NICUMO “The End Of Silence”

NICUMO
“The End Of Silence”
(Inverse)
I’m not gonna say that all good band names are taken because I’m not the one to judge what’s a good name and what’s not. All I can say about NICUMO is that without any further knowledge into the band you can’t tell what they play by the name alone. I was late in discovering the turn Sentenced did. It was only after they had disbanded that I got into the more gothic sound. I get that same kinda vibe to NICUMO’s sound. Like they are following in the footsteps left by Sentenced. And they are rather large ones to follow in but I gotta hand it to NICUMO. They do it pretty darn well. This is some melancholic metal that treasure the legacy of Sentenced in all its glory. Anders Ekdahl

NIGHT RANGER “Big In Japan”

NIGHT RANGER
“Big In Japan”
(Collectors Dream Records)
NIGHT RANGER might be best known for the song “Sister Christian” but trust me when I say that there is more to the band than that one song. I’ve had an ear out for the band for a very long time and while I’m not the hugest fan I still appreciate their craftsmanship. It might not come as a great surprise that I’m not too into live albums. I don’t really see the reason for them. But that is just me. This 2-disc live document recorded in Japan in 1997 proves that NIGHT RANGER was a great hardrock band and not just a ballad band. You get to enjoy a variety of classic NIGHT RANGER, including “Sister Christian”. If you already are a fan or if you just want to get to know the band this is a good way to start. Anders Ekdahl

SUPERHORRORFUCK “Gore-Geous Dead”

SUPERHORRORFUCK
“Gore-Geous Dead”
(logic(il)logic)
I would not call myself the biggest Misfits fan on the planet Earth. I tried getting into them at one time but as with The Ramones I found them to be too simple (at the time). I’m not saying that SUPERHORRORFUCK will be simple or even close to either Misfits or The Ramones in sound. It was just the vibes that I got off the name that made think in those terms. The band might look like the ugly offsprings of Misfits but musically they are far from the punk rock Misfits play. Sonically this is more of a sleaze metal release, with a punkish feeling to it. I can’t help getting a Swedish feel to this Italian(?) band. I’m not the biggest sleaze fan but this EP turned out to be a nice introduction to the band. Anders Ekdahl

THE UNRIPES “This Is Not America”

THE UNRIPES
“This Is Not America”
(Street Symphonies Records)
For some reason I hope that The UNRIPES will be in the style of The Hellacopters of The Hives. You know the up-tempo action rock that has a retro feel to it. I really hope that The UNRIPES do follow in that tradition as I kinda miss that kind of hardrock today. And in parts I was right but this is more of a sleaze metal release than anything else. And while not having anything particular against it I would have given my left pinkie for some really cool action rock. Instead I had to settle for a harder KISS. Not that I’m complaining. I love KISS. THE UNRIPES might not have been what I expected but they turned out OK after all. Anders Ekdahl

WAR ENGINE “Adrenaline Rush”

WAR ENGINE
“Adrenaline Rush”
(-)
I love my thrash metal. Especially when it is done in the vein of bands like Forbidden or Vio-lence. The good old Bay Area sound. But I do not say no to thrash done the German way, or the Brazilian way. Basically I like any thrash that is good. When you start with a song called “Chemical Warfare” (my all time fave Slayer song) you got my attention. That you then also do a great job at not covering a Slayer track but make your own of the title just makes me respect you more. This is thrash metal in the classic Bay Area style. This is the stuff that I grew up with. Death Angel, Exodus, Forbidden, Holy Terror, Defiance and a whole host of others melded into one great pot. From that pot WAR ENGINE have taken the greates bits and made it into this album. Add some German thrash a la Deathrow or Darkness to the mix too and you get a darn cool thrash metal record. Anders Ekdahl

Rob Zombie – “Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor”

Rob Zombie – “Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor” (Zodiac Swan/ T-Boy Records/Universal Music)

I remember when I first heard about White Zombie back in the late 80s – they were this weird art noise band with this crusty lookin guy fronting them called Rob Zombie. Of course, in the 90s White Zombie became a multi platinum selling band remembered for their B movie horror themed groove metal the world over! Following that Rob embarked on a solo career under his name and also diversified further into film directing, screenwriting and film producing five feature films no less! “Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor” is his 5th solo album and the first to be released on his new label, Zodiac Swan. I was actually shocked when the opener ‘Teenage Nosferatu Pussy’ came blasting thru simply cos of how close it sounds to White Zombie! From the B movie intro sampler thru to Rob’s own drawling voice and the psychotronic groove, it’s pretty much where I left the man all those years ago ha ha! My fave White Zombie song back in the day was ‘Devil Man’ (aka Super Charger Heaven) and ‘Behold, The Pretty Filthy Creatures’ pretty much carries on with it’s fast groove along with the fiery ‘Lucifer Rising’. I guess where there have been changes are in the heavy use of electronics like on ‘Revelation Revolution’ and the cover of Grand Funk Railroad’s ‘We’re an American Band’ is just a tad too commercial for my liking. Still, it’s a small gripe more than made up for hearing that original White Zombie sound once again fresh like it was just back then!

Whitechapel – “The Somatic Defilement”

Whitechapel – “The Somatic Defilement” REISSUE (Metal Blade Records)

Talk about tying up loose ends – being their debut originally released on Candleshite back in 2007 I guess this one musta been stuck deep in the throats of Phil Bozeman and his boys. Since then this Tennessee death core crew have gone onto bigger things so they’ve had “The Somatic Defilement” completely re-mastered and re-mixed to bring it right up to speed with the band’s more recent releases. Right from the off it’s certainly louder and all the instruments are certainly more clearer, from their raw riffing to their experimental warbling licks as well as Bozeman’s own grunts and quasi pig squeals. More importantly this reissue has a more expanded sound although Audiohammer’s Mark Lewis hasn’t taken away any of their blast beat brutality, but rather made it even more in your face, thus conveying the true horror of Jack The Ripper (whom this album is conceptually based on) through extreme songs like ‘Vicer Exciser’, ‘Devirgination Studies’ and ‘Ear To Ear’. I guess Whitechapel could’ve added some bonus material to make this an even more appetizing purchase for those on starvation rations right now, but for anyone lacking this debut in their collection this is worthy enough to shelve out for.

Flotsam and Jetsam – “Ugly Noise”

Flotsam and Jetsam – “Ugly Noise” (Metal Blade Records)

Made well known in the 80s for their early thrash classic in “Doomsday For The Deceiver”, these Arizonians got even more famous when bass player Jason Newsted left for Metallica! Since then they’ve had a haphazard career, with various ups and downs thru successive line up changes, although recently the original unit has re-formed minus Jason. But clearly there is still demand out there for the band as “Ugly Noise” – the bands 11th album no less – was funded via a successful Pledgemusic campaign! Despite their roots, the Flots have moved away from thrash these days to playing heavy rock metal very much in the Armored Saint type groove. Sure, there’s still hints thrashing in ‘Carry On’, but generally songs like ‘Play Your Part’ and ‘Motherfuckery’ reflect a very bold move indeed on the band’s part to rely less on their legacy and instead concentrate on the quality of their music and musicianship in writing stand up power rock songs. Eric AK’s vocals are still ringing true after all these years although on this album he’s hinting more at John Bush’s hard rockin style while Mike Gilbert and Ed Carlson are still a dueling death duo on guitars as judged by their still thrashin’ solos – guess they haven’t had enough of those neck snapping memories ha ha – and either has Kelly David-Smith who’s still faithfully pounding his kit to oblivion! Flotsam and Jetsam may be true to their name in the sea of metal, but there’s still a treasure or two left in their career chest.

Memory Garden – “Doomain”

Memory Garden – “Doomain” (Metal Blade)

Although not the most active band around, these Swedish doomsters play a heady mix of Candlemass and given their name, Trouble, making their releases well worth the wait! Stefan Berglund continues to give Messiah Marcolin a run for his cheeseburgers, adeptly supported in the crunching doom riff dept by Ante Mäkelä and Simon Johansson while tastefully mixing in some trippy melodies and ambient passages. As a result, songs like ‘Violate & Create’, ‘A Diabolical Mind’ and ‘Latent Lunacy’ have a less predictable plod pace and instead are more progressive while still retaining the powerful epic feel which Candlemass perfected to magnificence. I guess if the band could get around their family and work commitments Memory Garden would be a lot bigger, until then we can only contend ourselves with splendid somberness that is “Doomain”.

V8 Wankers – “Got Beer?”

V8 Wankers – “Got Beer?” (Steamhammer / SPV)

‘..all hail Oktoberfest!!!…’ – fuck yeah, I couldn’t think of a more perfect band to play at Germany’s beer mecca than these homegrown kick ass speed rockers who more than like a brew ha ha! Since we last heard from them the V8s have had some line-up reshuffles but this group lives by their motto: once a Wanker, always a Wanker lol! Still led by the brewed n tattooed Lutz Vegas on vocals, the V8’s live n die rock n roll, mixing Motorhead, The Meteors and in no small part Rose Tattoo both in terms of image and on fast n loose guitar n slide work on songs like ‘Why Lie I Want A Beer’, ‘All Goes Down The Drain’ and ‘Yeah She’s A Bitch’. Compared to it’s predecessor “Iron Crossroads”, this album is far less poppier but if you like your music to match in equal measure your love of fast women, fast cars and fast beer then look no further than these gutter rockers.