Agrypnie - 16 (2010) - If you’ve never heard of Agrypnie, then I highly suggest that you check them out. This latest offering of their German melodic black metal, might just be one of the best albums that I’ve heard all year. While “industrial” came up in their genre description, it must have been featured only on their debut album, because there is little, if no electronics on this entire album. What you get is both really interesting, and really solid black metal. There’s also some nice solos on the album. The first real track (after the intro) wasn’t anything special, but as the songs went on, they seemed to get better and better. If you like black metal at all, you absolutely cannot go wrong with this band.
OVERALL: REQUIRED LISTENING FOR THOSE WHO BREATHE BLACK METAL. THIS BAND NEEDS MORE RECOGNITION.
Absence - Enemy Unbound (2010) - There are two things that are going to
be said about this one. The first is that it’s mind-blowing, and the
second is that it’s far too over the top. Even though I really like
riffing and the vocal style that reminds me of Peter from Hypocrisy, I
feel that the guitarist may be trying to convince everyone that he is
going to be some sort of legend. Regardless, it’s a solid melodic death
metal album that may be reminiscent of early In Flames.
OVERALL: YOU’LL EITHER LOVE IT, OR PROFUSELY HATE IT… BUT IT’LL STILL KICK YOUR ASS.
ALSO TRY: IN FLAMES - COLONY
Angren - Death Came Through A Phantom Ship (2010) - This symphonic
black metal band came out of nowhere, with a very solid symphonic black
metal album. The orchestral pieces flow beautifully with the metal, and
nothing seems like it is too much, or too out of place, yet it could
still be too bombastic and well produced for those who have “kvlt”
tastes in this sort of music.(Everything is extremely clear.)I might
also add that each song has it’s own style in accordance with the story,
and I find that refreshing. If you are looking for a contender to
Dimmu Borgir, these guys would definitely be at the top of that list.
OVERALL: FOR FANS OF WELL PRODUCED BLACK METAL, SYMPHONICS, AND DIMMU.
ALSO TRY: DIMMU BORGIR - PURITANICAL EUPHORIC MISANTHROPIA
- A Mass Of Despair (2010) - What we’ve got here is a gothic doom/death
band with a good bit of melody (Rapture) and some black metal tinges.
It gets a little odd in places, and maintains the feeling of
helplessness that one would expect from this style of metal. The guitar
work is also quite good, and it even gets a bit proggy at times. The few
solos on the album are also interesting. Doom diehards will love this
stuff, regardless of the fact that it is short. (37:00)
OVERALL: IF YOU WANT TO BE DEPRESSED FOR A LITTLE WHILE, THEN THIS IS FOR YOU.
(I THINK THE VOCALIST STARTS CRYING A BIT ON THE LAST TRACK, AS WELL)
ALSO TRY: RAPTURE - FUTILE (1999)
Galerie - Ars Moriendi (2010) - This French black metal band isn’t
anything spectacular. I was told that they sound like Satyricon, and I
guess that he meant older Satyricon; because all that this album is a
1996 black metal album with slightly better production. Black metal
kvltists may think of France as “The New Norway”, but I think that the
whole 90’s black metal scene was over about 20 years ago. This kind of
thing reminds me of a franchise reboot, like the new A-Team film. The
reruns of the show are still good, and they even had Hulk Hogan on them
at one time, but now it seems that Hulk Hogan is now selling TV’s and
computers for Rent-A-Center because he‘s broke, and Mr.T is now just a
spokesman for World of Warcraft, because he’s trying to get a generation
who doesn’t give a shit to think he’s still “cool”.
The good old days are gone. This whole thing feels like disco. NEXT!
OVERALL: FOR PEOPLE WHO STILL WANT TO PARTY LIKE IT’S 1990...666!
Amott - Follow Your Heart (2010) - Christopher Amott has been known for
years for his groundbreaking work in Arch Enemy, and I believe that
after years and years of the same old metal, the man has gotten tired of
the genre altogether. This album is NOT metal by any means, but is
instead, light progressive rock. It’s very relaxing, and there’s some
good playing here and there…definitely not something you can play to get
you pumped for something, or to blast down the road at a hundred miles
per hour. But, I’ll lighten the mood.
OVERALL: SOLID PROGRESSIVE ROCK
- Manipulation (2008) - A bunch of guys from Houston, Texas decided
“Opeth? Yeah, we can do that here too.” and this came out of it. The
debut album from these guys is what you would expect: Solid progressive
death metal that can be compared to mid-era Opeth, with a southern drawl
on the clean vocals. At times, this formula works - but it’s also like
Opeth with a country singing Akerfeldt. It’s a good attempt, and I’m
curious at to what their next release will be…assuming there will be a
OVERALL: OPETH FROM TEXAS - MAKE OF THAT, WHAT YOU WILL.
ALSO TRY: OPETH, WOLVERINE
Sphere - Demo (2008) - Since this is a demo, you can expect the quality
to be raw, but there’s a good amount of effort presented in this debut
offering from a technical progressive death metal from, well…you tell
me. Grabbed this one on a whim, and was pleasantly surprised. If there
ever is an actual album from these guys, it’ll be something. The music
is comparable to death metal era Cynic and prog era Death. Of course,
some things appear to be emulated. Still, this demo is more than likely
fair game by now, so you can grab it for nothing, and hear it for
yourself. The last song on the album sounds a bit like elevator music
OVERALL: SOLID CLASSIC PROGRESSIVE DEATH METAL.
ALSO TRY: DEATH, CYNIC
Of Ashes - Genocide Chapters (2010) - What do you get when you mix
deathcore with black metal? Well, you get Dawn Of Ashes. (Who used to be
an EBM band, check Wikipedia) So, what can you expect? It’s a literal
blend of deathcore and black metal…
Some of you might think this
is the worst thing to ever happen to either genre, but in all
actuality, it’s done right. As a matter of fact, the thing sort of
sounds like Septic Flesh’s last album “Communion” (2009), because it has
so much of that horror influence. Many of the lyrics seem to be based
on H.P. Lovecraft’s “Old Ones”. which I can never get enough of, and
there’s even a nice little chant in the second track. (IA IA style)
Regardless, this is something new, and it should be embraced - not
hated. It’s not emo, after all - and I don’t mind a bit of deathcore,
myself. (Heaven Shall Burn and Deadlock, for example) So I don’t think
that it’s an upright blasphemy to mix these two genres of metal
It was bound to happen eventually.
OVERALL: WORTH A SHOT.
ALSO TRY: CRADLE OF FILTH, SEPTIC FLESH, HEAVEN SHALL BURN, DEADLOCK
- Fragments Of Form and Function (2010) - I was really saddened by this
debut from Alegaeon. Their EP, which came out before they got signed to
Metal Blade, was a great melodic death metal with more emphasis on the
raspy vocals, and virtuoso style guitar playing. It reminded me a bit of
my old band, (Unholy Sacrifice) actually. But here, we have an album
which is just way too over the top, with way too much virtuoso guitar
playing, and way too much technicality for me. I know that there a lot
of people into technical stuff, but I felt that a lot of the melodies
got lost in the technicality. It’s like taking a good song and cutting
it up into so many pieces that it looks like Swiss cheese. That’s not to
say that it’s awful, it’s just too fucking much.
OVERALL: HUMBLE DOWN A BIT, ALLEGAEON. RECOMMENDED ONLY FOR THOSE THAT LIKE THINGS WAY OVER THE TOP.
- Babez For Breakfast (2010) - If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That’s
been Lordi’s motto since the day they began. Here we see, that nothing
has changed, but they have decided to put more effort into what already
has made them a sensation (?) I mean, I saw Dark Floors, and heard them
for the first time via their videos on the disc, and then listened to
Arockalypse, and then Deadache - each having their own good songs, but I
think that this band is completely fine with making new versions of the
same old songs…ACDC, anyone? I also noticed that the same style of
chorus riffs is used on EVERY SINGLE SONG. On this particular release, I
have noticed that there is more music, (14 tracks as compared to the
others) and that almost always means more filler. Now, I can say that
“This Is Heavy Metal”, “Call Of The Wedding”, Midnight Lover, and “Give
Your Soul For Rock N’ Roll” are standout tracks, but the most
interesting song is “Granny’s Gone Crazy”, which actually deals with the
man behind the mask’s feelings about a society that has gone out of
control. It is, what it is. If you liked the old record, you’ll like
this one. If you liked the record before the old one, you’ll like this
one…it’s the same thing.
OVERALL: FOR LORDI AND HAIR METAL FANS ACROSS THE WORLD. NOTHING SPECTACULAR.
- Poetry For The Poisoned (2010) - Love them or hate them, Kamelot has
released another offering, and this time it is less in the operatic
vein, and more towards the heavy side of things. The opening track also
features double bass and deathcore vocals, and the rest of the album
seems to focus on appealing to a “new audience” as the band described.
Some say that their vocalist is losing his range, and others say it’s
just a fluke. I thought that it really wasn’t that bad, and it’s not
like they could make another “insert album name here”. Also, the lyrics
are much darker than on previous albums, and it’s a hell of a lot more
progressive than they’ve ever been. The bonus track is “Thespian
Drama”, which is just an instrumental.
OVERALL: THIS IS THE HEAVIER SIDE OF KAMELOT. IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT, DON’T LISTEN TO IT.
Earth - Sins Of The Siblings (2010) When I listen to these guys, I
can’t help but think that in some parts of the songs, these guys were
influenced by 8 Bit Nintendo music. The whole thing to me sounds sort of
like an updated soundtrack to a not yet made “Wizards & Warriors”
game. That’s not a bad thing though, unless you don’t care much for
video game music. As for vocals, don’t expect to hear any. It’s just
some really progressive metal with Nintendo influence. I think this one
is also fair game too. So, you can download it here, if you want:
FOR THE METALHEAD WHO LIKES WHEN HIS TUNES SOUND LIKE THEY CAME OUT OF A
BIG SQUARE BOX THAT HAD TWO CONTROLLERS, AND ONE OF THE BEST GAMES IN
HISTORY ON IT.
ALSO TRY: POWERGLOVE - METAL KOMBAT FOR THE MORTAL MAN (2007)
NESKIMOS (www.neskimos.com, all songs and albums are free and legal d/loads - check the forums)
VARIA SUITE - METROID METAL (2009)
- Virus S.T.N. (2005) - In terms of weirdness, this French Industrial
Black Metal band even gives Sigh a run for their money, due to
their…music? Can you call it music? I could’ve made something like
this…Oh wait, I did. My album almost sounds as awful as this! I have no
idea what the vocalist is doing (he’s off-key more than on), and while
there are good parts here and there, I have no earthly idea what exactly
is going on in this recording. I recommend this for the extremely
adventurous, because I feel that listening to this album might unlock
“the door to all of the unanswered questions of the universe” if one is
on a massive dose of LSD.
I’m just fucking with you. But seriously, I think that everyone should hear this - just so that they can say they have.
OVERALL: IF YOU LIKE TO SAY…WTF? THEN THIS IS FOR YOU.
ALSO TRY: SHINING - BLACK JAZZ (2010), ULVER - BLOOD INSIDE (2005) UNEXPECT - INSIDE A FLESH AQUARIUM (2008), AXIS OF PERDITION
Of Liberty - Brush Fires Of The Mind (2009) I had no idea that there
was anything new going on from the Iced Earth camp in 2009, besides
vacation time after touring. Well, apparently, true vacation for a
musician means getting to do something else. On this album, we actually
not only get to hear Schaeffer playing arguably some of his best riffs
in a long time, but we also have the slight misfortune of hearing him
sing. I understand now why he didn’t choose to sing in either Iced Earth
or Demons & Wizards, (who also has an album due out in October) and
it’s mainly because the man needs some vocal training. Don’t get me
wrong, some of the vocal work is good. He seems to hit those notes just
right in some parts, but in others, you can tell the man has had little
to no vocal training, and it sounds very amateurish. The album’s basis
is something I can agree with though, and topped off with some of the
best playing I’ve heard from the man in years, I’d still have to
OVERALL: FOR THE HARDCORE SCHAEFFER FANS ONLY. OR, FOR THOSE THAT JUST WANT TO HEAR HEAVY RIFFS FROM THE MAN AGAIN.
ALSO TRY: ICED EARTH - BURNT OFFERINGS, THE DARK SAGA, SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES, HORROR SHOW
Sevenfold - Nightmare (2010) - I was quite surprised by this release,
actually. I’ll also make a note that I have not heard any other A7X
albums, save for this one. What I can see is a lot of GNR worship, but
what I’ve noticed is that their heavy roots are coming back into the
mix, and there’s even some of their metal core era based songs coming
in, with the vocalist screaming again in parts. The guitar work is
excellent, and the vocals don’t sound so emo as on past singles that
I’ve heard. “The Beast and The Harlot” made me want to go stab my ears
out, but this isn’t so bad. Perhaps the lead singer’s voice is maturing,
and deepening, so he can’t get into the emo octaves anymore.
Regardless, I think that it can only get better from here, and I’d have
to say that this is actually worth a listen.
OVERALL: SOLID HARD ROCK / METAL
- Hostile Revival (2010) - What we have here is an industrial death
metal band, which could be comparable to Fear Factory. The groove is
definitely there, but they deriviate from the formula, and that changes
things a bit. I would have to recommend this to Fear Factory fans who
felt the new release was lacking. These guys show an awful lot of
promise, and have a chance at becoming well known. I consider them the
bastard children of Fear Factory.
OVERALL: IF YOU LIKE FF, YOU CAN’T GO WRONG HERE.
- Of Seismic Consequence (2010) - I’ll have to start out by saying that
this is one of those kind of albums that you just have turn off the
lights, light a few candles, sit down in a chair, and absorb all of the
way. It’s very trippy, it’s dreamy, and it’s out there. The vocalist
reminds me of the male lead singer of Dead Can Dance, and there is a lot
of influence from that band here. Yes, it is still a metal album, there
are still heavy songs and vocals on it, but they aren’t as frequent.
Again, this is one that you have to use whatever substance of your
choice, and zone out to the thing. I’m not quite sure if you’d call this
“Metalgaze” or “Post Metal”, but no matter what you want to call it -
I’d just call it awesome.
OVERALL: SIT DOWN, AND ENJOY THIS ONE. THERE’S NOT MANY OUT THERE LIKE IT.
ALSO TRY: NEUROSIS, MINSK, ISIS, YOB