Back in the late 80’s Mortician and Macabre were two of the most extreme and yet crafty bands in the scene, we remember listening to all those horror movie samples just before the bands wailed with pummeling fury. Macabre has slowly evolved over the years and with “Carnival of Killers”, the band delivers nearly 41 minutes of music in 16 pieces encapsulating both their heavy and their bizarre side. While I am sure this will appeal to older folks like us, there are still some interesting and downright hilarious things to discover from this release.
As their first album in nearly a decade, “Carnival of Killers” continues the band’s fascination with serial killers and delivers a wide variety of tracks that range from Grindcore to Thrash to plain weird, with some brilliant sing-along sections. Never as heavy as Mortician, tracks like “Your Window is Open”, “Richard Speck Grew Big Breasts” and “The Murder Mack”, do still deliver some powerful riffs and Thrash-tastic tempo changes, mixed with the band’s funky vocal melodies and funny lyrics.
Unleashing an all-out pirate party, today we have Alestorm and their sixth full-length release “Curse of the Crystal Coconut”. Keeping their lively style nearly untouched since their inception, the band continues to deliver their signature playfulness and epic melodies that have captivated the masses for years. Clocking in at 45 minutes, this release gives you more Alestorm in a more bombastic and engaging way than ever before.
Opening with the hilarious “Treasure Chest Party Quest”, Christopher Bowes leads his crew with his signature playful lyrics and his legendary keytar skills. This very lighthearted opener features the band’s staples and a nod to more folky/instrumental elements making the song quite enjoyable. The band’s typical intensity will get you bopping as soon as “Fannybaws” and “Chomp Chomp” deliver their catchy chorus sections and the later unleashes dramatic guitar leads.
After receiving tons of Black and Death Metal releases in the last few weeks, it is quite refreshing to get something completely different in Myth of I’s self-titled debut release. Featuring a very improvisational and fluid approach to songwriting, the band unleashes nearly 50 minutes of highly technical instrumental Metal music. Ranging from Progressive Metal to Technical Death Metal (minus the vocals), this release perfectly blends a wide gamut of styles under a cohesive and catchy umbrella.
Opening with a dreamy intro, the album gets in full swing with the fabulous “The Illustrator” and its crafty guitar wizardry. Full of tempo changes and intricate drum patterns, this release perfectly leads to heavier and more experimental pieces like “Cherophobia” and “Obsidian Vale”. Doing away with traditional song structures, the tracks in this release flow freely weaving back and forth between proggy influences and heavier counterparts.
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”.
Unleashing elevent anthems of Horror Punk fare, today we have Sweden’s Death Wolf and their latest opus “IV: Come the Dark”. Featuring Morgan Håkansson of Marduk fame on bass guitar, this outfit delivers superbly catchy and yet creepy songs that are both memorable and highly entertaining. While The Vision Bleak comes to mind as a comparison, this band features a more barebones and direct sound that will pummel your eardrums.
The ripping guitars of “He Who Hates” perfectly set the mood for a high-octane release filled with catchines and intensity. Valentin Mellströ’s vocals are perfectly suited to lead a barrage of punishing guitars and intense bass guitar lines, thanks to the crystal clear production the vocals are very prevalent. With playful tempo changes and hefty atmospherics, the band pummels through tracks like “Edge of the Wood”, “Empower the Flame” and the headbanging fest “The Sword”, a song that sets a very epic vibe from the first note.
If you can imagine what Kayo Dot, Maudlin of the Well, Ephel Duath and Subterranean Masquerade would sound all blended together, then you would get close to just how expansive In Human Form sounds. Unleashing their three-songs, 49 minute opus “III”, this band pushes all boundaries into completely new dimensions and creates some of the most unique sounding Metal we have ever heard.
The release opens with the 18-minute tour de force “Apocrypha Carrion”, where the band starts off with furious guitar riffs and a very intense pace. The screamed vocals are quite hectic and very fitting for such chaotic music, but what really draws the listener is the funky subtle tempo changes mixed in with some more drastic near full-stop switches. We particularly enjoy the jazzy elements that transition the song’s multiple movements from chaos, to lush beauty and down the rabbit hole again.
Unleashing one of the most unique and unexpectedly awesome releases of 2019, today we have Canada’s Nachtterror with their debut release “Judgement”. Clocking in at over 60 minutes of music, this release has a bit of everything for everybody, from heavy riffs and fast-paced sections to more atmospheric and melancholic passages. As the band’s first full length release, it shows a unique trajectory path between different styles and influences through the tracks presented in this release.
Setting a very dreamy and mellow vibe when starting with “Behold the Terror”, we have a certain Pyogenesis/Decoryah vibe. This track slowly builds up to blistering drumming and harsh vocals, marking a very interesting and yet drastic transition. Settling into an older retro Gothic Metal-ish style with “Sea of Dread”, the band again exploits their multi-vocalist approach and delivers a very harmonious track with excellent distorted guitars and tempo changes.
What better way to end a side project/temp band than with an epic release. Unfortunately, The Exploding Eyes Orchestra deliver their swan song with “II”. Featuring all the current members of Jess and the Ancient Ones, this band delivered unparalleled Psychedelic Rock experiences through their highly atmospheric and very emotional music. The seven tracks in this release perfectly craft a sultry and enigmatic atmosphere that is quite unique and intoxicating.
Leading the way with “Those of Us Left”, Jess enigmatic vocals hypnotize the listener as they waltz through moody melodies. This first track perfectly sets the ambiance for the more upbeat psychedelics of “Belladona”, a song that bring more of a J.A.T.A.O vibe to this release thanks to its playful keyboards and sultry pace. Providing an Opium-fueled experience, the lush “Harmain” is the perfect chill-out piece for those long nights at work.
There are only a handful of people in the Metal scene that rock as hard as Floor Jansen with her vocal talents and intense stage presence. In her new band, Northward, she unleashes 11 tracks that reflect this hard rocking attitude with tons of brilliant vocal arrangements and catchy guitar melodies. Moving away from the direction of ReVamp and Nightwish, this track delivers some straight up Rock tunes that showcase her versatility and energy, alongside guitarist Jørn Viggo Lofstad of Pagan’s Mind fame.
The album sets a very lively mood from the start with superbly catchy and filled with attitude tunes like “While Love Died” and “Get What You Give”. The soaring vocal melodies of “Storm in a Glass” make it one of the most engaging and dynamic songs in this release, while taking the listener on a musical journey. For those that like power ballads, “Paragon” and “Bridle Passion” give the listener a more raw and direct appreciation of Floor’s charismatic vocals.
After captivating audiences with their insane ‘Blackjazz’ style (and release), the band continues to push their own musical horizons with a Hard Rocking release titled “Animal”. Always evolving in styles, the band now pursues a more ‘normal’ sound that keep their catchiness but tunes down the madness while delivering an in-your-face attitude. Don’t get us wrong, this release is awesome, but in its own different context.
Opening with “Take Me”, the band’s use of synths made us believe they decided to go the Ulver route and play some synth pop, but instead they kept this heavier and sound like Pain and similar Industrial/Electronic Metal bands. While it can take a bit to adjust, the album title track provides the perfect transition into their Hard Rock style with catchy guitar sections and the highly recognizable vocal melodies of Jørgen Munkeby.