Review: A SOUND OF THUNDER- ‘Who Do You Think We Are?’ [Song Stream]

I must say it is always refreshing when a band can play a range of styles and still sound amazing. A Sound of Thunder, a rocking group of four from Washington DC, accomplishes just that. The band includes the three wicked talented musicians- Josh Schwartz on guitar, Jesse Keen on bass, Chris Haren on drums, and their self-proclaimed “secret weapon” vocalist, Nina Osegueda. ASoT consistently plays each song of now six albums with a high energy and intensity. Their latest release from this past December is a Kickstarter-exclusive cover album entitled “Who Do You Think We Are?” It effectively displays their talents as musicians through covers of the very bands by which ASoT was influenced.

The album starts with the perfect introduction, a cover of Alice Cooper’s song of the same title, “Who Do You Think We Are?” The front woman, Nina, sets the tone of the entire album in such a way that, if you didn’t know about A Sound of Thunder before, you will now. And if you don’t like them, well, they don’t care. They continue from song to song with covers of “Death Alley Driver” (Rainbow), “Pleasure Slave” (Manowar), ‘Stinkfist” (Tool), “The Last in Line” (Dio), and still many others. The best part is that ASoT not only meets the standards the original songs set, they exceed expectations entirely. A personal favorite is their cover of Mercyful Fate’s “Gypsy.” Nina’s vocal range and power are dramatically showcased within seconds of the song’s start. Jesse, Josh, and Chris aid in repainting the track with the energy a fan can come to expect from the band. Now, Nina’s vocal skills are present in every song, but there are definite songs where each band member shines individually. “Stinkfist,” as you’d expect from a song by Tool, has a clear focus on bass. Jesse shows off his abilities on bass in both “Stinkfist” and “Icarus.” He even adds a nod to their influence from Rush in “Icarus” with a bass line from “YYZ” and, as a fan, it doesn’t go unnoticed. Josh leads through the covers with the enthusiasm that sets the energetic tone of the album. His strengths as a lead guitarist are especially present in “Death Alley Driver” with its faster-paced guitar solos and riffs.

Lastly, if covers simply are not your thing, the band graced the album with a track of their own. “Walls” is an original from ASoT not released on any of their five previous albums. I don’t find that any of the covers put Chris on display quite so much as this song. He does well covering each song as a drummer, but “Walls” includes his own work, and I love it. It just is one of those songs where I’d love to have my ear buds in with the bass and volume all the way up. What can I say? I’m a sucker for double bass. But, anyone who hasn’t heard what this band’s got can get a good feel for them from the song.

The thing I love about this album, among everything else, is that due to the amount of bands ASoT has covered over one set, there’s a whole variety of sounds. There’s a notable difference between Tool, Dio, Rainbow, Manowar, Kansas, and Judas Priest, but A Sound of Thunder collected them together with their own personal touch fantastically. I thoroughly enjoyed “Who Do You Think You Are?” I bought it straight away, and I’ll be waiting enthusiastically for what A Sound of Thunder has to offer in the future.

Review: MONSTER MAGNET – ‘Spine of God’/’Tab’ Reissues

In this day and age of the deluxe vinyl reissue, few releases are more deserving than ‘Spine of God,’ the debut album from New Jersey Stoner pioneers Monster Magnet. To whet our appetites for a forthcoming studio album later this year, on September 1st the good folks at Napalm Records are releasing ‘Spine of God’ (and its follow-up ‘Tab’) on glorious heavyweight vinyl for the very first time. Finally, this stone-cold classic of the genre can be appreciated in the same way as the Yes and Led Zeppelin classics mentioned in ‘Spine of God’’s Rock-and-Roll-as-Dark-Ritual stomper “Nod Scene;” with “seeds bustin’ up the spine.”

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Review: PARADISE LOST – ‘Medusa’

Paradise Lost are an eclectic bunch. Sure, the metal outfit originating from West Yorkshire, UK has consistently released melancholic and depressive doom metal with a bleak nihilistic worldview that allows the listener to ponder the fruitlessness of their own existence (It’s wonderful!), but Paradise Lost have never been afraid to fuse disparate subgenres such as death metal, goth, symphonic black metal, and even electronic dark pop with their Black Sabbath inspired sound.

Indeed, Paradise Lost’s sonic flexibility has ensured every album in their discography sounds fresh and is easy to differentiate from one another, and this was definitely the case with their previous album ‘The Plague Within’ which was a critically acclaimed beast of an LP that ended up being my favorite album of 2015.

However, despite the rave reviews, Paradise Lost only basked in the praise for a limited amount of time before they embarked on the unenviable task of crafting a dynamic and worthy follow-up. Consisting of vocalist Nick Holmes, guitarists Greg Mackintosh and Aaron Aedy, bassist Steve Edmondsen, and new drummer Finn Walttery Vayrynen, Paradise Lost have created a more than worthy successor in their 15th album ‘Medusa’ which is an LP where the band has decided to strip the symphonic black metal elements that were present in ‘The Plague Within’ in favor of focusing on the doom and sludge sound that made the band so successful in the first place, and with the aid of producer Jaime Gomez Arellano, ‘Medusa’ is a great album with crushing riffs that wallop the listener akin to a strike from a ten ton hammer. Continue reading

Review: ACCEPT – ‘The Rise Of Chaos’ [Official Videos]

My first encounter of ACCEPT is still vivid and it does evoke the exact feelings the band’s music walked me through couple of years down the line, when I stumbled across their legendary song ‘Balls To The Wall‘ of their 1983 album of the same name, which is more than just an album. It is a phenomenon to be honest! Their last three albums have been doing pretty well, with the band achieving more success than they had in their entire career, with Mark Tornillo on vocals it also happens to be my favourites along with a couple of old school classics from the Udo era. After a hiatus and hitting back to the grind in 2009, ACCEPT have been pretty much putting out consistently power packed albums with a cycle of touring followed by the release of each album. They’ve been busy you can tell, and to hit that off at this age even after 30+ years of existence is worth a huge round of applause.

The teutonic titans are here to continue the legacy and deliver more good old school metal to the masses as they are just a knock away from the release of their 15th studio album, ‘The Rise of Chaos’, which comes out crashing through the gates on the 4th of August via Nuclear Blast Records. Back with a new line up and rejuvenated spirit, ACCEPT are pretty much consistent with what they do and hence further cements the fact why they are your old school go-to boys, with this record.

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Review: THE CHARM THE FURY – ‘The Sick, Dumb And Happy’ (Official Video)

The Charm The Fury is a metalband from Amsterdam, The Netherlands that doesn’t fit in 1 genre and that’s exactly why I like them as a band. They have melodic riffs with clean vocals as well as growling. This shows what Caroline Westendorp as a vocalist is capable of. They consist of 5 people. Vocalist Caroline Westendorp, bassist Lucas Arnoldussen, drummer Mathijs Tieken, guitarist Rolf Perdok and Martijn Slegtenhorst. It all started with their EP ‘The Social Meltdown’,This EP didn’t get by unnoticed, right after this EP they debuted with their first album called ‘A Shade Of My Former Self’. After this they played live on a lot of big festivals like Graspop, Download, Fortarock, Lowlands. They even played with Slipknot and Papa Roach, if this doesn’t get you hyped then I don’t know what will.

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Review: HARLOTT – ‘Extinction’ [Song Stream]

Sounding like something straight out of the 80s thrash era, Melbourne band Harlott have produced yet another incredible record. There are not many thrash bands in any era of the genre that match up with the ferocity that these guys bring. There is no mixing in different genres, it’s just straight in-your-face, kick ass speed/thrash metal! The band formed in 2006 and has released 2 EPs and 2 full length albums aside from this new album. Harlott began writing for ‘Extinction’ last year in 2016 after coming off a tour with Annihilation in Europe. The end result is yet another contender for album of the year as the superfluous amount of shredding fills your ears. Prepare for 51 minutes of intrepid, ravishing heavy pleasure. ‘Extinction’ is Harlott‘s third studio album and was recorded at Monolith Studios and mastered by the legendary Jens Bogren (Opeth, Paradise Lost, Sepultura). The record drops this week on April 7th via Metal Blade Records and you can pre-order it here. Continue reading

Review: WARBRINGER – ‘Woe to the Vanquished’ [Song Stream]

This week in metal, highly praised thrash band Warbringer released their fifth full length album, ‘Woe to the Vanquished’. This was the quintet’s first release not on Century Media Records, instead they partnered with Napalm Records. This record debuts two new members (Jessie Sanchez on bass and Chase Becker on guitar) and it is the first Warbringer album without founding member John Laux. The 8 tracks leave no room for filler and kick your ass throughout the duration. You can buy ‘Woe to the Vanquished’ here. Continue reading

Review: DARKEST HOUR – ‘Godless Prophets And The Migrant Flora’ [Song Stream]

Artwork by Shaun Beaudry

Melodeath/Metalcore band Darkest Hour has made a return to form with their new release titled ‘Godless Prophets and the Migrant Flora’. The band’s ninth studio album drops on March 10th via Southern Lord Records. It was recorded in Salem, MA at Godcity Studio with producer/engineer Kurt Ballou (guitarist of Converge) and mastered by Alan Douches at West West Side Music. The cover art by created by Shaun Beaudry. This release returns all band members from the previous self-titled record released via Sumerian Records in 2014. The Washington D.C. quintet have put together a killer release that will appeal to the old school fans that loved the early albums. ‘Godless Prophets and the Migrant Flora’ is an absolutely relentless, marvelous clash of uncompromising riffs and utter domination on the vocals. The band is currently on tour with Ringworm, Rivers of Nihil, Rotten Sound, and Tombs, dates can be viewed below. You can pre-order the upcoming album here. Continue reading

Review: DAMNATION PLAN – ‘Reality Illusion’ [Song Stream]

Finnish progressive metal band Damnation Plan are here in 2017 to release a masterpiece for the masses. Damnation Plan formed in 2004 in Espoo, Finland. The band released their first EP in 2007, ‘Darker World’. They took a little bit of a hiatus after that but then regrouped in 2011 to begin work on their first full length album. In 2013, that album, ‘The Wakening’, was released on Coroner Records. The lineup of the band has not changed since 2012 and consists of: Tommy Tuovinen doing harsh and clean vocals, Asim Searah also on clean vocals, Antti Lauri and Kalle Niininen on guitars, Jukka Vehkamaa on bass, and Jarkko Lunnas on drums. Starting work on this new record almost two years ago, the time has finally come. Damnation Plan’s second full length album, ‘Reality Illusion’ will be dropping on March 10th 2017 on Inverse Records. The mixing was done by Dan Swanö at Unisound Studios. You can preorder ‘Reality Illusion’ here. Drummer Jarkko Lunnas had this to say about the new release: Continue reading

Review: EX DEO – ‘The Immortal Wars’

After what has seemed like forever, Canadian death metal band Ex Deo has returned to bless us with their third full length release, ‘The Immortal Wars’. After releasing ‘Caligvla’ in 2012 with a bit of touring, the band decided it was time for a break in 2014. It was soon being reported that the return of the band was unlikely. Lead singer Maurizio Iacono, Jean-Francois Dagenais, Oli Beaudoin, and Stéphane Barbe went back to their main project in Kataklysm. Also featured in the band is Jonathan Leduc on the keyboards and François Mongrain on the bass guitar. Only a year later in 2015, the band announced that they were to begin work on their follow up. In January of 2016, it was revealed that the band’s next release would be titled ‘The Immortal Wars’. It has been a long road since then, but the time has finally come. On February 24th, 2017, Ex Deo will be releasing the album on Napalm Records. It was produced and mixed by Jens Bogren in Sweden. The Roman themed heavy metal band is prepared to unleash hell. You can preorder the new album here. Continue reading