metal growls, and it certainly earns the parental warning sticker. There are some catchy riffs, and songs that will certainly get the pit moving. If you’re looking for an album that’s deep and complex, this isn’t the one for you, and Attila could care less, because they are too busy crushing skulls and partying.
Dio – ‘Magica’ Deluxe Edition (Niji)
Genre: Heavy Metal
Originally released in 2000, legendary vocalist Dio let loose Magica, his attempt at a concept record. It has been re-released with eight bonus tracks. Included is the instrumental “Annica,” originally released as a Japanese bonus track, and the highly anticipated “Electra” which was written for Magica Part 2. There are also six bootleg live versions of songs from the record, which is a nice addition, as some of them weren’t performed too often in concert.
Two songs rank up there with some of Dio’s best material: “Lord of the Last Day” and “Fever Dreams.” The latter features a great riff by Craig Goldy that is reminiscent of Dio’s days in Rainbow. Excellent melodies are featured throughout the record as Dio has a one of a kind voice.Magica has aged well and except for the 18 plus minute spoken word story, this is one of Dio’s better latter day solo releases.Rating: 3.5
June 25th, 2013 at 5:40am
Abnormal Thought Patterns - Manipulation Under Anesthesia (Lifeforce)
Amon Amarth - Deceiver Of The Gods (Metal Blade)
Attila - About That Life (Artery)
August Burns Red - Rescue & Restore (Solid State)
Behexen - Rituale Satanum Re-Release (Debemur Morti)
Damned Spring Fragrantia - Divergences (Basick)
Dio - Magica Re-Release (Niji)
Firewind - Apotheosis: Live 2012 (Firewind)
Havok - Unnatural Selection (Candlelight)
Iliac Thorns - It (Inverse)
Imprecation - Satanae Tenebris Infinita (Dark Descent)
Insanity - Death After Death Re-Release (Hells Headbangers)
Lantern - Below (Dark Descent)
Lesbian - Forestelevision (Translation Loss)
Locrian - Return To Annihilation (Relapse)
Man’s Gin - Rebellion Hymns (Profound Lore)
Morality Crisis - Boats (Minnesconsin)
Mouth Of The Architect - Dawning (Translation Loss)
Mumakill - Flies Will Starve (Relapse)
Necrotic Disgorgement - Documentaries of Dementia (Comatose)
Nosdrama - Gravity (Inverse)
One Inch Giant - The Great White Beyond (Soulseller)
Orphaned Land - All Is One (Century Media)
Palms - Palms (Ipecac)
Queensryche - Queensryche (Century Media)
Ramming Speed - Doomed to Destroy, Destined To Die (Prosthetic)
Scorpion Child - Scorpion Child (Nuclear Blast)
Send Me Home - The Struggle EP (Harbor)
Serj Tankian - Orca (Serjical Strike)
Sister Sin - Dance Of The Wicked Re-Release (Victory)
Skeletal Spectre - Voodoo Dawn (Pulverised)
Spirits Of The Dead - Rumours Of A Presence (The End)
Svartsyn - Black Testament (Agonia)
The Vein - Scouring the Wrekage of Time (Shadow Kingdom)
White Wizzard - The Devils Cut (Earache)
June 19th, 2013 at 10:05am
Angels Of Babylon – ‘Thundergod’ (Scarlet)
Genre: Heavy Metal
Formed by ex-Manowar drummer Kenny “Rhino” Earl, Angels Of Babylon’s debut album also included bassist David Ellefson, who has now returned to Megadeth. The vocalist from that album has also departed, with Rhino taking over vocal duties for Thundergod.
Angels Of Babylon play traditional metal with influences of power metal. There’s a lot of melody and big choruses along with atmospheric keyboards. Rhino’s vocals are inconsistent, but there are moments where he really nails it. He does much better in a higher register, and has a unique delivery that goes from sing-song to actual singing. As far as the songwriting, there are some catchy tracks and some excellent guitar work. They mix in acoustic guitars and cinematic elements as well.
Brutus – ‘Behind the Mountains’ (Svart)
Genre: Stoner/Hard Rock
It was no surprise to see that 3/5ths of Brutus are Swedish. Not after hearing their fuzzed out, retro-styled stoner/hard rock. Their second album Behind the Mountains slides into the ranks of fellow Swedish hard rockers like Witchcraft, Horisont and Mammoth Volume (RIP).
The songs are super groovy, man. Forged from recycled bell bottoms and bandanas, you couldn’t ask for anything more straight up rockin’. Sabbath, Zeppelin, Hendrix, even Clutch and The White Stripes can be heard on this retro riff-fest. You don’t have to re-invent the wheel, just make sure it rolls smoothly. And Brutus sure (rock ‘n’)roll smoothly!
Cardiant – ‘Verge’ (Inverse)
Genre: Traditional/Power Metal
While many bands release albums every two years or so, the Finnish band Cardiant take a little longer. They space their albums out about every 3 to 4 years, and Verge is their third full-length.
Cardiant blend power metal with more mainstream hard rock elements. The result is an album packed with bombastic and highly catchy anthems. Vocalist Erik Karhatsu does a good job, and has the typical power metal voice. The songs with female vocalist Outi Jokinen, like “Heaven’s Calling” are more diverse, and give them a distinctive sound. Her style is more pop/rock, grounding the power metal a bit without holding it back. If you like your power metal with a more commercial spin, Cardiant will be right up your alley.