Wardomized – Forced to Eat from the Apple Tree (Review)

WardomizedWardomized are a death/thrash metal band from the UK and this is their latest EP.

It seems like only yesterday that we were introduced to Wardomized’s take on old-school death/thrash metal via Red Death (Flows Through My Veins), but already they’re back once more with a new four track EP. Continue reading

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Wardomized – Red Death (Flows Through My Veins) (Review)

WardomizedWardomized are a UK death/thrash metal band and this is their second EP.

From the moment the EP starts you’re left with no doubt about the old-school pedigree of Wardomized. They seem to have instantly managed to nail down a sound that’s been torn from the 80s, both from a recording point of view and also a stylistic one. Continue reading

Sepultura – Machine Messiah (Review)

SepulturaLegendary Brazilian metal band Sepultura return with their fourteenth album.

On Machine Messiah Sepultura continue their blend of thrash, modern metal, experimental metal and tribal percussion, and they do this in such a way on this release that they sound revitalised, energised and fresh.

The band’s albums are frequently exploratory and tentative in nature, with a mix of straightforward metal tracks and more experimental ones that see them pushing the envelope and trying new things. Continue reading

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.

Equaleft – Adapt & Survive (Review)

EqualeftEqualeft are from Portugal and this is their début album. They play Groove Metal.

This is modern Metal with a modern Thrash edge and a love of all things heavy and chuggy. Think Lamb of God, Sepultura, Hatebreed, etc. and you’ll be on the right lines.

Having said that though, Equaleft are definitely at the heavier, less-commercial end of the Groove Metal spectrum. It’s clear that the band’s main focus and passion lies with the heaviness and the Metal, which is only to be encouraged of course.

The vocals are angry and flit between throaty shouts and raspier screams. I like that they’re quite relentlessly aggressive and the vocal assault does well to keep up the intensity throughout.

This is a very riff-oriented release. Now, where most bands of this ilk fall down is by an over reliance on done-to-death Metalcore riffs and too many breakdowns. Pleasingly, Equaleft don’t overplay this aspect of their sound and instead mainly concentrate on beating the listener’s skull in with brutal riffs and heavy guitars that are more 90’s Metal than 00’s Metalcore.

Another couple of areas that set them apart are those of speed and melody; they can put their foot on the accelerator when needed and also inject some melody into the proceedings. Both aspects stop the album from becoming a one-dimensional riff-fest and allow for some increased dynamics. And they also allow the heavier parts to sound even heavier, which is never a bad thing.

This is a very promising début. Groove Metal can be a tricky thing to master and Equaleft are well on their way to high levels of proficiency with this release.

Recommended.

Mass Punishment – Proving Ground, Vol. 1 (Review)

Mass PunishmentMass Punishment are from the US and play Thrash/Groove Metal. This is their début album.

Mass Punishment play their Metal with an overdose of muscle and with reference to the big hitters of the scene – Pantera, Machine Head, Sepultura, Hatebreed, etc.

This is Metal that takes no prisoners as it relentlessly stalks the battlefield for targets. On the surface of things it seems that a band like this might not have much to offer other the listener than some brawny riffs and angry anthems, but on closer inspection Mass Punishment surprise by having a lot more to them than just the basics.

For a start, the song lengths are longer than the norm for this type of music, with the average track spanning the 5-7 minute marks. This means that the band never rush themselves and give themselves the space to demonstrate what they can do.

So, amongst the brutality and heavy riffs, spread out across these song lengths, what makes Mass Punishment better than mere Pantera rip-offs?

A few things, actually. Let’s have a look –

  1. Passion and integrity. They may be inspired by some of the masters but they are definitely doing their own thing.
  2. Songwriting skills. The guys know how to write an enjoyable song. Lots of them.
  3. Metal. Their songs also incorporate elements of a cleaner Metal style that’s not quite Power Metal but certainly isn’t pure brawn and muscle. Think Old-School Anthrax with soaring vocals meets a bit of a more Euro-Metal style. There’s no Melodic Death Metal, Gothenburg-style or anything like that; this is more melodic Thrash I suppose, but one from the finest pedigree and history.
  4. Modernity. The band know how to incorporate some of the heavier and more extreme advances in Metal that have occurred since the mid/late-90s, which I think is Mass Punishment’s spiritual home. Influences from the best that Slipknot and Metalcore have to offer are incorporated where necessary. But only the good stuff.
  5. Diversity. This is no one-trick pony. For every face-shredding part there’s the also nuance and subtlety; they have struck a good ratio between the two. They know how to rage and destroy but they also know how to inject melody and light into their attack. Just listen to The Desert Rogue.

All accounted for, Mass Punishment successfully take the Metal template that was established over 15/20 years ago and completely own it as their birthright.

I need to mention the singer as well. A band like this needs a charismatic, personable vocalist who is diverse and intense enough to match the power of the music. Thank fuck they have this, otherwise Mass Punishment would be an exercise in wasted potential. Phew.

This is a very holistic, complete album. Each song has its own identity, purpose and place on the album. It’s a great thing to hear.

Well, I’ve been hugely impressed with this. Considering the height of the bar in this style I haven’t heard Groove Metal done so damn well in ages. I really hope that this band can get some much needed exposure to the wider Metal scene as Proving Ground, Vol. 1 has a lot to offer any Metal fan.

Had they been born decades earlier when this style was at its height they would no doubt be huge. Having said that; Mass Punishment, and the music they represent, are still very relevant and more people would do well to listen to them.

Top work.

Alkira – Juggernaut (Review)

AlkiraAlkira are an Australian Thrash Metal band. This is their début album.

The album starts off unexpectedly, with a 2 minute instrumental that gently builds and sounds more in-line with a Progressive Metal band. The next song brings the Thrash so hard and heavy though it’s straight into the meat of things.

Taking their cues from the harsher side of Thrash, there’s no retro, humorous nonsense here; this is Thrash Metal to kill to.

If you’re a fan of Kreator, Slayer and Sepultura’s brand of Thrash, (and who isn’t?), then Alkira should scratch that itch for you.

Sharp riffs and jagged guitars infest the songs. Old-School Thrash Metal has rarely sounded so barbed. A meaty production rounds off the package.

The songs are well written and the longer nature of some of the tracks allows the band to fully explore their chosen style. Tasty solos, solid drumming and vocals that sound like lacerations make for an engaging listen.

There are 11 tracks, including a good Sepultura cover. All in all, 57 minutes of Metal. I can imagine this band being amazing live.

If you’re tired of bands taking the stupid route to this style of music and yearn for some good, old-fashioned, honest, killer-Thrash; look no further than Alkira.