Metal Blade

  • The Ocean – Anthropocentric (2010)

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    A few months after the release of “Heliocentric”, we get “Anthropocentric”, the more aggressive and crushing continuation (and conclusion) to the band’s critique on Christianity started with “Heliocentric”. While The Ocean still incorporates some of their traditional classical instruments in “Anthropocentric”, this release is by far much more aggressive and straight forward than their previous one.

    With another 50 minutes of monumental Progressive Sludge/Metal, the band greatly enhances the listening experience of “Heliocentric”, we found ourselves playing both records back to back in order to get the full effect and conceptual message of this very well crafted releases. The band immediately starts with a very crushing track in “Anthropocentric”, often weaving back and forth between pounding riffs with harsh vocals and brilliant clean vocal harmonies and more melodic guitar lines.

  • Hail of Bullets - On Divine Winds (2010)

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    With all the crap Death Metal these days, it’s nice to finally hear a band with real balls and real music. Hail of Bullets comes from the Netherlands with a very impressive line-up that includes Martin van Drunen (Asphyx, ex-Pestilence) on vocals, legendary drummer Ed Warby (Gorefest, 11th hour, Ayreon, Star One), and Paul Baayens and Stephan Gebedi on guitars (both from Thanatos).

    With such an impressive line-up we get a very aggressive and dynamic sounding Death Metal that will please all fans with a brilliant mixture of North American and European Death Metal from the 90’s. With clear influences of Asphyx, old Pestilence, Bolt Thrower, just to name a few, the band has a very impressive and crushing sound that many kiddies these days would only dream of.

  • Negligence – Coordinates of Confusion (2010)

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    This 2010 we got monumental Thrash Metal releases by legendary bands like Exodus, Forbidden, Death Angel, etc, so it’s very hard to find any newcomer band that can easily be compared to these great bands and their high quality releases Hailing from Slovenia, today we have Negligence, a band that might not have the same impressive trajectory of Exodus and Death Angel, but they can still play some mean Thrash Metal and look good while doing it.

    While “Coordinates of Confusion” might not be an extreme original album, it still has enough quality to maybe sneak into some top 10 of 2010 lists in the genre. The musicianship and songwriting behind this release is superb, creating a very entertaining release that will surely please the most demanding fans of the genre.

  • Witchsorrow – Witchsorrow (2010)

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    Keeping the Doom Metal flame alive, today we have Witchsorrow and their self-titled debut album. Invoking the spirits of great bands like St. Vitus, Candlemass, Penance, etc, Witchsorrow shows their cards with this very solid debut release. With “Witchsorrow”, you will get a 45 minute dose of crushing Doom Metal with some psychedelic influences like in the old-school days.

    As you can expect, the guitar work is monumental and it creates a very thick atmosphere. Typical for (good) Doom Metal releases, the band goes balls deep into crushing riffs and songs over 9 minutes long. By doing everything by the book, and adding some psychedelic guitar sections, you can’t really argue about the efficiency of “Witchsorrow”.

  • System Divide – The Conscious Sedation (2010)

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    Today we have System Divide, a band that plays a very interesting mix of Gothic Metal elements with Melodic Death Metal/Deathcore foundations. Featuring Sven de Caluwé of Aborted fame and Miri Milman (Distorted, Orphaned land) on vocals, you know you will have a very nice contrast between sweet female voices and demonic growls.

    With a very similar style than Deadlock, the band seamlessly merges elements and creates a very solid melodic yet brutal album with “The Conscious Sedation”. It’s very interesting that such release will appeal people from both the Melodic Metal community and the ‘Modern’ Metal (i.e. Deathcore) section, since it features elements that will please both sides of the fence.

  • Dawn of Ashes – Genocide Chapters (2010)

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    As one of the worst band’s we have reviewed in a while, today we have Dawn of Ashes and their superbly un-original “Genocide Chapters”. By the worst band denomination, we don’t mean that (most) of the musicians of Dawn of Ashes suck at their instrument, we are referring to their lack of creativity and their ability create filler music for almost the full duration of the release (since we actually liked one song on it).

    Changing styles from Industrial/EBM to Melodic Black/Death Metal, Dawn of Ashes approaches Metal like clumsy nerdy kid about to have their first sexual experience: it’s sloppy, awkward and very unsatisfactory. The band’s attempt at creating a solid album gets quickly destroyed by their ridiculous Dimmu Borgir-esque approach to Black Metal, using persistent keyboard arrangements will not get you far if the rest of your music sucks.

  • Return to Earth – Automata (2010)

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    With a very interesting and hard to peg sound, today we have Return to Earth’s second album “Automata”. Featuring ex- The Dillinger Escape Plan and current Coheed & Cambria’s drummer Chris Pennie, the band is ready to step in a bigger spotlight with this very solid sophomore release.

    “Automata” features 16 songs that range from weird sample/loopy stuff to full-on hard rock anthems that will stick to your head like duct tape. The album’s flow is very interesting since you wouldn’t expect such different songs to come together as they do here, the interludes between groups of songs (the tracks “1.0”, “2.0”, and “3.0”) create a very efficient separation of ‘movements’ in this release.

  • Nightfall - Astron Black and the Thirty Tyrants (2010)

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    When we where thinking where the hell have we heard of this band before, it immediately hit us that the band had a song (“Black Leather Cult”) in the epic “The Holy Bible” compilation album of Holy Records back in 1996. Fast-forward almost 14 years and, several releases and a brief break up and we have Nighfall back with only one of the original members: Efthimis Karadimas, now only on vocals.

    “Astron Black and the Thirty Tyrants” marks a very impressive release of this Greek band on Metal Blade Records. Since you start listening to this album, you immediately know that it will surely be an interesting experience. With a very interesting Melodic Black/Death Metal sound, the band quickly brings back of some of their older releases on Holy Records, because of the odd combination of powerful riffs, different vocals (clean and growls), and the elevated us of keyboards.

  • King of Asgard - Fi'mbulvintr (2010)

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    As you probably guessed from the band’s name, today we have yet another band from Sweden that plays Viking Metal. Featuring members of Mithotyn, Falconer and a bunch of other bands, King of Asgard plays a very generic Viking Metal with countless influences from Amon Amarth, Týr, to pretty much every other Viking Metal band these days, paired with some hints of Dissection and Primordial.

    As many other bands, in paper King of Asgard does sound awesome, since we used to love Mithotyn back in the day where Viking Metal was not as exploited as now. Falconer also has had good stuff over the years. But none of these musicians can save King of Asgard from falling in the pitfalls of sounding too much like somebody else.

  • Fleshwrought - Dementia/Dyslexia (2010)

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    In a band that features Jonny Davy from Job for a Cowboy and Navene Koperweis (ex-The Faceless, ex-Animosity) we expected a shit-core marathon but instead we found ourselves listening to some sub-par technical/experimental Death Metal that features a few intersting ideas that could have been developed further to create a better album.

    We have to admit that the musicianship on this release is pretty awesome and that Navene does a great job at playing all the instruments. However, the problem lays in actually crafting songs that can handle all this brilliance, “Dementia/Dyslexia” sounds completely disconnected from reality and feels more like a drugs induced ego-trip in showing how brutal and fast can you play the drums and how well can you play the guitar, than an actual album.

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