Leaving us wanting more after their last release, Six Feet Under returns with another opus of catchy and grooviness inspired Death Metal with “Crypt of the Devil”. Led by Chris Barnes and Steve Swanson, this band has been refining their sound over the last 10 years and is far from sounding like any other Death Metal band in the scene. Dividing 37 minutes of music through 10 tracks, this release has enough catchiness to send you to the hospital from a neck injury after a day of extreme head banging.
Kicking off with the traditional sounding “Gruesome”, the band gradually increases their effectiveness through tracks like the hyper catchy “Open Coffin Orgy” and the brutally titled (and crushing) “Broken Bottle Rape”. The Six Feet Under signature sound is always present in the tracks in this release as Chris Barnes iconic vocals shine through. There are killer guitar solos and funky riffs in all tracks, but we particularly love the insane solos on “Broken Bottle Rape”. The band can switch up the tempo quite effectively with the chugging “Break the Cross in Half”.
While people hated on Ensiferum for their 2012 release “Unsung Heroes”, we actually quite enjoyed it. The band has evolved from their “Iron” and “From Afar” days, but the still deliver high-quality Folk Metal filled with epicly catchy tracks. Featuring 11 songs and around 53 minutes of music, this album is another very enjoyable entry in the band’s career and will surely recapture some of the band’s lost fans.
After being buttered up by the catchy “March of War”, the band goes all out with the epic “Axes of Judgment”. Here we get the traditional riffing and tempo expected from a release of this genre, and we have to admit that Janne Parviainen’s drumming really got us going on this very typical track. “Heathen Horde” is a track that is more our pace due to its catchy melodic tempo and the well-crafted vocal arrangements. Things continue to be epic with the dramatic “One Man Army”, a song that will make drop everything you are doing and start headbanging from start to finish.
Expertly crafted, “Where Greater Men Have Fallen” continues the legacy of Primordial and their unique Celtic infused Folk Metal. Delivering 58 minutes of engaging tracks that need to gimmicks to appeal to the listener, the band does a great job in keeping their sound and legacy intact with a very high quality release. Any fan of the band will be greatly pleased by this album that brings us some memories of the band’s epic: “Spirit the Earth Aflame”.
The head banging session starts early with the crushing opening of the album’s title track, we love how Primordial has always managed to deliver Folky sounding music with heavy riffs and not a plethora of bagpipes and similar elements. A.A. Nemtheanga’s vocals gracefully lead the band’s musical onslaught with great vocal melodies that perfectly fit the mood of the songs. Make no mistake, there are plenty of heavy sections for the fans that like the harsher side of the band, as we can see on tracks like “Babel’s Tower” and “The Seed of Tyrants”, as well as sprinkled around in between epic melodic passages.
As one of the least conventional bands in Metal Blade, Downfall of Gaia delivers a punishing 60 minute musical experience with their third full-length release “Aeon Unveils the Thrones of Decay”. Perfectly crafting an apocalyptic sound that fuses Black Metal, Post-Metal, and Sludge elements, this band will mercilessly make your speakers pop and have you begging for more.
Getting down to business with the bestial opener “Darkness Inflames These Sapphire Eyes”, the band spews their message with a brutality and firmness. The Black Metal sections are perfectly craved into the heavy riffing of this track, and the different vocal styles further extend the songs brutality. Just when you things are getting calm, blistering passages change the mood and direction of the songs, like in the epic “Carved into Shadows”. The underlying Doom/Post-Metal elements of tracks like this one and “Ascending the Throne”, make the band’s sound even richer and very diverse, making it harder to pin them down.
Featuring members (or ex-members) of Dimmu Borgir, Behemoth, Decapitated, etc., this Polish super group is set to make an impact with their fourth full-length release “Deus Ex Machina”. Taking subtle elements for tons of bands like Samael, Emperor, Arcturus, Vulture Industries and making them their own, we are left with ten very unique tracks that will creep you out while allowing you to head bang to them.
Kicking off the release with the brutal Sympho-BM “Halflight”, we are treated to Orion’s talent both behind his sickening vocals and crushing riffs. This track is probably the most straightforward one since it fits solely in one genre. Things go circus like with the Arcuturs-inspired atmospheric elements of “Innocence”, one of the album’s best tracks. The band comes back with the Samael-sounding “Disillusion”, a very intoxicating band with tons of catchy melodic passages and superb drumming.
One of the most brutal bands in Metal finally returns with their 8th full-length release titled “Desideratum”. Constantly striving to destroy your speakers, this British duo has made some of the most disturbing and massive sounding releases in history. In this album, we see the band shift gears a bit, and while there are still plenty of ridiculously brutal sections, there are also some more melodic and separable passages in their music. This results in a very well balanced release that is both brutal and melodic, making them more approachable for other people that might want something a bit tamer to their earlier efforts.
The band opens with the highly atmospheric instrumental “Acheronta Movebimus”, a song that has an odd mixture of Industrial with Djent-style percussions paired with some evil Black Metal riffing. After the perfect mood setter, the onslaught of brutality quickly rolls in with “Unleash”. This track is quite intense and diabolical, but what stands out the most for us is the clean vocals and the melodic edge to it. As the punches keep coming in with “Monstrum In Animo”, we also notice that as “A Firm Foundation of Unyielding Despair” and “The One Thing Needful” rolls in, there is a certain focus on the Industrial/Electronic elements that shifts the momentum a bit from the Extreme nature of the music. However, this last track has some superbly sinister guitar work that made it one of our favorites of the release.
Arriving with one of the most expected releases of 2014, today we have Dragonforce and their epic “Maximum Overload”. Featuring nearly 50 minutes of signature Dragonforce Power Metal, this release further develops their sound and delivers a wide variety of tracks that appeal to fans of the band as well as genre enthusiasts. With Marc Hudson fully incorporated to the band’s style and tempo, this is one the best releases of their career.
Opening with the tour-de-force epic “The Game”, the band deliver their signature vocal melodies alongside the ridiculous guitar skills of Herman Li and Sam Totman. This opening track features some intense growls, making the band sound a bit like Mercenary in their good days, but the band’s traditional playfulness is always present. With epic chorus sections like on “Tomorrow’s Kings” and “No More”, the band will not disappoint any of their legions of fans.
Having lost interest in Behemoth since their 2004 release “The Apostasy”, it is quite refreshing to hear they have recovered their brutality and desire to deliver the most sickening, and perfectly produced, release they could with “The Satanist”. Featuring nine tracks of Behemoth at the top of their game, this is one hell of a demolishing aural experience that no Metal fan would want to miss.
Opening with the first single of the release, “Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel”, the guitar sound is quite piercing and Nergal’s vocals are as commanding as ever. The use of choirs greatly enhances the atmosphere and gives it that “The Omen” kind of unholy vibe. The band’s aggression continues through demoralizing tracks like the punishing “Furor Divinus” and the massive “Messe Noire”, both of which are filled with pummeling drums and an intense bass guitar pounding away.
Featuring one of the most brilliant line-ups in Extreme Metal, today we have Sarke and their third full-length release “Aruagint”. Originally intended as a solo project of Sarke (Thomas Bergli of Khold, Tulus, ex-Old Man’s Child fame), this all-star Black Metal super group combines rudimentary BM elements with Heavy/Thrash Metal and a good dosage of Hard Rock thrown into the mix to create a decadent yet truly Norwegian sound.
Opening with the crunchy riffs of “Jaunt of the Obsessed”, we immediately take notice on the super production behind this release as well as the technical proficiency of everybody involved in the album. With a catchy Black’n’Roll attitude in tracks like “Ugly” and “Strange Pungent Odyssey”, we get that urge to headbang similar to what Vreid has been doing to crowds in their last releases. Having Asgeir Mickelson handling the drums, we get a full range of his Progressive skills infused into the music.
Finally arriving to North America through Metal Blade, today we have Sahg and their fourth full-length release “Delusions of Grandeur”. In this brilliant Progressive/Psychedelic Rock/Metal album, we have this Norwegian band delivering over 45-minutes of mellow retro music. Filled with crafty passages and lush vocals, this is one very detailed release that you need to hear more than a few times to fully enjoy it.
The album leads off with the grandeur of “Slip Off the Edge of the Universe”, a track that reminds us of the magic behind acts like Magnum and Spock’s Beard. The guitars are perfectly layered and allowing the vocals to shine through the psychedelic keyboards. As the album progresses we have songs filled with intricate details (“Blizzardborne”) and more direct blistering solos like on “Firechild”. All these elements give Sahg a very authentic retro prog sound.