The Stone – Nekroza (Review)

The StoneThe Stone are a Serbian Black Metal band and this is their seventh album.

These veterans have been around for almost 20 years so they have their quality levels tweaked to go as high as they can.

Nekroza consists of 56 minutes of scything Black Metal that the band have crafted from midnight and misanthropy. Each song seems chiselled from solidified hatred and finished with a glossy coating of sleekness.

The album boasts a strong sound and all instruments are played clearly with even the bass having a presence. The band sound sharp and ready to kill.

The Stone attack the songs with the fervour of the devout and each hymn represents the band in good form.

The tracks are fast and furious but never stagnant or stale sounding. They have a Swedish influence to their Black Metal but this is offset by everything else the bring to the table.

Colourful melodies prevent the album from becoming one dimensional but never blunt the band’s bite or dull the attack. The band understand the art of songwriting and use their skilled use of dynamics to craft Melodic Black Metal songs that fill me with both nostalgia for what was, pride in what is and hope for what might once be again.

The Stone are a talented band and should be sought out by all Black Metal devotees.

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Orange Goblin – Back From The Abyss (Review)

Orange GoblinOrange Goblin are from the UK and this is their eighth album. They play Stoner/Heavy Metal.

At this point Orange Goblin are pretty much a UK institution in their own right and their storming new album will once again seal their status as one of the best this country has to offer. When you want good, honest, balls-to-the-wall Heavy Metal with swagger, groove and attitude; accept no substitutes.

Mammoth riffs and thick grooves are once again tirelessly thrown out by the band with reckless abandon, heedless of the hordes of lesser bands that they show up by simply existing.

Orange Goblin have always excelled at writing just good, old-fashioned songs. The type of songs you can either sit back and enjoy or actively get involved with. They’re as catchy as bag of hooks.

The shocking thing is that pretty much every song here is a stand-out track. Although the taster songs are The Devil’s Whip and Sabbath Hex, they could almost have picked any song at random and had it be a single.

That’s not to say they all sound the same, however. If anything, the band have introduced more variety onto this album and it makes for a very complete sounding collection of songs. From the shorter, more upbeat songs to the longer blues-infused pseudo-jams, to Classic Metal-infused anthems and everything in between; Back From The Abyss hits the spot.

The album is backed up by a warm, gritty recording that pulses with vitality and life. The guitars sound huge, the drums are deeply satisfying and the singer’s voice is on top form.

Orange Goblin have always released top quality albums and Back From the Abyss is one of their best. Be sure to check it out.

Septycal Gorge – Scourge of the Formless Breed (Review)

Septycal GrogeSeptycal Gorge are from Italy and play Technical Death Metal. This is their third album.

Ahh I love a good bit of Technical Death Metal. I mean, who doesn’t? The insane time changes, the technical wizardry, the fretboard workouts, the sheer, flattening hurricane of intricate chaos that such bands typically unleash.

Well, Septycal Gorge aren’t as brain-searingly chaotic as some bands in this genre but this is because they also have a firm love of all things utterly brutal. This is a devastatingly aggressive record which combines intricate technicality and pure heavy Death Metal into a scorcher of an album.

This album features satisfying brutality and technical depth which means that it’s a release to savour over multiple listens as you get to fully appreciate all the different things going on here. Yes it’s mind-numbingly brutal, but there’s more than just that.

These songs have what it takes to stand out in a sea of Technical Death Metal bands all struggling to get noticed. As this is their third album the band clearly know what they want to achieve and have the talent and know-how to do it.

Scourge of the Formless Breed owns a stellar production that allows both aspects of the band to shine. Whether the riffs are fast, slow, simple or complicated, the guitars never lose their bite and everything continues to sound on form.

The vocalist deserves a mention also; he has the kind of deep growl that is surprisingly expressive for someone who essentially sounds like he’s trying to vomit ghosts.

This is a top-rate, top-drawer, top quality Death Metal release. You should hunt this down and listen to it today. Go on. Now.

Innsmouth – The Shadow Over Innsmouth (Review)

InnsmouthInnsmouth are from Denmark and play Technical Death Metal. This is their début album.

This is Technical Death Metal with programmed drums and added subtle keyboard highlights.

Think bands like Nile, Necrophagist and Obscura and you’ll be in the right place.

The musicianship is impressive with shredding guitar solos peeling off all over the shop. The solos feel like an integral part of the band’s identity and they make a good impression.

The music is nicely varied with a healthy amount of brutality offsetting the technical capabilities of the band. Quality riffs and some good atmospheric sections rub shoulders with moments of chuggery and melodic leads. Inssmouth seem more than capable of keeping the listener interested and the songs on this album show a high degree of maturity of delivery and composition whilst simultaneously keeping things aggressive and direct.

The band have plenty of energy and show that they can use dynamics to good effect. These songs actually feel like songs rather than stitched together riffs, which is always a danger with the more technical side of Metal. Thankfully they seem to realise that the song comes first and everything else is just enhancement.

The vocals are quite daemonic and evil sounding, both deeper growls and higher screams.

The album’s production values are good and the music has a satisfying sound that hits the spot.

A most enjoyable release. This is Death Metal with interest, depth and a whole bucket-load of guitar shenanigans. I Like.

Die Choking – II (Review)

Die ChokingThis is the latest EP from Grindcore band Die Choking.

Their previous EP was a tightly compressed ball of rage and hatred, played with obvious enthusiasm and savagery; II is no different, although if anything they have stepped up the heaviness and aggression this time round.

Once again it’s a short EP – five tracks in just under 6 minutes. Due to this there’s absolutely no room for filler and all of the songs are blistering with wrath and fury, exactly as Grindcore should be.

Furious, modern Grind like this is always an enjoyable treat when played and delivered well. Die Choking raised my expectations of them with their first release and the second keeps these expectations high.

So what comes next? Well, hopefully a full album is in the works, because after these two brutally short EPs I’m now primed for a meatier release from this band. I get the impression it will be worth the wait.

A top quality grind release; get your grubby mitts on II and revel in the carnage they unleash.

Tips for next time? More. Oh yes. More.

Violet – The Love/The Lust (Review)

VioletViolet are from the UK and this is their début album.

Violet play en energetic mix of Metalcore, Post-Hardcore and Rock. It’s on the more commercial side of the spectrum certainly, but the passion and enthusiasm is real.

For comparisons think elements of bands such as From Autumn To Ashes, Eighteen Visions, Bleeding Through and Coheed & Cambria.

The band are a six-piece who boast two vocalists, plus vocals from one of their guitarists; they carry a fair amount of diversity due to this. Snarled, Metalcore vocals and clean singing share space with the music being similarly divided between the heavier and lighter sides of the musical spectrum. The clean vocals are sometimes a little too Pop for my tastes, but the shouted vocals make up for this deficiency.

The music is nicely enhanced by keyboards, effects and sounds that give all of the tracks a silken sheen and add a bit of depth to the tracks.

The songs are catchy enough to hold attention, although the sugary cleans can be a bit too sugary on occasion. If they added a little bit more bite to their attack and reined in the more Pop aspects of their sound then in my eyes they’d really be a force to reckon with. On the other hand though, this is clearly an important aspect to their sound that they enjoy and no doubt many others will also.

Overall this is a good début from a promising young band who could feasibly do very well and have a great potential to appeal to a much wider audience than the average Metal band.

Have a listen.

Northern Crown – In the Hands of the Betrayer (Review)

Northern CrownNorthern Crown are from the US and this is their debut EP, although at 31 minutes in length it’s the same length as some albums.

The band play Heavy/Doom Metal in its original guise and with added organ accompaniment. Although the band play slow on occasion, this is more on the Heavy Metal side of things than Doom, although there’s a fair amount of crossover in the genres anyway.

Played well and with obvious enthusiasm; Northern Crown are a very likeable and personable band. Choruses ring out and juicy melodies are used. Guitars unleash sonic hell with evocative leads and molten solos. The rhythm guitars are nicely chunky and tasty, emotive riffs are the bedrock of the songs.

These tracks span varying speeds from the up-tempo to mid-paced to straight Doom Metal. All the while the organs add that extra layer to proceedings.

If you like the heavier works of Black Sabbath and Ronnie James Dio then Northern Crown should be right up your street. The inclusion of a Candlemass cover should seal the deal and rounds out the influences.

This is Metal through and through and a very promising start to what will hopefully be a long and productive career.

Recommended.

Jig-Ai – Rising Sun Carnage (Review)

Jig-AiJig-Ai are from the Czech Republic and this is their third album.

This is utterly brutal Grindcore in the vein of Regurgitate’s style of Goregrind.

The vocals are deeper than a pit full of pig corpses, although you can occasionally hear higher screams coming from the bottom of the heap.

The band play brutally fast with the guitars being hammered and the drums tearing off left, right and centre. They are also aware that a full album of that can potentially get dull so they inject slower, groovier moments into places that need them.

At just under 40 minutes this is on the long side for a Grind release and the constant onslaught of gore and butchery will probably put some people off. However, although it won’t set the world on fire, if you are a hardened Grinder there are some nice cuts on this release.

If you like Goregind then this is ably played and competently delivered.

Have a listen and see what you think.

Favourite Track: Rest in Piss. Quality riffing and some nice groove.

A Breach of Silence – The Darkest Road (Review)

A Breach of SilenceThis is the second album from Australia’s A Breach of Silence.

The band play modern Melodic Metalcore. We’ve met this band before with their début album Dead or Alive which was a passionate display of the more commercial side of Metal. So what does the new offering sound like?

Stylistically we’re in similar territory to the first, although everything appears to be cranked up even higher this time.

The harsh vocals are harsher, the clean singing bigger, the heavy parts heavier, the melodic parts more so…you get the idea.

Importantly though, the band have improved their songwriting. Their début was perfectly enjoyable of course, but this album is just better. With the benefit of hindsight it now seems as if Dead or Alive was almost a trial run for The Darkest Road. Whereas the first was the band finding their sound, this is them refining it and obviously benefiting from touring and perfecting their formula.

The Power Metal influence has lessened somewhat, although it’s still a part of the band’s sound; this is most notable on songs like Immortal and Time Still Remains where it gets to shine brightly.

The recording is suitably huge, which is a necessity for a band like this. Everything sounds in your face and clear.

Well I’m suitably impressed by this. It won’t change the world but it is a very enjoyable slab of modern Metal. The band have improved on their sound and the songs are bigger and better than ever. Kudos to them.

If your tastes run to the more commercial then this is definitely a recommended listen.

Bloodtruth – Obedience (Review)

BloodtruthBloodtruth are from Italy and play Brutal Death Metal. This is their début album.

This is Brutal Death Metal played with passion and delivered with a storm. Crisp, crunchy riffs and blasting drums lead the charge with relentless growls and surgical strikes following up. Oh yes, and Gregorian chanting.

The band boast a crushing sound where everything sounds sharp and ready to maim. It’s heavy and it’s adrenalin soaked.

The singer has a gruff, satisfying growl that fits the music like a glove and he mainly spends his time shouting vicious diatribes and barking like a chained attack dog.

The songs are focused and brutal, with blast beats aplenty and light speed melodics and solos added in at all of the right places. The melodic guitar leads are nicely fused with the music so that they don’t detract from the brutality at all. Even though they frequently do use melodies in their songs this is not a band who would ever be described as Melodic Death Metal, and rightfully so. This is all about crushing, Brutal Death Metal and how they can demolish everything around them.

Obedience has a good pace to it and the guitars alternate between heavy chugs and ultra-blasting speed assaults in a way that flows naturally from one riff to the next. Each track is an enjoyable ride through mayhem and carnage as the band deal out punishment and pain with every precise turn through the Death Metal landscape.

If you like punchy Death Metal played with sheer brutality and clinical precision then there’s nothing not to like here.

Listen. Destroy. Obey.