OPERA IX “Strix Maledictae in Aeternum”

“Strix Maledictae in Aeternum”
This one has been a long time coming. I remember the first time I got to hear about Opera IX and how excited I was back then. That was a long time ago and with a different vocalist. No it’s 2012 and Opera IX is back with a new album. I have had a rollercoaster relationship with the band. I’ve liked some albums while others have been less to my liking. Continue reading

PAGANIZER “Into The Catacombs”

“Into The Catacombs”
(Cyclone Empire)
For a band that is on its 8th album I am pretty new to them. I can’t even remember if I’ve heard a single album by them prior to this new one. Paganizer flies the banner of old school death metal high. This is death metal the way it sounded in the late 80s/early 90s when that whole genre exploded onto the scene only to never leave. Continue reading

RITUAL “The Resurrection”

“The Resurrection”
(Funeral Rain)
Ritual seem so familiar. I think I had a demo by a band named Ritual way back in the 80s. Not sure if that is relevant. So many bands must have had that name in mind and body over the years. This ritual started in 1993, released an album in 1995 followed by albums in 1997 and 1998 all on Wild Rags Records. Continue reading

XENOCIDE “Galactic Oppression”

“Galactic Oppression”
You might have read the interview I did with the band. Here’s that promised debut album. Al I had previously was a sneak preview. Now with the whole album it’ll be a whole lot easier to get a clear picture of what they are all about. This is heavy the way Cannibal Corpse are heavy while not even being close to CC in any way. But there is that death metal touch to this album Continue reading

Freedom Call – “Land Of The Crimson Dawn”

Freedom Call – “Land Of The Crimson Dawn” (Steamhammer/SPV)

These guys are awesome, and yet one of the most underrated power / symphonic bands around. Co-founded by Chris Bay and Gamma Ray’s drummer Dan Zimmerman, I sorta always got the impression that the latter’s commitments had always been a bit of rein on the band’s success, cos it sure wasn’t their astounding music that I’ve always found majestic and highly uplifting! Well, the news is that Dan is no longer with the band (funnily enough given his commitments to Gamma Ray) so I greeted this with mixed feelings given how this might influence the band’s sound. Well, it has changed somewhat, with songs like ‘Sun In The Dark’ being more mainstream rock and ‘Hero On Video’ reminding me of Queen’s ‘Radio Ga Ga’ (aaarrggh – bring back Dan – Ed), although the likes of ‘Crimson Dawn’ and my personal fave ’66 Warriors’ (complete with Mongolian throat whistling) brings us back to that classic power metal sound that defined the genre. To be fair, Bay’s use of power melody continues to pervade through all the songs, but I guess on the lighter material it kinda fluffs them up. Truth be told, this is a fine rock / metal album that quality wise is probably their best work to date and given its breadth should bring the band their long deserved big time success. Continue reading

4ARM – “Submission For Liberty”

4ARM – “Submission For Liberty” (Rising Records)

Describing themselves as ‘…a pure, no-gimmicks, straight-up thrash metal band..’, 4ARM are one of Australia’s premier up coming thrash bands. Hailing from Melbourne, this 4 piece play it right outta Metallica’s ‘..Justice..’ era on songs like ‘My Father’s Eyes’, ‘While I Lay Awake’ and ‘I Will Not Bow’. Mainman Danny Tomb may look and be as pumped as Danzig, but he could be (and should be) James Hetfield’s cousin LOL! Whilst this is an unreserved take on a classic sound, it’s unashamedness and measure of quality go quite a ways to tempering any crys of ‘foul’, so savour the rippa mate! Continue reading

Dawn Of Ashes – “Farewell to the Flesh”

Dawn Of Ashes – “Farewell to the Flesh” EP (Metal Blade)

Dark. Distasteful. And downright nasty.This musta been released in time for Valentines cos the vid is some foul snuff type flick with some demonoid creature slicing up some chick (I think it’s his chick LOL – Ed). I mean, WTF is going on in the minds of ‘Blood Stained’ Kristof Bathory and Volkar ‘Bludgeoning’ Kael?! Mind you, with names like that it’s easy to see how DOA have scraped every dirty vestige of the Shock / Horror / Black Metal sewer – along with their own brand of obnoxious Aggro-Tech – to produce this 8 tracker EP. With songs like ‘Torture Device’ and ‘Seething The Flesh In The River Ov Phlegethon’ where do I begin – except to say ‘NSFW’! As for ‘Carnal Consummation In The Empty Space – which is available in 3 mixes: Falling Skies; Die Sektor; To Mega Therion, I honestly couldn’t tell the difference as I was sucked in, absorbed and totally tranced baby. Join the vile and sacrifice yourself!
Continue reading

Bloodwrath – “The Hate Effect”

Bloodwrath – “The Hate Effect” (Rising Records)

Howay the lads! These Geordies have been gettin about what with all their touring to Russia and the Ukraine no less! Rather than the likes of traditional British Death Metal, this lot have a more polished approach along the lines of Kataklysm with a strong mello-death element in their clean but brutal Metallica like chugging riffs as well as those all too familiar squeaking guitars. Aptly named vocalist Grym Cox nevertheless lets you know his foot’s on your throat though on songs like ‘Organised Genocide’, ‘Served In Silence’ and the cool titled ‘Hyperchrist’. Although not scoring in the originality, Bloodwrath’s appeal is in their generic, catchy and well executed material that is no doubt endearing fans to them by the bucket load! Continue reading

A World Defined – “Welcome In This Feeling”

A World Defined – “Welcome In This Feeling” EP (www.aworlddefined.com)

This young emo punk band hail from middle England and were reputedly brought together ‘..with a love for music and art..’ and yes, I’d have to agree with that given that they have some of the most beautifully soft and tranquil passages on songs like ‘Sophomore’, ‘Welcome To Barrow’ and ‘Internecine’ making up this 4 tracker EP. However, for me the interest is in the contrasting frenetic riffs along the lines of Pennywise and excellently finished off by Aidy Lennox’s powerful vocals, all of which add to a powerful punch reflected the equally contrasting cover of a red budgie with a worm in its mouth! Continue reading

Vinterblot – “Nether Collapse”

Vinterblot – “Nether Collapse” (Rising Records)

Wow these guys sound just like Amon Amarth from those hoarse, gutteral vocals to the whirring Viking riffola and Nordic melody on songs like ‘Upon A Reign Of Ashes’, ‘Whispers To The Headless’, and ‘As Sleipnir Rides’ – hell, one of the guitarists is even called Fjorgynn. So bloody what I hear you ask? Well, Vinterblot are actually Italian! Indeed, that may not actually matter (nor should it – Ed) given the excellent quality of musicianship and songs on this debut produced by a collaboration of seasoned metallers, and to be fair, they do call themselves a pagan death band, so if you’re still confused about cultural heritage, ask yourself (or the European Union – Ed) the question: could a Swede sell primo pizza in Italy LOL. Continue reading