Dropping on November 23rd we have Kuolemanlaakso’s debut full-length “Uljas uusi maailma” on Svart Rcords. This Finish band with members of Swallow The Sun (on vocals), Chaosweaver (on guitar), delivers a very interesting mix of Doom Metal elements with dark and dirty atmospheres that sound very imposing. Written and delivered all in Finish, this eight tracks are very well shrouded in a gloomy atmosphere, unlike anything the band members have ever done before.
Opening with the moody “Minä elän”, the band set the stage for a solid riffing onslaught that is quite heavy and engaging. Mikko Kotamäki’s vocals are his typical growl/shrieks from STS with some heavier sections like on Algazanth, nothing new here, but it does bring a certain level of familiarity to the music for fans of his bands. The sick atmospheric keyboards that the cake in this song since they are used very sporadically and to great effect. “Kuun Lapset” follows a similar pattern but with more keyboards and a very dominating bass guitar line.
Originally a solo-project of Teloch, this ‘all-star’ Black Metal band presents us with their latest opus of destruction titled “Greatest of Deceivers”. Being no strangers to Black Metal, all members of this band channel their collective efforts into one of the most savage and crushing Black Metal releases of 2012. With a no-bullshit approach, the band delivers ten anthems of sickness that will surely resonate in your ears for quite a long time.
The furious “Greatest of Deceivers” opens up this release on a very high note with perfectly layered guitar riffs and very intense drumming. The vocals are top notch courtesy of Cpt. Estrella Grasa, and greatly do justice to such well-crafted Black Metal. Leading the riffing onslaught we have Teloch and Blargh, in what seems a competition of who delivers the most awesome riff as the songs progress.
Finally a Black Metal band that delivers an old-school sound that does not totally suck or sounds exactly like all the other copy cats in the scene. Arcanum Inferi’s debut full-length “Ars Hermetica” delivers a nine-track opus that combines rawness with interesting melodic elements in a devastating manner. Hailing from Italy, this band reminded us of the beginnings of BM, but with a nice crisp rawness that is rare to find these days.
After a very fitting and creepy intro, the band delivers the crushing “Aeterna Damnatio”, a furious in your face song filled with hateful Black Metal riffs and hellish shrieks. The vocals might not be everybody’s cup of tea, but we think they fit the music very well and add that extra layer of brutality to it. The bass guitar line in this song (and release) is particularly excellent and very intense. The mellow into of “Furor Melancholicus” just makes this track even more brutal once the guitar onslaught is brought forth.
Delivering their sophomore release through Deathbound Records, today we have Denmark’s By The Patient and their brutal album “Premonitions”. With a very unique mixture of traditional European Death Metal and some melodic elements, this band does a great job in keeping things interesting and the listener engaged until the last second of this release. Through nine songs we have a journey of incisive guitar work, blasting drumming and very aggressive vocals, exactly what the doctor ordered for a Tuesday night of drinking.
Opening with the crushing “A Distorted Mirror Image”, the band’s traditional DM chops jump off immediately, but they gracefully progress to more melodic and catchy riffs. Very interesting in our opinion since they seem to switch the focus of the music and manage to create an engaging song structure, the same can be said for “Hours of Mist”. The almost Black Metal-esque riffs of “Veil of Depression” really give the track an even more aggressive edge, but it is ultimately the massive drumming that really stands out as the most aggressive element of the band. The particularly like the melodic passages of this very unique song.
After really hating on this band for their totally craptastic old singer in their last release “2012”, a few months back we got a message from the band saying they changed singers. Fast-forward a few months and now we have the band’s latest release “Dreamscapes From Dead Space”, showcasing their excellent mixture of Stoner Rock with Southern influences and now with an extremely capable singer in John Fadden.
Featuring eight tracks of very catchy and well-crafted music, “Dreamscapes From Dead Space” is by far our favorite Stoner/Southern Rock/Metal release of 2012. With a vibe similar to Chrome Division, The New Black, Down, and such bands, Ichabod exploits their excellent guitar riffing skills and creates powerful songs like “Huckleberry”, the album’s excellent opener. The band’s vibrant music is greatly appreciated through massive riffage, in tracks like “Looking Glass” and the very aggressive “Hollow God”.
Returning after his very solid and enjoyable 2011 release “It's A Beautiful World”, today we have Bradley Tatum and his uncompromising old-school Punk Rock. Filled with catchy melodies and interesting combination of elements, “Punk Eternal” delivers thirteen tracks of back-to-the-basics music that is both enjoyable and very well crafted.
With a very traditional musical approach, Bradley Tatum immediately grabs your attention with the opener “The Realm of Silver” and its super catchy riffing and warm vocals. Song after song, this release is filled with little details that break the monotony and make each song memorable, for example the subtle keyboards of “Life Returns” or the hypnotic female vocals in “Terminal Love”.
Delivering nine pummeling tracks of meaty Death Metal, today we have Burial Ritual and their second full-length release “Exterminating the Masses”. Taking a more Swedish approach to their Death Metal, this band has been around since 2005 and seems to be ready for a shot at the top with this solid release. Banking on cutthroat riffing and intense song structures, this American band manages to sound different than your average run of the mill Florida Death Metal bands from this country.
Things start off pretty standard with the hard-hitting tracks: “Accosting The Mindless”, and “Radioactive Rain”, all of them good examples of powerful death Metal tracks with a raw feeling to them. Is not until the album titled track that the band delivers an excellent and funky melodic opening section that really shakes things up, this song also features odd tempo changes that seem to work very well for such a chaotic, yet awesome song.
After striking gold with The Devil’s Blood and their intoxicating sound, Ván Records brings to us Gold, a female-led Hard Rock band from the Netherlands. With a style similar to label mates Vanderbuyst but a little bit darker, this band delivers nine songs of catchy and well-constructed Rock songs that have a warm and fuzzy feeling that is rare these days. Thanks to the fresh and unique voice of Milena Eva, this band has a good fighting chance against a very tough competition in such a crowded genre.
Since the opener “One of Us”, we can hear the band’s excellent abilities to craft catchy hard-rocking music, but it is Milena who steals the show with her very unique voice. With the guitar work being pretty solid, the catchy chorus sections of tracks like “Antebellum” and “Love, The Magician”, are what really hooks the listener into liking the band. “Gone Under”, shows a more playful side of the band that nicely combines the heavy guitar work with a more pop-ish vocal structure that works wonders and nicely gives the band a refreshing approach to the genre.
Four years have passed since the band’s last opus title “Mass III”, this enigmatic band from Belgium is finally back after a series of split releases and an EP with “Mass V”. In this crushing release the band brings their in-your-face Doom/Sludge to Neurot Recordings and delivers a release that will put them in direct comparisons to early Neurosis and Year of No Light.
The first blow is the delivered by the monolithic “Boden” and it’s very natural and unnerving progression. When the powerful riffs finally make their appearance, the listener is well into an hypnotic trance thanks to the tracks slow progression. The screams are pretty typical of a Sludge release, but it’s the drifting guitar work that really hooks the listener into this song.
Hailing from Finland, today we have Vortech and their super catchy Industrial Death Metal release titled “Devoid of Life”. Similar to bands like Shade Empire, the band delivers high-octane songs that feature trippy atmospheric elements that will have the listener begging for more. Perfectly blending aggressive riffs and powerful vocals with a futuristic vibe, this band is catchy and brutal as they come.
Opening with the solid “The Black Rite”, we have a good dosage of heavy riffs and screams nicely offset by an epic futuristic ambiance. The drumming is pretty intense, a particular strong point of the band since similar acts usually use shitty programmed drums. The synths/programming of “Neurovirus” make this track quite catchy and very well crafted, keeping the intense flow of this release to the limit.