Primitive Man – “Scorn”

Primitive Man – “Scorn” (Relapse Records)

Ugly, hateful death grind noise from the Colorado wastelands. If notorious cannibal Alferd G. Packer were still alive I’d imagine he’d be jovially a listenin’ to Primitive Man as he blissfully carved up his victims before serving them up in a stew lol. Feedback drenched noise guitar, distorted bison fart bass and Ethan Lee McCarthy’s predatory guttural vocals bring on the hate in songs like ‘Black Smoke’, ‘Stretched Thin’ and ‘I Can’t Forget’ – nor will you in this mind numbing experience that is guaranteed to bring out the inner savage in even the meekest soul. Be forewarned. Continue reading

Hornet – “Skies Are Falling”

Hornet – “Skies Are Falling” (SED Records)

‘..you can’t make me! you can’t break me!! you can’t change me!!!..’ Raucous punk rock metal from the streets of London! This lot barged their way to the front with their loud n abrasive EP a coupla years back and have now returned 200 gigs on with a full blown debut, confidently funded by a Pledge music campaign. Straight outta AC/DC’s no frills just honest rock n roll book, Hornet play it like they pack it in their sting – gravelly throat strained vocals, deep crunching bass, chunky blues based rock riffs that would leave a guitar steaming and a crashing rhythm – the perfect accompaniment to loud kick ass songs like ‘Second Hand Smoke’, ‘I’m Gonna Be The Man’ and ‘Sweet Lips’. This is sweaty, beer fueled man rock beaten out on steaming stages to the soul of pure rock n roll! Continue reading

When Reasons Collapse – “Full Of Lies”

When Reasons Collapse – “Full Of Lies” (www.facebook.com/WhenReasonsCollapse)

Femme fatale mello deathcore from the gutters of Paris! Fast n furious rhythms laced with flowing melodies form the stage on which Cristina plies her astonishing vocals contrasting guttural with screamo that doesn’t sound a million miles from The Black Dahlia Murder or Dark Tranquility on songs like ‘Another End’, ‘Made Of Stone’ and ‘Walkers In The Dark’. “Full Of Lies” is certainly competently played if somewhat unoriginal although it’s clearly early days for this youthful band finding their feet. Still, as I can’t think of any other French groups like them especially with a front woman like Cristina, there’s plenty of reasons to give these lads (and ladette) a look in? Continue reading

Manowar – “The Lord Of Steel Live”

Manowar – “The Lord Of Steel Live” EP (Magic Circle Entertainment)

After a 5 year wait, the metal gods known as Manowar returned last year with their album “Lord Of Steel”. With it the band came full circle from the return of original drummer Donny Hamzik after 26 years to their sound veering away from the epic style back to the band’s early meat n potatoes shake it with steel groove. Now that takes balls. Even more so when you consider they have fans in over 40 countries and how fanatical they are. Well the proving ground was last year’s World Tour and if you didn’t make it to one of those dates then this EP is proof positive that a new era in Manowar has opened! Recorded across 6 European dates, it’s more the case of trying to work out which crowd is loudest as Karl Logan cranks out the evil riffs to ‘Thunder In The Sky’ and Hamzik redeems his past with his pounding double drums! With ‘Expendable’ bringing in a bit of sass that’s been amiss since “Battle Hymns” it’s back to Logan as he churns a heavy dirty sound out for ‘Hail, Kill And Die’ as Eric Adams shows us that his vocals are still one of the finest in metal leading thousands in a chant of ‘Manowarriors’ – ‘…heavy metal we believe, if you don’t like it fuckin leave..’. Manowar are back so fuck the world and death to false metal! Continue reading

Fleshgod Apocalypse – “Labyrinth”

Fleshgod Apocalypse – “Labyrinth” (Nuclear Blast Records)

Well, I’ve never been one for Italian opera but Fleshgod Apocalypse are something else – a glorious mix of death metal, classical orchestras and wailing female sopranos that are as flamboyantly decadent as ancient Rome itself! Add in the thunderous procession drumming, trumpets and even piano and you’ve got complexity upon complexity that if handled incorrectly could be a disaster but with the right skill and bravado races like a Ferrari. Well, Fleshgod Apocalypse have it in bunches and run like a Formula 1 team – for a start there’s three vocal variations from clean to gruff to the aforementioned femme before combining the other elements that have been arranged masterfully to achieve maximum effect on stupendous concertos like ‘Warpledge’, ‘The Fall Of Asterion’ and ‘Pathfinder’. Inspired by the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur, “Labyrinth” uses this as a metaphor in exploring the search for one’s self and identity through the maze of life in the ultimate quest of freedom and individuality. This really is a superb release vibrant with energy and an amazing mix few could pull off to such a degree of pedigree that goes well beyond the realms of death metal alone – bravo – truly a gift from the gods themselves! Continue reading

Saltatio Mortis – “Das Schwarze Einmaleins”

Saltatio Mortis – “Das Schwarze Einmaleins” (Napalm Records)

On the strength of their “Manufactum III” live opus earlier this year I was expecting to hear more of the same jolly medieval rock but the prevalence of bagpipes on “Das schwarze Einmaleins” have taken the band more into the Scottish or even Celtic folk territory which is kinda unusual given these guys are German as indicated by their use of even their own national anthem on ‘Wachstum ueber alles’! Giving Scotland’s own Pipeline (or the Dropkick Murphys – Ed) a run for their money, it makes for a bizarre combination especially as Alea der Bescheidene sings in German although if you can get over that then numbers like ‘My Bonnie Mary’ and ‘Abrakadabra’ still retain their knees up appeal amidst his punkish vocals, punchy melodic riffs and yes…those omnipresent bagpipes lol. Continue reading

Equilibrium – “Waldschrein”

Equilibrium – “Waldschrein” EP (Nuclear Blast)

Although these guys have been around for over a decade this is really the first I’ve heard of Equilibrium so it’s just as well that this EP is a sorta filler while we await their 4th album next year. Impressively opening with the title track these Germans play a mix of folk along with the incredible guitar melodies of early Children Of Bodom before moving onto a symphonic rework of ‘Der Sturm’ which came off their debut in 2005. With a previously unreleased track ‘Zwergenhammer’ increasing the tempo, vocalist Robse shows his contrasting screech meets growl vocals amidst the pomp of the keyboard harmonies and the majestic ‘Himmelsrand’ – a cover version of the Skyrim video game – brings it all home in it’s epic glory of bombastic choirs and thunderous drum work. Quite a variety here showcasing their talent, Equilibrium are definitely one to take note of now and leave me salivating of what to expect next year! Continue reading

End Of Green – “The Painstream”

End Of Green – “The Painstream” (Napalm Records)

Self described as ‘depressed subcore’ this German goth rock band have been around since the early 90s, playing well renowned festivals like Wave-Gotik-Treffen and Wacken Open Air. These days I tend to feel a more emo rock style characterized by waves of teen heart wrenching melodies along with Michelle Darkness’s sad vocals on songs like ‘Don’t Stop Killing Me’ and ‘Standalone’ – perfect accompaniment for a rainy day! Interestingly they don’t have a German Kraut rock sound making them universally appealing to emos all over the world (groan – Ed) or anyone in love with autumn lol. Every now and then they do try and ramp it up like on the rock n roll ‘Chasing Ghosts’ and the darkwave title track but for the most part sadness is bliss with End Of Green. Continue reading

The Defiled – “Daggers”

The Defiled – “Daggers” (Nuclear Blast Records)

The Defiled are the happenin band this side of the Atlantic so it comes as little surprise that NB have snapped this lot up! Winning Metal Hammer’s Golden Gods Award last year, they wasted no time in starting a Pledge campaign for this album the proceeds of which have now gone to the release of their live version of their debut “Grave Times” to coincide with their first US dates. Musically The Defiled should go down a treat playing techo metal core mixing the aggro vocals of Stitch D with AvD’s strong, flowing keyboard harmonies as the rest of the band chop it to the strong grooves of ‘Porcelain’, ‘Five Minutes’ and ‘No Place Like Home’. A veritable melting pot of contemporary styles, they’ve sensibly left it to renowned producer Jason Suecof (All That Remains, Devildriver, Trivium etc etc) to bring out their sound which he’s done big time both for airplay and the arena. The Defiled are the best thing to come outta London in a while, having the stones to seriously take on their Stateside counterparts pound for pound no holds barred! Continue reading

Mono Inc. – “Nimmermehr”

Mono Inc. – “Nimmermehr” (NoCut)

This German electro goth band made a big hit last year in their country with “After The War” rising to number 6 in the album charts! Thankfully, and bravely, Mono Inc.have gone for a harder and darker feel to this album. There’s still The Sisters Of Mercy meets Depeche Mode mix, but overall everything is a lot harder from Katha Mia’s drumming to Martin Engler’s deeper baritone vocals. Likewise, the keyboards also sound a lot darker although overall the band’s sound remains as alt rock with plenty of passionate melodies, dance grooves and catchy poppy choruses judging by songs like ‘My Deal With God’ and ‘Heile, Heile Segen’. Still, they show a more heartfelt side to themselves on the ballad ‘A Better Way To Die’ where Engler comes into his own taking an almost gruff Shane McGowan style amidst the flowing violins. Also noted for his culinary skills offstage, Engler is an associate of noted German musician and actor Joachim Witt, who also collaborated on the inspirational track ‘Kein Weg Zu Weit’, particularly poignant given Engler’s breakdown and hospitalization during this album’s production. It also clearly shows that rather than rest on their new found success, Mono Inc. continue to break new ground, ever conscious to maximize their potential and opportunities that may not be around tomorrow. Continue reading