The everlasting Nile returns to us this 2012 with yeah another dose of extremely brutal Death Metal with hints of Middle Eastern influences. While we loved “Those Whom The Gods Detest”, this release feels too much like a continuation of that album and nothing else. The production of this release makes the guitars sound a bit weird (very thin in a way), the bass guitar is very hard to find, the drums are a bit drowned in the mix, and only highlights the vocals (both growls and clean ones), making for a unique but weird listening experience.
The hyper-fast “Enduring the Eternal Molestation of Flame” opens the musical onslaught with great brutality and crushing riffs (that sound a bit weird). The hellish different vocal layers are pretty demonic sounding, and the overall drumming is actually quite good, but it sometimes gets lost behind the growls. There is no doubt that there are some excellent technical sections in this track, but there is nothing new to show when compared to their previous release.
After their ridiculously awesome “Blood of the Nations” return, Accept set the bar very high for themselves and with “Stalingrad” they actually manage to match it. For over 50 minutes and ten tracks, one of the biggest names in Heavy Metal manages to deliver one powerful song after another one in the same vein as their previous release that introduced Mark Tornillo on vocals.
Since the opener “Hung Drawn and Quartered” we get to enjoy Wolf Hoffmann’s excellent riffing skills alongside Mark’s impressive vocals. The band keeps the momentum going by crafting super catchy chorus sections and a very strong drumming foundation for the track. The first undisputed anthem of this album is the title track “Stalingrad”. The band fuses their traditional approach with some melodic sections and a catchy chorus section that nicely pace this hard rocking song.
The ever changing Sonata Arctica finally returns after three years with another exciting (and different sounding) release titled “Stones Grow Her Name”. After listening to this album, we are sure the remaining purist fans of the older Sonata Arctica will surely shy away, and the ones that like their more recent musical direction (like us) will surely love in an instant.
Sonata Arctica is not afraid to move away of their comfort zone, and with each of their latest releases they have been experimenting and delivering excellent music that has changed the ways people perceive the band. In “Stones Grow Her Name”, the band explores more traditional songs as well as some very different tracks that at a first glance will make you think WTF.
After their epic-as-fuck release “Coat of Arms”, our favorite war inspired Power Metal band returns with the awesome “Carolus Rex”. Arriving in both English and Swedish versions, this release is a worthy continuation of their impressive back catalogue of releases keeping things nearly identical to their past releases, but with an even more epic atmosphere.
Sabaton in a certain way is very similar to Amon Amarath, they both found a niche were they are the best and very slowly keep adding minimal things to their sound to make it even more impressive. Opening with the very epic and full of choir sections, “The Lion from the North” (after the traditional filler intro track), Sabaton instantly sets the mood for such an excellent release. “Gott Mit Uns” delivers waves of powerful guitar riffs and Joakim Brodén’s excellent vocals.
Continuing on the concept brought forth on “As Yggdrasil Trembles”, Unleashed delivers their every two years release with “Odalheim”. As one of the forefathers of Viking Metal, Unleashed keeps bringing it every time they release an album and with the high-intensity of “Odalheim” they keep maintaining their aggressive-yet-melodic brand of DM that many bands wish they could play.
Blasting through their opener “Fimbulwinter”, this release is off to a great start with fast riffing, blistering drumming and the always effective vocals of Hedlund. The riffing courtesy of the band’s longstanding guitarists Anders Schultz and Tomas Olsson nicely switches band from high-powered Viking Metal sections and some barebones DM chugs. It is very surprising to see that the band has not had any line-up changes in years and it shows in the overall quality and tightness of their music.
Returning to their old ways after the so-so “Massive Aggressive”, Municipal Waste delivers “The Fatal Feast”. As a huuuuuge improvement over their previous album, this release features 16 solid tracks that cover everything between crossover, thrash, d-beat, and punk. For a span of 40 minutes the band will dominate the listener with a combination of their timeless sound and their ‘balls to the wall’ intensity.
Now signed to Nuclear Blast, Municipal Waste quickly jumps into action with the Punk/Thrash track “Repossession”. On one side of this release you have a hefty dosage of Thrash elements on tracks like “New Dead Masters”, “Crushing Chest Wound”, and “Death Tax”, there are also plenty of Punkier songs like “Unholy Abductor”, “You’re Cut Off” and “12 Step Program”, and completing the release you have the remaining tracks featuring the Municipal Waste Crossover sound that we all love from the band’s latest releases.
After the excellent “ObZen”, Meshuggah returns with their latest epic “Koloss”. In this the release not only the band builds on previous work, but it also improves their sound in a manner that makes it more accessible to people and still equally technical and brilliant. Pummeling through 10 tracks of brilliant music, this is a release that shows how well the band has matured and how much better they are than the rest of their clones.
Opening with the ‘slower paced’ “I am Colossus”, the band makes their signature sound present since the opening minute. The brilliantly crafted drums, crazy rhythms, and strong vocals immediately identifies the band, and delivers a very strong opening track. Things start picking up with “The Demon’s Name Is Surveillance”, “Do Not Look Down”, and “Behind the Sun”, all songs filled with polyrhythmic structures and very interesting elements that makes the unique and different from each other.
As one of the band’s most elaborate and grandiose albums, today we have Epica’s highly awaited “Requiem for the Indifferent”. Packing in around 71 minutes of music in 13 tracks, this release is by far the band’s most musically ambitious release to date. While marinating their traditional Gothic/Symphonic Metal approach, Epica manages to incorporate Progressive elements into their already excellent sound, and end up with a release that is as complex as it is long.
In a similar fashion to MaYaN’s “Quarterpast”, this release requires more than a few spins before it really starts to sink in and you will start to enjoy it. While we think it is great that a band is making an effort in growing as musicians and making their sound a bit more complex, this might also alienate some fans that just like plain bombastic songs they can cheer/headbang to. “Requiem for the Indifferent” is not all very complex, but it feels like much more of an effort has to be put to it to be really enjoyed.
After their highly popular and very well crafted “Everything Remains as It Never Was”, Eluveitie returns with another dosage of ….more of the same. If you liked the previous release, “Helvetios” will feel very familiar and you will surely enjoy it as a worthy continuation. However, if you are looking for something different this is not the place to look for it.
Don’t get us wrong, Eluveitie’s music is very well crafted and enjoyable but after 4-5 songs we find ourselves wondering if they all have been the same. In “Helvetios” we noticed the traditional structure of all Eluveitie albums and some songs like “Scorched Earth” are nice to change the monotony of the release, but then they are followed by tracks like “Meet the Enemy” that are just more of the same.
In a time when all the Technical Death Metal bands are graded base on how many notes they can whip out in the least amount of time, it is nice to listen to a band that actual focuses on how well the songs listen and structures them around melody and not technical level. Australia’s Psycroptic presents us their fifth full-length release “The Inherited Repression” with a high level of maturity and musicianship.
Pummeling through nine tracks, “The Inherited Repression” keeps the focus on the melodic aspect of things and the nice technical details are mostly playful elements that increase the band’s appeal. With some hints of the great Death, the band delivers waves of excellently crafted riffs and a less annoying version of Chuck Schuldiner-styled vocals. This is immediately evident with the opener “Carriers of the Plague”, a track where the guitar work is very elaborate but the song is also very catchy and effective. We particularly love the melodic passages that get repeated through the song, and the massive drumming as well.