Dornenreich – ‘Freiheit’ (Prophecy)
Beginning their life as a melodic black metal band in the mid ‘90s, Austria’s Dornenreich have quietly assembled a solid diverse catalog. Back with their eighth album Freiheit, the band moves even further away from their metal roots. The songwriting is layered and complex and one gets the impression that a lot of time and effort was put into composing the material.
The songs are spearheaded by driving acoustic guitars and violins while vocalist Eviga whispers the majority of his vocal melodies. Growls and electric guitars finally find their way onto the record with “Das Licht Vertraut der Nacht.” Freiheit is a deep record that requires multiple listens before its full effect takes place.
Graves at Sea/Sourvein – ‘Split’ (Seventh Rule)
Seventh Rule Recordings
Genre: Sludge/Doom Metal
Neither Graves at Sea nor Sourvein could really be considered prolific. Lineup changes played a role in that, but both are back with this five song split EP. Graves at Sea ply their seething and sludgy doom with energy and vigor. Zombie-rific and dessicated shrieks and growls spew from the dark aura swollen with filthridden tone and unabashed amp worship. It’s somewhere between High on Fire and Electric Wizard.
Sourvein’s three tracks counter with the same kind of power but more bleary-eyed and laid back. Their sludge/doom works a psychedelic flavour into both the mix and the vocals. Both sides are excellent and must-haves for new and old fans alike.
Greenleaf– ‘Trails And Passes’ (Small Stone)
Small Stone Records
Greenleaf’s sound can be defined as ‘70s style, stoner rock with a psychedelic feel. Although only two original members remain on this release, the chemistry between the musicians on Trails and Passes is simply impeccable. The fifth studio album for the band, it continues to display their exceptional songwriting and ability to make the listener travel back in time.
The abundance of fuzz and the catchy riffs are sure to grab the listener and take them on a ride through time and space. With drums that are absolutely unrestrained, vocals that soothe like medicine, and melodies that are as groovy as they are full of energy, this album is tailor-made for fans of both the old and new style good old fashioned catchy rock ‘n’ roll. Trails and Passes is perfect for anyone who already has Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Truckfighters, Dozer, Clutch and Graveyard albums in their record collections.
Gun Barrel – ‘Damage Dancer’ (Massacre)
Genre: Heavy Metal
Starting their career back in 2000, Germany’s Gun Barrel are ready to release their sixth full-length record, Damage Dancer. While their earlier material was more influenced by Motörhead and Running Wild, the band now seems to channel Accept and Judas Priest. Patrick Sühl is their fourth vocalist and is back for his second release. His voice is more melodic and smoother than his predecessors.
Most of the material is mid-paced and built around big chords, as the songwriting is fairly straightforward. The melodies could be a tad more memorable as sometimes the material feels formulaic. Their earlier material had more bite and urgency, which is missing here. At times Gun Barrel hit the mark, like on the title track, which is by far the most complete song.