LEGIONS OF CROWS “Stab Me”

LEGION OF CROWS
“Stab Me”
(Funeral Rain)
It took me a while to get accustomed to Legion Of Crows’ slow and very dragging metal. This is in no way doom metal while still being very slow. I could stretch as far as calling it black metal because there is that feeling to it. Come to think of it there are elements of doom metal too. Despite not being able to really put my finger on this I’ve come to like it in a way that might be unhealthy. Continue reading

LUCIFYRE “The Calling Depths”

LUCIFYRE
“The Calling Depths”
(Pulverised)
My only previous encounter with Lucifyre was a 7” released on Blood Harvest. I liked that one and couldn’t wait for a full length album to be released. And here it is now. And I like it just as much as I liked that 7”. There is something to British Lucifyre’s death metal that appeals tremendously to me. I can’t really put my finger on it. Continue reading

MAJESTIC DOWNFALL “The Blood Dance”

MAJESTIC DOWNFALL
“The Blood Dance”
(Concreto/Personal Records)
I love doom metal. There is something so appealing to it that I can’t ward of all the emotions that come rushing towards me when I’m subjected to a really good doom album. It triggers emotions in me that I usually don’t weather out. It is almost cathartic in a cleansing way listening to sad and sorrowful music. I love My Dying Bride. Continue reading

MISGUIDED AGGRESSION “Flood The Common Ground”

MISGUIDED AGGRESSION
“Flood The Common Ground”
(Year Of The Sun Records)
With a name like Misguided Aggression you kind of get a mental picture of what to expect musically. I kinda expected the most extreme thrash metal assault ever. That wasn’t what I got. I honestly don’t know what to make of this album. To my ears this is some kind of amalgamation of metal and hardcore that doesn’t sit quite right with me. Continue reading

ODEM “Rape Your God And Pray For Reprieve”

ODEM
“Rape Your God And Pray For Reprieve”
(Daemon Worship)
I like the aesthetic of primitive black metal. Just guitar, bass and drums repeating a small amount of chords over and over again. The repetitiveness of using the same chords over and over again presents a challenge in making it interesting. Odem are just that primitive and repetitive the way I like. This is black metal in its most primitive form. Continue reading

RAM – “Death”

RAM – “Death” (Metal Blade)

HEAVY METAL TYRANNY!!! For some people enough isn’t enough: despite living in Gothenburg, Harry Granroth wanted to form a ‘real’ heavy metal band. And so was born RAM: pioneers of the New Wave Of Traditional Heavy Metal! Essentially playing ‘true’ metal going back to the golden era of heavy metal in the early 80s, RAM draw their inspiration from the likes of Mercyful Fate, MSG, Scorpions as well as Maiden and Priest. High end vocals mix in with raw guitar and pounding drums that switching effortlessly from melody to mayhem on songs like ‘…Comes From The Mouth Beyond’, ‘Flame Of The Tyrants’ and ‘Under The Scythe’. With little regard for modernity, keyboards, or image, this is traditional HM the way it used to be – RAM are back, and necks will be broken!!!!

Lillian Axe – “XI: The Days Before Tomorrow”

Lillian Axe – “XI: The Days Before Tomorrow” (AFM Records)

‘..The big shot producers, major label record deals, videos for MTV, quarter of a million record sales in the United States alone, New Orleans survivors Lillian Axe have persevered through the years and still to this day, record new music and tour…’. Yup, can’t argue with that – these guys are like the history of metal personified! Still lead by guitarist main man Steve Blaze, Lillian Axe go back to the 80s when they were named after the movie ‘Creep Show’ and even more so, their music reflects the times they’ve been thru, from glam rock n roll to hard rock to heavy metal. The sheer number of people that have played in this band is frightening and I would not like the daunting task of trying to document their history so prob best to concentrate on this 11th album, which pretty much reflects their past from the hard n heavy ‘Lava On My Tongue’ to the anthemic ‘The Great Divide’ to the kick ass rock n roll of ‘Caged In’. Whilst this album doesn’t break any new ground, frankly I don’t get the impression it’s supposed to but instead serves to continue their legacy and remain true to their fans – as reflected by the straight-from-the-heart songs that Blaze writes. Lillian is back and the girl has an axe to grind……

Cirith Ungol – “Servants Of Chaos”

Cirith Ungol – “Servants Of Chaos” 2 CD/1 DVD (Metal Blade)

True to the album title and drummer Robert Garvin’s words (see recent Battlehelm interview – Ed), Cirith Ungol remain one of the most enigmatic proto metal bands EVER. Drawing inspiration from the (still) spaced out 70s, Cirith Ungol’s music was an eclectic blend of prog and hard rock characterized Tim Baker’s unique high vocals, Michael “Flint” Vujea’s jazz like bass runs, and Jerry Fogle’s far out (and I mean waaay out there man) guitar. At times sounding like a Spinal Tap jamming session, Cirith Ungol nevertheless went on to inspire bands in the early 80s, and especially on the West Coast – mainly thru the proto metal sounds and styles they were experimenting with – although true to their eventual cult status, never actually made it themselves! It is perhaps this legacy that has caused the band never to be forgotten and paved the way for this special release 2 CD/1 DVD double digipak made up of a collection of rare and live tracks, including old chesnuts like ‘King Of The Dead’, ‘Better Off Dead’ and ‘Master Of The Pit’. Even more ancient is the DVD: an entire, rarely seen live show, shot on November 9th, 1984 at the storied, and now defunct, Wolf and Rissmiller’s Country Club in Reseda, CA. True to the band’s nature, there is nothing ‘official’ about this either – according to Garvin ‘…this amateur video was never meant to be released. The audio was taken off the mixing console. As we were an opening act, we had little or no sound check, room on stage, and restricted access to the lighting and sound. Regardless, this rare and primitive video is one of the few ever taken of the band!..’.

Klogr – “Till You Decay”

Klogr – “Till You Decay” (Valery Records)

Klogr (pronounced ‘Kay – log – are’ – in reference to the law of Weber-Fechner – whatever that is) are one of these deep, cerebrally challenging projects (notice I said ‘project’ rather than ‘band’ LOL) that apparently sits ‘..on the thin line between alternative rock and alternative metal…’. Well, rather than analyze that line I would say that their emphasis is very much on being ‘alternative’ just like other bands in that genre from A Perfect Circle to Porcupine Tree to Tool etc. According to the band the whole record is based on the concept that ‘…society around us controls us, judges us, conditions us and ultimately suffocates us. A psychological game of massacre, control and power over the masses, in which they use fear and anxieties to unstabalize a person into something more fragile, more controllable and more subservient…’ – well, I said it was deep LOL but thankfully the 11 songs on this debut aren’t unfathomable, but are definitely intense! From ‘White Eyes’ with its heavy brooding rhythm and contrasting mellow / screaming vocals to the anthemic rock / core of ‘You Gotta Know’ with it’s fluid guitar work and raw vocals to the pensive, passionate closer of ‘Young Graves’, Klogr have energetically challenged the stereotypical norm and more poignantly, its underlying ideology.

Chainfist – “Black Out Sunday”

Chainfist – “Black Out Sunday” (Chainfist/Rock N Growl)

333% Metal – 333% Rock – 666% You!! No fuckin kidding – your lights will be out by these tattooed Danish biker rockers who play an excellent blend of heavy duty rock metal effortlessly blending in Slayer elements on songs like ‘Evolution’ or Motorhead on ‘Clown’. Elsewhere, it’s no surprise that vocalist Jackie Petersen sounds like Danzig on ‘In Your Face’ cos he sure looks like Glenn! Whatever the case, this is one hard rockin album with chugging guitars, thumping drums and steam hammer bass runs on 12 kick ass numbers – Sundays will never be the same!!