Lock Up – “Necropolis Transparent”

Lock Up
“Necropolis Transparent”
(Nuclear Blast)

Long awaited since their last album comes the latest release from death noise super group Lock Up comprising Shane Embury, Nick Barker, Tomas Lindberg and new boy Anton Reisenegger of Chile’s Pentagram following the sad passing of Jesse Pintado. Aptly titled, this album is extreme in every sense from Lindberg’s almost hardcore screams, Barker’s relentless blast beat drumming and Embury’s brutal bass runs that take us back to the early days of death metal on the 16 unforgiving songs herein like ‘Roar Of A Thousand Throats’, ‘Anvil Of Flesh’ and ‘Vomiting Evil’. It might’ve been 8 years since we last heard from these guys, but they have returned with a furor that few peer bands can match nor a passion for their roots that many have long forgotten. Total decimation!

Iron Lamb – “The Original Sin”

Iron Lamb
“The Original Sin”
(Pulverised Records)

Utter mayhem. Rock n roll meets punk meets Swe-death in this incredible crossover that piles in Motorhead with Dismember with Poison Idea! Featuring veterans from the Swedish Extreme Metal community such as Johan Wallin (General Surgery, ex-Repugnant, etc), Thomas Daun (Dismember, ex-Insision, etc), Daniel Ekeroth (ex-Dellamorte, author of “Swedish Death Metal” book) and Grga Lindström (Ghost, ex-Repugnant), songs like ‘Dubious Preacher’, ‘I Don’t Wanna Be Like You’ and ‘I Don’t Like You’ leave a trail of destruction that few punk bands with could hope to match musically. Add in the nihilistic attitude and samples from classic movies like ‘Apocalypse Now’ and ‘The Warriors’ and it’s the end complete from these sheep with brains!

Anterior – “Echoes of the Fallen”

“Echoes of the Fallen”
(Metal Blade Records)

To me Anterior are one of the success stories of our new found technological age: formed in school at the tender age of 17, this Welsh band came to worldwide attention largely thru social networking. That’s not saying they’re not good – far from it in fact. Anterior take the original Gothenburg melodic death sound, polish it up and then add in a touch of metalcore on songs like ‘Sleep Soundly No More’, ‘Blood In The Throne Room’ and ‘Echoes Of The Fallen’. The melodies are what make Anterior to me: deep and meaningful, as well as being executed brilliantly by the twin guitars of Leon Kemp and Steven Nixon, sometimes melancholic a la Paradise Lost, or else epic and driving like At The Gates. By no means original, Anterior do however, offer a fresh and invigorating quality to a classic sound, and to a new generation. Given it’s been 4 long years since their debut, I’m glad Anterior have returned with such a strong sophomore in “Echoes of the Fallen”, which shows they are very much alive and kicking!

Van Canto – “Break The Silence”

Van Canto
“Break The Silence”
(Napalm Records)

Indeed – how can one ignore this unique sextet who amazingly use their voices to deliver the sounds of guitars, bass and keyboards! Beginning five years ago, “Hero Metal A Cappella“ was born, as well as the battle cry “Rakkatakka Motherfucker“, which turned into a catch phrase among open-minded metal and music fans around the world. Since then Van Canto have been anything but silent by touring constantly – their Wacken show going out to some 20 million YouTube viewers – and having seen them at a bursting to the seams show at RockTower, I can vouch for their performance cos it’s having 5 frontmen in your face! Musically, Van Canto play (or mebbe I should say sing!) a brand of epic metal, passionate and rousing listening to the likes of ‘Black Winds Of Hate’, where Inga’s wailing femme vox offer an excellent contrast to her male counterparts. Although still in the learning on their own material, Van Canto always offer superior covers and on this 4th album, they offer nothing less than an excellent war drum version of Sabaton’s ‘Primo Victoria’ featuring Sabbaton frontman Joakim Broden, a sexy rock out version of Alice Cooper’s ‘Bed of Nails’, and a deeply emotional ‘Master of the Wind’ by Manowar no less. Definitely worth a look live, this latest opus is sure to garner them even more exposure worldwide!

Sinner – “One Bullet Left”

“One Bullet Left”
(AFM Records)

Holy crap, I almost did a double take when I heard the likes of ‘Back On Trail’ or ‘Mend To Be Broken’, thinking it was the latest Thin Lizzy album so uncanny were the riffs and even the vocals of Matt Sinner! Since the 80s, Sinner have been a mainstay in Germany’s hard n heavy scene although Matt’s more recent involvement with the likes of Primal Fear are likely where most people place him these days. However, “One Bullet Left” is something else, excelling in every sense of it’s title with passion and fury thanks to the bands turbo charged 3 guitar line up! As such even ballads like ‘Suicide Mission’ are gutsy and balls out without losing their passion, just the way hard rock should sound! Complete with a clean n big sound mix, “One Bullet Left” shows that Matt Sinner still has plenty of rounds left in his arsenal!