Not even the COVID-19 pandemic can stop Behemoth from spewing their powerful gospel, and “A Forest” is the evidence of it. Featuring two new songs and two versions of a cover of The Cure’s “A Forest” with Niklas Kvarforth on vocals, this EP continues the path of devastation the band has set upon their 2018 “I Loved You at Your Darkest” release. If you are looking for a way to stay entertained and headbanging through this pandemic, this short but sweet release will carry you over.
For those The Cure fans, Behemoth’s rendition of “A Forest” is a perfectly fitting one. Adding their own sinister touch and the incisive vocals of Niklas Kvarforth. The combined result is one hell of crushing track with ravaging guitars and punishing vocal onslaughts that perfectly bring the band’s touch to an already classic song. Both the studio and live versions are quite engaging, leaving us wishing we could witness the track being played live one day.
Unleashing a very refined futuristic release, today we have Italy’s one-man band Master Boot Record and their latest release “Floppy Disk Overdrive”. Besides the massive geekiness of the band’s name, concept and the album’s song names, this instrumental release is quite enjoyable and engaging. With the current state of affairs in the world, it is refreshing to be able to escape into a dystopian world with the songs in this release.
Opening with the Blade Runner-esque “ANSI.SYS”, the mood is set to be a very dynamic and engaging one. For those that are not followers of Video Game Metal/Nintendocore, bands like Vomitron and others have been releasing similar 8-bit/MIDI inspired music, but Master Boot Record takes it to a whole new level with additional influences and a bigger and more bombastic theatrical vibe, as shown in songs like “EDIT.COM”, “DEFRAG.EXE” and “DISPLAY.SIS”.
As a very fitting soundtrack to the current global chaos, Gautier Serre’s Igorrr unleashes their most chaotic and yet brilliantly crafted release to date: “Spirituality and Distortion”. Featuring an amalgamation of completely disparate elements like Baroque and Classical Music, Metal and Electronic Music, this release delivers nearly one hour of crazily addictive music. For those that have not been initiated into Igorrr’s madness, this album will definitely blow you away, if you have an open mind.
The album opens on a very mystical note, as it slowly transitions into heavy riffs and the angelic vocals of Laure Le Prunenec. The male vocals are nicely handled by Laurent Lunoir, who turns into a very unique beast-like performer on their live shows, and perfectly adds dynamism to the bands music. Listeners do not have to wait longer to hear Igorrr at its finest with the mesmerizing “Nervous Waltz”, a track that blends lush vocal arrangements, dramatic instrumentation, and electronic madness to perfection.
Unleashing an early front-runner for Black Metal album of the year, today we have Blaze of Perdition and their fifth full-length release. Featuring over 50 minutes of sinister music, this release delivers the perfect mixture of atmosphere, brutality and melody that few achieve. As their first release through Metal Blade Records, the band showcases a ravaging sound that is ready to be massively divulged.
The opener “Suffering Made Bliss” delivers a devastating blow of layered guitars, hellish vocals and bestial drumming that slowly eases into crafty and more melodic passages with a throbbing bass guitar line. Using creepy samples and a very hypnotic atmosphere, “With Madman’s Faith”, builds up on the first onslaught and unleashes a more sinister and hellish side to the band, additional to their pummeling and ravaging onslaughts.
Unleashing one of the most furious and yet catchy releases of 2020, today we have one-man battalion Midnight with “Rebirth by Blasphemy”. With over 16 years of existence, this release is surprisingly the fourth full-length record after a large series of EPs, splits and demos. Thanks to its completely intense live shows and the superb catchiness of their music, Athenar has managed to get signed to Metal Blade Records and now can conquer bigger stages with his intoxicating music.
Opening with the blistering “Fucking Speed and Darkness”, you get that Speed Metal vibe crossed over with Punkish elements and a hearty dose of Black Metal. This is indeed the band’s signature sound and it is perfectly paired with a completely bonkers attitude of chaos and not giving many fucks. This is clearly materialized on pummeling tracks like “Escape by Blasphemy”, “Devil’s Excrement” and the retro-sounding “Rising Scum”.
Marking the return of the most exciting Power Metal to ever come out of the UK, today we have DragonForce and their latest opus “Extreme Power Metal”. Featuring a leaner sound and a leaner line-up, the band delivers ten solid tracks that showcase their signature style paired with superbly catchy songs and a very playful vibe. Delivering over 52 minutes of high-octane music, the band never disappoints when it comes to expertly crafted guitar acrobatics and catchy music.
The lush “Highway to Oblivion” track opens with a certain 80’s vibe that seems to be the concept around this release. Immediately Herman Li and Sam Totman take over with their playful guitar interactions as Marc Hudson’s vocals settle the listener into the band’s elaborate songs. The album still features Frédéric Leclercq on bass and backing vocals, as one can hear from his bass guitar lines on tracks like “Cosmic Power of the Infinite Shred Machine” and the playful “The Last Dragonborn”.
Constantly getting better with time, Cult of Luna is ready to unravel their latest non-collaborative release: “A Dawn to Fear”. Featuring nearly 80 minutes of demoralizing music, this release showcases the band’s evolution into one of the most versatile and complex bands in the world. Picking up where they left off on their “Mariner” collaboration, the band creates lush soundscapes full of intricacies and magical details, making their music highly enjoyable and engaging.
The band wastes no time in setting up a very hypnotic mood with “The Silent Man”. Weaving back and forth between crushing guitar riffs, a trembling bass guitar onslaught and the band’s signature harsh vocals, this track perfectly prompts the listener to strap down to their seats and enjoy the ride. With the ritualistic “Lay Your Head to Rest”, the band sets a trance-like mood that bleeds into the more mellow album title track. We particularly enjoy how the band perfectly times the tempo changes, while keeping things fresh and interesting.
Stepping aside from all the controversy behind the band, we are just glad that we finally get a follow up to the amazing 2015 “Litourgiya” release. The Metal Blade signed and Bartłomiej Krysiuk-led Batushka delivers a very powerful release that is filled with interesting ideas and a massive atmospheric component. Featuring ten tracks, this release explores a more Black Metal side of things with pummeling tracks that are brilliantly balanced by eerie choir arrangements and superb drumming.
After setting a somber opening chants in “Wozglas”, the band explodes into the catchiness of “Dziewiatyj czas”. This song perfectly blends vicious Black Metal onslaughts with dreamy chants and a very melodic guitar driven vibe, similar to bands like Thyrfing and Vreid. The album’s second single, “Wieczernia” delivers another hellish onslaught of harsh vocals paired with funky guitars, which are quite punishing in nature. In “Powieczerje” we get an interesting mix of classic rock thrown into the band’s atmospheric style, creating a very unique and engaging song that is hard to not listen to over and over.
As a well oiled viking ship sailing through the oceans, Amon Amarth returns with yet another impressive onslaught of headbanging and moshing anthems in “Berserker”. Featuring twelve tracks and a running time of 56 minutes, the band further refines their crushing sound with a more melodic edge and the same amounts of euphoria inducing riffs. For those following the band’s exploits over the years, you will find this release as equally dynamic and impressive as their older ones, with a certain added touch of maturity. If you are new to the band, strap on for one hell of a ride with this one.
With “Fafner's Gold” leading the procession, the band warms up the listener’s with a powerful track, but the single “Crack the Sky” really steps it up a notch with the traditional Amon Amarth crushing melodic riffs. With this song you will instantly be possessed to start headbanging furiously thanks to its playful guitar work and hellish signature vocals. Additionally, the killer guitar leads add that extra level of epicness to an already brilliant song.
Riding high from their 2016 opus “Proponent for Sentience” and their countless tours, Allegaeon finally returns with new music in “Apoptosis”. Featuring eleven tracks of neck snapping Technical Death Metal, this release improves on their last effort while delivering catchy and highly memorable songs. With heavy competition from European bands, Allegaeon clearly establishes themselves as one of the premiere Technical DM outfits in the world thanks to this killer release.
The album opens with an acrobatic bass guitar line that slowly transforms into a more melodic piece in “Parthenogenesis”. This track is the perfect lead-in to the crushing “Interphase // Meiosis”, a track filled with crushing growls and very dreamy melodic passages. Blending intensely melodic passages with technically proficient acrobatics is the band’s specialty and on “Extremophiles (B)” we get treated to a good dose of it. With songs being short and direct to the point, the band’s sound is quite brutal in nature as you can hear from “The Secular Age”.