Witchery – I Am Legion (Review)

WitcheryThis is the seventh album from Swedish blackened thrash metal band Witchery.

Hot on the heels of last year’s In His Infernal Majesty’s Service, this Swedish supergroup, (Arch Enemy, The Haunted, among others), have returned suprisingly quickly with another collection of sharp, vicious tunes. Continue reading

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Arch Enemy – Will to Power (Review)

Arch EnemyThis is the tenth album from Arch Enemy, a Swedish melodic death metal band; although it’s likely that this is a band that you need no real introduction to.

On Will to Power Arch Enemy sound invigorated and full of fresh life. It has the trademark Arch Enemy sound and style, of course, but enhanced and honed to a deadly point. In some ways it’s probably their most diverse album to date, although you should obviously take that within the context that it’s meant. Continue reading

The Night Flight Orchestra – Amber Galactic (Review)

The Night Flight OrchestraThe Night Flight Orchestra are a Swedish hard rock band and this is their third album.

Featuring members of Soilwork, Arch Enemy, and Witchery, (among many others), this is something of a different beast from these other bands, and presents us with 50 minutes of classic rock with some progressive overtones. Continue reading

Oracles – Miserycorde (Review)

OraclesOracles are a metal band from Belgium, this is their debut album.

Featuring current and ex-members of Aborted, System Divide and Dimlight, as well as guests from current and ex-members of Black Dahlia Murder, Scar Symmetry, Nevermore and Arch Enemy, this is a release that’s something a little different and backed up by a wealth of experience. Continue reading

Inner Sanctum – Legions Awake (Review)

Inner SanctumInner Sanctum are an Indian Thrash/Groove Metal band and this is their début album.

After a rather cinematic opener, Inner Sanctum reveal themselves in their full glory as Thrash/Groove Metal with some Death Metal influences included for added impact. Think the mid-00s-type NWOAHM, only with a darker, more classically Death Metal side to it that emphasises the European Melodic Death Metal heritage of the American style.

The album boasts a sexy, professional sound that’s polished and strong.

The singer has a gruff voice that shouts out with the best of them, occasionally including some semi-cleans that remind me of some of Darkane’s work in places.

The songs are well-written and it’s clear that these tracks have been constructed with care and enthusiasm. The Thrash and Groove influences never take over or embrace the mediocre side of both styles; Inner Sanctum play their brand of heaviness with vibrancy and passion. They deliver everything on here with skill and it’s clear that the band have the talent to succeed.

Legions Awake is a strong collection of songs that make a good impression and showcase a band who really know what they’re doing. If they were American and picked up by a large music label then they would get very far indeed, I think. Unfortunately that isn’t the case, so make sure you support them – bands like this deserve it.

For fans of – Pantera, Lamb of God, Chimaira, Shadows Fall, Darkest Hour, Legion of the Damned, Kreator, Arch Enemy, Testament, etc.

Thorns of Sin – Destroy the Light (Review)

Thorns of SinThorns of Sin is a one-man project playing Melodic Black Metal.

This is well-played and well-recorded Melodic Black Metal in the Dissection vein.

The music is very professional and accomplished, with plenty of shine and polish on display. This would be notable for a full band and is even more so as one person played and recorded everything.

Keyboard accompaniment adds highlights and splashes of colour while melodic guitars shine in their time in the light.

This is Extreme Metal easy listening, and that’s a compliment; Thorns of Sin positively flow out of the speakers and are received most gratefully by yours truly.

The vocals remind me of Dimmu Borgir and there’s a little bit of their, (older), style to this release, as well as a touch of Arch Enemy here and there..

The songs are very enjoyable slabs of Metal and make me nostalgic for the late 90s/early 00s too. There’s 6 originals and a faithful cover of Death’s The Philosopher.

A quality release and one that’s easy to enjoy and recommend; make sure you check out Destroy the Light

Mercy Brown – Mercy Brown (Review)

Mercy BrownThis is the début album from US band Mercy Brown. They play Metal.

This is a band that takes Heavy Metal and Death Metal, stitches them together and then sits back with satisfaction as its creation takes on a life of its own.

The music is on the harsher, heavier end of the spectrum and this is frequently augmented by more melodic moments and other Metal accoutrements.

The singer has a diverse voice, varying between deep growls, high screams and cleans. She has a powerful and charismatic voice no matter the style she sings in, and her different vocals work well with the more Death Metal-oriented music.

The band have a heavy sound that makes the most of their crushing delivery. This is Metal through and through. The sometimes-angelic female vocals shouldn’t make you think of bands like Lacuna Coil and Nightwish; this is more akin to Whitechapel mixed with Arch Enemy, only with clean vocals added in.

There’s a decent amount of stuff going on here. Apart from the straight-ahead Death Metal and Heavy Metal there’s plenty of other things happening to add depth and atmosphere. The band take the time to slow down and relax a bit on occasion, increasing the effectiveness of the heavier parts as well as these more reflective sections working well in their own right too.

I like this a lot as it’s a little different from the norm and well-delivered. Check them out.

Zero Gravity – Holocaust Awaits (Review)

Zero GravityThis is the début album from India’s Zero Gravity – a Thrash/Death Metal band.

After a pointless intro, the band start the album properly and they introduce us to their rather fetching take on Death Metal. Think Old-School Death Metal with a sharp Progressive edge and an added splash of Arch Enemy’s modernity and catchiness.

If you think Arch Enemy are too clean and polished sounding; if you’d prefer it if they had more of an underground, raw feeling then look no further. Arch Enemy combined with Death is as good a reference point as any. And do you know what? It sounds bloody good.

The singer has a good bark and she delivers the lines with passion and bite. She has a  great voice and it works with the aggressive riffs to fuel the band to greater heights of attack.

The riffs and licks flash out like lightning and the technical/progressive elements of their sound are abundant but relatively subtle. These are clearly people who know how to play their instruments well and don’t need to be overtly flashy or ostentatious to prove this.

Holocaust Awaits is an album full of hooks and has plenty of catchy parts to it. Sometimes this kind of songwriting can be a recipe for acute gratification at the expense of chronic satisfaction, however Zero Gravity are just damn Metal enough for the acute to bleed into the chronic and we could very well end up with an album that has some longevity to it. Only time will tell but I know what I think the outcome will be…

Minus the intro there are 8 songs on this album and the entire thing lasts just over 40 minutes – it’s a good length as it allows the band to show what they’re capable of but doesn’t let them outstay their welcome.

This is the kind of music that’s actually surprisingly hard to do well – this style of Melodic Death Metal with a bit of groove, a bit of Death, catchiness and hooks…on paper it sounds all very good but unfortunately a lot of bands who try this style end up sounding very mediocre and stale.

It’s all in the execution of course and Zero Gravity avoid all of this this by simply writing kick-ass riffs that are artfully arranged into actual songs, and decent ones at that.

A very enjoyable listen. Check this out and see what you think.

Mandatory – Catharsis (Review)

MandatoryThis is Austrian band Mandatory’s second album. They play Melodic Death Metal/Metalcore.

Mandatory play clean Melodic/Modern Death Metal with some Thrash elements thrown in.

Catharsis comes across as mixing elements of Lamb of God, Illdisposed, Darkane and Arch Enemy…kind of a cross between the European melodic style and the North American modern Metalcore style.

Their melodic sensibilities are finely honed and this is mixed in with heavier moments.

The vocals are mainly deep growls but some spoken word sections and melodious cleans are used occasionally too. These are kept to a minimum though and are not overused.

Mandatory’s sound is big, clean and crisp, as you would expect for a band of this ilk. The songs play out quite nicely and the slightly-longer-than-average length of the tracks mean that the band take the time to explore where and what they want to.

Have a listen.