Swallow the Sun – Emerald Forest and the Sun
“Emerald Forest and the Sun” is my first foray into Swallow the Sun and I feel like it’s something I need to dive backwards into and listen to more of their music. The melodic parts like the entire song “Cathedral Walls” really lay out a tremendous mellow atmosphere. Not to mention I love the performance of now former Nightwish vocalist Annette Olzon. Then you have the heavier parts in songs like “Labryinth of London(Horro Pt. IV)”. The more I listen to the album the more I am reminded of bands I love like Opeth. Not a bad album perhaps it attempts to mix to many different styles of metal together in too many different ways. I have listened to the album many times in many different situations and it has not bored me yet.
Mongrels Cross –The Sins of Aquarius
Holy shit from the very beginning of the title track it is very clear that the band are here and they not going to be playing around. The album begins with a fantastic riff from guitarist and vocalist Grant Mongrel as the entire band kicks in with a full on assault. The album from start to finish is as consistent as any album yet this year. If you were looking for death-thrash then this is the album for you. Songs like “Hunters of the Born Again” and “Rabid Inception” let you know that from start to finish you aren’t escaping the pounding this album wants to give you. The songs tend to tread a little bit longer than I like but there is enough parody in them to keep the interest peaked.
Silencer – The Great Bear
As a fan of science and space I have to admit then when I learned that this album was based on the US/USSR Space Race my interest was immediately peaked. A band I have never heard of releasing a concert album surely could have scared me away but I am glad that it didn’t. I am reminded a lot of old school 80’s bands as I listen to it. Soaring riffs and choruses with gang vocals that add dimensions to the songs and just aren’t there for no reason. Songs like “The Roar” and “I Am Thunder” sound like something that MANOWAR could have written and I absolutely love it. Sometimes you have to sit back and just appreciate fun, catchy music. Although perhaps it could use a little more dimension.
Striker – Armed To the Teeth
Speaking of good ‘ole fashioned heavy metal that you should sit back and really enjoy, check out Striker! One of those great throwback bands that have soaring vocals and blistering guitar solos that I love oh so much! From start to finish this album is fast paced, soaring, and full of intricate hooks and blistering solos. Sit back and enjoy a classic metal revival that doesn’t disappoint. Channeling the spirits of Maiden, Priest, Raven, Grim Reaper, and so many other classic metal bands, Striker has created one hell of an album that I have fun listening to every single time.
Ex Deo – Catigvla
Holy shit what could be better than vest wearing(or bear chested) heavy metal? Fucking chest plate metal based on an incest loving, murdering, dictator from Ancient Rome! With Kataklysm frontman Maurizio Iacono leading his side project it is hard not to love. Combining elements of Viking metal, folk metal, and symphonic metal along with quotes and ‘play’ elements this album really tells a fantastic story. From start to finish you could sit down and imagine what is going on in this story around you. Songs like the opening title track on down to the last track “Once Were Romans” the album is melodic and brutal yet it has a strange appeal. It makes you want to go too war, you WANT to be in Ancient Rome by the time you are done with this album. A FANTASTIC death metal/folk metal/whatever metal you want to label this album it is fantastic.
Grave Digger – Clash of the Gods
When Grave Digger our firing on all cylinders they are one of the best power metal bands to ever grace the genre. With “Clash of the Gods” the band is doing just that with one of their best albums in years. The opening track “God of Terror” leaves nothing to be desired and the band continues with that momentum on down to the headbanging album closer “Home at Last”. Vocalist Chris Boltendahl has not lost any of his voice over the years. Still sounding just as dirty and powerful as it ever has. There is not a single song on this album that will disappoint fans old and new.