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.