Amongst Carrion – “We That Should Not Be”

Amongst Carrion – “We That Should Not Be” (www.facebook.com/AmongstCarrion)

Whoaa – these Welsh devil dogs play a mean n nasty metalcore that twists into you like a knife at death strike! From AJ’s unbelievably raw vocals, AC are like a metalcore version of Lamb Of God or Whitechapel as ugly brutal riffing graced by only the subtlest of warbling melodies and a reeving rhythm churn out songs like ‘The Fear In Her Eyes’, ‘Shadows Over Me’ and ‘Painted Red’. As bleak as their name suggests, AC’s material often comes across as pitiless as nature’s own savagery, yet graced with the hope each new dawn brings. Continue reading

Exumer – “Fire & Damnation”

Exumer – “Fire & Damnation” (Metal Blade Records)

Blimey, Germany’s Exumer are the stuff cult bands are made from – and then some! Formed way back in 1985 by singer/bassist Mem Von Stein and guitarist Ray Mensh, Exumer became Germany’s legendary thrash export, probably being one of the first thrash acts to reach an unusually large following outside of Germany, even into unknown countries like Brazil and Poland. Yet despite all this potential, the band broke up in 1990 owing to internal feuds – until their one off reunion at Wacken in 2001, where it became clear that Exumer’s name had been anything but forgotten. Since 2008 Exumer have been active and touring once again globally, affirming their status as a much sought after classic thrash band. So what do we make of “Fire & Damnation”? The more critically minded might allege a cash in but I would say it’s taking care of unfinished business from a band who never fully realized their potential. Whatever the case, “Fire & Damnation” is essentially a throwback back to those heady thrash days of the 80s: primitive, aggressive and ugly, songs like ‘Vermin Of The Sky’, ‘Crushing Point’ and ‘Devil Chaser’ feature scything buzz saw guitars, insane wailing soloing, glass-in-throat vocals, thwacking snare drum a plenty and of course, liberal use of those double bass drums! There’s absolutely nothing modern about this album, and whilst their peers like Kreator, Slayer & Sodom have moved on, Exumer have continued as they left off, satiating the undead armies of thrashers who walk the world over craving brutalo holocausto. Continue reading

Lonewolf – “Army Of The Damned”

Lonewolf – “Army Of The Damned” (Napalm Records)

Give it up for French power metal! Hailing from the capital of the French Alps – Grenoble – a city steeped in a 2000 year history, Lonewolf have a lot to live up to – and they proudly do not disappoint! This is a fine, fine album worthy of their heritage, essentially mixing power and traditional heavy metal but with plenty of heart felt passion (well they’re French aren’t they LOL – Ed) in their powerful medieval melodies, such that songs like ‘The Last Defenders’, ‘Tally Ho’ and ‘Hellbent For Metal’ are stirring epics worthy of marching off to a crusade, and singing all the way I might add LOL. “Army Of The Damned” is an excellent all around album and if Lonewolf can put forward their passion in their live show they could be a formidable act indeed – vive la France! Continue reading

Massive Assault – “Death Strike”

Massive Assault – “Death Strike” (FDA Rekotz)

Total fuckin death! These Dutchies have been listening to old school Swe-death a la Dismember but also give respect to Florida’s OG crew in Chuck Schuldiner’s Death – can’t really go wrong after that LOL! True to their name, Massive Assault give you the musical equivalent of flammenwerfer, poison gas, fields of barb wire, and panzers treading flesh into bloodied mud – or to the uninitiated, hoarse, guttural vocals, filthy distorted guitars churning out thick, evil post punk riffs and artillery barrage rhythm. I thoroughly enjoyed all 9 tracks on this superb album, my personal faves being the Swe-death opener ‘Driven Towards Death’ or ‘Dismal Life’ which could almost be a worthy successor to Death’s own awesome ‘Pull The Plug’ and the Venom like ‘Aggressive Depression – “Death Strike” sez exactly what it does on the tin – Zyklon fuckin B man. Continue reading

Strength Approach – “With Or Without You”

Strength Approach – “With Or Without You” (GSR Music)

Get ready for Roma – core! These Italians have been going solidly for the last 15 years even touring as far as Australia, Japan and even closer to home in the US, playing old school hardcore along the likes of Agnostic Front, Madball and the Cro-Mags. Of all these bands, the mighty AF are the closest comparison, especially during their “One Voice” era given Alex Blasi’s vocals are a dead-ringer for Roger (Miret’s) during that time i.e. highly raw in the throat! But it’s more than that, given the Stigmatized riffs and arrangements on fast, aggressive songs like ‘Stand Your Ground’, ‘In Your Face’ and ‘Waste Of Life’. I can imagine Rome being as crazy a city as NYC what with its own traffic problems and the Vatican right on your doorstep, so Strength Approach are giving the finger right back with a big ‘vaffanculo’ on “With Or Without You” LOL!! Continue reading

Ill – “Gotten Gains”

Ill – “Gotten Gains” (Glassville Records)

I was never a big fan of Sade so I felt less than inspired to pick up on a band whose guitarist / vocalist (Ryan Waters) was also a member of her group – but Ill are something else babaay! Also from the deep south, Ill take in the gospel soul vocals of Kings X, add in the funky rhythms of Fishbone, amp it up with some RATM attitude in their punchy riffs and cap it all off with some Hendrix inspired solo work. So if you’re into experimenting, then songs like ‘Christine’, ‘Bitch’ and ‘Castration’ will no doubt float your boat as they shake n slide, rock n roll and teasingly tempt you to try something different. Now that’s a trip baby. Continue reading

What The Night Brings – “Bound By Apathy”

What The Night Brings – “Bound By Apathy” EP (www.facebook.com/Whatthenightbrings)

No doubt some malevolent, brooding beast – and then some! This is ferocious terror core from the wilds of Buckinghamshire taking the piston aggression of Machine Head or Sepultura and melding it with angst ridden Brit-core bands like Stamping Ground or Knuckledust. Not for the faint hearted, this is music of our down trodden times, reflecting people who are walking powder kegs waiting to kick off – well, at least these four thugs manage something more positive taking out their frustrations in songs like ‘Barren’, ‘Front Towards The Enemy’ and ‘The March That Makes A Man’. No apologies, no sell out, this is the darkness to end civilization by. Continue reading

The Safety Fire – “Grind The Ocean”

The Safety Fire – “Grind The Ocean” (InsideOut Music)

These Londoners are a tight knit crew, having all grown up together and then starting up this bad – and they’d haveta be, given their complex, eclectic style incorporating a variety of modern styles from post hardcore to progressive to experimental metal. Although compared to ‘djent’ bands like Textures, I’m not entirely convinced they really do, and if they were it would be towards the mellower end of that spectrum. One thing is for certain, The Safety Fire have already made a name for themselves in the UK scene with the release of their critically acclaimed EP “Sections” in 2009 and their reputation as a powerfully energetic live band, so much so that they played at last year’s Sonisphere Festival. Musically, songs like ‘Anomolous Materials’, ‘Circassian Beauties’ and ‘Huge Hammers’ are diverse affairs with post hardcore vocals, neo prog riffs melded with squeaking guitars, off the wall jazz drumming, and all capped off by a liberal use of emo harmonies and melodies. What impresses about The Safety Fire isn’t so much their ability to jam in an array of styles but that they have striven as a band to keep their material into tight, digestible songs – and that is worth checking out. Continue reading

New Eden – “Solving For X”

New Eden – “Solving For X” (Pure Steel Records)

New Eden is a US melodic speed metal band started in ’93 by Steel Prophet / Axehammer guitarist Horacio Colmenares. In their early days they had some well known US Metal vocalists in their line-up like Steel Prophet’s Rick Mythiasin (who also sang on their last studio album “Stagnant Procession”), Michael Grant of Crescent Shield, and Helstar’s James Rivera, so it comes as no surprise that they sound like them (if less operatic). Fast guitar riffing mixed with classical virtuoso soloing, high end melodic vocals and massive amounts of double bass drumming define songs like ‘Flames For Hades’, ‘Watcher’ and ‘Searching The Loss’. Despite the technical album title, and not withstanding the superb musicianship, Colmenares et al continue this classic US metal genre in the fine style. Continue reading

Synapses – “Expiation”

Synapses – “Expiation” (Deepsend Records)

Hail the Cannibale, new drummer of Italian metal band Synapses. I have no idea what these guys sounded like in their previous band (Underhate) but today they play mid 90s technical death metal par excellence! Songs like ‘Tower Of Flesh’, ‘Rapture of Terror’ and ‘No Ruins Left Behind’ remind me of early Nile, with dervish riffs and exotic guitar warblings, all driven of course, by frictionless technical hyper speed drumming. What really impresses me is that this just isn’t another OTT assault, but a controlled series of strikes with varying tempos and intelligent arrangements, making for a combination of brutal yet interesting songs that allow the technical musicianship to be fully appreciated. All in all an excellent debut that could see these guys could go far indeed – just remember not to lose the cannibale! Continue reading