Wonderbox Metal End of Year List – Best Metal of 2018

Having considered it long and hard, I’ve decided that any form of introductory paragraph with any real substance would simply detract from the list below. As such, all I’ll say is that 2018, like every year, has given us some top quality metal releases. So have a look at my top picks for 2018, and hopefully you’ll find a new band to obsess over…

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Solium Fatalis – Genetically Engineered to Enslave (Review)

Solium Fatalis - Genetically Engineered to EnslaveThis is the fourth album from Solium Fatalis, a US death metal band.

Here we have 43 minutes of tasty and aggressive melodic blackened death metal. That may be a bit of a mouthful to say, but the music of Solium Fatalis rolls freely from the speakers and is quite easy to enjoy. Continue reading

Alterbeast – Feast (Review)

AlterbeastAlterbeast are a death metal band from the US and this is their second album.

It seems like an age since Alterbeast released their stunning debut album Immortal, which was a masterclass in how to create enjoyable modern, technical death metal. Well now the band are back, with a new lineup too, it seems. Continue reading

Gorepunch – Give ‘Em Hell (Review)

GorepunchGorepunch are from the US and this is their début album. They play Death Metal.

Comprised of members and ex-members from veteran groups such as Fear Factory, Aborted, System Divide and Malignancy, Gorepunch already have a lot of experience. Give ‘Em Hell makes the most of this and wastes no time in getting to the heart of the matter – blood, guts and blasting brutality. Remember, the quickest way to the heart is through the ribcage.

Their album has an interesting approach to Death Metal that takes some influence from Grindcore but largely adopts a split between Technical Death Metal and a state-of-the-art modern approach, resulting in an album that’s just at home slaying you with a direct approach or flaying you alive with an off-centre complicated attack. It’s a formula that results in a Modern Death Metal album with its putrid fingers in enough different pies to keep you happy and focused throughout the 26 minutes playing time.

The songs are like an enjoyable beating and feature good playing, pummelling riffs and savage vocals. The band use enough melodics to keep things engaging, but don’t allow them to go overboard and detract from the brutality.

A really engaging release that satisfies those cravings for a short, sharp blast of aural carnage that still has some substance to the barbarity.

For fans of Aborted, Job for a Cowboy, The Kennedy Veil, Prostitute Disfigurement, Wormed, Alterbeast, Exhumed, Ichor, etc.

Ichor – Depths (Review)

IchorIchor are from Germany and play Death Metal. This is their third album.

Who doesn’t love a bit of Modern Death Metal? I know I do. Sharp and tight, played with just the right hint of Deathcore and heavier than a barrelful of spanners? Sign me up!

Take a look at the album cover – you know what you’re getting yourself into. If you like bands such as The Kennedy Veil, Wormed, Alterbeast, Job for a Cowboy, Bloodtruth, Deep in Hate, etc. then this is another must.

This is brutal music played for the love of carnage and all things destructive. Lightning riffs and chugging menace work alongside inhuman drumming and lethal intent.

The vocals are aggressive growls that trade off with scything screams. The vocalist clearly knows his business and puts in a top-rate performance.

These songs have the requisite speed and brutality to them but I also like the energetic riffing and dynamic nature of the guitars. There’s also somewhat of a Morbid Angel/Behemoth feel to some of the guitar parts, which is a different angle that differentiates them from some of their similar peers.

There are some nice ideas and interesting enhancements on this, a good example is the added orchestration that infuses some of the songs and creates another layer of atmosphere to the proceedings. Top work.

I particularly enjoy some of the lead guitarwork and there are plenty of solos to satisfy as well, which is something I really like too. These chaotic melodics work well with the hardened brutality of Ichor’s core and the songs come alive with a darkness that sometimes even borders on the edge of Blackened Death Metal.

Yes, yes; much like Swedish Death Metal I’m a sucker for this kind of stuff, but this really is a damn fine album. The cutting riffs, growling hatred and superior songwriting mean Ichor will be with me for some time to come.

Here’s to plumbing the depths…

Alterbeast – Immortal (Review)

AlterbeastAlterbeast are from the US and on this their début album they treat us to a Technical Death Metal showcase.

Immortal is 8 tracks in just under 30 minutes of a band showing that they can not only play insanely well but that they can craft enjoyable Metal while they do it.

It shreds, rips, blasts and batters in all the right ways and at the end of it you’re left wondering what the Hell just happened. And where did your teeth go?

Their sheer wanton love of Brutal Death Metal and technical proficiency combines effortlessly to produce one hell of an album. Alterbeast manage to straddle both brutality and technicality at the same time so that one doesn’t overpower the other. This effortless sewing together of the two sub-genres of Death metal means that Immortal is a very complete album with both songs and fretboard domination. They can also be surprisingly melodic whent hey want to be, further emphasizing their advanced songwriting skills.

The singer has an amazing voice whether he is growling deeply or screaming his lungs out; either way he stays on top of the melodically-chaotic mayhem and demonstrates a gleeful attitude to his attack.

The sound of the album is just immense; all of the instruments are crystal clear and the guitars have a great heaviness to them that translates into molten gold when the solos and leads appear. As for the drummer he is technically precise without sounding sterile and forms a real backdrop to the carnage that the guitars wreak and the aggression spewed by the singer.

I won’t hide my love for this kind of ultra-modern, ultra-slick Death Metal. This is essential.