Metal Blade

  • The Devil’s Blood - III: Tabula Rasa or Death and the Seven Pillars (2013)


    Recently demised The Devil’s Blood returns with one last hurrah with the raw and direct “III: Tabula Rasa or Death and the Seven Pillars”. Never intended to be the last release of the band, and never properly completed, this release maintains the mystical magic of the band with a less refined and perfected packaging. Featuring the last seven tracks we will ever hear from this excellent band, this release is indeed very good, but it also has a bittersweet taste of what it could have been if the band polished it as much as their previous releases.

    The release leads off with a 22-minute epic under the title “I Was Promised a Hunt”. Supposedly written backwards, this track is a tour de force that goes through tons of different moods and delivers an excellent introduction to the band’s swansong release. The female vocals are outstanding as always and they immediately induce a trance-like state. There are also some male vocals that while odd at first, provide a nice contrast to F’s singing and the lush choir arrangements. The atmosphere in this track is quite dense (as always) and has a very dark vibe to it, greatly enhanced by the brilliant guitar work.

  • Purson – The Circle and the Blue Door (2013)


    Greatly diversifying their roster, Metal Blade has picked up for distribution in the US UK-based underground sensation Purson and their latest release “The Circle and the Blue Door”. Lead by singer/guitarist Rosalie Cunningham, this band has nailed the retro/psychedelic Rock vibe from the 60’s/70’s to perfection with their very authentic sound that will surely gather them international recognition.

    Opening this release with the solemn “Wake Up Sleepy Head” and “The Contract”, the band immediately transports the listener to earlier times of free love and enigmatic music of the 60’s. The band’s authentic sound featuring instruments like the Mellotron and the Wurlitzer is greatly enhanced by Rosalie’s sultry vocals and excellent guitar skills. If you played this band for anybody into the music from those days, we are sure they would not be able to tell if it was a recent or an older band.

  • The Ocean – Pelagial (2013)


    Robin Staps and company return with another impressive and monumental 53-minute concept album that is intended to be played as one whole piece. In “Pelagial”, the bands ambitions are high than ever with an album that nicely builds up in momentum, just as the layers of the ocean are entered in a voyage to the sea floor. The Ocean are famous for their highly complex and multi-layered releases and this one is not an exception, keeping things very intricate and beautifully arranged for all fans to be blown away since the opening song.

    “Pelagial” was also originally intended to be mainly an instrumental release, and it is provided as both in the regular version of the album, so we will go back and forth in how the tracks feel different and transmit different feelings both with lyrics and without them. Opening with the very relaxed and dreamy “Epipelagic”, one even feels a certain sense of relief with this lush and simple track. Things start getting a bit more ‘heavier’ as the voyage continues going deeper and with “Mesopelagic – The Uncanny” we get the first taste of heavy guitars and the combination of clean and harsh vocals. We do think this track works a lot better on the instrumental version since it sounds cleaner and sets the mood a bit better.

  • Beyond The Shore – Ghostwatcher (2013)


    Diving right into “Ghostwatcher” one might immediately think this is just another Metalcore/Deathcore release, but as one further explores Beyond The Shore’s music, there are quite a few interesting elements that make this release standout from the crowd. Released via Metalblade Records, this album features 10 tracks that at times are hit or miss, but there is a general sense of diversity that will keep your attention on this release.

    Opening with two very vanilla tracks: “Dividers” and “Half Lived”, things really start to get interesting with the intricately crafted “Transitions”. The band delivers run of the mill Metalcore with some interesting guitar melodies and funky drum patters, making this track quite enjoyable and unexpected. The album’s first single “Homewrecker” is another very interesting piece with very tight melodic sections and cool transitions, only the vocals ruin a bit the moment.

  • Six Feet Under – Unborn (2013)


    Cranking out another release in less than one year, today we have Six Feet Under and their Groove infused Death Metal. Not lacking in quality and diving a bit into their older sound, “Unborn” delivers 11 crushing tracks that any fan of the band and American Death Metal will enjoy from beginning to end. Being the band’s 13th full-length release, they still have the magic to make the crows mosh themselves to a pulp and they are not afraid to pull the trigger on it.

    Opening with the crunchy “Neuro Osmosis”, Chris Barnes treats us with his powerful growls and the band does a great job in crafting meaty hooks and solid melodic sections. After the quintessential Death Metal track “Prophecy”, the band delivers the groovy goods with the super catchy “Zombie Blood Curse”. With back to back neck breaking anthems with “Incision” and “Decapitate”, Six Feet Under keeps the album varied and entertaining, something that has been a problem with them in the past, but in “Unborn” they deliver without getting repetitive.

  • Nightfall – Cassiopeia (2013)


    After their triumphant return in 2010 with “Astron Black and the Thirty Tyrants”, today we have Nightfall and their less inspired latest release “Cassiopeia”. Just when one thinks a band is back in full swing, they release an album that feels more forced that natural. Don’t get us wrong, “Cassiopeia” is a solid album but it feels like the band had it on the closet for 6-7 years and sounds a bit outdated for today’s standards.

    Opening with “Phaethon”, the band delivers solid riffing that reminded us of Gothic/Doom/Death Metal albums from the mid 90’s, the period when Nightfall was at their prime. Paired with subtle keyboard hints and solid growls, the band sounds pretty powerful but after a few tracks it just gets old. The speedups of “Oberon & Titania” and other songs take away a bit from the linearity of this release, but ultimately are not enough to keep us interested on the songs as we were for the band’s previous release.

  • Gloria Morti – Lateral Constraints (2013)


    In the ‘meh’ category, today we have Gloria Morti and their fourth full-length release “Lateral Constraints”. Labeled as Melodic Death Metal, this band plays something more in the veins of Zyklon, The Wretched End, and similar bands. Their sound while refined and very technically proficient gets very boring very fast, thus making this release as great filler content for an evening washing your car.

    Opening with the crushing “Lex Parsimoniae”, the band very quickly sounds exactly like Zyklon and immediately gets very repetitive. We understand that the musical style is a bit repetitive, but this band takes it further with almost each track sounding like the previous one. There are indeed some standout songs with great atmospheric elements such as “Our God Is War” but as soon as this one is over, the band returns to deliver some more copycat riffs.

  • Aeon – Aeons Black (2012)


    Delivering powerful doses of Swedish Death Metal, today we have Aeon and their fourth full-length release “Aeons Black”. In these days when we are plagued by shitty Deathcore bands and kinds trying to pull-off Technical Death Metal and failing miserably, it is quite refreshing to listen to sheer Death Metal brutality the Swedish way with meaty hooks and destructive riffs. The band sticking to their guns delivers quite an exquisite extreme experience, the way that Death Metal should be to begin with.

    Quickly throwing the first punch with “Still They Pray”, the band does a solid job in combining technical skills with catchiness. The instantaneous wall of sound created by the band can be comparable to what Zyklon and now The Wretched End are capable of outputting. The drumming is intense as hell and the riffing is totally crushing, making them a force to be reckoned with.

  • Downfall of Gaia – Suffocating in the Swarm of Cranes (2012)


    Jumping on the whole Cascadian/hipster Black Metal / Post-Black Metal movement, today we have Metal Blade and one of their latest signings Downfall of Gaia. The German band plays a very well-constructed Black Metal with lush atmospheric elements, but with a very traditional instrumental core. While the band is actually pretty good at what they do, they are still nowhere near as excellent as main competitors Wolves in the Throne Room, and even lesser known bands like Fell Voices, Woman is the Earth, etc.

    Opening with the atmospheric “[Vulnus]”, this album quickly delivers the traditional lush guitars of said style of music. The drumming and overall pace of things is very adequate and this song feels crushing, but at the same time filled with melody. The wall of sound created on the first track nicely blends into “Drowning By Wing Beats”, another song that starts with very emphasized drums that are quite good and slowly moves into faster and harsher territories. The vocals are quite fitting for the style, and sometimes it reminded us of the intense delivery of bands like Sun Worship (also from Germany).

  • Between the Buried and Me – The Parallax II: Future Sequence (2012)


    As one of the most ridiculously epic Progressive releases of 2012, today we have Between the Buried and Me’s “The Parallax II: Future Sequence”. As one of the most unique and non-conforming bands in the American Metal scene, BTBM has been constantly changing over the years, but with this release they have reached the pinnacle of their career and produced and album that won’t easily be equaled, let alone surpassed.

    Mixing their own brand of Progressive Metal with some harsh elements, most of the core-crap is totally gone, the band delivers completely hypnotic tracks that will puzzle some, and amaze most. Opening with the Cynic-like “Goodbye to Everything”, the band starts hinting at a very sonically pleasing release with the instrumentation and excellent production values. This is immediately felt present with the Dream Theater-esque “Astral Body”. Borrowing from progressive greats like Yes, DT, Magus, etc., the band truly makes these influences their own and shapes them in their own weird ways to craft very intricate and engaging songs.


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