It takes something special to pull me away from the brutality that is your usual death metal or black metal. I am often one who would prefer to hear blast beats, growling/screaming and guitar riffs that go really fast. However, I do get in the mood to hear folk metal or traditional metal, those bands that make me feel like I am going on an adventure while listening to their album. Visigoth definitely stands out as one of those bands but they are not folk, death nor black. Traditional, leather clad, standard guitar metal that makes you raise your fist or make that invisible orange gesture while listening to it. Slap this beast in your car and blast it, this is easily one of the most likable old school metal sounds from a modern band! Visigoth’s “The Revenant King” pounded me with riffs, amazing vocal work and themes that just call to my soul. This album rolls a D20 and gets a crit on every song!
The sound of war returns with Marduk’s new album, Frontschwein, which is a return to form with ravenous guitar riffs, conjured drumming from hell, sculpted Earth shifting bass work and fire breathing vocal work. The construction of riffs and song writing on this album is almost a nonstop, as you can hear from the first song, which is packed full of quality riffs. This is the perfect indicator for how this album will be for the entirety of your listening experience. All hail the driven fury of Marduk.
The winds howl, the darkness sets in and Spectral Procession immediately sets the mood for this atmospheric black metal journey. The raw sound of guitars sets in, the drumming pummels into the music soon the vocals beckon from the distance. The dreadful black metal sound swarms in, covering the dream scapes in darkness and black alchemy. This British Colombian black metal act delivers us fierce sounding raw second wave black metal with familiar Canadian landscape ambiance.
Emerging from the darkness to shine brightness in a world of incredibly dark music is a band called Emergence. This trio of expansive minded gentlemen create something new that is progressively strong, providing harmony with melody, delivers a slight ‘djent’ feeling and melts our faces with professional production as well as great song writing. The overall execution of the album will have you saying: “Periphery who?”.
Napalm Death’s career spans longer than I have been alive and I am turning 30 next month. Slaying people since 1981 with blended punk/thrash and death metal and ultimately creating the genre known as grindcore. Napalm Death has used heavily distorted guitars, blasting drums, fast tempos, powerful vocals and overdriven bass tone for the majority of their career and “Apex Predator – Easy Meat” is no exception. Why would they change? I mean this band is a dominate choice for people who want quick, impacting songs that ultimately leave the listener in shock. The UK band comes back with this new album, their SIXTEENTH studio album, and nothing has changed. Their aggression has not diminished, the songs have not lost their fire and the band is still pumping out songs of pure chemical warfare. This is Napalm Death. This is grindcore.
Melodic death metal is nothing new to me but still gives me goosebumps when done right. Add in a mentality and focus that makes you feel like you are on an epic journey and the music will definitely be among my all time favorites. Well behold the majesty of Adversary, a melodic death metal band from Columbus, Georgia (Really?!? You would think they are from Sweden or Norway) who brings forth nothing but quality song writing, catchy musicianship and music that has long lasting appeal. Songs of adventure, tales of tragedy, triumph, despair and survival are backed with strong riffing, powerful vocals and slamming drum techniques. The groove and melodic death metal workings on Ruination are on par with Amon Amarth’s style and grace with the song writing. Each track has strong rhythmic guitar gallops and riffing, then they are topped with a thick layer of superior axe emotion and epicness with their blended use of leads and harmonies. Yeah, Adversary’s new album is already best of the year content.
Man, have you ever just wanted some truly aggressive Nordic folk metal? I mean the kind that doesn’t really have tribal atmosphere or melodic death metal focus but just axe swinging riff oriented heaviness? Well look no further as the gang from Latvia called Varang Nord gives us the ultra headbanging album called “Fire of the North”. A ripping metal montage of Vikings on the hunt, ale being consumed, Gods being hailed and blood spilled on the snow. Varang Nord brings the heavy with a slight touch of folk metal, just enough to appeal to those looking for new folk metal but not enough to drive those away who just want pissed off Viking metal.
The Finnish trio of blackened death metal cultists known as Desolate Shrine bring forth hell’s fury on their new album “The Heart of the Netherworld”. Their simple stance on death metal meets atmospheric blackened chaos breathes fire and wrath onto us. Their sound sits well with me, as they conjure up the forces from the Netherworld to create a soundtrack of debauchery and uncertainty. The evil experience feels genuine and not cheesy or forced. This is the dark magic of Desolate Shrine, masters of unholy darkness and fierce sound.
Taking the fantasy driven RPG theme seriously, Dethlehem pulls us into a realm of evil, goblins, swords, bows and adventure! Dethlehem’s “Destroyers of the Realm” takes us on a quest to defeat evil, by grinding xp through riffs, melodies, barbaric vocal power, ravenous drumming and quirky sounds that sound like they come straight from a video game in the 8 bit era. The escapade is more along the lines of straight up metal with melody driven riffs, a minor influence of metalcore and melodic death metal also pokes it’s head up from time to time, giving this album a bit of a kick and excitement throughout the endeavor. In between a couple of songs are some story based tracks, talking to a Soothsayer and a Goblin or readying themselves for the final boss fight! These interludes continue on the story and they also crack me up with their narration and dialogue. All in all, I really enjoy this thought out story of might and magic!
Abscession is a Swedish death metal band that has major focus on just blasting the listener with old school death metal riffs that are chunky, leads that are more focused on “wowing” you with melody rather than brutish speed, sinister drum tactics that roll well with the guitars and vocals that are a lower growl. Their overall sound just calls out to those fans who love bands like Bloodbath, Grave and Entombed. Fans of this raw sound will love Abscession’s “Grave Offerings”, as the tried and true musicianship gives dedicated fans of the genre something new to gawk at, while new fans will be drawn in by the relentless rhythm and evil sounds.