Hybrid Sheep – Hail to the Beast (Review)

Hybrid SheepThis is the second album from French death metal band Hybrid Sheep.

After the promise shown on 2014’s Free from the Clutches of Gods, Hybrid Sheep have now returned with another instalment of their modern death metal, and have showed some nice progress since their first opening release. Continue reading

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Lord of War – Suffer (Review)

Lord of WarThis is the second album from Lord of War, a US death metal band.

On Suffer, Lord of War deliver 49 minutes of well-recorded modern death metal with enough strength and power to floor an elephant.

This is the kind of thing that should appeal to any of the death metal new guard, so fans of Whitechapel, Thy Art Is Murder, All Shall Perish, Molotov Solution, (the singer of which has a guest spot on this album), etc., Continue reading

Hollow Bones – Lionheart (Review)

Hollow BonesThis is the début album from this US hardcore/metal band.

Hollow Bones play modern metalcore, but with a little bit of a twist. Essentially the band take the tried-and-true NWOAHM metalcore template and put their spin on it through force of passion, a heightened emotive melodicism, and captivating female vocals.

The songs are enjoyably heavy slabs of metal with lots of tasty riffs. The guitars have Continue reading

Pronostic – An Atomic Decision (Review)

PronosticPronostic are a Canadian Death Metal band and this is their début album.

Pronostic’s take on Death Metal features elements of both the Technical and Melodic styles, resulting in an album of precise drumming, exact guitars and clipped, brutal vocals, all wrapped up in emotive riffs and serrated melodies.

With two members taking care of the vocals, we get an interesting and busy mix of growls and screams, working together and competing for space to tear your face off.

The songs have enough technicality and widdling solos to please fans of the crazy extremity that TechDeath offers, but this is restrained by the melodic sensibilities that remember that it’s also important to have this set to the framework of an actual song. There are plenty of good riffs too, and the band know an emotive lead when they hear one.

With good ideas, enough skill to carry them off and a nice chunky sound, this is a very enjoyable release. There’s a lot of content and the delivery is high-powered and energetic. The best way I can think to describe them is to imagine All Shall Perish without any of the Deathcore.

Pronostic have impressed. Give this one a spin.

Manipulation – Ecstasy (Review)

ManipulationManipulation are a Polish Death Metal band and this is their third album.

Manipulation play muscular Modern Death Metal with plenty of attack and some interesting twists to the standard formula.

Blast beats and chugging mid-paced carnage are the order of the day, but the band also throw in some unexpected atmospheric moments throughout, via the inclusion of melodic guitars, subtle keyboards, choral-like cleans, etc.

Add to this experimentalism some ultra-modern riffs and Deathcore influences and you have 44 minutes of engaging Extreme Metal, the likes of which Poland always seems to do so well.

The songs are well-written and, as mentioned previously, Manipulation aren’t afraid to experiment or try new things, which is great to hear. This edge of Progressive Metal is buried within their core sound, but really does add to their delivery. When these elements mix with blasting extremity or heavy grooves it all comes together very nicely indeed.

The vocalist has a passionate and dynamic growl that fits the music well, giving them the Death Metal anchoring they need as well as enough variety to move beyond this and into more emphatic territories.

Energetic brutality with a playful spin on the genre; this is really, really impressive.

Highly recommended.

For fans of Thy Art Is Murder, Aborted, All Shall Perish, Cryptopsy, Gorod, Molotov Solution, Whitechapel, etc.

Devil You Know – They Bleed Red (Review)

Devil You KnowThis is the second album from US Modern Metal band Devil You Know.

Featuring ex-members of such high-profile bands as Killswitch Engage, Divine Heresy, All Shall Perish and Bleeding Through, you know there’s a wealth of experience and talent behind this album before you even press play.

When you do press play, I like that there’s no messing around with pointless intros or anything like that; it’s straight into the double-bass led action, with plenty of heaviness and groove.

The singer is on fine form. Whether he was shouting at the top of his voice in Killswitch Engage or Blood Has Been Shed, he has always had a top-rate set of lungs. The majority of his work on They Bleed Red is angry and harsh shouting, although other variations are also used, as well as his clean singing voice.

The music is heavy and full of rhythmic Metal that also takes influences from both Metalcore’s beatdowns and the more extreme, faster side of Modern Metal. Although it’s all thoroughly modern and new-sounding, they still find the time to add in some more Classic Metal influences, including the odd guitar solo.

The production, as should be expected from a band like this, is huge and crushing. Bands like this need a strong sound as otherwise the power of some the riffs can easily be distilled. No such worry here, of course, and you can feel every guitar riff and drum beat.

They Bleed Red is a good combination of the more commercial side of Metal mixed with a heavier, more extreme sensibility. It’s too heavy and shouty to be as popular as a band like Killswitch Engage, but it’s got a commercial edge and songwriting-calibre that will see it snapped up by those who like some catchy songs with their heaviness.

Give it a listen and see what you think.

Amenthes – Destroyer of the Icon (Review)

AmenthesAmenthes are a US Death Metal band and this is their début EP.

Amenthes play Modern Death Metal with a hint of Grind and even Black Metal.

Vocals are various growls with added screams. Duties are shared between the main singer and a guitarist/bassist; they’re ably done and not without personality.

The music is darkly brutal and there’s enough character and passion to the riffs to help Amenthes stand out from the pack.

On this release Classic Death Metal riffing has been combined with more modern chops to create a blend of the old and new. This is added to on occasion by a Grindcore influence that allows the band to let their focused assault slip off and get a bit more frenzied. Some of the riffs have a slight Black Metal flavour to them, lending the band a dark feeling to some of the parts of the songs.

I can hear shades of Cannibal Corpse, Martyr Defiled, Decapitated, All Shall Perish, Job for a Cowboy, Hiss from the Moat and others in their sound. It’s a good mixture that allows the band freedom to do what they want without losing the core brutality that all Death Metal has.

Blast beats and energetic riffs lead the way while the vocals snarl their way through the carnage. I enjoy a good solo and the band have got me covered in this respect too.

I like that there are a few different things going on here, with some nice ideas sharing space with the heavy Death Metal.

This is a very enjoyable release from a band who have real enthusiasm and the songs to match.

Highly recommended.

The Big Jazz Duo – Enemy (Review)

The Big Jazz DuoThe Big Jazz Duo arre from Italy and this is their début album.

Looking at the album cover and knowing the band’s name, you’d probably never guess that they play Death Metal. But they do; Experimental/Atmospheric Death Metal/Deathcore.

This is sickeningly heavy with grooves and breakdowns aplenty. Speed and brutality are also present, as are pignoise vocals and scathing screams.

There’s a Djent aspect to their sound too, which seems to go hand-in-hand with a lot of Deathcore.

The band also include orchestral interludes, atmospheric sections and the like in their sound, which immediately makes them more interesting and raises their game.

Deathcore and Djent are two sub-genres that can get very stale, very quickly, if not handled well. The Big Jazz Duo avoid this trap by mixing these up with more traditional Death Metal and a melodic edge, as well as the more experimental aspects of their sound.

The songs are well written and the band understand the need for dynamics and pacing. A very polished and strong production rounds off the package and ensures that the songs have the best chance to shine.

These songs may be largely quite short but they’re packed to the rafters with goodies. Heavy groove, blasting carnage and atmosphere all merge together to create a listening experience that, in all honestly, makes me really fucking happy. I can always tell when I’m getting into an album when I start spontaneously bouncing along to it without realising. As you do.

If you imagine a cross between The Black Dahlia Murder, All Shall Perish and Xehanort then you’ll be on the right lines.

So, Brutal Death Metal, Djent, Deathcore, melody, atmosphere, orchestration…all in 31 minutes and all very well-written? I’m sold!

An extremely impressive album, especially considering the oft-dreaded Deathcore/Djent aspects of their sound.

Very highly recommended.

The Juliet Massacre – Human Abuse (Review)

The Juliet MassacreThis is the second album by Italian Death Metal band The Juliet Massacre.

This is modern Brutal Death Metal/Deathcore

The vocals consist of pig squeals, deathgrunts, screaming and even the odd semi-clean.

The songs blend blasting brutality with breakdowns and the odd melodic passage. While it’s modern and energetic, unlike a lot of Deathcore bands The Juliet Massacre remember the Death Metal side of the Deathcore equation.

This will probably be a bit too “-core” for a lot of pure Death Metal fans, which is a shame as there’s a decent amount of brutality to be had here. The songs don’t let up and the album supplies the requisite hit of aggression.

I enjoyed this. With a slightly stronger sound and a little tightening up in the songwriting department The Juliet Massacre could easily ascend to the big leagues. Until then, I’ll still be listening to this again in the future.

For fans of Despised Icon, All Shall Perish, The Black Dahlia Murder and Job for a Cowboy.

Hybrid Sheep – Free From the Clutches of Gods (Review)

Hybrid SheepHybrid Sheep are from France and this is their début album. They play Deathcore.

This is state-of-the-art Deathcore with a massive sound and a crisp method of attack.

Hybrid Sheep play their style in the vein of bands like All Shall Perish and Acrania. A few Metalcore influences from the likes of Lamb of God and As I Lay Dying are thrown in also, as well as some Modern Death Metal similar to bands like Revocation and The Black Dahlia Murder.

If you’re not a fan of this modern style of Extreme Metal then Hybrid Sheep are unlikely to convince you, but if you are then Free From the Clutches of Gods has enough meat to satisfy that’s for sure.

This is a well played and produced album with lots of heaviness, melodies, aggressive riffs, blasting and breakdowns. I find this style very easy listening in the sense that if you’re in the mood you can just stick a band like this on and start bouncing around like a maniac. As you do.

Just listening to this now I can’t help but have a little wobble around in my seat. Always the sign of a good listen.

The songs are enjoyable and satisfyingly aggressive. The standard alternation between deep growls and high screams is done well and there’s plenty of guitar widdling included with the heavy riffs.

Hybrid Sheep have produced an enjoyable album of Deathcore. Check them out.