Returning with their amazing War-inspired Power Metal, today we have Sabaton and their latest opus “The Last Stand”. Produced, mixed and engineered by Peter Tägtgren, this release builds up on the band’s epic legacy and delivers 11 brilliant anthems that will have you feeling all pumped after listening to them. Sticking to their successful formula, this album is exactly what all Sabaton fans are waiting for.
Opening with the dramatic keyboards of “Sparta”, the band launches to battle with soaring choral arrangements and the unmistakable voice of Joakim Brodén. This track serves as the perfect warm-up for the epic tracks that are to follow. The band pummels through tracks like “Last Dying Breath” and the crafty and quite unique “Blood of Bannockburn” making it sound easy to make anthemic songs that will stick in your head for days.
Originally labeled as a mysterious Chinese outfit, Ghost Bath has taken the Depressive Black Metal/Post-Black Metal scene by surprise since their debut release “Funeral”. The band plays very raw and emotional Black Metal that instantly transmits feelings of despair and unease, unlike any other band in the world. Fast-forward 2 years since the release of their debut album, the band turned out to be from North Dakota and their sophomore release (which is even better than the fest) is currently being re-released through Nuclear Blast in June 2016.
Having played over a thousand times “Moonlover” when it first came out in 2015, it is quite impressive to see that this release still has the same effect on us after more than a year. Opening with the mysterious atmospheric elements of “The Sleeping Fields”, the album comes wide open until the blistering “Golden Number”. In this track, we can instantly hear the band’s raw emotions explode with the harsh vocals as they perfectly contrast the intense drumming and the punishing riffs. The track nicely morphs into a very unique kind of beast when the guitar leads change the tempo and the drumming because more intricate. Comparisons to the likes of Deafheaven, Bosse-de-Nage are instantly warranted, but Ghost Bath is its own unique monster.
Continue their evolution into more Progressive and atmospheric territories, today we have Fallujah and their third full-length release “Dreamless”. While the band explores more melodic ideas, their Deathcore nucleus is still intact and will kick your ass in a minute. Searching for the perfect balance between sheer brutality and musical acrobatics, the band delivers twelve solid tracks that show how much they have matured since their 2011 debut release.
Opening with the brutal “Face of Death”, the band commands their attention with perfectly balanced Deathcore-esque growls and ethereal atmospheric elements. Bleeding into the more Progressive and melodic “Adrenaline”, the band nicely transition between styles while showcasing their musical creativity. Our personal favorite is the dreamy “The Void Alone”, which features a superb combination of clean female vocals, intricate drum patterns and pummeling guitar riffs.
Keeping up with times and the ever expanding musical scene, Nuclear Blast has managed to snag one of the best up and coming Hard/Modern Rock acts names Tax the Heat. Unleashing their debut full-length “Fed to the Lions” on April 8th, this band is ready to take center stage and blow people away with their upbeat super catchy tunes full of raw energy.
Opening with the commanding “Highway Home”, the band sets a very catchy vibe while making blending in some Aerosmith-esque influences in this very solid piece. With some certain Rolling Stones energy on the follow up “Animals”, the band instantly shows their knack for mixing old-school influences with their own modern energy and craft a very enjoyable hard rock atmosphere.
The most epic band in the world returns with a very good live album that gives the listener a small glimpse into their live performance magic. Having seen Sabaton live multiple times, the band always delivers a brilliant live set and this is excellently captured in this 2DVD/CD release. With the audio part of this release featuring 16 tracks, the listener is fully immersed into the band’s live production quality and antics.
After setting the mood with “The March to War”, the band delivers a brutal hit with an epic combo of “Ghost Division”, “To Hell and Back” and the brilliant “Carolus Rex”. The band’s live sound has always been amazing and this is perfectly captured as they deliver “No Bullets Fly” and “Resist and Bite”. While we are only treated to an audio experience on the CD, we can totally imagine Joakim running around and goofing off with his band mates as the songs are played.
Hailing from Italy, today we have one-man dream machine Neutra and its latest hypnotic opus “Music for an Exhibition”. Delivering five tracks of superb ethereal music, this is one of the most engaging and transforming Ambient releases we have heard in a while. Evoking the delicate precision and ambiance created by Robert Rich, this Italian band manages to captivate for the complete duration of this release.
The album kicks off with the angelic “After The Flood” and its very dramatic piano sections. Having very subtle mood changes, this opener tracks sets a very enigmatic and dreamy stage. Continuing with the playful “Paranthenogenesis”, the mood shifts to a more space-like cinematic vibe. Our personal favorite is the somber “Point of View” and its dramatic progression.
After releasing a couple of lukewarm releases, Children of Bodom are back in fully force with the brilliant “I Worship Chaos”. The band mixes their early days intensity and naivety with their more modern elements to deliver a high-octane release that is full of memorable songs and brilliant musicianship.
Opening with the intense “I Hurt”, we get a killer pace set by blistering guitars and very hectic drumming. This track is both fun and precise, keeping the listener headbanging since the first minute. The festive mood continues with the pummeling “My Bodom”, a track that increases in tempo and creativity as it progresses, leading to some signature solo face-off sections near the end. Perfectly blending the band’s “Something Wild”-era antics with their cleaner and more direct recent sound, “Morrigan” is the first track in this release that gets stuff in your head. The melody is quite intoxicating and the atmosphere is just magical, a typical older CoB track but with an edge.
As THE most expected album of 2015, today we have Slayer’s first release in six years titled “Repentless”. After the loss of Jeff Hanneman and the departure of Dave Lombardo, many people wondered how the band was going to push forward, but for this release the band brought back Paul Bostaph on drums and enlisted Gary Holt to handle guitar duties. Keeping up with their tradition of intense and well-crafted releases, the band manages to deliver a very cohesive album that is considerably better than their 2009 effort.
Opening with “Repentless” after a short intro, the band lays down the law with a crushing vocal performance from Tom Araya in this intense Thrash-tastic track. This song reminded us of Slayer from their best years thanks to the awesome riffs and furious pace. The drumming is quite hectic and the overall riffing onslaught is stellar. The band continues their onslaught with very solid pieces in “Take Control” and “Vices”, but the guitar leads of “Cast the First Stone” really deliver the second standout track of this release.
Finally, the Finish Metal music legends Amorphis return with yet another stellar release. Marking their 12th studio album, “Under the Red Cloud” delivers nearly 50 minutes of majestic Melodic Metal music in their unique style. Filled with soaring vocals and killer melodic passages, this is hands down the best release of 2015.
Opening with the lush “Under the Red Cloud”, the band sets a very melodic and folky mood, similar to a mixture of their “Elegy” days with their “Eclipse” era. Tommi Joutsen’s vocals are as amazing as ever and with even more growling sections in this release, this album reaches a whole new level of vocal aggression. This is perfectly contrasted by Santeri Kallio’s lush keyboards. Tracks like “The Four Wise Ones” and “Bad Blood” instantly showcase this heaviness with some crushing moments filled with powerful riffs and excellent percussions.
Making 2015 even more brutal than it already is, today we have the legendary Nile returning with yet another punishing release via “What Should Not Be Unearthed”. Karl Sanders and company return with their signature Technical/Brutal Death Metal with Egyptian influences and deliver around 50 minutes of uncompromising brutality that will ravage your eardrums from start to finish.
Opening with the monumental “Call to Destruction”, the band quickly delivers the first blow of furious riffs and crushing drumming. The band is set on a path of destruction with this release being considerably more brutal than their previous one. The sound of tracks like “Negating the Abominable Coils of Apep” and the ravaging “Liber Stellae – Rubaeae”, is quite heavier and more in the Brutal Death Metal side of things when comparing it to the band’s previous release “At the Gate of Sethu”.