With the latest Thrash revival still in full swing, and all the legendary bands releasing crushing albums, Exodus does not fall behind and they are releasing “Blood In, Blood Out”. Marking their first release without Rob Dukes in almost 10 years, the band fully takes advantage of the return of Steve Souza and crafts 11 tracks of solid Thrash Metal filled with all those awesome riffs that make you feel warm inside.
Quickly getting on the scoreboard, the band unleashes “Black 13”, a powerful track filled with Gary Holt and Lee Altus signature riffing and the typical Thrash Metal tempo we all enjoy. Steve’s vocals while not the favorite of many, they do a solid job in conveying the band’s lyrics in tracks like “Blood In, Blood Out”, charged with aggression. The band stays current and shows sings of incorporating more Groovy/Modern elements in songs like “Collateral Damage”, a thing they perfectly blend into their already established sound.
Continuing to go down a completely different path, today we have Decapitated and another entry to the band’s ‘second period’ of average Death/Groove Metal music. With two new members (that is half the band) since the last release, this band seems to be wondering what kind of music they should be playing. Featuring eight tracks, this release has some moments, but they continue to fall flat compared to their early legacy.
After the uninspired opener “Exiled in Flesh”, we are treated to a brutal track filled of intense drumming and some Djent-esque elements thrown into the mix. This makes “The Blasphemous Psalm to the Dummy God Creation” one of the oddest named tracks, and one of the better ones in this release. Both “Veins” and “Blood Mantra” have some cool Death Metal moments here and there, but fail to grab our attention.
Greatly improving over their 2011 release “Infected”, today we have Hammerfall and their signature Heavy Metal with “(r)Evolution”. In this release, the band continues to push forward with their quest of the perfect Heavy Metal album and they get a bit closer thanks to their refined sound. Nearly 50 minutes of high-octane music make this release one of the best of 2014 so far.
Leading with the catchy chorus section of “Hector’s Hymn”, the band gives this release a very epic spin since the opening song. The band’s Heavy Metal pedigree is instantly audible in this intense track. As Joacim Cans vocals lead another epic onslaught with the album title track, we are quickly taken by surprise on how quickly this album grows on you. The majestic guitar leads of Oscar Dronjak greatly elevate this song to the next level.
As one of the songs in this release mentions, Accept is one of the last of a dying breed of hard rocking bands that constantly deliver quality over quantity. Wolf Hoffmann and company manage to set the bar even higher after their most recent scorcher releases “Blood of the Nations” and “Stalingrad: Brothers in Death”. With their newly found singer, Mark Tornillo, the band is soaring higher than ever before and “Blind Rage” is a testament to that.
Opening with the no-bullshit onslaught led by “Stamped” and the super catchy “Dying Breed”, the band continues to do what they do best: deliver epic Heavy Metal songs without complications. Being consistent is one of the Accept’s best assets and through songs like “Dark Side of My Heart” and “Fall of the Empire” we can hear the band’s signature sound greatly enhanced by a modern production.
With a thunderous release, today we have Eluveitie and their premier Folk Metal in the shape of “Origins”. Featuring over 55 minutes of music, the band further develops their sound while retaining their signature instrumentation in 16 action filled tracks. With no signs of slowing down after the departure of their longtime violinist Meri Tadic, the band delivers one of their finest releases to date.
Quickly exploding into action with “The Nameless” after their intro track, the band delivers a catchy Folk tune filled with Bagpipes and contrasting crushing guitars. The band’s catchy atmosphere is nicely implanted in epic tracks like “From Darkness”, “Celtos”, and the melodramatic “Virunus”, a personal favorite of us. Chrigel’s vocals are as good as ever and his mastery of instruments like Mandolin, Ulieann pipes, etc. really put the band above all others that rely on computer generated instrumentations to fill their sound.
Marking the return of the most epic band in the Metal universe, today we have Sabaton and their latest release “Heroes”. As the first Swedish Metal band to achieve platinum sales (in Sweden) with their previous release “Carolus Rex”, the band lives up to the expectations with ten excellent songs in this release. Characterized by their intensity and their very lively songs about war and history, Sabaton is one of those bands that immediately lights up a room with their unique music.
Jumping immediately with the intoxicating “Night Witches”, the band continues the certain heroic vibe they transmit with their music. Joakim Brodén’s charismatic vocals are perfectly crafted for such intense music filled with quality arrangements and brilliant tempo changes. With Joakim and Pär Sundström being the only remaining original members of the band, the new guys are perfectly incorporated into the Sabaton ethos and you can instantly appreciate it on songs like “No Bullets Fly”, “Smoking Snakes” and the dramatic “Inmate 4859” – one of our favorites in this release.
As one of the most anticipated Nuclear Blast releases of 2014, Epica returns with their sixth studio album titled “The Quantum Enigma”. Led by the charismatic Simone Simmons and the very active Mark Jansen, the band delivers another outstanding release filled with bombastic and explosive tracks that takes the band to new musical heights. With over 69 minutes of music, this is one release that no fan of the genre will want to miss.
Opening with the lush arrangements of “Originem”, the album slowly transitions in to the very heavy “The Second Stone”. In this song we have the traditional catchy vocal melodies, but the band added an extra level of aggression with more powerful guitars and blistering solos, elements that greatly complement the band’s signature sound. The band’s excellent choir arrangements are perfectly complemented in tracks that have more teeth and will surely take fans by surprise, like the groovy “The Essence of Silence”.
Returning with a renovated sense of freshness and energy, today we have Sonata Arctica and their eight full-length release: “Pariah’s Child”. Going back to the band’s roots, this release is both extremely catchy and very basic in terms of Power Metal. Filled with superb melodic passages and captivating lead vocals, this is the album all fans of the band have been waiting for years.
The band kicks off with the playful “The Wolves Die Young” and “Running Lights”, two extremely catchy tracks that delivers the old sound the band used to have. The music feels like a jump in time to the days of “Tallulah”, “Shamandalie” and the killer “Paid In Full”. Filled with lush atmospheric passages, “Take One Breath” nicely features all the best elements that Power Metal and Sonata Arctica have to offer. With the band refining their skills over the years, they function now as a perfectly well-oiled machine.
As one of the most extreme releases of 2014, today we have Carnifex and their crushing “Die Without Hope” release. Three years have passed since the band’s last effort and today we have them with their most mature and polished released to date. Evolving away from your cookie cutter Deathcore, Carnifex manages to deliver 10 brutal tracks filled with epic orchestrations, massive drumming, and crushing vocals.
Wasting no time, “Salvation is Dead” produces some demoralizing Death Metal riffs that will crush anybody’s doubts of this band. The growls/shrieks of Scott Lewis are as brutal as they come and they greatly enhance the overall violence portrayed in the band’s sound. The band’s sound is 100 times darker on songs like “Dark Days”, where they exploit perfectly constructed orchestrations and keyboards to contrast their relentless riffing. There is also a certain melodic edge to the music that we found quite refreshing.
After a long album cycle with the last Epica release, Mark Jansen returns with his Symphonic Death Metal outfit MaYaN and their sophomore release “Antagonise”. In a release that is larger than life, we find ourselves somewhat lost with how many different elements and styles are put together in this album. While not being bad, but confusing and sometimes a bit dull, this is a most have release for any fans of Jansen’s previous work after a few listens to settle things in.
The album kicks off with the Death Metal riffing intensity of “Bloodline Forfeit”, with the heavy elements getting offset by Henning Basse’s commanding vocals. The album keeps rolling filled with lush orchestrations in dramatic tracks like “Burn Your Witches”, “Redemption – The Democracy Illusions”, and “Paladins of Deceit”, all of these tracks follow the same formula with some Epica elements bleeding into some of the aspects of the music.