New Heavy Metal Album Reviews: May 14, 2013

Aggressa – ‘Nuclear Death’ (Iron Bonehead)

Aggressa - 'Nuclear Death'
Iron Bonehead Productions

Genre: Speed Metal
Aggressa were an Australian band who released a couple of EPs in the late ’80s. Its drummer was Sloth, who would go on to join the legendary Sadistik Exekution. This release collects the 1988 EP Nuclear Death along with a demo.

Aggressa’s music was old school speed/thrash, sloppy and raw. The production on both the EP and demo is low-fi. The songs are melodic and catchy, but have edge and grit. Speed/thrash historians will especially appreciate this reissue, which is available on vinyl. Few outside of Australia probably remember Aggressa, and it’s a nice blast from the past.

Rating: 3
(Chad Bowar)

Ape Machine – ‘Mangled By The Machine’ (Ripple)

Ape Machine - 'Mangled By The Machine'
Ripple Music

Genre: Doom Metal/Stoner Rock
Portland, Oregon’s Ape Machine use vintage equipment and have a ’70s sensibility, but do it without sounding completely retro. Their music is psychedelic, doomy and extremely catchy. The guitar work is outstanding, delivering everything from basic stoner riffs to complex solos.

Ape Machine’s influences range from classic bands like Sabbath and Zeppelin to more modern acts like Mastodon and The Sword. All the songs are good, but the band really shines on up-tempo tracks like “Tyrant’s Arm” and the title track. Mangled By The Machine heavy and memorable, and will be especially popular in Washington, Colorado and Amsterdam.

Rating: 4
(Chad Bowar)

Arckanum ‘Fenris Kindir’ (Season of Mist)

Arckanum 'Fenris Kindir'
Season Of Mist

Genre: Black Metal
Arckanum is the long running solo project of Shamaatae, a mysterious figure. Ideologically different than most of his Scandinavian black metal brethren, Shamaatae’s approach to black metal mirrors his beliefs in Chaos-Gnosticism. Mumbo jumbo aside, Arckanum’s back catalog is a bit of a mixed bag with outstanding releases in Kostogher and ÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞsprinkled amongst average albums.

Fenris Kindir falls into the latter category with low-fi black metal anchored by droning cadences that take on a mechanistic quality, a strange approach to the thematic elements. The backdrop is still one of nature, primeval forests, and so on, but the result is just not very good with rather mediocre songwriting that doesn’t really play to Shamaatae’s strengths.

Rating: 3
(Dave Schalek)


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