Unlike the bloodthirsty beasts and mythical creatures that serve as subject matter for so much of the metal genre, the demons and monsters that occupy the songs on Shadows Remain are all too real. The third album from the namesake project of Kayser and former Spiritual Beggars frontman Christian “Spice” Sjöstrand, Shadows Remain is a harrowing ride that documents the darkest days of the singer/songwriter’s life, a period induced by isolation and the abuse of various substances. It’s a record that wears its soul on its tattered denim sleeve, a brooding bruiser that simultaneously kicks your ass and breaks your heart.
Remember Dallas-Toler Wade? Yeah, the former NILE vocalist who is no longer a part of the technical death metal band. Tadaa! he is back with his main project NARCOTIC WASTELAND with their follow up album to the self titled debut record, their sophomore effort is known as ‘Delirium Tremens’ and is slated to be released tomorrow on October 13, out via Megaforce Records. The quartet from Fayetteville, North Carolina has put out yet another incredible death metal album that has the potential to end itself up on the year end top album lists.
‘Delirium Tremens’ was produced and mixed by NARCOTIC WASTELAND at Vegas View Recording and Dallas’ home studio. For recording and mixing, the band tapped Grammy award winning producer Neil Kernon at Auslander, with mastering by metal producer-elite Alan Douches at West West Side Music. So, how heavy does Dallas and his team’s sophomore record weigh? Let’s find out!
There are those who dismiss The Darkness out of hand as little more than a one-hit novelty act doing a faux-operatic glam-metal piss-take. Those unfortunate souls are A) probably not much fun at parties, and B) missing the point entirely. Rock and roll, especially heavy rock, has become a dour and earnest beast in the past quarter-century or so, plodding along a loud but often joyless path, rife with negativity and self-loathing. Since day one, The Darkness have served as an antidote against this encroaching gloom, a glittery, sequined outpost shining brightly in a vast expanse of brutal grey. Misery and introspection certainly have their place, but so do joy and outrageousness and just plain fun, dammit, and that’s where The Darkness come in. Yes, their songs are over-the-top; they’re also expertly crafted nuggets of kick-ass rock and roll, stuffed to bursting with beefy riffs, intricate melodies, and cocksure swagger. And sure, some of their lyrics might be a little silly, but those great big jagged hooks they’re attached to ain’t no joke. Their newest album, Pinewood Smile, is a bawdy buzzsaw with peacock plumage, a devastating roundhouse right from a manicured fist. Outrageous and opulent yet fiery and muscular, it’s the finest album in their catalog so far and unless you’re a real fuddy-duddy, it’s likely one of the best times you’ll have listening to a record this year.
Three long decades ago when the denims were tight, leather jackets worn, ragged and hair unkempt in the golden era of 1980s, Steve “Zetro” Souza of EXODUS shouted in the song “Deranged” off the album “Pleasures Of The Flesh” in his raspy voice, “It doesn’t make me calmer, it only makes me mean“. Little did he know that those words would still carry the feeling and aggression portrayed in it, which is still relevant in today’s thrash metal and it is an innate characteristic of this highly erratic and fast sub-genre in the entire spectrum of metal. I quoted the above lyric because that is exactly what these four angry hot blooded young men from Belgium offer you in their latest sophomore release, “Feed Me Violence“, titled very aptly. Watch out for this fast paced, gritty and nerve wrecking thrash metal record from young guns EVIL INVADERS as the release date nears soon, coming out like a hot bomb via Napalm Records on September 29.
Death Metal is brutality in its impurest form. The ferocious guitar riffs, earth breaking bass, deafening drum beats, and guttural growls define one of metal’s most extreme and unforgiving genres, and this abrasive sonic assault perfectly describes the style of weed obsessed death metal band CANNABIS CORPSE.
Despite the fact that the name CANNABIS CORPSE is a parody of gore loving death metal band CANNIBAL CORPSE (just needed to explain for all NONE of you who weren’t already aware), bassist/vocalist Phil Hall, drummer Josh Hall, and guitarist Ray Suhy take their doobie influenced and (admittedly) humorous metal quite seriously, and this can be heard on their most recent record ‘Left Hand Pass’ which is an absolute monster of an album with smashing guitar riffs, unforgiving guttural screams, and a slight hint of melody that hooks the listener from start to finish.
I will be the first to admit I’ve never been a fan of albums with recorded live music. I just find that live music is better live. But, Alter Bridge‘s newest album, “Live from O2 Arena + Rarities” challenges that view completely. The first two disks span over an entire nineteen tracks of live music that showed me what an incredible band Alter Bridge is both in and outside of the studio.
“Live From the O2 Arena” was recorded during their promotional world tour for their previous album, “The Last Hero.” November 24th, 2016 was described by Blabbermouth as “One of the biggest moments of the bands career,” performing for 20,000 people at London’s O2 Arena. It is the band’s third live album release following 2010’s “Live From Amsterdam” and 2012’s “Live At Wembley.” The album is to be released through Napalm Records September 8th, 2017.The set features a total of 30 songs. “Live From O2 Arena” includes nineteen live tracks from the London concert and “Rarities” includes “Breathe,” previously a Best Buy exclusive; two never before released songs, and eight other tracks that were only available in Japan. Continue reading →
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.
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.”
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 →
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.