I'll just get this out of the way before we go any further with the new album from Black Crown Initiate – this band has some seriously impressive beards on display. Right, got that out of the way, now onto their full-length debut, The Wreckage Of Stars, a fantastic slab of granite-heavy, droning, progressive death metal.
Every so often a movie or a video game comes out that is nastier than anything you've watched or played before. There are those occasions when a video game makes you jump or a movie makes you check behind the curtains before you go to bed. Likewise, there are also a few lyrical moments in the debut Roadrunner album from Flint metalcore mob King 810 that do precisely that.
It might just be me but, in the case of some of the long-standing death metal bands, and I'm talking those who've been around the block as many times as Cannibal Corpse have, I find myself greeting each new release with a kind of "meh, whatever..." reaction. Not the case with Cannibal Corpse who, sure, they haven't reinvented the wheel on their new album Skeletal Domain, but, as George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher barks the opening lines of "High Velocity Impact Spatter," I find my insides doing a little "fuck yeah, they're back!"
I don't know if Greek quartet Minerva Superduty are being mysterious, awkward or lazy by providing next to no information on any of their social media outlets or bumph that usually accompanies a request for review. I also don't know which I prefer either – pages of overblown PR waffle guaranteed to put you off an album before you've even listened to it or Minerva Superduty's approach of forcing your hand by giving you fuck all info? Either way, it got my interest enough to head over to Bandcamp where the band are streaming their 6 track offering in full, for nothing.
A Testament-style intro kicks off Crossroads, the fourth album from Swedish heavy metal monsters Portrait and, for a moment, things look very rosy for the upcoming forty minutes. I say for a moment because, sadly, as "At The Ghost Gate" kicks in with its run of the mill Merceyful Fate screechings, the next forty minutes become something of a struggle.
The heavens opened on Sunday and with torrential rain and high winds predicted to last the rest of the day, it looked like Bloodstock was in danger of ended up a bit of a wash out. Still, that didn't stop Italian thrash metallers Arthemis from having an absolute blast on the main stage. The rain lashed down on the band as they shredded through their thirty minute set but, judging by the smile plastered across the face of frontman Fabio, it looked like the Italians loved every minute of it.
Headlined by the extremely controversial Norwegian black metal heavyweights Emperor, here's what went down on day two of Bloodstock Open Air 2014.
I was promised some banging heavy metal and that is precisely what I got on the new album from Canadian epic power metallers, Crimson Shadows. Right from the booming introduction, "March To Victory," this album is for those who like their heavy metal to be traditional, and by that I mean songs about big, epic battles played by beered-up blokes who like their metal loud and fast and their steel dripping with the blood of their foe!
The thrash titans brought their "Metallica – On Request Tour" to the UK in July for Sonisphere which returned in 2014 for the 40th Anniversary of gigs at Knebworth House. Here's a selection of photos from their heavy metal, hit-laden set.
Down are an interesting choice of headliner for the first day. Yes, there is no doubting that Phil Anselmo is a heavy metal legend but, to follow the theatrics of Dimmu Borgir with a set of weed-soaked stoner anthems was always going to be a tough call. Still, Anselmo and his Down brethren pull out a stunning set for an audience who soak up every weed-stained riff of the likes of "Witch Tripper" and "Lifer" while "Hail The Leaf" sums up everything that is great about Down and proves why they were the perfect way to end a great first day at Bloodstock.
While hip-hop/metal crossover is not a new thing, the pairing of the confrontational attitude of hip-hop and the aggressive nature of the metal/hardcore scene does make the two musical entities perfect bed partners. Los Angeles bruisers Downset, having recently reformed, execute this exquisitely on their return album, One Blood.
The Darkest Road is the second album from Aussie powercore quintet, A Breach Of Silence, and it has to be said that the Brisbane shredders have created something that, while it may have plenty of familiar riffs, has enough of a twist to keep it from disappearing into the metalcore pack never to be heard from again.
"I hope you know this song is about you..." announces Capture The Crown frontman Jeffrey Wellfare during "Red Light District," the first track proper on Reign Of Terror, the second album from the Australian metallers. Describing the subject matter of Reign Of Terror as "representing the end of a dark period in my life. Pure emotion translated through music," there is no doubting that Wellfare is pouring his heart and soul into this album, but to describe the recording as "like nothing you've heard before," is probably stretching it a little.
Six albums in and you should know by now whether or not you're a fan of OTT power metal titans, DragonForce. Maximum Overload won't do anything to change that simply because it is ten tracks (plus five bonus tracks) of DragonForce doing exactly what it is that they do best and that, my friends, is dramatic, over-the-top, technical power metal.
Raucous duo Holly Hunt are all about loud, and when I say loud, I really mean fucking loud! Their latest three track EP is a wall-shaking, amp-loving, riff-spitting ball of loudness. For over seventeen minutes and three tracks, Holly Hunt push their sludgy sound to the limit coupling together droning, pulsing, groaning riffs with a punishing, sludgy, unrelenting beat to create a monstrous musical offspring.
It's been six years since Californian metalcore wreckers Scars of Tomorrow took their final bow and, let's be honest, the metalcore scene has managed to survive well enough without them. You only have to look down the list of "marketing points" (most requested video on MTV Headbangers Ball for 3 months in 2003???) on the press release that accompanies their returning album to see why the metal scene has barely rippled at the news of their comeback.
Recently I was chatting to a friend at a festival about how some genres of music simply don't translate from the raw, unpredictable live environment to the sterile confines of the studio. One of the genres we agreed on was sludge but, on the evidence of the raucous, lo-fi feel of Dog Years, the new album from Canadian headcases The Great Sabatini, I'm glad to be proved wrong.
They say variety is the spice of life and well, in the past week or two, my editor has had me review doom, sludge, metalcore and now this, a sickly pop album. I'm also listening to this while I'm editing a set of Slayer photos. I'm clearly not the target audience for this album or maybe my editor likes a joke because I've yet to hear a more bland, inoffensive, forgettable album than this one.
Having been peddling their crushing, morose doom metal since 1989, it's no surprise that Bled White, the ninth album from Chicago doom heavyweights Novembers Doom, is as flawless as you'd expect from a band well into two decades of gloomy poetic heaviness.
If you're a metal fan then you're undoubtedly aware of how Wovenwar came into existence. So, after the collapse of metalcore heavyweights As I Lay Dying due to the incarceration of vocalist Tim Lambesis, all eyes are on the core of the band to see how their new group featuring lead vocals from Oh, Sleeper's Shane Blay shapes up. Well, having already heard the cleaner tones of lead single "All Rise", where the band cast off their past, it's safe to say the new album delivers on the promise the opening track hinted at.