Cold Snap – World War 3 (Review)

Cold SnapCold Snap are from Croatia and this is their third album. They play Modern Metal.

World War 3 is a surprisingly varied album for what it is. I was expecting a straight Metalcore band for some reason, and although they have this side to them there’s more to Cold Snap than just this.

Mix Metalcore with a bit of Nu-Metal and you’ll have an idea of what Cold Snap are attempting here. Elements of Korn, Disturbed, Slipknot and Machine Head can be heard.

After Nu-Metal effectively stopped existing, (as far as I am concerned), a very long time ago it’s actually quite refreshing to hear something like this again, especially when it’s actually done quite well and without the majority of the generic nonsense that plagued the style.

So as I was saying; Cold Snap have a fair degree of variety in their sound and don’t simply repeat the same formula every song. Similarities exist between tracks of course, as is the same for most bands who play one style, but within their chosen framework they do attempt to mix it up a bit.

The singer has a decent voice and doesn’t fall too foul of the various vocal pit-falls that this style can have. Overall he gives a good performance.

The band are at their best when they let the Euro-Metal influences come to the front. Sections of some of the songs have influences from bands like Nevermore, Darkane and Soilwork, and these are the most enjoyable parts for me.

It’s quite a nostalgic listen in some ways; it’s a familiar style but without being overly so, probably because I haven’t really listened to anything like this in a while. If World War 3 had come out about 15 years ago Cold Snap probably would have been quite big.

If Nu-Metal is a best-forgotten nightmare for you then this will probably not float your boat, but if you want to hear a modern take on it with a beefy, professional production then check out Cold Snap and see what you think.

For myself, this has definitely grown on me and I’ll be spinning this again in the future.

Arcturon – Expect Us (Review)

ArcturonArcturon are from Switzerland and this is their latest EP. They play Melodic Metal.

With this EP they give us 4 tracks lasting a total of just under 17 minutes.

This is upbeat Metal with a modern slant and added keyboards/effects. Think Dark Tranquillity as well as bands like In Flames, Arch Enemy, Soilwork, Darkane, etc.

These four songs are well-written and well-presented tracks that are on the more commercial side of Metal but if you don’t mind that then there’s a good amount of enjoyment to be had from them.

The singer has a good voice and switches between shouting and singing with ease. It’s designed to promote emotive responses and as long as you’re amenable to the genre it does the job.

This is the kind of band I could imagine getting a good degree of success if they have the right backing/are in the right place at the right time/etc. They have this particular genre of Metal down pat and inject enough variety and personality into the formula to make it work.

Give them a listen and see what you think.

Methedras – System Subversion (Review)

MethedrasMethedras are from Italy and play Modern Thrash Metal. This is their fourth album.

A state-of-the-art heavy and crisp sound blares out of the speakers accompanied by a maniacal laugh and enough modern Thrash sensibilities to crush an elephant, (poor elephant). Methedras waste no time in preparing their mission statement and declaring it boldly.

This is Modern Thrash Metal and it’s ready to riot. Essentially the band mix elements of modern bands such as Lamb of God, Soilwork and Byzantine, Thrash bands like Annihilator and Testament and a touch of Death Metal to create an aggressively heavy album that pulls no punches. Think Testament’s Low updated for 2014.

The vocals are suitably extreme, combining screams and shouts with some deeper growling, as well as the odd melodic semi-cleaner chorus. The singer manages to achieve this with no small amount of charisma as well. Well done that man!

The songs are mature, well written and overall the album as a whole feels very comprehensive. The combination of aggressively Metal riffs and harsh vocals make for a good listening experience. With memorable choruses and hooks aplenty this is a fine collection of songs that I can imagine going down a storm live.

System Subversion is modern Metal without any of the commercial pandering or posturing that is so prevalent in today’s music. It’s modern with a heavier angle and a proper appreciation for Metal – it doesn’t let the side down.

Check out Methedras and give them your support.

Sapiency – Tomorrow (Review)

SapiencySapiency play modern melodic Thrash Metal. I don’t listen to a lot of this style of music as there is a huge amount of mediocrity out there – it seems to be that writing okay music in this style is quite easy, but being truly great is rare.

Their style is similar to bands such as Scar Symmetry, In Flames, Soilwork, etc. – the gruff vocals juxtaposed against the clean, huge soaring guitars and keyboards, epic melodies and punchy drums, etc. Although Sapiency don’t hit the heights of the truly great, they are certainly a cut above the mediocre, and dare I say it this is quite an exciting and enjoyable release.

Having more bite to their attack than a lot of the typical In Flames/Soilwork clones, (which they aren’t), certainly works in their favour. The gruff vocals are a bit harsher than the norm, and the clean vocals a bit more powerful. They dwell on the right side of catchy rather than sounding ‘pop’. The guitars are not watered down and actually have some meat to the riffs rather than just being there to accentuate the vocals, which seems to be a usual failing of certain bands in this genre. In fact, Sapiency are less In Flames/Soilwork and more Scar Symmetry/Dark Tranquillity – heavier and less polished, (relatively speaking of course), than their more commercial kin. Some would say ‘more metal’. Here we even have the occasional blastbeat, which is always welcome. Solos too. It’s good that they are not afraid of speed either; it’s too easy for bands in this genre to lose interest across an album as every song has the same mid-paced tempo, speed and feeling.

Albums like this live or die by their songs and Sapiency have these; energy and catchiness, wrapped up and delivered as molten melodic metal. It’s hard not to feel the enthusiasm inherent in these tracks. There is a genuine love of metal on display here and it exhibits itself in every track and imbues them with a vitality that is otherwise missing in so many catchier bands.

I enjoyed Sapiency more than I thought I would; which is a reminder that it’s far to easy to feel jaded and cynical these days and every band should be judged on their individual merits. A class album – if you enjoy melody with your metal then check them out.