King Dude – “Burning Daylight”

King Dude – “Burning Daylight” (Van Records)

Despite being tucked away in the rainy northwestern corner of the US, Seattle has always been at the forefront of cutting edge music. And King Dude might be the next big thang. Mixing together dark, pagan folk with acoustic country rock n roll, this king takes the dark side of Johnny Cash n Jim Jones right into the pits of Hell. The ‘king’ in this case is Book Of Black Earth guitarist / vocalist TJ Cowgill but the trippy almost shamanic trance in songs like ‘Jesus In The Courtyard’, ‘My Mother Was The Moon’ and ‘Lord, I’m Coming Home’ is a million miles from the death / punk of his crusty buddies. This is far darker my friends, vividly atmospheric and captivating from TJ’s vocal drawls to the melancholic melodies and haunting harmonies. Country n Western will never be the same and has death in TJ’s name. Hail to the king baby. Continue reading

YoungBlood – “No Retreat”

YoungBlood – “No Retreat” (Eonian Records)

OMG. Depending on whether late 80s hard / glam rock a la Slaughter, Warrant or Extreme was yer thang, YoungBlood will undoubtedly bring back all those memories – good or otherwise lol! This isn’t actually a new band but an original group who formed in the Midwest and initially recorded the 16 songs on this album back in 1989! I don’t know what happened after that but the band folded and it has taken the best part of thirteen years for them to be formally released. Truly astonishing and also tragic given the quality of the material n musicianship which is up there with the best of those 80s bands. Songs like ‘Heat Of The Passion’, ‘My One And Only’ and ‘Get Down To It’ take us back to the days of air punching rock anthems, acoustic ballads, get-the-funk-out party groovers and most of all – heaps of hairspray! Vocalist Bobby Sisk is one of these pretty boy rockers with a barnet that would put a lion to shame and with such high vocals you wonder if he got kicked in the nuts, but a champion crooner he certainly is, along with the stadium shakin’ guitars of Jeff Diehl and Eric Saylors. “No Retreat” was a treasure waiting to be discovered and what’s even more awesome is that YoungBlood still have another 29 unreleased tracks held in reserve! Continue reading

Cauldron – “Tomorrow’s Lost”

Cauldron – “Tomorrow’s Lost” (Earache Records)

Yeah, I can see why these Canadians are a bit hit on the Euro circuit, especially in the ‘true’ metal league given how early 80s they sound! Taking their inspiration from the 1st generation of NWOBHM bands and in particular Angel Witch, Raven and of course Maiden (although by no means confined to them), Cauldron even have a retro sound right down to hard rock tinges and raw dirty guitars! Singer / bassist Jason Decay has one of those girlie high vocals that bring a melodic constant throughout Cauldron’s material be it on the free wheeling ‘Burning Fortune’, the occult groove of ‘Relentless Temptress’, or more mid tempo stuff like ‘Nitebreaker’. Additionally, the production sound is very akin also to the 80s, when bands had a no frills approach to recording such that their albums were faithful reproductions of their live sounds and vice versa. Cauldron live as well as play the 80s – it’s like these dudes are stuck in that era but just grew up a coupla decades later lol! Continue reading

The Fallen Within – “The Day You Died Inside”

The Fallen Within – “The Day You Died Inside” (Noiseheadrecords)

This Greek band formed just under a decade ago and have undergone significant changes thru their line-ups, sound and even look! Their debut “Intoxicated” mixed the aggro groove metal of Soulfly with the mellow death of In Flames (complete with neck ties) and was recorded in Athens, mixed in Finland and released on an Italian label! This sophomore is equally diverse but different with songs like ‘How Do I Rise From The Dead’, ‘Still Tearing Me Apart’ and ‘Crawling Down The Hallway’ mixing the brutal chopping riffs of Soilwork with emocore melodies, and the biggest change being the strong electro dub keyboards adding a dance groove in some cases! With vocal styles to match from emo-mello to screamo to death, The Fallen Within continue to flirt with diversity, not to mention haircuts all around! Continue reading

Driven – “A Breakdown Of Character”

Driven – “A Breakdown Of Character” EP (www.facebook.com/drivenuk)

This lot might hail from the leafy suburbs of north London, but their style of aggro metal sees their up turned noses pointing decidedly towards Texas, not in the least given how much they sound like Pantera! But hold up, this would be an at times slightly more tempered Pantera, one also mixing in soulful vocals and melodic guitar licks reminiscent of Kirk Hammett into songs like ‘Ghosts’, ‘Uproar’ and ‘Vacant Throne’. It’s an interesting take indeed on what might’ve happened if Dimebag n Anselmo had carried on as a heavy metal band instead of the furious monster that Pantera became but for the mo this lot are far beyond driven. Continue reading

BE’LAKOR “Of Breath and Bone”

BE’LAKOR
“of Breath And Bone”
(Kolony)
Australian Be’Lakor might be hailed as the greatest thing in melodic death metal that Australia has to offer but that doesn’t really say too much to me as I have no clue what the melodeath scene in Australia is like. But seeing as it has been awhile since I received a melodeath album this might just be what I need right now to get my juices flowing. But then I hesitated when I saw the length of each individual track. Then I knew that this wasn’t going to be the next big thing to In Flames. Continue reading

DE PROFUNDIS “The Emptiness Within”

DE PROFUNDIS
”The Emptiness Within”
(Kolony)
I somehow got De Profundis confused with Primitive Graven Image, not so much by name as by origin. Realizing that I hadn’t heard De Profundis prior to receiving this album it was with an all cleared mind that I took on this album. Not knowing too much about the band I didn’t really know what to expect. I do somehow suspect that this is going to be progressive but not to what extent or at what end of that spectrum it will all end at. Continue reading

ENCHANTYA “Dark Rising”

ENCHANTYA
”Dark Rising”
(Massacre)
I’m really starting to resent the term female fronted metal as if that alone is a genre. It shouldn’t matter what gender the front person is. What should matter is if the music is any good. Who cares if it is a male or female voice you get to hear. But in this time and age image is what sells. And with the success of bands like Nightwish or Within Tempation there is a market void to fill for any band with a female singer. Continue reading

HELL:ON “Age Of Oblivion”

HELL:ON
“age Of Oblivion”
(Metal Scrap Records)
Hell:On are not new to me. I reviewed their previous album and from what I remember of that one it wasn’t too shabby a metal album. Now it is up to them to prove to me that they’ve taken the whole thing one step further. Complacency is a bands worst enemy. If you don’t move forward you’ll end up being rear-ended by the newer and more hungry bands. Continue reading

ILLDISPOSED “Sense The Darkness”

ILLDISPOSED
“Sense The Darkness”
(Massacre)
These Danes have been going for what seems like forever. I remember hearing them for the first time in the 90s and I’ve tried following them ever since but have during periods of my life lost track of them. That is the case this time too. I can’t remember the last album I bought by them but it seems to have been a while back. Illdisposed has always been about death metal too me where a band like Konkhra been more thrash. Continue reading