Wovenwar – Honor Is Dead (Review)

WovenwarThis is the second album from Wovenwar, a US metal band.

Rising from the ashes of As I Lay Dying, this is my first encounter with Wovenwar. Although ostensibly treading similar ground as their parent band, Wovenwar are overall a different, darker and more nuanced beast. Continue reading

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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

Poison Headache – Poison Headache (Review)

Poison HeadacheThis is the début album from this US metallic hardcore band, Poison Headache.

Featuring an album cover that immediately grabs the attention, this is a band that fuses hardcore and metal into an ugly ball of condensed violence.

Hearing this description, and knowing that there is an ex-member of As I Lay Dying Continue reading

Gottweist – Future Is in Our Hands (Review)

GottweistThis is the début album from Canadian Metal band Gottweist.

Gottweist’s music is somewhere between the classic Iron Maiden-influenced Metal style and a more modern one, as played by bands like Killswitch Engage, Bullet for My Valentine, As I Lay Dying, Atreyu and the like. The balance is weighted towards the latter, but the former has enough of a presence to give Future Is in Our Hands more impact than is normal for a band like this.

The album features a bright sparkly sound that might not be quite as polished as those aforementioned groups, but still works in concert with the songs themselves to present a band who clearly have a passion and energy for what they do.

The singer’s voice is melodic and smooth, backed by the odd shout or harsher vocal. The Heavy Metal influence counteracts the more modern Metalcore one in various ways, one of the more notable being the fact that the harsh vocals are very much in the minority here, whereas normally it’s the other way around, with cleans usually being restricted to radio-friendly choruses. Gottweist go the other, less-usual route; the majority of the vocals on this release are sung, and when harsher ones do appear they typically back up the cleans on the choruses.

Leads and solos are used well, adding much to the hearty songs and catchy melodies. Indeed, there’s so much enthusiasm here that it’s hard to feel jaded and dislike what the band are doing, (unless you’re just not into this kind of thing, of course).

All of the above results in an enjoyable and slightly different take on the more commercial side of melodic Metal/Metalcore. I have enjoyed their slightly-atypical spin on the modern Metalcore sound; with the traditional Heavy Metal aspects of their delivery lending a bit more depth and longevity to the music than is typical for a band of this ilk.

Given the right backing and exposure, as well as a bigger production and a slightly more adventurous songwriting outlook, Future Is in Our Hands might actually be potentially quite prophetic for their next album.

Check this out.

Designs of Chaos – The Darkest Storm (Review)

Designs of ChaosDesigns of Chaos are a UK Metal band and this is their second EP.

This short 3-track release is a 14 minute statement of intent from Designs of Chaos, and it’s clear that they mean business.

This is Modern Thrash Metal in the style of Lamb of God, As I Lay Dying, et al. It has a rightfully powerful sound, as befits bands of this nature, and sounds punchy and direct.

One of the good things about The Darkest Storm is that while bands of this ilk can easily fall foul of having too commercial a sound, Designs of Chaos largely avoid this by having a more thoroughly Metal and aggressive approach than many. Yes, the band operate in this more-commercial side of Metal more than they don’t, (such is the nature of the style), but they do it with a more aggressive and downright Metal approach than a lot of their more commercially-minded peers. This is clearly music played for the love of it and not to be the next one-hit wonder.

The songwriting is good and the riffs and structure of the songs hit the spot. I like that this has the immediacy necessary for this style but also leaves room for a bit of depth in the guitar department to allow for a more satiating musical meal, rather than one which was satisfying on first listen but quickly left you wanting something more. The band clearly want to incorporate a bit of substance to their songs and this is only to be encouraged.

Each of the songs are upbeat and feature enough speed to get the head banging and enough groove and heaviness to keep it moving.

The singer has a nicely brutal voice with the shouting and yelling coming thick and fast. It’s a raw and aggressive approach which adds a sharper edge to the band than if they would have opted for a nicer or prettier style. Some of the vocals, backing and otherwise, approach Death Metal levels and it all works really well. There is no clean singing.

Although not perfect, this is still better than most bands of this Modern Metal style and Designs of Chaos have shown massive potential and promise on this EP.

I really enjoyed this. The UK has birthed yet another band to keep a firm eye on. Let’s see what they do next.

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.