Label: Cruz Del Sur Music
Style: Power/Epic/Heavy Metal
Country of Origin: Greece
The opening track is a stunning instrumental, fair enough. But it’s the second track, with its Maiden-esque crisp riffing that made me utter a single word and remove my digit from the skip/stop button. The Swords are Drawn is a track that makes me wish I could play the guitar, seriously I should have stuck with it could have been another attribute that I would rate myself, at best, mediocre.
Before I proceed I should state my main problem with the power metal genre. It’s the vocals and the annoying falsetto range in which many vocalists like to meander. Again, you can imagine my surprise when Gerrit Mutz (terrific foreign moniker that!) didn’t sound like every other vocalist that I’ve encountered. At times I’m pleased to report his specific range reminds me of the Candlemass front man, Messiah Marcolin. The Curse of Medea makes this point excellently as like many other tracks it too sports a crooning ‘doom’ edge. Of course the voice and Battleroar’s musical style also has an arena rock style which I can’t complain about either as I’m a huge Iron Maiden fan (especially the early years).
*Note of interest Gerrit Mutz is also the vocalist in Sacred Steel.
The music itself boasts terrific production, every instrument is crisp and clear. The riffs are soaring, the solos nothing but utterly impressive. The tracks themselves are epic, not overly drawn out but excellently crafted and seamlessly fluid. I honestly can’t pick this apart without lying through my teeth, or in this case typing between my stubby fingers! In essence this is an album in a style I thought I would never admit to liking, there’s not a grunt, blast beat or mention of evisceration anywhere, damn it!
Standout tracks in an amazing album. The Curse of Medea, The Swords are Drawn, Blood of Legends and Exile Eternal.
Label: Prosthetic Records
Style: Blackened Death/Thrash/Heavy Metal
Country of Origin: USA
With a recent lineup change seeing the departure of longtime ‘frontman’/vocalist Chance Garnette many might have thought the future of Skeletonwitch in jeopardy. There were those however, that believed different, and for good reason. The Skeletonwitch ‘brand’ is too strong to perish and their legacy is far from complete. This release, from start to finish, proves that point of view.
The opening track, The Apothic Gloom, is a great introduction. Far from being the best of the four on display it doesn’t disappoint but rather serves as more an impressively structured thrash anthem showcasing Adam’s voice, his style and range proving there’s nothing to fear as he fits right in to fil the void left by Chance Garnette.
Style: Technical Extreme Metal
Country of Origin: Canada
Scabs and Sheep (I can only imagine a track on ‘Union’ based endeavors) jumps out of the gate swiftly with hardly any introduction to soften the blow the style might have on virgin ears. Somewhere between Gojira’s uniqueness and Meshuggah’s frenetic phrasing, chopping riffage lounges The Apex.
Hardly thrash, rarely boasting bursts of speed but instead chaotic short rhythms laced around each other with spastic precision (is this what some refer to as “Djent”? I know not) and a tight, pummeling, drum assault overlaid by a hardcore-esque vocal approach.
Labels: WOOAAARGH, Hectacombe, EveryDayHate
Country of Origin: Austria
LEBENSRÄUME boasts eighteen tracks. Count them - eighteen! Funny then, but not altogether unheard of, that the album runs under forty minutes in length. Of course with this in mind only a few genres come to mind. This Ladies and Gentlemen is what’s commonly referred to as “grindcore”. It’s actually that and a damn sight more. Six-Score expertly blend a handful of styles, each more brutal than the last, in a vicious concoction that is surprisingly a delightful treat for the ears.
Eons from what many might deem typical of the genre this album delivers groove, punishing melodies, wicked tempo transformations and typically brutal vocals without once losing sight of its audience by drowning itself in nonsensical noise terrain. Keeping things interesting Six-Score elected to intersect the album with numerous tracks in their native tongue, intriguing is the notion that I prefer these tracks even though I can’t understand a single word!