OPETH “HERITAGE” LP
The general consensus when a great band dares to move away from their original Death Metal sound is usually not positive. However Opeth have done it before masterfully with Damnation in 2003. They are back at it with one of the year’s most anticipated albums, Heritage.
Cutting to the chase: Compared to their previous releases, Heritage lacks character. Despite the song structures being very progressive rock and the vocals being crazy good, the absence of catchy guitar riffs or memorable growls is a downer. One can positively recognize Opeth as the artist, especially since a lot of the songs borrow tidbits straight from the Ghost Reveries period. Certainly they manage to perpetuate a dark atmosphere throughout the album, but the mellowness of the whole thing is borderline irritating to someone expecting their trademark sound. I know we have been forewarned by Mikael Åkerfeldt himself about this being a throwback kind of release. Still, I believe this would be either catchier or more aggressive. Nevertheless the album does feature good moments, mostly from the jazz-infused portions of the songs.
Most of the vocal work by Mikael is spot on and even more breathtaking than ever before. And yes, we are talking about clean vocals only, which is unfortunate. Technically there is nothing to complain about, musicianship is at an all-time high. But when your band has members or former members of Bloodbath and Arch Enemy, listeners are bound to expect a little ferociousness whether in the form of harsh vocals or hell-spawn guitar riffs.
This is undeniably the one album that will have fans divided. On its own it is a great 70s-inspired throwback progressive rock album. Assessed as part of Opeth discography it fails to win me over completely. It is grand if you are into progressive rock and the band need to be applauded for the effort and guts to do something like this at this stage of their career. But ultimately the dearth of grabbing melodies endures as the downfall of Heritage.
LORDS “FUCK ALL Y’ALL MOTHERFUCKERS” LP
The first press is gone, a small repress is out, there are 250 copies on light blue wax.
FAYMF is a the long awaited following to Swords that was released in 2005 on Jade Tree Records. This new album features 16 intenses songs in 23 minutes with no breaks, no time to rest. A noisy and crazy sonic cocktail of thrash, hardcore punk and metal that will blow your ears down ! This 250 copies limited pressing on colored vinyl is packed in a beautiful sleeve with impressive design by Stan Doll.
OBITUARY “FROZEN IN TIME” LP
In early 2004, Obituary finally decided to start working on their sixth studio record. Often, when bands haven’t been together for years, writing sessions are initially strained or unproductive and it takes a while for the musicians to get back on their creative feet. Obituary had no such problem. One listen to the band’s new album, ‘Frozen In Time,’ and it’s clear that Obituary have returned with the same force and fortitude they had in the early ’90s. From start to finish, ‘Frozen In Time’ was created without any major trauma or turbulence. In fact, one of the biggest challenges for Obituary happened after they finished in the studio and were trying to come up with a name for the record. They considered titling it after one of the album tracks, but decided that no single cut could adequately represent the album. They thought about naming it something that would make reference to their reunification after seven long years. Finally, they decided they were best off with ‘Frozen In Time.’
CULT OF LUNA / THE OLD WIND “RAANGEST” LP
CLUTCH “ELEPHANT RIDERS” LP
Moving to a major label hardly dilutes Clutch’s music. The Elephant Riders finds the band continuing the stylistic breakthroughs of Clutch, sharpening their guitar attack while adding subliminal elements of funk to their rhythms. Furthermore, their songwriting has strengthened; no longer are they simply riff-oriented rockers who get off on the sheer force of sound, turning in a set of consistently strong songs that suggest a song cycle. It’s an impressive effort that hopefully should bring them an audience the size of Deftones, if not Korn.
FIREBIRD “HOT WINGS” LP
The fourth album by Bill Steer’s Firebird project which he started while still a full time member of Carcass. Firebird presents a retro hard rock style and they derive most of their influences from the American hard rock bands of the 70’s.
FIREBIRD “DOUBLE DIAMOND” LP
CARNIFEX “DIE WITHOUT HOPE” LP
»Die Without Hope« marks the long awaited return of the band, with their fifth full-length album and Nuclear Blast debut. 10 tracks and over 35 minutes of crushing Metal that no fan of Heavy music can deny. Recorded at Audiohammer Studios in Sanford, FL and produced by the esteemed Mark Lewis (ARSIS, THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER, WHITECHAPEL, DEVILDRIVER, DEICIDE, SIX FEET UNDER), San Diego’s finest Metal export deliver an album that stands as a definitive cornerstone for modern Death Metal. Since their formation, CARNIFEX has proven time and time again that their die-hard fan base combined with their DIY work ethic is unmatched; »Die Without Hope« is no exception.
CANCER BATS “BEARS, MAYORS, SCRAPS & BONES” LP
Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones is the third studio album by Canadian hardcore punk band Cancer Bats. In Canada, it was released on April 13, 2010 through Distort Entertainment. The name of the album derives from each of the members’ personal nickname (Mike Peters – Bear; Scott Middleton – Mayor; Liam Cormier – Scraps; Jaye R. Schwarzer – Bones). The first single from the album was “Dead Wrong”. A music video was previously made and released for “Sabotage” when it was released on the band’s EP Sabotage. Pre-orders of the album included a limited bonus DVD consisting of 2 hours of live footage and the making of the album
FIGHT AMP “CONSTANTLY OFF” LP
Philadelphia, PA’s noise rock power trio FIGHT AMPUTATION (also known as FIGHT AMP) return with their heaviest and most mature material to date. Their first new recordings in over three years, the new album Constantly Off is a thunderously heavy blend of grunge, sludgepunk and noise rock. Recorded by Steve Poponi (Into It. Over It., Ladder Devils), FIGHT AMP have perfected their signature sound on Constantly Off, kicking up the riffs and locking in the rhythms with the addition of more focused, melodic vocals. Fans of early Melvins, Nirvana and Eyehategod take note.
LO-PAN “COLOSSUS” LP
Lo-Pan’s fourth album, Colossus, is named for the Colossus of Rhodes – a 96-foot statue constructed in 280 BC to mark a failed siege and the indomitable nature of the city of Rhodes itself. No surprise it’s the Columbus, Ohio, four-piece’s most personal album yet and a testament to their growth and survival, as a band and as human beings.
Three years on from their third record, Salvador, Lo-Pan have logged countless miles, crossing the country multiple times over on headlining tours and supporting the likes of Torche, High on Fire, KENmode, Whores, Fu Manchu and Weedeater. They’ve become one of the most ferocious live acts in American heavy rock, and Colossus stands tall to reap the rewards of their experience.
For the first time in nearly a decade together, Lo-Pan knew exactly what they wanted when they hit the studio. They’d road-tested songs like “Eastern Seas” and “Colossus” for over a year, and partnering with producer/engineer Andrew Schneider at his Translator Audio studio in Brooklyn just days after headlining Small Stone showcases in that city and Boston this March, they belted out songs that show just how much they’ve moved beyond their influences and arrived at their own sound – a style built on aggression without caricature, fuzz without cliché, melody without redundancy and their meanest groove to date.
Completed with a cover courtesy of Jason Alexander Byers (ex-Disengage, Black Black Black), Colossus will be supported by numerous tours including a full US stint this fall alongside fellow road dogs Black Cobra and much more to come. Like its namesake, Colossus was built in defiance of gods and men, and while Lo-Pan’s loudest statement has always been made on stage, the material they craft and the power with which they execute it on this album is bound to stand for years to come.
CANDIRIA “KISS THE LIE” LP
Candiria’s Seventh full length album produced by John LaMacchia and Carley Coma with Additional Guitar contributions from Eddie Ortiz of Cattle Press / The Sheltering Sky. This vinyl 2 X LP edition features artwork from Seldon Hunt and was pressed on Classic Black vinyl and Classic Black and Pure White A Side B Side vinyl as well.
GREENLEAF “TRAILS AND PASSES” LP
Almost by definition, musical side projects aren’t meant to last very long, but rather serve as brief, often one-time departures for musicians otherwise engaged with far more pressing or successful bands — and that’s why Greenleaf has proved itself to be anything but your typical “side project.”
Yes, this Scandinavian music collective has gone through quite the revolving cast since their arrival on the scene, much like an auditory Y2K virus in that fateful millennium flip; but the one constant bond that has repeatedly drawn them together, every few years, like an irresistible gravitational force, is a shared musical vision, straddling the realms of stoner and alternative rock.
Such was the case when Greenleaf first assembled behind Lowrider vocalist Peter Bergstrand for that eponymous, year 2000 debut EP; welcomed Dozer frontman Fredrik Nordin for is 2001 follow-up, Revolution Rock; added Demon Cleaner guitarist Daniel Jansson for 2003’s Secret Alphabets; integrated Truckfighters singer Oskar Cedermalm in time for 2007’s Agents of Ahriman; and powered ahead behind reliable mainstay, guitarist Tommi Holappa, for 2012’s Nest of Vipers.
Now, Greenleaf is on the move again, bidding Cedermalm “adieu” and saying a hearty “hola” to a tandem of new recruits in frontman Arvid Jonsson and drummer Sebastian Olsson, who joined Holappa and long-serving bassist Bengt Bäcke in time to record (incidentally, with no outside help, guest musicians, or other additives) what would become Greenleaf’s next and fifth long-player, Trails and Passes, which is now ready for global release in January 2014, via Small Stone Recordings.
And, as has always been the case with this ever-evolving sonic beast, the music magically draws out the best talents of whoever happens to be involved, resulting in a modern rock amalgam as impossible to simplify as it is futile to want to; after all simultaneously familiar and surprising new sounds seem to be the ultimate thread connecting Greenleaf’s long career.
A career that now sees the group categorically divesting itself of any lingering “side project” associations (ask Holappa and he’ll bluntly tell you it is Dozer that’s become his “side project” these days) and graduating to well-deserved headline status — the better to take the Greenleaf name to the next level on the abundant strengths of Trails and Passes.
Recommended if you like: Dozer, Brain Police, Sasquatch, Graveyard, Monster Magnet, Clutch, The Brought Low, Truckfighters, Lowrider, The Socks, Skanska Mord, Dwellers, Roadsaw, 7Zuma7, Kiss, Deep Purple, Grand Funk, and any thing else that rocked in 1974.
WVRM “HEARTACHE” LP
WVRM has crawled out of Greenville South Carolina and is PISSED. The band meshes perfectly together a precise grindcore sound with a darkened hardcore edge to it. Six lightning quick blasts on the first side and two angry evil longer tracks on the reverse. Sardonic, brooding, and generally misanthropic, Heartache will make your heart actually hurt a bit after listening to it for better or for worse. I highly suggest this record for when your hatred for humanity has reached a high threshold and you need something to release that feeling. Amazing full color artwork by Matt Stikker.
BUIO MONDO “ITALIA VIOLENTA” LPSu Buio Mondo:
“Buio Mondo muove i suoi passi tra il nefasto immaginario di Carpenter e l’oscura fantasia dei Goblin. Come il cinema del grande Dario Argento, ci immerge in un universo dove i sogni diventano una terribile realtà, un avvertimento da parte di quei demoni che si annidano tra le pieghe dell’esistenza.” – Cthulhu (Cosmic Tentacles Webzine)About Buio Mondo:
“Buio Mondo moves between the ominous world of John Carpenter and the dark fantasy of Goblin. Just like the cinema of the great Dario Argento, it immerses us in a universe where dreams become a terrible reality, a warning from those demons who dwell behind the scenes of existence.” – Cthulhu (Cosmic Tentacles Webzine)
creditsreleased September 12, 2014
PROYECTO ZEUS “DEFENSORES” LP
EBOLA+ BAZOOKA “SPLIT” LP