Horizon Ablaze – The Weight of a Thousand Suns (Review)

Horizon AblazeHorizon Ablaze are a Norwegian progressive black/extreme metal band and this is their third album.

Horizon Ablaze play a brand of extreme metal that largely consists of atmospheric/progressive/avant-garde black metal, (among other things). It’s an impressive and well-delivered proposition, that’s for sure. Continue reading

Letters from the Colony – Vignette (Review)

Letters from the ColonyLetters from the Colony are a progressive metal band from Sweden and this is their debut album.

This is complex music, fusing modern progressive and technical metal influences with djent elements to create experimental extreme metal. Vignette is notable for many things, one of which is that it largely takes from the strengths of these styles and leaves the weaknesses floundering in the dust, which is not an easy feat to achieve. Continue reading

Death Rattle – Volition (Review)

Death RattleDeath Rattle are a metal band from the US and this is their second album.

Death Rattle play heavy music that’s a combination of thrash and groove metal. Think of a mix of The Haunted, Lamb of God, and Dew Scented, with a hint of Gojira, for a good idea of where they’re coming from. Continue reading

Wingless – The Blaze Within (Review)

WinglessWingless are a Polish metal band and this is their second album.

So strongly do I associate Poland with death metal, than upon seeing the album cover of The Blaze Within I immediately jumped to that conclusion with Wingless. Well, you know what they say about books and their covers… Continue reading

Of the Sun – Before a Human Path (Review)

Of the SunOf the Sun are a progressive metal band from the US and this is their second album.

This is an interesting brand of progressive metal – Of the Sun essentially take the groove metal of bands like Pantera and Lamb of God and mix it with a bit of modern progressive music that has hints of Gojira, Mastodon and Alice in Chains in it. Continue reading

Ferium – Behind the Black Eyes (Review)

FeriumThis is the second album from Israeli Death/Groove Metal band Ferium.

Ferium’s début album Reflections was a lively and enjoyable album that mixed Death and Groove Metal in just the right amounts.

The first thing about Behind the Black Eyes that strikes me is that it’s a far more focused effort than their début; the total playing time, total number of songs and individual track lengths have all been pruned, showing a band who have gained experience in the last few years and have trimmed away the fat to leave a lean, aggressive Metal machine.

The band essentially employ the same format as they did previously – heavy riffs and groovy beats interspersed with elements of modern Metalcore and underscored by a Death Metal base – but this time it’s tighter and more direct. That’s not to say there’s no depth of songwriting here, rather, the band are now closer to the style they clearly want to play and are playing it as they know how best to do; with angry brutality and poised aggression.

The singer growls and barks his way through the tracks. He seems to have improved on his already very satisfactory earlier performance and on this latest release appears to have settled into his role even more comfortably than previously. His voice is quite versatile, with his many different vocalisations all intent on maximising aggression.

All of the songs are well written and demonstrate a band coming into their own. Interesting and nuanced riffs rub shoulders with simpler bruisers, resulting in satisfying songs that may take a direct approach but provide enough content so as to be worth returning to over time.

Well, Reflections was good, but this is better. Well done Ferium.

Highly recommended for fans of Whitechapel, Gojira, Lamb of God, Job for a Cowboy, Thy Art Is Murder, Meshuggah, etc.

Sanzu – Heavy over the Home (Review)

SanzuThis is the début album from Australian Modern Progressive Death Metallers Sanzu.

We’ve met Sanzu’s Gojira/Morbid Angel-inspired work before on their Painless EP, where they proved themselves to be an energetic and highly-promising addition to the world of Extreme Metal.

On Heavy over the Home Sanzu continue to develop their influences into something even more personable than previously. Although you can still readily identify the Gojira in their sound, for example, they’ve taken ownership of this even more than on their EP and Heavy over the Home is a force to be reckoned with.

It’s also a heavy force, as I suspect this word is used deliberately in the album title. Sanzu do heavy very well indeed. It’s hard to do your own thing when heavily influenced, (pun intended…), by such a recognisably distinctive band such as Gojira, but Sanzu have risen to the challenge by embracing their Morbid Angel-esque Death Metal side even further on this release, meaning that we end up with a kind of Gojira-gone-Death-Metal sort of album. This accomplishes two things; it allows the band to go their own way and make their sound much more their own, and also it sounds absolutely great.

Twisting, rolling rhythms and punishing grooves seem to trample and flatten from above, and the band’s melodic sensibilities, developed though they are, seem utterly incapable of blunting this crushing heaviosity. We wouldn’t have it any other way, of course.

The 45 minutes of music on this album allow the band to spread their wings and develop much further than on their first EP, and it’s very pleasing to see Sanzu metamorphosing into something more than their influences, something they can be proud to call their own.

In an utterly crushing display of super-heavy Death Metal, Sanzu destroy the opposition with ease and leave us with a top-quality album to enjoy in the smouldering ruins of what came before.

I’ll be playing this on heavy rotation from now on, that’s for sure. I advise you do too.