Shai Hulud – “Reach Beyond The Sun”

Shai Hulud – “Reach Beyond The Sun” (Metal Blade Records)

One of the original modern metalcore bands that formed in the mid 90s, Shai Hulud were as heavy as hell mixing aggro vox with emo melodic riffs, harsh rhythms and of course, heaps of gang vocal backups! “Reach Beyond The Sun” is a triumphant comeback to full form after five years and sees the return of not only OG vocalist Chad Gilbert (who went off to New Found Glory) both in a vocal and production capacity – but also prior vocalists Matt Mazalli, Damien Moyal, and Geert van der Velde guesting on backing vocals on ‘Medicine To The Dead’! If that wasn’t enough, lyrically Shai Hulud have gone deep for the throat in challenging one’s inner notions of pessimism in order to re-fire the spark to come out fighting again. I guess it’s a sign of the times that people feel trapped in the situations they’re in, or the people around them, but we should take heart from songs like ‘If A Mountain Be My Obstacle’ and ‘To Suffer Fools’, that on the face of it might seem despondent, but soon give way to a spirited outcry the likes of which only repressed human beings can produce – and Shai Hulud have commendably ignited. Continue reading

Voodoo Circle – “More Than One Way Home”

Voodoo Circle – “More Than One Way Home” (AFM Records)

Voodoo Circle are a classic rock supergroup made up of: Alex Beyrodt (Primal Fear, Sinner,Silent Force) on guitar, Dave Readman (Pink Cream 69) on vox, Mat Sinner (Primal Fear, Sinner, Kiske/Somerville) on bass, Jimmy Kresic (Liquid one, Steve Lukather) on the keys and Markus Kullmann (Dezperadoz) on drums. Despite their pedigree, on this album they sound uncannily like late 80s Whitesnake, especially Readman’s vocals right down to Coverdale’s sultry tones and pseudo orgasmic moans of ‘…oh lord..’. Add in Kresic’s hammond organ and Beyrodt’s blues / rock guitar and fiery solos on power rock ballads like ‘The Saint And The Sinner’, ‘The Ghost In Your Heart’ and ‘Tears In The Rain’ and you’re looking at Rock Star Wars Part 10 lol. Still, if you don’t mind all this then Voodoo Circle as top musicians certainly play a fine brand of rock that will have you crooning with your roses n chocolate! Continue reading

Altaar – “Altaar”

Altaar – “Altaar” (Indie Recordings)

Psychedelic doom noise from Norway. The brainchild of Andreas Tylden (also known from One Tail, One Head), the beginnings of Altaar began in Vår Frelsers graveyard in Oslo, before he was joined by arts academy graduate and noise-musician Sten Ove Toft (Ryfylke, Faux Pas). The rest is legend. From as far away as Chile interest in their “Dødsønske” demo grew until both pressings were sold out and soon Espen T. Hangård (KILLL, NoPlaceToHide), Kenneth Lamond (JR Ewing) and Didrik Telle (Obliteration) were added. The new band then began showcasing their work at art museums and festivals like SXSW, Øya and Incubat developing an almost surrealist live experience by playing in complete darkness or bathed in the projections of hand-picked films. This self titled debut essentially captures the sum of all parts making up Altaar: there are only two songs, but each is around 20 minutes a piece and to say they are intense is an understatement. Using a succession of sounds from ambient to noise to doom, Altaar slowly crush your senses on tracks like ‘Tidi Kjem Aldri Att’ and ‘Dei Absolutte Krav Og Den Absolutte Na?de’ until you are totally absorbed. This isn’t so much as music but an experience, one where you start a journey and when it’s all over you have long missed your stop – but only to be smiling at that fact. Continue reading

Raven Black Night – “Barbarian Winter”

Raven Black Night – “Barbarian Winter” (Metal Blade Records)

Medieval metal from down under! Still wearing denim, these Adelaide veterans play late 70s hard rock metal with strong doom overtones. In many ways they remind of another 80s band – Cirith Ungol – what with their eclectic mix of The White Knight’s insane Ian Gillan-esque wailing vocals, Raven’s far out raw guitar work, The Dark Knight’s strummed fuzzed toned bass and The Godfather’s dull, primitive drumming. It’s not exactly contemporary, but together they produce an epic, heavy and classic sound that is sure to appeal to the heart of every true headbanger on songs like ‘Morbid Gladiator’, ‘Mystery Woman’ and ‘Fallen Angel’ which have an uncontrived and honest feel genuinely played from the heart. Already a success on the true metal scene, Raven Black Night have already hit Europe playing Headbangers Open Air and the Hard n Heavy Fest, so prepare to return to the old ways in the wake of the warrior’s call! Continue reading

Terminate – “Ascending To Red Heavens”

Terminate – “Ascending To Red Heavens” (Selfmadegod Records)

People who read my reviews know that I’m a sucka for old school Swe-death a la Dismember, Grave and early Entombed. Well clearly I can’t be alone cos Terminate hail from both New York and Chicago and are also purveyors of this fine style! Roaring grizzly bear vocals, filthy distorted guitar blended with insane crusty soloing and rocket barrage rhythms will rattle your goddamn neck on songs like ‘Chainsaw Omega’, ‘The Savage Silence’ and ‘Iron Supremacy’. With scant regard for melody (ha ha) this is the way underground death metal was meant to be played as depicted by Raul Gonzalez’s (Master, Morbus Chron) suitably cataclysmic late 80s cover. A complete face melter. Continue reading

Alter Self – “Seven Deadly Blessings”

Alter Self – “Seven Deadly Blessings” (Noisehead Records)

Blurring thrash from the blazing streets of Greece! With the country aflame with riots and heaps of social discontent, Alter Self’s angry thrash seems almost the perfect accompaniment. Razor sharp thrash riffola and relentless double bass drumming furiously drive songs like ‘Bleed Through Me’, ‘Flesh Sculpture’ and ‘Separation From God’ which are played as well for their precision as they are for their aggression! Interestingly, the vocals are different being of the Chris Barnes guttural death variety and on occasions the soloing could almost be considered progressive which adds an appealing dimension to this tight band who seem to have their act together – a shining example for their nation! Continue reading

Cold Feet Control – “Tales Of The Brokenhearted”

Cold Feet Control – “Tales Of The Brokenhearted” EP (Inverse Records)

Flying in the face of classifying metal into categories, Finland’s Cold Feet Control mix it up big time to produce a hard but modern sound on this second EP in their short but eventful career! Based on a metal core sound Cold Feet Control add in some very cool indie guitar breaks to match those harsh rhythms and likewise, soulful pop harmonies to match the trademark gruff vocals. Played with precision tightness, their further use of electronics to either add soft ambiance or increase the tempo into a dance like groove on songs like ‘Imagination’, ‘Bridges Burned’ and ‘Walls Between Us’, certainly shows that Cold Feet Control have plenty of promise in the spice they bring to much of today’s mundane world of music! Continue reading

Panikk – “Unbearable Conditions”

Panikk – “Unbearable Conditions” (Metal Tank Records)

If you like old school thrash a la early Exodus, Vio-lence or Sacred Reich then look no farther than this Slovenian band, who could cause an avalanche with their shredding brand of thrash! Massive waves of thrash riffola crush into you on songs like ‘Messiah Of Decay’, ‘The Wave Of Death’ and ‘Cruel World’ – all the classic riffs are there but even more there is hunger in the furor of these 4 young guys that is highly reminiscent of those early pioneer bands. Formed only a few years back Panikk have been touring heavily in their home country which has nicely honed their musicianship to match their precision with their brutality. All in all a fine debut for this promising band and their fledgling label! Continue reading

Fuckshovel – “This Is What We Are”

Fuckshovel – “This Is What We Are” (www.facebook.com/F.Shovel)

‘kin ‘ell, wiv a name like that it’s no surprise they come from Sarf East London and have every desire to follow in the anarchic wake of that gruesome foursome, the Sex Pistols. So much so in fact, that they’ve already supported Glen Matlock and The Germs although this mob are tooled up to the gills mixing high energy rock with punk attitude and cool singalong choruses. Heavy crunching bass, psycho drumming, chainsaw guitar and Jack Death’s vocals will have you headbanging, moshing and pogo-ing in adolescent fits of sweat, puke and ringing ears to songs like ‘Schizophonic’, ‘Skull & Bones’ and ‘All You Got’. Recorded at Assault & Battery off the gangster ridden Old Kent Road in London town, this is a fearsome debut that would make even demon barber Sweeney Todd shit his pants! Continue reading

Putrid Blood – “Absolute Profit”

Putrid Blood – “Absolute Profit” (Miner Recordings)

Hailing from a little town called Šid comes Serbia’s Putrid Blood, a heavy thrash core band who are fast stamping their name across Eastern Europe! Centered around a dual vocal attack mixing Brujeria like guttural with screaming styles, they also incorporate black metal melodies amidst a furious rhythm on songs like ‘Silovanje’, ‘For God’s Sake’ and ‘Zver’, which are sung in a mixture of Serbian and English. Despite being relatively unknown in international circles Putrid Blood have toured with the likes of D.R.I. and Warbringer as well as playing the Exit and Summer Sarajevo Metal festivals last year, along with winning a number of band competitions like Gitarijada Ratkovo and CMOK in their homeland. “Absolute Profit” was recorded at “Blaze” in Belgrade, one of the best studios in Serbia and it’s definitely worthy of international recognition, both for it’s professional sound as well as the bludgeoning brutality this Serb crew bring! Continue reading