Metal Blade

  • Return to Earth – Automata (2010)

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    With a very interesting and hard to peg sound, today we have Return to Earth’s second album “Automata”. Featuring ex- The Dillinger Escape Plan and current Coheed & Cambria’s drummer Chris Pennie, the band is ready to step in a bigger spotlight with this very solid sophomore release.

    “Automata” features 16 songs that range from weird sample/loopy stuff to full-on hard rock anthems that will stick to your head like duct tape. The album’s flow is very interesting since you wouldn’t expect such different songs to come together as they do here, the interludes between groups of songs (the tracks “1.0”, “2.0”, and “3.0”) create a very efficient separation of ‘movements’ in this release.

  • Nightfall - Astron Black and the Thirty Tyrants (2010)

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    When we where thinking where the hell have we heard of this band before, it immediately hit us that the band had a song (“Black Leather Cult”) in the epic “The Holy Bible” compilation album of Holy Records back in 1996. Fast-forward almost 14 years and, several releases and a brief break up and we have Nighfall back with only one of the original members: Efthimis Karadimas, now only on vocals.

    “Astron Black and the Thirty Tyrants” marks a very impressive release of this Greek band on Metal Blade Records. Since you start listening to this album, you immediately know that it will surely be an interesting experience. With a very interesting Melodic Black/Death Metal sound, the band quickly brings back of some of their older releases on Holy Records, because of the odd combination of powerful riffs, different vocals (clean and growls), and the elevated us of keyboards.

  • King of Asgard - Fi'mbulvintr (2010)

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    As you probably guessed from the band’s name, today we have yet another band from Sweden that plays Viking Metal. Featuring members of Mithotyn, Falconer and a bunch of other bands, King of Asgard plays a very generic Viking Metal with countless influences from Amon Amarth, Týr, to pretty much every other Viking Metal band these days, paired with some hints of Dissection and Primordial.

    As many other bands, in paper King of Asgard does sound awesome, since we used to love Mithotyn back in the day where Viking Metal was not as exploited as now. Falconer also has had good stuff over the years. But none of these musicians can save King of Asgard from falling in the pitfalls of sounding too much like somebody else.

  • Fleshwrought - Dementia/Dyslexia (2010)

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    In a band that features Jonny Davy from Job for a Cowboy and Navene Koperweis (ex-The Faceless, ex-Animosity) we expected a shit-core marathon but instead we found ourselves listening to some sub-par technical/experimental Death Metal that features a few intersting ideas that could have been developed further to create a better album.

    We have to admit that the musicianship on this release is pretty awesome and that Navene does a great job at playing all the instruments. However, the problem lays in actually crafting songs that can handle all this brilliance, “Dementia/Dyslexia” sounds completely disconnected from reality and feels more like a drugs induced ego-trip in showing how brutal and fast can you play the drums and how well can you play the guitar, than an actual album.

  • Helstar - Rising From The Grave (2010)

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    Today we have the Metal Blade re-release of legendary Helstar’s albums: “A Distant Thunder”, “Nosferatu” and “Twas the Night of a Helish X-Mas” is a boxed set that also includes the DVD of “Twas the Night of a Helish X-Mas”. For those of you that don’t know Helstar is a Power/Speed Metal band from the USA that released some epic albums back in the 80’s before disappearing for a while.

    All these three releases featured in the “Rising From The Gave” boxed set feature remastered versions of “A Distant Thunder” and “Nosferatu” and indeed these two great albums sound better than ever. We did not receive the 3rd and live CD for review, so we can’t really say much about this part of the boxed set.

  • Primordial – Spirit The Earth Aflame (2010)

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    Hailing from Ireland, Primordial is one of our top 50 bands from all times and “Spirit The Earth Aflame” is one of our all-time favorite albums. When we heard that Metal Blade was releasing this timeless classic we got psyched about the possibility of some great bonus material on this version of the album (we currently have 2 other versions).

    If you know who Primordial is, you probably worship this album as much as any other fan of the band and can skip till the next paragraph of this review. If you don’t know who the band is, then we must tell you that this band was one of the first to successfully combine Celtic/Folk influences with aggressive Black Metal elements, giving them a very dark and powerful sound that was unheard off back in the late 90’s and early 00’s.

  • Allegaeon – Fragments of Form and Function (2010)

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    Over the last few years we have noticed that the metal scene in the United States is finally deviating from the ‘commercially safe’ crap and it’s finally producing some kick ass bands like Allegaeon that makes you double check to see if they are indeed from the US. Hailing from Colorado, Allegaeon comes to take the US Melodic Death Metal crown in a heart beat.

    Some people might say that there are still some fashion-core remains in this band’s music, and at some points they have some Black Dahlia Murder influences, but we see the bigger picture: a band trying to sound different than most American bands these days. Notice we say different and not original, since bands in Europe have been doing proper Melodic/Technical Death Metal for years and nobody seems to consider this a feat anymore.

  • The Tony Danza Tap Dance Extravaganza – Danza III: The Series of Unfortunate Events (2010)

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    There are a few things that make us think WTF, recently the movie “The Human Centipede” and Comparative Anatomy’s “Mammalia” have produced some of those epic reactions. Well, today we have another one of these priceless reactions with The Tony Danza Tap Dance Extravaganza’s new album “Danaza III”. We have heard the band before and their previous bizarre albums, but we quite didn’t expect this one either.

    Moving into a very brutal territory, this American trio has managed to release one of the most dissonantly brilliant albums of 2010. The band takes many ideas from movies and just about any other random shit (like Tony Danza) and merges them together in a chaotic fashion to make a brutal yet highly original release.

  • Fatal Embrace – The Empires of Inhumanity (2010)

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    Today we have yet another old-school Trash Metal band. Fatal Embrace has been around for over 17 years and for some reason has only managed to release 4 albums in their long career. Signed now to Metal Blade records, we image that they are trying to capitalize on the current Trash Metal revival.

    The influences presented on “The Empires of Inhumanity” are too many to count, but we can tell you that the band sounds like Kreator, Slayer, Dark Angel, and Sodom. Sounds impressive on paper right?, well… the band has it’s moments but they show no originality or evolution whatsoever. On “The Empires of Inhumanity” we get 11 tracks (plus 1 cover) of well executed old-school Trash that will surely get all the fans of the genre jumping on their seats, but gets old very quickly.

  • Early Graves – Goner (2010)

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    While we are not huge fans of Crust releases, we find Early Graves “Goner” to contain all the right elements to be a standard release to this genre. We usually trash most bands the genre because their lack of inspiration behind a very uninspired genre (at least for us), however, Early Graves does a pretty solid job in creating 10 crusty songs that have the right amount of quality elements to them.

    The band balances Grindcore, Hardcore, Crust and some Death Metal elements in their well crafted sound that is both crushing and well paced. Some Crust bands bore us to death because of the extreme punk influences (most notably on drums), but Early Graves has managed to avoid this by varying their drumming influences and recurring to the punk-ish elements only when needed.

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