KING “Forged By Satan’s Doctrine”

KING
“Forged By Satan’s Doctrine”
(Deathgasm Records)
Coming from Colombia you can pretty much paint any kind of picture you like and we on the other end of the world will eat it up like sugar. If you want to make out that you are homicidal lunatics for a drug cartel or if you are satanic ritualists running around in the forests sacrificing whatever it is you sacrifices doesn’t matter. We’ll just buy it without any hesitation. I honestly don’t care what picture you paint as long as my conscious is OK with it (not that I condone any sort of violence). I do have a soft spot for bands from South America that goes back to the 80s scene. King are black/death metal in a sort of primitive way that only relies on pure aggression and nothing more. I kinda like that. It is refreshing to get to hear an album that isn’t full of all kinds of symphonic impressions. It is pretty refreshing to get your ears cleaned out by a full on metal blast. That King provides. While not implying that they invented the wheel again there is a charm to this that leaves me wanting to return to it again… and again. Anders Ekdahl

NEFARIOUS “The Universal Wrath”

NEFARIOUS
“The Universal Wrath”
(Cold Dimensions)
I thought I knew of Nefarious but I realised that I got them confused with Nefandus and any other band name that starts with Nef. This is black metal in the more symphonic end of the line. There is a Satyricon feel to it in the tempo and atmosphere but there the similarities end. Or not. The more I listen the more I can’t shake the feeling that Nefarious have taken a lesson or two from Satyricon’s latter albums on how to structure the music. Nothing wrong with that. I like a groove to my music, even if it is black metal. And groove this does. From having known nothing about the band (I thought it would be something completely different) to now being acquainted with the band and actually liking it (no, I’m not apologizing for liking it) in just a mere spin. Cool! Anders Ekdahl

NOCTURNAL TORMENT “They Come At Night”

NOCTURNAL TORMENT
“They Come At Night”
(Deathgasm Records)
In the murky dark of the night all kinds of strange creatures roam the earth. All with different agendas but none so vile as the creature they call Nocturnal Torment. With fangs like hooks it preys upon any unsuspecting victim. Sinking it jaws into anybody at the wrong place at the wrong time. Once in its grip there’s no escape. You are un-relentlessly trapped. Nocturnal Torment is like a cross between Slayer and Possessed times ten. This is raw and it is basic in all its glory. I find this kind of basic extreme metal to be an ear-cleanser of magnitude. Out with all the symphonic stuff and in with some back-to-basic kinda stuff. Not only does it bring forth a sentimental side to me but it also brings about a feeling of a simpler time. Not so much brain as guts. Sure, it takes it man or woman to sit through an album of this stuff but I guarantee that you’ll feel rejuvenated after a session together with Nocturnal Torment. Anders Ekdahl

UNDERGANG “Till Döden Os Skiller”

UNDERGANG
“Till Döden Os Skiller”
(Xtreem Music)
”-Naer smager en Tuborg best? Hver gang.” (google it). Whenever I hear a Danish metal album I get a big grin on my face. Having grown up with having to go to Denmark to see the big metal acts on tour has brought with it a special relationship to Denmark and its metal scene. That one of the greatest bands ever is Danish doesn’t hurt (Mercyful Fate). Undergang’s death metal is so cool in all its murkiness. This is so rotten and raw that it brought back memories of hearing Bolt Thrower or Autopsy for the first time. Bands that I still hold high 20 odd years later. Don’t know if Undergang will be with me for 20 years but for now I’ll take whatever they have for me. This is so heavy and rumbling that you just gotta love it. This is death metal that is so dirty and basic that you feel like being buried six feet under without a casket. This is my new Danish favourite. Anders Ekdahl

WEIRD FATE “The Collapse Of All That Has Been”

WEIRD FATE
“The Collapse Of All That Has Been”
(Cold Dimensions)
Weird Fate are black metal on the more esoteric side of the tracks. This is anything but fast, yet still not slow enough to be considered doom. There is a floating feel to the band’s black metal that brings it forth in a steady tempo. There is an almost soundtrack kinda vibe to the music. As if the band is trying to paint a picture with the music. If you like bands like An Autumn For Crippled Children, Lustre and Svarthi Loghin you might find this equally pleasing on the ears. I know that this is music that speaks to me on several different levels. This is headphone music. Who needs drugs when there are bands like this around. Just close your eyes and let Weird Fate take you on a journey into the nether regions of your psyche. When black metal is great it is really great. This is pretty close to perfection. Anders Ekdahl

Ministry – “Relapse”

Ministry – “Relapse” (AFM Records)

‘…kids today are so influenced by what the media feeds them..’ says Ministry frontman Al Jourgensen, the dissident Texan veteran whose career spans 30 years of perversion, drug abuse and a relentless tirade against corporate greed, govt corruption and public apathy. “Relapse” is the band’s first studio album with original material since 2007’s “The Last Sucker” and when Jourgensen starts screaming ‘…I’m not dead yet, I’m not dead yet!!..’ ya gotta wonder if he’s talkin about his ulcers or the new album – cos it’s the meanest mutha I’ve heard this year!! Yeah, no kidding, after getting used to that sampled, industro metal that the band were putting out over the years, “Relapse” is a complete shock to me: this is pure punk rock at its most abrasive, obnoxious and out rightly noisy!! Like a meeting between the Ramones and Pantera with heaps of ‘go-fuck-yourself’ attitude, songs like ‘Ghouldiggers’ are street anthems built for today’s urban mass protests taking place all over the world. Ministry have essentially captured the angst, furor, tear gas and truncheons while steadfastly keeping to their political mantras like ‘…we don’t want prison, we just want reason…’ on poignant songs like ‘Kleptocracy’. If that wasn’t enough, they even resurrect SOD’s ‘United Forces’ and take the piss back by giving it a socially conscious mix that only this deviant Ministry could achieve!

Kill Devil Hill – “Kill Devil Hill”

Kill Devil Hill – “Kill Devil Hill” (Steamhammer/SPV)

Wow. So this is the famed Black Sabbath / Pantera supergroup? Yeah, and I’d probably chuck in some Down and Dio in there for good measure! For those of you that just crawled out from under a rock, Kill Devil Hill is Rex ‘Rocker’ Brown (Pantera, Down) on bass, Vinny Appice (Heaven and Hell, Dio, Black Sabbath) on drums, Mark Zavon (Ratt, 40 Cycle Hum) on guitar and Jason “Dewey” Bragg (Pissing Razors) on vocals. Interestingly though, the core sound KDH is nothing like the aforementioned bands and actually owes more to 70s rock – specifically Zepp – along with a very strong Alice In Chains trippy undercurrent completed with a strong southern groove, especially in Dewey’s vocals. But get this, this ain’t no retro ride, so while ‘Rise From The Shadows’ may be trippy, it’s one heavy mutha from Appice’s smashing drums to Rex’s bottom end crunching bass! Essentially, it’s a heavy metalized version of Plant n Page like on thumping opener ‘War Machine’ and the piece de resistance for me is ‘Old Man’ with that heavy southern doom riff reminding me of good ‘ol Crowbar! The South has arisen again.

Unisonic – “Ignition”

Unisonic – “Ignition” EP (earMusic/Edel)

Unisonic is the rock band formed by ex Helloween vocalist Michael Kiske – and what a ripper it is too! Assembling a formidable crew in Pink Cream 69ers Dennis Ward and Kosta Zafiriou, ex Gotthard member Mandy Meyer and more recently, Kai Hansen, Kiske has spared us nothing! I guess the obvious expectation of Unisonic’s music would be that of Helloween part 2, not unreasonable given the live bonus track of ‘I Want Out’, where it’s good to hear Kiske’s vocals still bearing up to those soprano levels. However, for their own material, Unisonic have drawn from their collective experience where the title track opener is reminiscent of an upbeat ‘Coming Home’ from the Scorpions, whereas ‘My Sanctuary’ seems to be a slower, melodic rock version of Iron Maiden with lyrical references to ‘..running free..’ (well, Kiske was considered as Bruce’s replacement…Ed), and ‘Souls Alive’ is mid tempo melodic power metal with soft interludes that allows Kiske to demonstrate the soulful side of his vocal capability. All in all this is an impressive release befitting the pedigree of the musicians involved, so I hope it goes beyond ‘project’ status to becoming a full time band in its own right!

Kissin’ Dynamite – “Money, Sex & Power”

Kissin’ Dynamite – “Money, Sex & Power” (AFM Records)

Do you like Money, Sex and Power? Indeed, gimme more, gimme more! So scream these five hairspray rockers who look like they just stepped outta Gazzari’s onto Sunset Strip back in the 80s – except they’re from Germany, Bavaria to be exact, more commonly associated with lederhosen than leather LOL! Typically taking their inspiration from GnR, Crue and Skid Row, in terms of their look, attitude and sound, what sets them apart are the strong Germanic melodies turning the likes of ‘Sex Is War’, ‘I Will Be King’ and ‘She’s A Killer’ into catchy singalong anthems. Pioneered by the Scorpions and taken further by Accept (when they were melodic), Germany has never really had an equivalent to those 80s bands but Kissin’ Dynamite could be the nitro that Europe is looking for – either way, get ready for some Swabian sleaze metal LOL!!

Mad Max – “Another Night Of Passion”

Mad Max – “Another Night Of Passion” (Steamhammer/SPV)

Another amazingly resurrection – this time from famed 80s Christian melodic metal band, Mad Max, from Germany. As I remember, they were on the verge of success but never got a shot to make it to the US owing to some label FUBAR – but hey, that’s rock n roll! 25 years on, they’re trying to give it another go, and damn fine effort it is too! Just noting the album’s title, it seems to be take from their 1987 “Night Of Passion” album, and that’s pretty much where anthemic songs like ‘Rocklahoma’ and ‘Back And Alive’ are still at – LOL, did these guys skip the 90s!? Power melodies laced with harmony choruses and driven by heaps of purebred rock riffs courtesy of Michael Voss and Juergen Breforth’s guitar work especially on the closing instrumental of ‘True Blue’. Having talented producer / musician Voss still in the band has made all the difference: from his superb classic rock vocals which aren’t a million miles from Stryper’s Michael Sweet (if thankfully without the latter’s religious fervour!), to his superb songwriting and generally giving the band a contemporary sound while sticking to that original formula. The return of Mad Max is to be heralded, that this album is graced with all the hallmarks of that glorious time is nothing short of a miracle!