A Breach of Silence – Secrets (Review)

A Breach of SilenceA Breach of Silence are an Australian metal band and this is their third album.

I’ve been watching A Breach of Silence with a keen interest over the years and have enjoyed seeing them grow as a band.

Their 2013 debut album Dead or Alive was an enjoyable slab of Killswitch Engage-inspired metalcore. This was followed up Continue reading

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Serpentine Dominion – Serpentine Dominion (Review)

Serpentine DominionSerpentine Dominion are a US death metal band. This is their debut album.

Featuring current and ex-members of Cannibal Corpse, Killswitch Engage and The Black Dahlia Murder, this was only ever going to be good at the very least.

Well, it’s even better than that. Continue reading

Mindshift – Horizon (Review)

MindshiftThis is the second album from Swedish Metal band Mindshift.

Mindshift’s latest album is 56 minutes of downtuned aggression in the Metalcore style that pushes the tried-and-tested style of heavy verses and melodic choruses, à la Atreyu, Killswitch Engage, Soilwork and the like.

The singer’s harsh voice reminds me of the singer of Atreyu, and he provides a good performance for the most part. The clean vocals do what they’re here to do, with decent melodies and hooks, some of which are really quite tasty.

The songs are, overall, a bit heavier and more aggressive than some that play this style, which I like, although the radio-friendly choruses clearly show their aspirations.

Although this style has been done to death, with some catchy choruses and good songwriting this is still an enjoyable release if you’re partial to the style. I probably would have loved this about 10-15 years ago. Nowadays I still quite like it, mainly due to the fact that it’s done well and sticks to basic song structures that are as familiar as they are pleasing in their simplicity.

Despite all of the things that are stacked against a band playing this style, I like that Horizon doesn’t play it completely safe and doesn’t just take the easy option of completely regurgitating stuff that’s been done a million times before. This is mainly down to the guitars and clean vocals – the former sound like a lot of consideration has gone into their structuring and layout, while the latter really do add a lot to the tracks and are performed with a passion that’s apparent.

There’s some good riffs and emotive melodies knocking about here too, and the electronic component to their sound is infrequent and used lightly, adding what is needed to the songs without getting in the way.

Ultimately Mindshift have put together an album that is easy to sit back and enjoy. The decent riffs and vocals do their job well and the songs pass by in a quite personable way. I can easily imagine myself listening to this a few more times in the future, despite a slightly over-long playing time.

Have a listen and check them out.

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.

Aterra – All Born in Pain (Review)

AterraAterra are from Poland and this is their début album. They play modern Metal.

This album is full of heavy guitars and enough beats to dance to. This is distinctly from the modern school of Metal that fuses Metalcore with elements of Thrash and even Nu-Metal.

This is quite a varied release, with plenty of different styles and flavours touched upon over the 37 minutes of music here. There are frequent small interludes between the main tracks and these take a wide variety of different forms, adding texture as the album unfolds.

How to describe the band…take a bit of Sepultura, (Chaos A.D./Roots-era, vocals and music), a pinch of Korn’s funkiness, some of the Metal stylings of Darkest Hour and Killswitch Engage, the added electronic parts of Rammstein…it’s quite a melting pot of influences that makes me quite nostalgic for this kind of music during the late 90s and early 00s in some ways.

This has the variety and pop-Metal foundation of Nu-Metal, hardened up by Metalcore’s grittier influence. And, unless you’re completely allergic to this kind of thing, it works well. This is helped greatly by the fact that the vocals, (for the most part), are mainly barked out at full volume throughout. Yes, there is the odd spoken-word and clean vocal, but for the most part they’re uncompromisingly un-radio friendly, which is always a bonus.

Very good. Loud, brash, unapologetic and shamelessly enjoyable. All Born in Pain works well.

Recommended.

Aktaion – Throne (Review)

AktaionThis is the début album by Swedish Metal band Aktaion.

This is sharp Melodic Metal that combines high-energy aggressive Melodic Death Metal with more restrained and emotive choruses. Elements of Thrash and Progressive Metal also raise their heads, (only to bang them all the harder). Continue reading

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.

Show Me Wolves – Between Man, God and False Idols (Review)

Show Me WolvesThis is the début album of Icelandic one-man Black Metal project Show Me Wolves.

So, this is a little different. Here we have Progressive Black Metal that takes elements of both Old-School Black Metal and cutting-edge Post-Black Metal as well as, believe it or not, bits of modern Metal here and there. Okay, so on paper it sounds a mish-mash of genres that normally never meet, but when you listen to it it does all make sense. For the most part, anyway.

Black Metal with a modern, Progressive flavour is the main order of business, but there’s a good deal of other stuff going on here. The modern Metal influence is not as jarring as it first might seem, as in reality this mainly means the Progressive Black Metal is added to by some stirring, upliftingly bright melodic guitars that serve as an icing on top of a Blackened cake. Think the types of melodies used by bands like Killswitch Engage and the like, only Blacken it up some.

It’s an unusual route to take but it works well due to the coherent delivery. Ultimately, this is Post/Progressive Black Metal that’s modern and forward-thinking, yet retains an atavistic violence at its core.

The vocals are harsh screams, unyielding in their extremity and a definite counterpoint to the largely shiny, resplendent music. He sounds angry, and I like that. Clean vocals also appear occasionally, lending a despondent, lonesome edge to things.

Before listening to this, the low-rent album cover led me to believe I was in for some Old-School Darkthrone clone, but I was quite wrong. Between Man, God and False Idols has impressed. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than a lot and shows massive promise.

One to check out, for sure.

Voice of Ruin – Morning Wood (Review)

Voice of RuinComing from Switzerland, here we have Voice of Ruin.

A bit of an enigma this band in some ways; from the song titles I was expecting gore/porn-obsessed Death Metal but then the artwork is a bit unusual for that. Couple that with the band’s tendency to dress as farmers it tends to throw you a bit.

When you finally press play the style of music is actually a thoroughly modern Metalcore/Thrash influenced melodic Death Metal. From everything else about this release and the band, it’s quite unexpected.

Imagine Killswitch Engage and Lamb of God getting together to do a more extreme side band, (less commercial cleans, some blast beats, etc.); throw in a few modern Melodic Death Metal influences such as The Black Dahlia Murder and you should be there.

The sound is immense and state-of-the-art, with all of the instruments honed to crushing perfection and all aimed at utterly destroying. It does the music justice.

The songs are well written and have that thoroughly modern melodic crunch to them that will probably have just as many people running away from the band as running to them, such is the divisive nature of this kind of genre for some people.

It’s good though, very good, so don’t let preconceptions put you off discovering a talented band.

A Breach of Silence – Dead or Alive (Review)

A Breach of SilenceThis is the début release from Australian band A Breach of Silence.

The band play a nice line in modern Melodic Death Metal combined with the huge sweeping chorus-style Metalcore that bands like Killswitch Engage popularised.

The singer has a very good voice; his growls are deep and enthusiastic and the clean vocals are passionate and a bit different from the usual of this type as they incorporate a little bit of Power Metal into their delivery, giving them a bit more of an edge.

The music has plenty of bite and aggression with the band playing their hearts out and preforming with gusto. Although they do have breakdowns and whatnot, they don’t completely abuse and over-use them as a lot of these kind of bands have a tendency to do; they seem to have struck the right balance. The songs are largely both heavy and catchy.

Ultimately this does fall into the more commercial end of the Metal spectrum, and won’t be to everyone’s taste. I haven’t listened to a new band of this style for some time and I think A Breach of Silence are very good at what they do. If you’re a fan of heavy modern Metal and don’t object to more commercial melodic clean choruses then check them out.