WARLORD We Die As One (Xtreem Music)
This is the third album from the UK outfit and they birthed an album of blackened death metal with an inexorable grind even as it picks up speed. There is a stark simplicity to the music with skin-tingling riffs layered over dark, meaty rhythms. In my play list now because it’s damn good!
EDGE OF HAZE Illumine (independent)
You can hear the industrial influence as the keyboards weave through the gloom of the clean vocals. The death growls give it a more ominous cast. The down tuned guitar adds a guttural menace echoed by the bass and drums. Songs of note are “Drawn,” “The Pyre,” “Crushed,” and “Unlearn.” (genre: industrial metal)
STEAK Slab City (Napalm Records)
A healthy, rare serving of STEAK will never steer you wrong. With tender grooves and lots of smooth, buttery riffs seasoned with a bit of cayenne to give it buzz, this is a meal that will stick to your ribs. Tracks of note are “Coma,” “Slab City,” “Roadhead,” and “Old Timer D.W.” with a nifty slide riff. Here’s a sample to get your mouth watering. (genre: stoner metal)
DIGITALIFE Nemesis (Imminence Records)
They blended two of my favorite genres, Electronica and Metal, to create something that stomps your eardrums with thud, scours them with screams, and then soothes them with synthesizer concocted dreams. Songs of note are “Awakening,” “False Utopia,” and “Electric Anthem.”
PRAYED AND BETRAYED The Abundance of a Sickened Mind (independent)
I’m a huge fan of melodic death metal, so when an independent band comes along and plays it right, I get all excited. PRAYED AND BETRAYED issued their second EP at the beginning of July with three carefully chosen tracks, one of which you may sample for yourselves below.
HALCYON WAY Conquer (Nightmare Records)
This is a catchy, heavy metal album that throws me back to what Motley Crüe’s Shout at the Devil might have been with a blue-collar work ethic, a coat of extreme metal, and a more progressive world view. The album is intelligent, heavy, and melodic. Fans of Dream Theater, Testament, King’s X and Stryper will enjoy this album from stem to stern. Tracks of note are “Conquer,” “Web of Lies,” and “Militant.” This album is set to drop on August 19th via Nightmare Records (Sony). Check out the video for their first single, “Web of Lies.”
DRONE METAL FEATURE
“Drone metal requires patience, young Padawan.” Well, that’s not exactly what my obscure metal sub-genre guru said to me, but it’s close. Drone is an experience rather than an event. There are times when you wonder exactly where you are in any given song. You have to listen with an expanded awareness to catch the movement from one theme to another. There were three releases that caught my attention and they seem to cover the spectrum of this subgenre.
MEGATON LEVIATHAN Past 21 Beyond the Arctic Cell (Seventh Rule Recordings)
I was most impressed by MEGATON LEVIATHAN’s four-track pending release. There is a gorgeous texture to each of the tracks with the perfect blend of doom and a nice thick layering of drone without suffocating the mix. I was transported and the doom vocals were lightly and appropriately applied to contribute to the trance-inducing arrangements. It weighs in at about 40 minutes for 4 tracks but it is worth every minute. You’re just going to have to trust me on this one. The album drops on September 9th via Seventh Rule Recordings.
BLACKWOLFGOAT Drone Maintenance (Small Stone Recordings)
Most drone metal tracks are obscenely lengthy because they are often instrumental and it takes a damn long time to explore a theme without words. BLACKWOLFGOAT bucks this device with ten songs ranging from less than a minute to 7:18 minutes. The work is experimental, quirky, and evocative of the interior of a star ship. The longest song lays down the droning guitar for which the genre is named. Tracks of note are “Notausgang,” “Axxtrokk,” and “White Hole.” The album will drop on August 26th via Small Stone Recordings.
OMMADON V (Domestic Genocide)
OMMADON’s newest release has two songs, each of which could be a full length album standing alone. After listening to “V1” for approximately half of the 47:15 run time, I realized that this is the metal variation on trance music only tortured, darker, and infinitely heavier. “V2” is only 39:28 in length and the white noise effect is lighter yet somehow more ominous. For an in-depth review of OMMADON’s V from a person who has acquired the taste for drone and understands the technical complexities of this arcane subgenre, visit BRIAN KRASMAN at Meat, Mead, Metal. I will reference Brian often for he is in fact the black/ drone/ [put obscure subgenre here] metal guru I have on speed dial (actually Facebook Messenger).
Often I find a theme among the submissions. For this week, three excellent underground bands have new releases forthcoming that pay homage to the forefathers of heavy metal. These are no mere regurgitations though. Each band has its own style and the influences of a modern age are evident without distracting from the nostalgia.
BLACK TRIP Goin’ Under (Prosthetic Records)
BLACK TRIP has created an album that has that Woodstock feel with hints of Gothenburg. I love the 70’s groove with the melodic guitars that will break into a heavy metal wail. Tracks of note are “Radar,” “Putting Out the Fire,” and “Tvar Dabla.” The album is set to drop on August 19th via Prosthetic Records.
SATURN Ascending (Live in Space) (Rise Above Records)
You can hear old school Judas Priest in the guitar riffs, Deep Purple in the rhythm section, and a hint of Ozzie’s tongue-in-cheek in the vocals. Tracks of note are “So, You Have Chosen Death,” “Rokktori,” and “Tower of Terror.” Check it out HERE.
AWESOME MR POWERWOLF Wake Up (independent)
AWESOME MR POWERWOLF mixes modern energy with old school 70’s guitar licks. Leaning towards the hard rock end of the spectrum, there are elements of heavy metal that remind one of where it all started. Tracks of Note are “Busy Wasting Time” and “Love.”