Metal Blade

  • Powerwolf – Blood of the Saints (2011)

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    As one of the best live bands we saw this summer, Powerwolf is set to unleash their fourth full-length release “Blood of the Saints” late July. Trying to surpass the success of their previous release “Bible of the Best”, the wolf pack is back with epic vocal lines, powerful guitars and all around very entertaining songs.

    While many bands keep playing Power Metal in the traditional sense, we love bands like Powerwolf and Sabaton that push things with more powerful and diverse vocal styles and very well crafted lyrics and concepts behind their releases. “Blood of the Saints” features 11 songs and 41 minutes of pure Powerwolf catchiness and should propel them to the international status that band’s like Sabaton have achieved recently.

  • Hate Eternal - Phoenix Amongst the Ashes (2011)

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    Eric Rutan, formerly of Morbid Angel and Ripping Corpse, is not one to just deliver your average death metal album. He is methodical and precise and knows how to combine technical musicianship with complex songwriting. This probably one of the most evil and insane Hate Eternal albums that ha far exceeded my expectations.

    After the opener “Rebirth” trudges in with distorted guitar and double pedal drums, Hate Eternal bludgeons you with their second track “The Eternal Ruler” as Eric barks out his vocals with pure venom and hatred. Searing guitar leads weave in and out between Rutan’s low growls and high shrieks as the drums continue to pummel with a furious intensity. “Thorns of Acacia” carry thick guitar riffs that are played at a level which will never get boring as the guitar continuously bobs around the structures to keep that level of fury at full speed. “The Art of Redemption” shows Rutan at top form on guitar with an insane scale that would make even non-guitar players envious of that kind of talent.

  • Primordial – Redemption at the Puritan’s Hand (2011)

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    Delivering their 7th full-length album in over 20 years of existence, Primordial reminds us why they are one of the greatest Celtic/Folk Black Metal bands of all time. With powerful guitars driven songs and intricate drum patterns, the band provides over 60 minutes of brilliant music that is up to par with their greatest albums of the 90’s.

    Pounding away with “No Grave Deep Enough”, the band provides their signature guitar work that becomes outstanding when paired with A.A. Nemtheanga vocals. This song has all the ‘classical’ Primordial elements and works wonderfully as an opening track. “Lain with the Wolf” provides the typical build-up sections that the band is known for, and the drum patterns in this song make it very diverse and interesting to listen to.

  • Amon Amarth – Surtur Rising (2011)

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    The Swedish masters of Viking infused Melodic Death Metal are back with their most catchy and melodic release up to date. With “Surtur Rising” the band validates why they are one of the premiere Melodic Death Metal bands in the world and they will surely please all fans and gather hordes of new fans as well.

    As we all expected, the guitar work in “Surtur Rising” is outstanding to say the least. The riffing power of Olavi Mikkonen and Johan Söderberg is unrivaled and on this release they put together 10 songs of pure power and catchiness. Sure there are heaps of ‘traditional’ Amon Amarth sections, but the way the guitar melodies drives the music in this release is just excellent.

  • Ghost – Opus Eponymous (2011)

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    Labeled as one of the most interesting Psychedelic/Occult Rock releases of the last few years “Opus Eponymous” is the first full-length release of Ghost. For over 30 minutes we are treated to a very interesting and nostalgic sound that the band presents with their satanic craft.

    The album gets off to a great start with “Con Clavi Con Dio” thanks to solid riffs, great vocal arrangements and keyboards. However, the band’s sound is not as bombastic and effective as we expected and bands like The Devil’s Blood put them to shame when it comes to Psychedelic rock with occult elements.

  • Thomas Giles – Pulse (2011)

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    After not liking any of Between the Buried and Me’s stuff, I was about to hurl when I got this promo in my review queue. However, something magical will happen to you when you listen to this album since you will end-up loving it for its originality and freshness.

    I believe since I was expecting some crap like Between the Buried and Me I was less critical about this release, but many listens to this album you will still find yourself appreciating it and finding new details about the music. Thomas Giles crafts 11 songs that are very rich sounding and that have the perfect amounts of electronic elements, rock guitars, melancholic vocals and piano sections.

  • God Dethroned – Under the Sign of the Iron Cross (2010)

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    With two new additions to the band’s line-up since their devastating last release “Passiondale”, God Dethroned returns with their crushing sound with “Under the Sign of the Iron Cross”. Showing no signs of slowing down, the band’s latest release is both crushing and relentless with some monumental Death Metal perfect for some neck-breaking moshing.

    The addition of Danny Tunker on guitars and Mike van der Plicht on drums keeps the band as brutal as every with that slight melodic edge that separates them from the rest. For over 35 minutes, God Dethroned rips through 9 tracks of crushing music that will leave you craving for more.

  • Neaera – Forging the Eclipse (2010)

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    Hailing from Germany, today we have Neaera and their crushing Melodic Death Metal that will surely rattle your seat (and windows) once “Forging the Eclipse” starts playing on your stereo. The band’s sound is very brutal in nature and features most of the ‘traditional’ Melodic Death Metal elements but also has a nice modern edge to it, without getting too faggy for us.

    After the first few listens we noticed that while “Forging the Eclipse” is a very solid album, it’s very linear in nature and gets repetitive after a few songs. The band’s songwriting abilities are not the best in the scene and even with twelve songs, the album lasts only 39 minutes. The riffing is very brutal and features some nice traditional Death Metal hooks in songs like “Sirens of Black”, but manages to keep an overall melodic tone.

  • The Ocean – Anthropocentric (2010)

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    A few months after the release of “Heliocentric”, we get “Anthropocentric”, the more aggressive and crushing continuation (and conclusion) to the band’s critique on Christianity started with “Heliocentric”. While The Ocean still incorporates some of their traditional classical instruments in “Anthropocentric”, this release is by far much more aggressive and straight forward than their previous one.

    With another 50 minutes of monumental Progressive Sludge/Metal, the band greatly enhances the listening experience of “Heliocentric”, we found ourselves playing both records back to back in order to get the full effect and conceptual message of this very well crafted releases. The band immediately starts with a very crushing track in “Anthropocentric”, often weaving back and forth between pounding riffs with harsh vocals and brilliant clean vocal harmonies and more melodic guitar lines.

  • Hail of Bullets - On Divine Winds (2010)

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    With all the crap Death Metal these days, it’s nice to finally hear a band with real balls and real music. Hail of Bullets comes from the Netherlands with a very impressive line-up that includes Martin van Drunen (Asphyx, ex-Pestilence) on vocals, legendary drummer Ed Warby (Gorefest, 11th hour, Ayreon, Star One), and Paul Baayens and Stephan Gebedi on guitars (both from Thanatos).

    With such an impressive line-up we get a very aggressive and dynamic sounding Death Metal that will please all fans with a brilliant mixture of North American and European Death Metal from the 90’s. With clear influences of Asphyx, old Pestilence, Bolt Thrower, just to name a few, the band has a very impressive and crushing sound that many kiddies these days would only dream of.

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