Cranely Gardens – House of Decay (Review)

Cranely GardensThis is the latest EP from Cranely Gardens, a deathcore band from the US.

Heavy and aggressive, this is modern deathcore with some metalcore and djent influences thrown in for good measure. Continue reading


Lord of War – Suffer (Review)

Lord of WarThis is the second album from Lord of War, a US death metal band.

On Suffer, Lord of War deliver 49 minutes of well-recorded modern death metal with enough strength and power to floor an elephant.

This is the kind of thing that should appeal to any of the death metal new guard, so fans of Whitechapel, Thy Art Is Murder, All Shall Perish, Molotov Solution, (the singer of which has a guest spot on this album), etc., Continue reading


Despite – Synergi (Review)

DespiteDespite are from Sweden and play modern metal. This is their third album.

This makes a good impression very early on. Despite play a kind of modern metal that takes from the Swedish melodic death metal scene of yore, as well as more modern and even some progressive/djent elements. Synergi is my first exposure to the band, and to my ears comes across as a mix of Darkane, In Flames, Fear Factory and Whitechapel.

With three guitarists, the music is nicely heavy and treads the line Continue reading


Whitechapel – Mark of the Blade (Review)

WhitechapelWhitechapel are from the US and play deathcore/metal. This is their sixth album.

2014’s Our Endless War saw Whitechapel effectively combining their death metal/deathcore roots with their more further-developed modern metal approach from their previous release into an album that made the most out of both of these influences.

Mark of the Blade continues where Our Endless War left off, providing a large chunk of heavy, aggressive music with modern, groove and djent parts welded onto their thoroughly metal core. However, the band have also progressed and expanded Continue reading


Whitechapel – Our Endless War (Review)

WhitechapelThis is the fifth album from US Deathcore/Metal band Whitechapel.

Whitechapel have progressed over the years from their more Death Metal/Deathcore roots to something these days that is half Deathcore and half modern Metal, taking influence from the NWOAHM and djent styles and infusing them with a Deathcore aggression and heaviness.

They’ve generally slowed things down a bit too, emphasising catchiness and rhythm rather than speed and brutality, as was once the case, (although even back then they had a certain level of catchiness that was lacking in their peers). Due to their background though they’re more than capable of speeding up when they need to, adding that extra edge to the delivery, and I’m pleased that the blast beats haven’t been totally dropped from their repertoire.

As mentioned above, there’s more of a djent influence on their albums of late, and this is still true on Our Endless War. I’ve stated in the past that djent is a very easy style to be mediocre at, and I’ve said the same about Deathcore too; it’s a testament to Whitechapel’s ability that they take the strengths from one and use it to offset the weaknesses of the other. The result is music that blurs the line between both, taking the best aspects and combining them with the aforementioned NWOAHM parts to create memorable songs that pound and smash their way through the playing time.

Although Whitechapel are mainly about the chunky grooves and heavy riffs, the included melodies and leads should not be discounted or dismissed. These frequently provide a more emotive hook for the listener and add a lot to the songs in comparison to the more obvious rhythm guitars. This side of the band also serves to remind that when they’re not unleashing huge breakdowns and the like, Whitechapel can really play.

The singer’s clipped growls are still deep and roaring, and he shows a nice rhythmic awareness a lot of the time that fits in well with what the music is doing. Occasionally he slips into the even deeper deathgrowls of old, and it’s a joy to hear.

For me, this album is definitely a grower. For all of the immediacy of a band like this, it takes time for the rhythms and melodies to properly infiltrate your brain. When they do you’ll find that the band have produced a surprisingly memorable and enjoyable album.

Highly recommended.


Systemhouse33 – Regression (Review)

Systemhouse33Systemhouse33 are a Metal band from India. This is their latest album.

Their previous release Depths of Despair was an enjoyable, albeit brief, romp through all things heavy and modern, and Regression continues the theme but ups the stakes.

At a slightly longer 30 minutes in length, the band have further refined their blend of modern Metal and Metalcore/Hardcore/Death Metal influences into a potent blend of muscular aggression.

The singer has a harsh snarl that fits well with the music and doesn’t allow for any compromise. He plainly means business and I like what he’s selling.

The songs chug, rumble and bludgeon their way through the playing time and there’s a decent amount of catchy riffs and heavy melodies involved.

Although I liked Depths of Despair this is an all-round more cohesive, focused and superior release; perfect for when you want some heavy, crushing, upbeat, groove-based music. Without too much extremity, but also without going the other way into commercial, sanitised waters, Systemhouse33 have hit the right spot and Regression is actually a positive move forward.

For fans of Lamb of God, Meshuggah, Whitechapel, Skinlab, Machine Head, Testament, Merauder, etc.


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.


Manipulation – Ecstasy (Review)

ManipulationManipulation are a Polish Death Metal band and this is their third album.

Manipulation play muscular Modern Death Metal with plenty of attack and some interesting twists to the standard formula.

Blast beats and chugging mid-paced carnage are the order of the day, but the band also throw in some unexpected atmospheric moments throughout, via the inclusion of melodic guitars, subtle keyboards, choral-like cleans, etc.

Add to this experimentalism some ultra-modern riffs and Deathcore influences and you have 44 minutes of engaging Extreme Metal, the likes of which Poland always seems to do so well.

The songs are well-written and, as mentioned previously, Manipulation aren’t afraid to experiment or try new things, which is great to hear. This edge of Progressive Metal is buried within their core sound, but really does add to their delivery. When these elements mix with blasting extremity or heavy grooves it all comes together very nicely indeed.

The vocalist has a passionate and dynamic growl that fits the music well, giving them the Death Metal anchoring they need as well as enough variety to move beyond this and into more emphatic territories.

Energetic brutality with a playful spin on the genre; this is really, really impressive.

Highly recommended.

For fans of Thy Art Is Murder, Aborted, All Shall Perish, Cryptopsy, Gorod, Molotov Solution, Whitechapel, etc.


Mercy Brown – Mercy Brown (Review)

Mercy BrownThis is the début album from US band Mercy Brown. They play Metal.

This is a band that takes Heavy Metal and Death Metal, stitches them together and then sits back with satisfaction as its creation takes on a life of its own.

The music is on the harsher, heavier end of the spectrum and this is frequently augmented by more melodic moments and other Metal accoutrements.

The singer has a diverse voice, varying between deep growls, high screams and cleans. She has a powerful and charismatic voice no matter the style she sings in, and her different vocals work well with the more Death Metal-oriented music.

The band have a heavy sound that makes the most of their crushing delivery. This is Metal through and through. The sometimes-angelic female vocals shouldn’t make you think of bands like Lacuna Coil and Nightwish; this is more akin to Whitechapel mixed with Arch Enemy, only with clean vocals added in.

There’s a decent amount of stuff going on here. Apart from the straight-ahead Death Metal and Heavy Metal there’s plenty of other things happening to add depth and atmosphere. The band take the time to slow down and relax a bit on occasion, increasing the effectiveness of the heavier parts as well as these more reflective sections working well in their own right too.

I like this a lot as it’s a little different from the norm and well-delivered. Check them out.