The latest heavy metal album reviews, including releases by Altaar, Coilguns, Enforcer, Feared, Hatchet, Incura, Jolly, Krokus, Lifeless, Okular, Paganland, Pathogen, Pyro Ohio, Shannon, Upon Wings, Valor and White Widows.
The ratings are on a 5 star scale.
Altaar – ‘Altaar’ (Indie)
Genre: Doom Metal
Norway’s Altaar has crafted a truly innovative, intricate and emotional effort with their self-titled LP. The record consists of two epic tracks, “Tidi Kjem Aldri Att” and “Dei Absolutte Krav Og Den Absolute Nåde.” The former, an instrumental, lurches along at a mid-tempo pace, adding layer upon layer of thick guitars and ambient noise.
The latter introduces raspy vocals and a black metal vibe. Both songs are extremely atmospheric and droney. Great care is given to tones, creating a very intimate album experience. The cover art is beautiful, too.
Coilguns – ‘Commuters’ (Pelagic)
Genre: Technical Metal
They have released some EPs and splits, but Commuters is the debut full-length from the Swiss band Coilguns. Their style is hard to pigeonhole. It’s sometimes frenzied and chaotic, other times controlled and almost avant-garde.
They have drawn comparisons to groups like Converge and The Dillinger Escape Plan, and while that’s a good start, Coilguns doesn’t have a bass player, with the guitarist using pedals and amps to make it sound like he’s playing both. Some songs are catchy, others dissonant. It’s a challenging listen, but ultimately a rewarding one.
Enforcer – ‘Death By Fire’ (Nuclear Blast)
Nuclear Blast Records
Genre: Heavy/ Speed Metal
The retro heavy/speed/thrash movement is alive and well; at least in the eyes of Sweden’s Enforcer. Playing around in that nether region of the late period of NWOBHM just before thrash metal and what would eventually become glam metal diverged, Enforcer take the very early sound of Mötley Crüe and inject it with just a bit more of a heavier, European flair, almost as if Iron Maiden grew up on the Sunset Strip.
The result is pretty good with Death By Fire, as it was with Enforcer first few albums. Just don’t expect any growth.