Continuing with their impressive momentum after the release of “Moonlover”, Ghost Bath returns on a bigger label and with a more expansive sound in “Starmourner”. Delivering over 70 minutes of soul crushing music, the band continues to evolve with a richer and more diverse sound. Equally pleasing for older and new fans, this release is a perfect continuation of the band’s path.
After the mood setting intro track, the band gets down to business with the incisive lead guitars of “Seraphic” a highly emotional and ravaging track. The onslaught continues with the sheer brutality of the opening of “Ambrosial”. Here we have the traditional shrieks being outlined by pummeling drums, and before you know it the song turns highly melodic and hypnotic with some truly outstanding passages.
Finally immortalizing one of their iconic full-orchestra and choir shows, today we have Dimmu Borgir and the monumental “Forces of the Northern Night”. Featuring around 90 minutes of live material both in video (DVD or Blu-ray) and audio CD’s, this is one of the most epic live releases we have seen in a while. Not needing any introduction, this band will blow you away with the intensity they bring to the live shows.
We are only reviewing their Wacken Open air show in 2012, where the band was accompanied on stage with the Czech National Symphonic Orchestra and the Schola Cantorum choir. In this already legendary concert, the band played the full “Abrahadabra” album first, and then a pretty solid selection of their greatest hits. The first part of the concert hits the listener hard with epic renditions of crushing songs like “Born Treacherous” and “Gateways” featuring a guest appearance by Agnete Kjølsrud.
Keeping the old-school Death Metal flame alive, today we have Memoriam and their 7” vinyl release “The Hellfire Demos II”. Featuring members of Bolt Thrower and Benediction, this band gives us a taste of their crushing sound with two very promising tracks. If you grew up with late 80’s and early 90’s Death Metal, this release brings back that familiar rawness and catchiness of the era.
Opening with “Drone Strike”, the band’s vocalist Karl Willetts instantly delivers his raspy vocals to a very powerful mix of pummeling riffs and tight drumming. The song’s tempo perfectly allows the listener to headbang to it while keeping things aggressive. The band does a pretty solid job in delivering a timeless Death Metal vibe with their music.
As one of the most awaited Thrash Metal releases of 2016, today we have Testament and their latest opus “Brotherhood of the Snake”. As one of the originators of the Bay Area Thrash movement, Testament seems to only get better with age as this album delivers over 45 minutes of no-holds-bared Thrash-tastic music.
Opening with the intense album title track, the band quickly fires the first round with blistering drumming and crushing riffs. Paired with Steve DiGiorgio’s intricate base guitar line, this song fires on all cylinders and delivers a hectic opening that will instantly raise your pulse. The intricate guitar work of Eric Peterson and Alex Skolnick brilliantly shines on killer tracks like “The Pale King”, “Seven Seals” and the amazing leads of “Neptune’s Spear”, which almost make this track, be more along the lines of Power/Progressive Metal bands.
Djent wizards Meshuggah return with their first release in four years titled “The Violent Sleep of Reason”. While we never been huge fans of the band, tons of our readers and friends always continue to rave over the band’s polyrhythmic exploits and the acrobatic merits of the band’s intricate music. In this release, the band delivers nearly 60 minutes of music split in ten tracks that while heavy and punishing, and indeed more diverse than some of the band’s earlier material, still not quite our cup of tea.
As the release opens with pummeling tracks like “Clockworks”, “Born in Dissonance” and “MonstroCity”, we clearly appreciate the technical prowess of Fredrik Thordendal and company, but can’t quite get into the music. The songs are different from each other, but they somewhat still feel very similar thanks to the guitar work and the music time signatures. Other tracks like
By the Ton”, go as far as reminding us of a more technically engaging version of Static X or Powerman 5000.
As one of the premiere Power Metal bands in the world, Finland’s Sonata Arctica needs no introduction. Arriving early October 2016, the band unleashes their ninth full-length release appropriately titled “The Ninth Hour”. Filed with eleven tracks and around 60 minutes of high-octane music, the band is at the top of their game and delivers the levels of epicness that fans expect from them.
Opening with the dynamic “Closer to an Animal”, the band starts in typical Sonata Arctica fashion with playful guitars and keyboards and the signature Tony Kakko voice. The album continues with excellent over the top tracks like “Life”, the brilliant “Fairytale”, and the mellow “We Are What We Are”, which adds medieval/folk music influences into the mix.
The legendary Opeth returns with another exploration further down the rabbit hole or Progressive/Psychedelic rock with “Sorceress”. Constantly evolving and experimenting with their sound, the band offers 11 brilliant tracks that feature tons of unique ideas and excellent craftsmanship. If you have been a fan of the band’s last three releases, this album will certainly be one of the ‘must have’ releases of 2016.
Opening with the solemn acoustic guitars of “Persephone”, the band quickly ups the ante with the trippy and Proggy “Sorceress”. This track instantly showcases the album’s very fuzzy and warm sound, particularly on the guitars, giving it a certain vintage vibe that perfectly fits songs like “The Wilde Flowers”. The band nicely showcases their diverse musical repertoire in more direct songs like “Will O The Wisp” and its lush progressions.
With a gap of sixteen years between their last release and this new one, today we have the legendary Brujeria and their extremely long awaited “Pocho Aztlan” release. Captivating and amusing audiences since 1989, this band has been touring since their last release leaving all album recording activities pending until recently. Featuring thirteen tracks, this release is exactly everything we could have expected from Brujeria, as the band takes on topics from immigration to the drug war, all with their unique view and spin.
Opening with a ritual as an intro, “Pocho Aztlan” instantly erases all the time without new music from the band and delivers a typical Brujeria anthem. Keeping their catchy and funny style intact the band talks in this song about how people born in the USA from Mexican parents are widely viewed by both Americans and Mexicans. Things move into catchy headbanging chorus sections with the powerful “No Aceptan Imitaciones” and its pummeling riffs. The band’s Satanic side is always present in this release, more evidently on tracks like “Profecia del Anticristo” and “Satongo”.
Just when you think that Epica cannot get any better, they drop another masterpiece like “The Holographic Principle”. More bombastic, more explosive and more dynamic, this release further cements the band’s legacy as one of the premiere female-fronted symphonic Metal bands in the world. Featuring over 72 minutes of music spread in twelve brilliant tracks, the band completely blows away any expectations the fans might have from them.
After the traditional intro, the album kicks off in full gear with the dynamic “Edge of the Blade”, a track filled with powerful riffs and soaring vocal arrangements. The choir arrangements in this track instantly set the stage to the most bombastic Epica release ever, and tracks like “A Phantasmic Parade” and “Universal Death Squad” are a testament to that. The album’s instrumentation is top notch and perfectly delivers a unique aural experience.
Musical genius Peter Tägtgren presents us today with the latest opus “Coming Home” from his side project Pain. As the first release in five years, Peter delivers 10 catchy and totally whacky tracks that perfectly continue the madness spread by this band. Mixing a very catchy Industrial vibe with heavy riffs, this release will have you fully engaged from start to finish.
Instantly enveloping the listener within the band’s madness, “Designed to Piss You Off” delivers the first catchy and funky piece of this release. Relying on playful lyrics and catchy percussions, this track has a certain Southern Rock charm to it. Featuring vocals from Joakim Brodén of Sabaton, “Call Me” is definitely one of the most engaging and dynamic songs in this release. The two vocalists provide a nice contrast to this song, making it superbly addictive.