Having set the bar ridiculously high with “The Beginning of Times”, Amorphis returns with yet another very impressive release that keeps setting new standards for the band. “Circle” features the band going a bit darker with some heavier songs, but with the every present melodic Amorphis signature style with soaring vocals and lush keyboards. Delivering nine tracks of pure brilliance the band reminds us why they are the kings of Finish Metal, in our opinion.
Unleashing their power immediately with “Shades of Gray”, Tomi J’s growls are as brutal as ever and make a great impact in the opening track. The classic Amorphis transitions from harsh sections to melodic passages are excellent as always thanks to the very efficient riffing. In a darker tone, “Mission” has a very energetic vibe thanks to the vocal arrangements and playful guitar work. One of the first singles of this release is the superbly catchy “The Wanderer”, a song where Tomi J’s vocals drive the track’s melodic elements.
Four years have passed since the crushing “A Taste of Extreme Divinity” and Hypocrisy finally returns with a release that brings them back to their more melodic and epic sound of albums like “The Fourth Dimension” and “The Final Chapter”. Bringing back the demonic aliens on the album cover, this release is both powerful and melodic with epic riffs and haunting atmospheres, a must have for any fan of the band’s earlier work.
Opening with the atmospheric epic “End of Disclosure” we are immediately transported to the band’s classics like “Roswell 1947” and similar tracks from those years. The band really changed things up from their last album to this one, and we particularly like this more melodic approach they have. The riffing as you can expect is amazing and on “Tales of Thy Spineless” they bust out some crushing Thrash Metal-style passages that will make you headbang instantly.
Suffering by the exit (for the second time) of their long-time guitarist and main songwriter, Peter Wichers, Soilwork manages to regroup and produce one of the best efforts to dates in the double album “The Living Infinite”. With all the band participating in the songwriting process, their latest release is actually very dynamic and diverse, exploring all facets of Soilwork’ sound from the last years.
Keeping on their Metalcore / Melodic Metal path, the band immediately opens the first CD of this release with the crushing “Spectrum of Eternity”, a track that perfectly mixes intense passages with melodic sections. Björn Strid’s vocals are once again perfect in blending harsh elements with soaring clean vocals giving the music a versatile sound that many bands fails miserably at.
Bringing forth a relentless guitar driver aural assault, today we have Enforcer’s “Death By Fire”. Lead by Olof Wikstrand, this Swedish band packs a lot of punch in their nine-track 36-minute NWOBHM infused Metal. Combining a crystal clear production and that intensity of the hay day of the genre, this release is one hell of a nostalgic trip.
Immediately after the typical intro, “Death Rides This Night” blasts away with super catchy guitar riffs and very the very sharp vocals of Olof. The whole vibe of this song is very 80’s with memories of Saxon and Motörhead immediately coming to mind. The party keeps going with the hyper fast “Run For Your Life” and epic “Take Me Out Of This Nightmare”. This last track is probably our favorite one of this release thanks to its very traditional structure filled with catchy passages and awesome guitar leads.
With the current Thrash Metal revival, it is quite sad to hear bands going on their last hurrah with very mediocre releases. This is 100% the case for Schmier and company with a very uninspired “Spiritual Genocide”. Bands like Accept, Kreator, and Death Angel have managed to evolve over time and incorporate some more ‘modern’ elements into their sound, Destruction on the other hand has managed to stay exactly the same for the last 10 years.
Opening with the insipid “Exordium” this album instantly feels like the last few of the band. Tracks like “Cyanide” and “Spiritual Genocide” are typical Thrash Metal songs that sound like they arrived 10 years too late. The riffing is predictable and the vocals are so-so, there is a lack of viciousness and aggression here, and bands like Kreator and Death Angel are now clearly superior to this band that peaked years ago.
Aging perfectly with time, today we have Death Metal legends Suffocation and their latest opus “Pinnacle of Bedlam”. As one of the first bands to mix technical elements into Brutal Death Metal, the band continues refining their skills and delivers ten killer tracks that put all the copycat kiddies to shame. For over 38 minutes, this release is guaranteed to rock you off your seat and induce a headbanging trance immediately.
Wasting no time, “Cycles of Suffering” explodes with crunchy riffs and crazy guitar leads all packed around hyper fast drumming and powerful deep growls. With Terrance Hobbs and Guy Marchais leading the riffing attack, “Purgatorial Punishment” is the quintessential Suffocation track that will immediately make your head start spinning with its raw power and unparalleled catchiness.
Sweden’s psychedelic hard-rockers return with another intoxicating dosage of classic rock with trippy stoner elements that made them so good in their excellent “Hisingen Blues” release. With such a massive appeal, this band has been resonating in most indie musical circles and has reached success up to the level of getting a spot to play on Bonnaroo and opening for Motörhead in Europe. In this new release the band continues to rock out with very emotional and mellow songs that take the band closer to musical Nirvana.
Opening with the warm and fuzzy feeling of records from the 70’s, the band delivers instant classic “An Industry of Murder” and the funky “Slow Motion Countdown”. Both songs are filled with solid guitar work and very emotive vocals. The band also excels at bringing the mood a tad low just before lifting spirits with more intense tracks like “Seven Seven” and “Endless Night”.
The queen of Metal Doro Pesch is back with yet another killer release that comes very close to trumping Accepts “Stalingrad” as the top Heavy Metal release of 2012. Doro is one of the most active and fan devoted musicians in Metal and the collection of heavy hitting hits delivered in “Raise Your Fist” is a true treat for anybody that has been following her since her days with Warlock.
Opening with the heavy-hitter “Raise Your Fist In The Air”, Doro sets the bar very high which such an energetic and catchy song. We can totally picture thousands of people raising their firsts and going crazy with this epic anthem on a live festival show. While ALL the songs in this release are excellent, the next highlight comes under the name of “It Still Hurts”, a power-ballad duet with none other than Lemmy from Motörhead. While we don’t get to hear his traditional raspy vocals, we still get a pretty unique and different side of his talents alongside Doro, what more can we ask for.
Greatly improving on their already impressive 2011 release “Edge of the Earth”, today we have Sylosis and their latest album “Monolith”. In this eleven track beast of an album, the band further refines their killer ‘Melodic Thrash Metal’ sound with even better crafted songs and heaps of killer guitar riffs. The band’s mastermind Josh Middleton has done a great job in crafting a very unique sound that is familiar to Metal fans, but it is also completely different from everybody else in Metal.
Setting a melancholic mood with the opener “Out From Below”, Sylosis quickly delivers the usual dosage of Thrash Metal riffs that nicely transform into brilliant melodic passages, particularly the brilliant closing to this song. There are a few hints of ‘Modern Metal’ included in tracks like “Fear The World” and “What Dwells Within” that give the band a Gojira kind of edge, not bad, but maybe alarming in the future.
After blowing us all away with the excellent “Axioma Ethica Odini”, Enslaved returns with another excellent release that builds up on their previous albums and further refines their sound. With their very Progressive sound, the band has managed to expand the reach of the Black Metal genre into new and uncharted territories, and “RIITIIR” is the perfect vessel to explore these waters.
Continuin the “Axioma…” vibe, “Thoughts Like Hammers” features intricate guitar work perfectly adorned by several singing styles. The chorus section of this track is magical, both musically and vocally. With such a very well-directed aggressive sound, the band perfectly fuses in their Progressive elements with the harsh vocals and pounding drums unlike any other band we’ve heard. Moving into funkier and more melodic territory, “Death in the Eyes of Dawn” nicely keeps the album flowing with excellent guitar work, a wide variety of vocals, and a very mellow tempo.