Slagel, Brian – For The Sake Of Heaviness (Book Review)

November 1st, 2017
by J P

Reviewed: November 2017
Released: 2017, BMG
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: JP

Preamble/Intro

The history of the iconic Metal Blade Records in the words of the founder.
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Osbourne, Ozzy – Ordinary People-Our Story (Book review)

November 1st, 2017
by J P

Reviewed: November 2017
Released: 2003, MTV Books
Rating: 2.5/5
Reviewer: JP

Preamble/Intro

The Osbounes tell their life story.
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Exhumed – Death Revenge

November 1st, 2017
by Metal Rules

Reviewed: November 2017
Released: 2017, Relapse
Rating: 5.0/5
Reviewer: Mr. Metalguy (Guest Reviewer)

In music and music theory, the term “libretto” is used to describe both the words of an opera or long form composition and also any booklet comprising those works. It may seem odd to use such phraseology in the discussion of goregrind legends Exhumed, but believe you me it is absolutely not, as their latest opus, DEATH REVENGE, is in fact a musical and an opera. It is a terror story based on true events that occurred during the 19th century in Edinburgh. Google Burke and Hare murders if you want to learn more.

Full stop: In the event that opening salvo “Introduction: Death Revenge Overture” does not make you want to watch Halloween, examine your life choices.

Taking grind to new heights, Matt Harvey here reaches what is arguably the zenith of his writing prowess as he has constructed narrative tale recounting the exploits of Burke and Hare and their dastardly deeds as well as those who aided and abetted them. I am not going to go so far as to say his writing will never be better, but it may well never be as verbose and enrapturing. Reading the liner notes and delving into the story is just as much fun as it is to headband along to the pulsating rhythm being spewed forth from speakers on every track, oozing forth with metallic malevolence, fugacious in its onslaught and deserving of undivided attention.

DEATH REVENGE is undoubtedly meant to be digested in a single sitting, however piecemeal work is necessary within the larger game, and in advance of the album bludgeoning in full lead off single “Night Work” hacked and slashed its way through your brain, leaving lesions to be filled with questions of what else the album had in store, expanding the trademark sound of Exhumed beyond being the second best Carcass clone out there (the first is The County Medical Examiners, if curious). In the event you haven’t already bought DEATH REVENGE, cue up “Night Work” and see what I mean – it is frenzied and almost unhinged but deliberate in its execution.

Now, to take a short step back, since you now have the album in your hands (yes it demands a physical presence), “Dead End” contains one of the best gurgles I have ever heard in my entire life. No amount of Drano will make it go away. Damn.

It bears mentioning here that, again, above all else, DEATH REVENGE is an opera, a piece of musical cinema. What is cinema without a score, without some atmosphere amidst the blood splatter? Enter in the aptly titled “Interlude: Grave Makers of Edinburgh” which, while short, is an expertly arranged bit of fancy as opposed to flotsam, a welcome respite from the relentless battery that an Exhumed album represents. It’s actually beautiful. But, then again, so is the face melting ferocity of follow up “The Harrowing,” so be prepared for that.

Pressing ever forward, and in true form composition with a nod to classical interpretations, approximate midway point “A Funeral Party” recalls the musical theme presented at first introduction, reeling the listener back into the narrative just in case attention had waned or been caught elsewhere, fretboards surely smoking with the resultant friction of fleet fingers, bass drums swollen from the beating they have been forced to endure thus far.

Musically, DEATH REVENGE pushes the idea of Exhumed to new places and to to new heights, including but not limited to audible (and audacious) bass guitar work as well as, in places, near power metal melody and lead work as well as outright thrash and D-beat/crust influence. Lyrically, it is head and shoulders above anything they have done before. Overall, for what it is representing, it cannot be a better album and you owe it to yourself to give it a try. Masterful in execution.


Videos

No Videos Available


Track Listing:
1.Death Revenge Overture
2.Defenders of the Grave
3. Lifeless
4. Dead End
5. Night Work
6. Unspeakable
7. Gravemakers of Edinburgh
8. The Harrowing
9. A Funeral Party
10.The Anatomy Act of 1832
11.Incarnadined Hands
12.Death Revenge

Lineup:
Matt Harvey-Vocals, Guitar
Ross Sewage- Bass
Bud Burke-Guitar
Mike Hamilton-Drums

Websites:

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Belphegor – Totenritual

November 1st, 2017
by Metal Rules

Reviewed: November 2017
Released: 2017, Nuclear Blast
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Mr. Metalguy (Guest Reviewer)

How do you like your blackened death metal? With or without songs about goats? Well, Belphegor lurch back into the collective conscience on their 11th effort, TOTENRITUAL. There are no songs about goats. BONDAGE GOAT ZOMBIE is my favourite Belphegor album, after which I lost track of the band for various reasons, coming back around with 2014’s CONJURING THE DEAD, which I thought was serviceable at best and it certainly scratched an itch at the time. Is TOTENRITUAL deserving of reverence, of ritual, of repeated listens?

Perhaps more than on other releases, TOTENRITUAL’s first track “Baphomet” showcases Belphegor’s uncanny ability to marry brutality with memorability, those guitar flourishes and double kick ripping into a chorus that is oddly reminiscent of Nile somehow while still maintaining the core identity of the Belphegor sound, which at this point is basically the vision of Helmuth. And his vision is bleak indeed, a raging and swirling vortex of blackened riffs and punishing drums with nary a break from the voracious internal want to bang one’s head. And that is only the first track.

In the world of Belphegor, stability is key. Listeners should have a good idea of what they are getting into even with a passing knowledge of the band. Curveballs are meant for baseball. And yet, on TOTENRITUAL, Belphegor prove themselves to be more than a one blast pony, incorporating (brief) acoustic atmosphere into “Black Dragon” and even a mood instrumental track near the album’s conclusion.

TOTENRITUAL is a headphone album. There is an incredible amount of layering of sound and feeling if you have the right ear for it, and it takes multiple listens to truly appreciate the nuance of what Belphegor is reaching for on their 11th opus. Stare into their void.


Videos

No Videos Available


Track Listing:
1.Baphomet
2.The Devil’s Son
3.Swinefever – Regent of Pigs
4.Apophis – Black Dragon
5.Totenkult – Exegesis of Deterioration
6.Totenbeschwörer
7.Spell of Reflection
8.Embracing a Star
9.Totenritual

Lineup:
Helmuth Lehner – Guitar, Vocals
Serpenth – Bass
Simon Schilling – drums

Websites:

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Enslaved – E

November 1st, 2017
by Metal Rules

Reviewed: November 2017
Released: 2017, Nuclear Blast
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Mr. Metalguy (Guest Reviewer)

Quick history lesson here, being that the mighty Enslaved have been around now for 14 full albums, some 25 ish years, are arguably Norway’s largest metal exponent at the current time, and remain one of the most enigmatic and engaging forces in music. The mere fact they have steered their ship true to course this long is a staggering thought especially in consideration of the fact that sole remaining and founding members Grutle and Ivar were in their early to mid teens at the band’s inception. What were you doing at 13? I was listening to Limp Bizkit.

Morphing from straight ahead first-isa wave of Norwegian Black Metal then distilling that sentimentality through an alchemical distillery of naturalistic philosophy and an ever expanding musical lexicon and ultimately merging the steely imperviousness of Black Metal’s soul with prog sensitivities, latter years Enslaved finds the band an enigma wrapped in a riddle. Somehow they are too metal for prog, too prog for “pure” metal, not rock, and not Yes. And that is exactly how they like it.

So, the question becomes one of where E fits in the cannon? Firstly, E forces the listener to really become enveloped in its world, beginning with 10 plus minute epic “Storm Son,” a slow and smouldering start to an album filled with complexity. It is at once forthright and aloof, teasing the listener with an introduction that belies nothing of its ultimate composition, nor of its ultimate metallic weight, a welcome wash of beautifully orchestrated distortion covering the listener in familiar tones if not unfamiliar movements within them.

Moving on, “The River’s Mouth” continues the narrative of what I can only presume is an epic journey told through song and lyric. And the tapestry woven by the lyrics is nothing less than spectacular, paired with a gentle atmosphere of Moog and subtle acoustic accoutrements and a crisp vocal delivery. The recording and mastering of E is impeccable, giving full range and breadth to each instrument, human or otherwise.
A true standout is track 3, “Sacred Horse.” Now, if that introduction doesn’t subtly remind you of “Paint It Black” with a similar refrain after the Moog boogie, we just can’t be friends.

But does any of the foregoing answer the question of where in the cannon of Enslaved does E fit? I suppose, if pressed on the matter, E represents the band’s most cohesive and focused effort since VERTEBRAE with the otherworldly nature found in AXIOMA ETHICA ODINI. Hyperbole aside, Enslaved are unique in that each of their albums can, and does, stand on its own and is not easily compared to their other works as each outing embodies a differing feeling, a differing story. Oh and the blues noodle to start out “Axis of the Worlds” is just ridiculously good. See? It’s all different. It’s all Enslaved. It’s all excellent, and in
my mind, that is what E is short for.


Videos

No Videos Available


Track Listing:
1. Storm Son
2. The River’s Mouth
3. Sacred Horse
4. Axis of the Worlds
5. Feathers of Eolh
6. Hiindsiight
7. Djupet
8. What Else Is There?

Lineup:
Ivar Bjørnson Guitar, Keyboards
Grutle Kjellson Vocals, Bass
Arve Isdal Guitar
Cato Bekkevold Drums
Håkon Vinje

Websites:

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Suffocation – …Of The Dark Light

November 1st, 2017
by Metal Rules

Reviewed: November 2017
Released: 2017, Nuclear Blast
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Kate Wilcox (Guest Reviewer)

In the early part of the 90’s, if you were there and you remember, there seemed to be an explosion of technical death metal with bands like Carcass, Pestilence and of course Suffocation coming to the surface. Since then Suffocation have remained a very straight ahead, technical death metal band with no BS but a whole lot of talent behind their music. It wasn’t until the middle part of that decade that I discovered them, but I remember hearing “Breeding the Spawn” for the first time and being immediately impressed.

Similar to their previous albums, “…OF THE DARK LIGHT is played with intense focus and creativity. The songwriting stands well ahead others in the death metal genre and the talents of drummer Eric Morotti and guitarist Charlie Errigo are undeniable. The staple combination of blast beats and brutal riffs stand out on tracks like “Return to the Abyss” and the title track. “Some Things Should Be Left Alone” carries a middle-eastern guitar melody that changes things up a little bit but the most dynamic track I would say is “Caught Between Two Worlds” that shows the maturity the band has developed over the years but is still delivered with a raw primal force.

Are Suffocation breaking any new ground here? Not really. But still you have to give respect to the awesome musicianship and skill these guys possess and is probably some of their best material that they’ve put out in quite a while. If you are a fan of this area of death metal then I recommend you check out “…OF THE DARK LIGHT, I don’t think you will be disappointed.


Videos

No Videos Available


Track Listing:
1. Clarity Through Deprivation
2. The Warmth Within the Dark
3. Your Last Breaths
4. Return to the Abyss
5. The Violation
6. Of the Dark Light
7. Some Things Should Be Left Alone
8. Caught Between Two Worlds
9. Epitaph of the Credulous

Lineup:
Frank Mullen Vocals
Terrance Hobbs Guitars
Derek Boyer Bass
Eric Morotti Drums
Charlie Errigo Guitars

Websites:

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Portrait – Burn The World

November 1st, 2017
by Metal Rules

Reviewed: November 2017
Released: 2017, Metal Blade
Rating: 3.0/5
Reviewer: John Haseltine

So many other bands come to mind with just one listen to Portrait’s 4th full length offering BURN THE WORLD. This is not such a bad thing though as the overall feel of the album gives off a bit of originality while keeping close to those who have influenced the band.

Old school Mercyful Fate seems to be the one most mentioned by other. Now, I have not listened to other releases by Portrait, so I cannot 100% agree that they come off as a Mercyful Fate or King Diamond wannabe band. Although there are a few slight similarities, the same holds true for many other bands. Per Lengstedt, the vocalist does have quiet the set of pipes that at times can almost pierce right through you.

Portrait has style that blends traditional metal with hints of thrash and power metal. One thing I like about this release is the production. It does sound a bit raw in a sense. Not over polished. Almost a ‘good’ garage demo sound.

If you like your metal with an old-school vibe and in the likes of Ram, Hell, In Solitude, or the mighty Mercyful Fate, Portrait is a band that you should check out. It is a fairly decent listen from start to finish. Not that it’s going to blow your socks off or anything, but still a good album.


Videos

No Videos Available


Track Listing:
1. Saturn Return (Intro)
2. Burn the World
3. Likfassna
4. Flaming Blood
5. Mine to Reap
6. Martyrs
7. Further She Rode
8. To Die For
9. Pure of Heart

Lineup:
Anders Persson – Drums
Christian Lindell – Guitars
Per Lengstedt – Vocals
Fredrik Petersson – Bass
Robin Holmberg – Guitars

Websites:

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Paradise Lost – Medusa

November 1st, 2017
by Metal Rules

Reviewed: November 2017
Released: 2017, Nuclear Blast
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: John Haseltine

Many a band has in one way or another changed their sound from year to year, or album to album. Paradise Lost is no stranger to this. Some call it the natural progression of the band. The band is maturing. Or simply, the band is a sellout. However you put it, these various changes from band to band can be a good thing or a bad thing.

Paradise Lost had a bit of a slip with this over the years as some would say. From their humble death/doom beginnings to an era of a more melancholic, gothic electronica sound and back again. I have missed the past couple of Paradise Lost releases. But when the droning first track came out of the speakers, “Fearless Sky”, I had a feeling that this was going to be a full on Paradise Lost album. Full of sorrow and doom filled edginess that only a band like Paradise Lost can pull off.

Things do pick up a bit for “From the Gallows”. “The Longest Winter” is more reminiscent of a Type O Negative track. The next couple of tracks drudge along at a descent pace. “Blood & Chaos” seems to be the speediest track while “Until The Grave” takes the listener back down a gloomy road.

Overall, this album seems to be, and if memory serves me, a bit heavier than some previous Paradise Lost releases. Diehards need not worry with this one. And for those who maybe gave the band a chance at the ‘wrong time’, you really need to check this one out. Not that the band has ever put out anything bad in the past, but maybe just not up to par for some. MEDUSA get the job done!


Videos

No Videos Available


Track Listing:
Stephen Edmondson – Bass
Gregor Mackintosh – Guitars (lead), Keyboards
Aaron Aedy – Guitars (rhythm)
Nick Holmes – Vocals
Waltteri Väyrynen – Drums

Lineup:
1. Fearless Sky
2. Gods of Ancient
3. From the Gallows
4. The Longest Winter
5. Medusa
6. No Passage for the Dead
7. Blood & Chaos
8. Until the Grave

Websites:

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Panzer – The Fatal Command

November 1st, 2017
by Metal Rules

Reviewed: November 2017
Released: 2017, Nuclear Blast
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: John Haseltine

Right out of the gates, Panzer’s sophomore outing THE FATAL COMMAND grabs you by the balls and does not let go. If ever there could be a super group side project, Panzer is the one! Well, okay, there are others, but this is one that you are going to get hooked on with one listen and will not want to go away.

The band consists of Stefan Schwarzmann – Drums (Accept), Schmier – Vocals, Bass (Destruction), V.O. Pulver – Guitars (Poltergeist), and Pontus Norgren – Guitars (Hammerfall). One may think this is an unlikely union of players from vastly different genres. They sort of are. But metal is metal right? It is something I was thinking a couple years back when I read somewhere about the band prior to hearing any music. I however am a fan of all aforementioned bands so was as most curious. I had only heard a track from their debut album SEND THEM ALL TO HELL which featured Herman Frank on guitars (Accept). Be it timing or forgetfulness, I never actually obtained a copy of the debut. It is one that I will be ordering along with this one. This is a “gotta” own it type of band, especially in regards to THE FATAL COMMAND. An album that I cannot say has one dull track on it.

If you take all the greatness that these four legends of metal have to offer and mix it all up, Panzer is what you get. They are not trying to reinvent the wheel here. What they are doing however is taking all the elements of each of their styles and melding them together into a NWOBHM / thrash metal opus. THE FATAL COMMAND is a piece of work that by far, is probably on the top of my favorites so far this year.

I was going to put a couple standout tracks in here, but the whole album is a standout. But if you need proof, check out the album opener “Satan’s Hollow”, “Afflicted”, or “I’ll Bring You The Night” and you will hear what I mean as the rest of the tracks are as equally as great as the next. Insanely good! With this being the second release by the band, it could be fair to say that they may stay around for a while. One can only hope.


Videos

No Videos Available


Track Listing:
Stefan Schwarzmann – Drums
Schmier – Vocals, Bass
V.O. Pulver – Guitar
Pontus Norgren – Guitar

Lineup:
1. Satan’s Hollow
2. Fatal Command
3. We Can Not Be Silenced
4. I’ll Bring You the Night
5. Scorn and Hate
6. Afflicted
7. Skullbreaker
8. Bleeding Allies
9. The Decline (…And the Downfall)
10. Mistaken
11. Promised Land
12. Wheels of Steel

Websites:

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Leprous – Malina

November 1st, 2017
by Metal Rules

Reviewed: November 2017
Released: 2017, Inside Out
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: John Haseltine

So here is the 5th release from Norwegian prog-metal masters Leprous. A band that I have come to research a little and have come to find out that they are very well respected in the metal community. At first listen though, this is not a metal album. What am I saying at first listen? It really doesn’t matter how many times you listen to this, it will still not be metal. With that being said, many of you out there may already be familiar with Leprous who started out more in the vein of Opeth, Winds, and Porcupine Tree. And the Opeth part I believe was a bit more earlier years as with this one, they sound more so of the latter years.

For fans of black metal visionary Ihshan, you will know that Leprous is his backing band. Or maybe was for many years. So I now understand where the respect amongst the metal community comes from. Not having listened to previous releases, I am unable to lead anyone on to the progression of the band’s sound. If you are looking for a review on a metal band, this is not the place. Onward to what this album is. It is definitely of the prog persuasion. It is more on the side of rock and not metal. Often melancholic at times, this modern prog masterpiece does also have its moments of jazz influences. The tenor style singing of Einar Solberg is almost mesmerizing at times. It fits so well with the songs.

As a metal fan, it can sometimes be a bit tough to admit to liking other types of music. That’s okay. I myself get pigeon-holed by friends and family for my love of all things metal and as of late, many have gone into states of shock when I talk about ‘other’ music genres. I am a music enthusiast. Not that I like all genres, but most of them. Leprous’ style is one that I have grown akin to over the years. Also, as an Opeth fan, the transition of their style of today has opened up the doors for many bands of new and of late. Leprous’ sound is close to it.

I give this a rating of 4 for the fact that it is a great album. It is precisely well written and performed. I do realize that as a number 4, we here at Metal-Rules say it is something that every metal fan should own. Hate me if you will, but I don’t believe “every” metal fan will be able to appreciate the music that Leprous have composed within MALINA. With complete honesty, there was a time year’s back I wouldn’t. But I do feel so many will enjoy what they hear.

I highly recommend this for fans of Opeth, Camel, White Witch, and Witchcraft. For those engulfed in the world of prog, enjoy what could be one of the greatest releases of the year!


Videos

No Videos Available


Track Listing:
1. Bonneville
2. Stuck
3. From the Flame
4. Captive
5. Illuminate
6. Leashes
7. Mirage
8. Malina
9. Coma
10. The Weight of Disaster
11. The Last Milestone

Lineup:
Tor Oddmund Suhrke – Guitars, Vocals (backing)
Einar Solberg – Keyboards, Vocals (lead)
Baard Kolstad – Drums
Simen Daniel Børven – Bass
Robin Ognedal – Guitars

Websites:

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Heretic – A Game You Cannot Win

November 1st, 2017
by Metal Rules

Reviewed: November 2017
Released: 2017, Dissonance
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: John Haseltine

Heretic is one of those metal bands that started out in the ‘80s L.A. metal scene. It was apparent back then they were quickly becoming a force in the scene blistering the senses of all who they played for. This led to them being signed to Metal Blade Records which allowed them to release an EP and shortly after their debut full-length.

It wasn’t too long after releasing their debut that then singer Mike Howe left the band to join Metal Church. Korean and then bassist Dennis Ohara decided not to take Heretic any further and joined up with former Metal Church vocalist David Wayne to form Reverend. After reforming some 20 years later, they were able to release through Metal Blade, “A Time Of Crisis” in 2012 with much acclaim in the metal community. Now is the time for “A Game You Cannot Win”. Yes it has been 5 years since the last release. And the wait has been well worth it.

Heretic comes at you with an old-school in your face metal vibe reminiscent of days gone by. Even with their sound that some may say sounds dated, it is in itself almost a refreshing listen. The power/thrash metal is just as hard rocking as ever. It is something that some newer acts try to do but just can’t seem to pull off. Heretic pulls it off like it is actually 1985.

Depending on your favorite genres, A GAME YOU CANNOT WIN may or may not be your cup of tea at the end of the day. It is one that I keep listening to lately. Fans of Meliah Rage, Laaz Rockit, and Metal Church will enjoy this. So will fans of just plain, good ‘ole ass-kickin’ metal.


Videos

No Videos Available


Track Listing:
Brian Korban – Guitars
Julian Mendez – Vocals
Angelo Espino – Bass
Ignazio Iggy Coppola – Drums
Stuart Fujinami – Guitars

Lineup:
1. Intro
2. This World Called Hell
3. A Game You Cannot Win
4. Demonized
5. Broken Hero
6. Never Added Up
7. Relentless
8. Before the Fall
9. Master at Her Game
10. Immaculate Deception
11. Annihilate
12. Everything’s About to Change

Websites:

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GWAR – The Blood Of Gods

November 1st, 2017
by Metal Rules

Reviewed: November 2017
Released: 2017, Metal Blade
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: John Haseltine

The blood, the gore, and the on-stage antics of Gwar make them a one-of-a-kind act in the world of metal. Beware, the beast is back! And back with an unmistakable vengeance. THE BLOOD OF GODS is the latest release by these beloved and often underrated musical geniuses.

It’s hard to believe this is their 14th studio release. I remember back in the ‘80s a buddy of mine dragging along to a Gwar show. At the time I had not really heard of them. It was a punk gig but he guaranteed me it would be a show I would never forget. And I have not. Not then or the other two times I have witnessed them. If you have, you know what I mean.

Over the years they have leaned more towards metal than punk, but those elements have been and are still present with their newest album. THE BLOOD OF GODS is the first album since the passing of Oderus Urungus. One which many may or may not have been worried about due to his 25 year reign as the bands front man. No need to fear, Blothar has filled those shoes well. Not sure there are shoes, but whatever.

THE BLOOD OF GODS has all the stylings we as fans have grown to love about the band. Musically this one rolls along in typical Gwar fashion. Lyrically as well. There are plenty of nods to punk, traditional metal and some thrash moments. I have always been somewhat amazed by the sheer talent of Gwar and like many have always wondered how they would be taken without the costumes and insane stage shows. I have on occasion played some Gwar for people without telling them who it was knowing what they thought of the band. They were very impressed and were only looking at the costumes and never really gave the band a chance.

This one ranks right up there with some of their greatest releases. A very well written and versatile metal opus worthy of being on those “top releases” lists. Check it out!


Videos

No Videos Available


Track Listing:
1. War on GWAR
2. Viking Death Machine
3. El Presidente
4. I’ll Be Your Monster
5. Auroch
6. Swarm
7. The Sordid Soliloquy of Sawborg Destructo
8. Death to Dickie Duncan
9. Crushed by the Cross
10. Fuck This Place
11. Phantom Limb
12. If You Want Blood (You Got It)

Lineup:
BalSac, the Jaws of Death – Guitars
Jizmak Da Gusha – Drums
Beefcake the Mighty – Bass
Pustulus Maximus – Guitars
Blothar – Vocals

Websites:

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Fireforce – Annihilate The Evil

November 1st, 2017
by Metal Rules

Reviewed: November 2017
Released: 2017, Limb
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: John Haseltine

Wars will come and wars will go. As do bands who write and sing about such wars that have waged on since the dawn of time. FireForce are one of those bands. Combat power metal is how they describe themselves. It is what is in the lyrics that determine this label. Yet another genre split for metal fans to try and remember. This is something that has always irritated me. We’ll save that thought for another time.

A traditional metal sound is what they protrude. ANNIHILATE THE EVIL is the 3rd full-length by these Belgins. I have checked out a couple of their previous tracks from the web and I must say, for fans of the band, you shouldn’t be too disappointed. That is unless you were expecting something new and different. They seem to be on the path that is working for them right now.

A path that is that is a pretty good one. For those unfamiliar, I think it is fair to say that this is one you must try to digest. On first listen, I was not blown away so-to-speak. After a couple, more focused attempts to enjoy this, I did! Maybe focused is not the correct terminology here, but there are some albums that do not do it for me till a couple of tries.

There is great musicianship within the walls of FireForce. A double-bass drum attack full of galloping guitars and searing solos that are almost spine-chilling. The vocals are a bit raspy sounding, but fit almost perfect with the style of metal they play. There is close influences of Accept, Running Wild, Sabaton and Grave Digger.


Videos

No Videos Available


Track Listing:
1. The Boys from Down Under
2. Revenge in Flames
3. Fake Hero
4. Dog Soldiers
5. Oxi Day
6. Thyra’s Wall
7. Defector (Betrayer of Nations)
8. The Iron Brigade
9. White Lily (Okhotnik)
10. Iron, Steel, Concrete, Granite
11. Herkus Mantas
12. Gimme Shelter

Lineup:
Erwin Suetens – Guitar
Flype – Vocals
Geert Van Dyck -Bass
Thierry Van Der Zanden – Guitars
Patrick Sacré – Drums

Websites:

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Mr. Big – Defying Gravity

November 1st, 2017
by J P

Reviewed: November 2017
Released: 2017, Frontiers Records
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: JP

I realize that some of our readers might feel that Mr. Big is a bit too mellow but the band has a long history and tradition of Hard Rock so they make the cut in my mind. The last Mr. Big thing I reviewed was the ‘Tribute to Mr. Big album (INFLUENCES AND CONNECTIONS) way back in 2004!

I’ve always enjoyed the band and even though GET OVER IT and ACTUAL SIZE were weaker, the last three ‘comeback’ albums (ie. post 2010 reunion albums) have all been superb. The new one DEFYING GRAVITY follows that grand tradition of funky and fun Hard Rock. They present us with another cool pun intended album cover art and another fine 11 cut album featuring the original line-up from way back in 1989.

Speaking of way back in 1989…the band has a new song called ‘1992’ which lyrically is a fun look at the rise and fall of a band. At first I thought they might be referring to themselves but it could apply to Skid Row as well I suppose. They have the obligatory brilliant ballads…’Damn I’m In Love Again’ is this albums version of ‘To Be With You’. It’s catchy as all hell. The lyrics really standout, the band has a world-weariness but fun outlook that shines through on tracks like ‘Everyone Needs A Little Trouble’ and ‘Nothing Bad (Bout Feeling Good)’.

One element I really like is the amped up, shred parts of this album. I would argue this is their fastest and heaviest album since the first two and the dynamic shred bass/guitar/drum/interplay thing they good in little burst is very welcome to my ears. The songs are stronger and everything just seems to have clicked on this record.

I’m not going to belabour it, either you like Mr. Big or you don’t. I do! Most music fans should have heard of them by now over their 30-year career and in their stronghold of Japan this album already went Top 10…again. This might explain why they have at least six ‘Live In Japan’ albums. I guess you could say their career is defying gravity? I’m glad it is because I’m on board until these guys crash and burn or go out in a blaze of glory. In a just world this would be Top 10 world-wide because it is as good as anything they have ever done and people would be loving this band as much as they did back in 1992.


Videos

No Videos Available


Track Listing:
1. Open Your Eyes
2. Defying Gravity
3. Everybody Needs a Little Trouble
4. Damn I’m in Love Again
5. Mean To Me
6. Nothing Bad (About Feeling Good)
7. Forever and Back
8. She’s All Coming Back to Me Now
9. 1992
10. Nothing at All
11. Be Kind

Lineup:
Eric Martin – Vocals
Paul Gilbert – guitar
William Sheehan – Bass
Patrick Torpey – Drums

Websites:

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Winds Of Plague – Blood Of My Enemy

November 1st, 2017
by Peter Atkinson

Reviewed: November 2017
Released: 2017, eOne Music/Good Fight Music
Rating: 2.0/5
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson

It’s kind of a toss up as to which death-core band gets shit on more, Emmure or Winds of Plague. And not that both bands haven’t deserved it, for any variety reasons – often starting with their respective frontmen and sole original members and centering on their seemingly inexplicable popularity.

But Winds of Plague have had a few genuine moments of distinction – like 2009’s blackened deathcore venture The Great Stone War – and their symphonic flourishes brought a little something different to the deathcore table, even if the combination didn’t always work. Emmure, on the other hand, pretty much just always sucked.

After overcoming a bit of a rough patch that followed 2013’s lukewarm Resistance, bulked up frontman Johnny Plague has rebuilt Winds of Plague from the ground up, adding former drummer Art Cruz and a whole new supporting cast for their fifth album. All the maneuvering, however, doesn’t do a whole lot to distinguish Blood Of My Enemy.

The band’s sound remains something of a deathcore meets Cradle of Filth hybrid with the crunching riffs, heaving breakdowns and Plague’s “Die motherfucker!” belligerence contrasted by frilly synths, orchestral extravagance and the occasional female vocal accompaniment of keyboardist Adrienne Cowan. But the black/death metal histrionics that figured more prominently on Stone War again take a backseat here to the usual ‘core thud and thrash – with some notable exceptions, like “Never Alone” or “Soul Eater.”

Tracks that make up much of the back half of the album, “A Walk Among The Dead,” “5150″ or “Either Way You Lose,” even have a nu metal/butt-rock hue, a la Slipknot, Disturbed or Five Finger Death Punch, which is a bit of a regression, and not a particularly welcome one, especially as Plague over-emotes his vocals and his mates shout along. The keyboard accents fight for space here among the bludgeoning grooves and hollering and, more often than not, seem out of place.

Without more of the extreme edges, Blood comes off as fairly bland and typical – full of the meatheaded antics and posturing people loathe about death/metalcore, but little of the panache that let Winds of Plague get away with that sort of thing earlier on. Better luck next time.


Videos

No Videos Available


Track Listing:
1. A New Day
2. Nameless Walker
3. Kings Of Carnage
4. Soul Eater
5. From Failure, Comes Clarity
6. Blood Of My Enemy
7. Snakeskin
8. Never Alone
9. 5150
10. Either Way You Lose
11. A Walk Among The Dead
12. Dark Waters

Lineup:
Johnny Plague – vocals
Davey Oberlin – guitar
Michael Montoya – guitar
Adrienne Cowan – keyboards
Justin Bock – bass
Art Cruz – drums

Websites:

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