Friday, February 24, 2012

Bleeding Through Unleash The Great Fire

The O.C.’s contribution to metal core has returned in a big way with a new album that is loaded and ready to assault your senses. Bleeding Through just released The Great Fire, the anticipated follow-up to their 2010 self titled album. That 2010 release saw the band step in the right direction to gain back some fans who were disappointed with their 2006 release The Truth. Fans have been anxiously awaiting this release and hoping that the boys will keep moving in the right direction. Well, let’s take the scalpel and dissect this new album.

The opener, “The March”, is a short instrumental clocking in at under two minutes, but it’s intense and sets the tone for the rest of the album. Up next is “Faith in Fire” which starts out with a guttural scream from lead singer Brandon Schieppati that unleashes the band’s assault. This is definitely one of the best tracks on the album as the band sounds tight and focused.

“Final Hour” starts off with a fury, but it seems to take two steps forward and three steps back when it gets to the chorus. You see, that’s when the vocals go clean and the intensity level drops quite a few notches. Brandan gets it back on track with his growl going into verse two and the crunching guitars a follow close behind. The clean vocals just don’t seem to do anything for me.

That leads us into “Starving Vultures” and another negative aspect. The song rocks on just about every level. The two guitar assault of Brian Leppke and Dave Nassie are dead on and Brandon’s vocals are intense. The problem in this song lies in the keyboards. Similar in vain to the clean vocals, the keyboards in this track really take away from it. If the song is the major leagues, then the keyboards are definitely in the minor leagues. Don’t get me wrong, I like how the band incorporates the keyboards into their songs and they usually benefit from them, but this time it just doesn’t work.

The band then quickly rebounds with “Walking Dead”. The song begins with a lone piano intro, but you know that this is not going to be a ballad. The song then changes speeds and the crashing guitars kick in as does the insane drumming of Derek Youngsman. Listen to the closing minute of the song closely. Is it just me or is the band paying homage to their favorite zombie show? This is definitely one of the stronger cuts and one of my favorite tracks.

“Deaf Ear” has an awesome riff that grabs you by the throat and commands your attention like a blind man juggling chain saws. That riff continues on for two minutes and fifty five seconds and doesn’t let up. “Entrenched” is another song with a great guitar intro. It’s dark and haunting and then the band joins in and it starts to chug right along. Suddenly, it changes speeds yet again into an all out thrash fest going a million miles an hour. This is a crazy song that will have you sweating off pounds if listened to in its entirety.

Overall, I think this is another step in the right direction for the band. There are a few low points on the album, but the highs by far outweigh the lows. One listen will prove to listeners that Revolver was right back in 2004 when they named the band “One of 8 bands ushering in the future of metal.”

Blessed By A Broken Heart Kick It 80s Style

The 80s were a decade of excess. It was a decade when everything was bigger, flashier and louder. The bigger the hair, the better. The more outrageous you were, the better. Bands like Poison, Warrant and Bon Jovi were ruling the airwaves and MTV. There were no rules to go by. The guys looked and dressed like girls and the girls at time were manlier than the men. The only rule was to have a good time. That spirit is sorely missing in music today.

The last few years has seen a resurgence of the 80s sounding metal and attitude. A whole generation missed out on those fun times, but bands such as Steel Panther and Blessed by a Broken Heart, or BBABH for short, are trying hard to fill that void. BBABH actually started out as a metal core band in 2003 before shifting gears and sounds in 2005 after adding Shred Sean on the axe. The band then seemed to morph into more of a pop metal style group and it seems to have paid off for them.

They just released a new album entitled “Feel the Power” on their new label Tooth and Nail Records. Lead singer Tony Gambino and his boys do bring back visions of spandex, guy liner and big hair. The solos are flashy, the vocals and harmonies are over the top and the lyrics are kept simple.

Lead guitarist Shred Sean brings such a lethal weapon to the band with his ax skills, yet it’s a mixed bag at times. On some tracks, his solos are at a blistering pace and seem more about how many notes he can play in the allotted amount of time instead of enhancing the song by slowing it down a bit. Sometimes, less is more. Don’t get me wrong, his playing is immaculate and skills are insane and he really excels on many of the tracks.

“Shut Up and Rock” is an excellent example of how awesome this band can be when all the guys are firing on all cylinders. The hooks are sharp, the vocals soar and the chorus is straight up arena rock. The track also has a special guest vocal performance by Dallas Taylor of Maylene and the Sons of Disaster. What would the 80s be without their monster power ballads? Well, BBABH do not disappoint in that field either. “I’ve Got You” starts off with a piano intro before the drums and guitars kick in a third if the way into the song. It’ll have you raising your lighters into the sky in no time.

The band also has a bit of a harder and darker edge at times. Tracks such as “Deathwish” and “Innocent Blood” show that alter 80s personality coming out. These songs seem to show traces of the bands roots in metal core trying to sneak out to play. A bit harder, a bit more aggressive, but still with that 80s flavor ringing through.

As far as the musicianship goes, this band is tight and they sound amazing. If the band is going to stick to the revival of the hair band era sound, then the harness of Shred Sean’s shredding skills needs to be tightened just a bit. The guy is an insane guitar player, but at times his playing overshadows the entire song and swallows it up. That may be the only negative factor about this band and it sounds funny to even say that. How do you tell a guy that he’s too good for the sound you’re going after? It’s almost like being told you are over qualified for a job!

Feel the Power is a really good album from a really good band. I think fans of the old 80s hair band scene will really take to this album. Newer rock fans will also find mutual satisfaction in the songs too. It definitely bridges the gap between the generations. Break out your spandex and aqua net and feel the power of Blessed By A Broken Heart.

Tetrafusion Expands The World Of Progressive Metal

It seems as if metal has more sub-genres than any other type of music and it just keeps broadening its horizon. It has more variations in its style than the color blue in a paint store. The Louisiana based band Tetrafusion has been around since 2006 and falls into one of the more interesting genres of progressive metal. Their latest EP Horizons is a great example of this family of metal and the guys sound right at home.

Progressive rock has long been associated with bands such as Rush and Yes. Well, progressive metal takes that same approach as this bands, but amps it up on steroids. The arrangements are complex and layered and technical at times while remaining very melodic. The more layers you peel back, the deeper the song structures turn out to be. It’s not over the top showy with trying to see how many notes you can crank out on your solo, but still packs a lot of style to compliment the substantial substance of each song.

The band’s instrumental debut in 2009 was Absolute Zero and received critical acclaim in Germany’s Rock Hard, Decibel and Progressive magazines. Their 2010 sophomore follow-up was Altered States and incorporated vocals. That album peaked at #13 on Amazon’s Hard Rock and Metal Bestsellers Chart. Their new album was produced by fan favorite producer Jamie King who has worked with Between the Buried and Me as well as The Human Abstract.

The opening track on the eight song EP is a short instrumental called “Aerosolus” and serves as a intro as if the opening credits were rolling on this short film that the listener is about to hear. The real adventure begins with track two called “Impetus” as the crashing guitar riff rings out to begin the track. This is a great track because it covers so much territory in its six minutes of existence. It has more layers to it than a toddler going out to play in the snow. Guitarist Brooks Tarkington puts on a clinic in diversity on this track.

“Cloudless” is definitely a standout track on this EP. Lead singer Gary Tubbs’ delivery combines spoken verse with soaring vocals while bassist Mark Mitchell lays down a wicked, thumping bass line throughout the entire song. I could also hear hints of Protest the Hero in the song at times, minus the insanity that they bring to their music. “No One Sleeps” starts mellow with an excellent bass line from Mark that really sets a tone for the song, even though it jumps speeds close to a minute into it. The group enters a massive jam session around the three minute mark that’s amazing! Yet another example of a song taking you on a journey with plenty of twists and turns along the way.

The EP ends with “Look Away Pt.1” and “Look Away Pt.2” and they are definitely a tale of two totally different songs. “Pt. 1” starts out with a calm, piano intro and slowly a rich string section can be heard in the background. It’s a beautifully composed song that shows a calmer, more somber side to the band that is warm and refreshing. “Pt. 2” is just the complete opposite, as far as the tempo goes. This is definitely a rock track and may be the most commercial sounding track on the EP.

Overall, I think this is a very solid release from this up and coming band. They show versatility and depth and they definitely are at home in the progressive metal genre. This EP would be great accompanying music on a road trip day where you just roll down the windows and drive with no particular destination in mind. The more I listen to it, the more I really love this EP. If you are a fan of progressive metal, then you must give this a listen. I think fans of all different genres of rock/metal should give it a listen and they might just be pleasantly surprised. It’s available from the band’s website as a free download, just click . So, what do you have to lose?

Sebastian Bach Still Commands The Stage

Webster dictionary defines swagger as “to walk with an air of overbearing self-confidence”. In the world of rock and roll, it is commonly referred to as “swaggah”. There have been some front men throughout the history of music who truly are the epitome of that word. Every generation has their own who exemplify the word. Elvis had it. David Lee Roth had it. Sebastian Bach had it. Just a side note, Roth and Bach still have it.

Sebastian Bach and his tour bus rolled into Winston Salem, NC to Ziggy’s on February 1. It was a warm afternoon, but it was about to get much, much hotter inside the club. Bach is touring in support of his album Kicking and Screaming and judging by the fact that the show sold out, it would be safe to say that there were quite a few who wanted to see if he still had it.

After an opening act that almost put the audience to sleep, Bach and his band came rolling out to the stage and shot the crowd full of adrenaline. The show started with a blistering version of Skid Row’s “Slave to the Grind”. Bach looked like he was in great shape and his voice was seemed just as strong as back in the 80s. The band was tight and sounded amazing.

Bach is the master of ceremonies when he is on stage. The show is his vehicle and he is the driver. He asks for audience participation and he keeps the show interesting, even when no songs are being played. His banter in between songs was comical as he made fun of how skinny his guitar player is by asking if anyone could buy him a cheeseburger. He even held up a DVD of the Gilmour Girls and commented on it. For those not in the know, Bach made several guest appearances on that show.

What was surprising during this show was so great his new material sounding when meshing against the older, 80s stuff. “Kicking and Screaming”, “Tunnelvision” and “Dirty Power”, which are all off of his new album, were played and sounded pretty amazing. The crowd’s reaction to the newer material was very favorable too.

The show at Ziggy’s marked the first show for new bassist Jason Christopher who had played for fellow rockers Stone Sour before joining Bach. He seemed to just fall right into place with the band and sounded right at home. Bach’s guitarist Nick Sterling, who wasn’t even born when Skid Row started out, was simply brilliant as Bach’s right hand man. His solos were tight and he definitely has some mad skills.

Bach made sure to cover all the old Skid Row songs. All of the classics were there including “Monkey Business”, “Big Guns”, “Piece of Me”, “Monkey Business” and “18 and Life”. The crowd erupted when “I Remember You”, one of THE best power ballads from the 80s, was played. I’m not going to say Bach’s vocals were dead-on during this song, but they were pretty darn close. He closed the show with the song that he made an anthem for a generation back in the day, “Youth Gone Wild”. He even pulled a little rocker kid up on stage during the song. The kid looked to be maybe 5 years old and had on a leather jacket and was throwing horns during the entire song.

The show ended much like a wild night of sex. The audience was hot and sweaty and exhausted, but smiling at the same time. There were even quite a few who made a dash for the exit door to have a cigarette! Although, I think that had more to do with the no-smoking policy in the venue. After watching Bach command that stage, one thing was crystal clear; that “swaggah” that he possesses is sorely missing in rock today. Maybe when all is said and done and Bach decides to hang up the microphone, he can do infomercials that teach “swaggah” to wannabe rock stars.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Lacuna Coil Tread Familiar Water

Italian rockers Lacuna Coil have been fine tuning their musical machine over the last fifteen years. They are one band that you know will turn out a really good album. They are one of the most successful bands on their Century Media Records label. Singer Cristina “there’s no H in my first name” Scabbia has become known worldwide as one of the hottest chicks in metal. Still, after five albums and countless tours, the band has never elevated to that next level of success and notoriety.

Will their new album Dark Adrenaline take them to that level? Well, let’s take a listen and see what we find. This is the band’s first album since 2009’s Shallow Life. The band went with producer Don Gilmore who also produced their last album. It opens with “Trip the Darkness” and is also the first video released. Musically, it’s familiar territory for the band as it opens with singer Andrea Ferro’s on the first verse before Cristina comes in and then takes over the chorus. The chugging guitars and bass throughout the song are that trademark sound from the band that we have come to know and love.

“Against You” has more of a rock edge to it and the guitar work between Cristiano Migliore and Marco “Maus” Biazzi is close to perfection all the way down to the superb solos midway through the song. “Give Me Something More” is a really catchy song from the band and Cristina’s delivery of the chorus is very infectious. You will be singing along after the first listen.

“Upside Down” is one of the strongest tracks on the album and it definitely rocks. Andrea and Cristina trade off vocals on this track. I like the contrast in their styles, but at times you wish Andrea just had a bit more grit to his delivery. “End of Time” is a power ballad that would sound right at home at album rock radio. This is another great vocal delivery by Cristina on the lead and Andrea taking over on the chorus.

“The Army Inside” shows the band turning up the guitars again on this catchy song. There have been many comparisons to Depeche Mode, especially after covering one of their songs. At times, to me this sounds like what Depeche Mode would if they added heavier guitars; plus a very hot female singer. “Fire” is, no pun intended, a very hot song by the band. It has great vocals, a catchy riff throughout and a great hook in the chorus.

Although “End of Time” would make it radio much easier, I think “My Spirit” is the better of the two ballads. I think it’s a much richer song in composition and Andrea’s and Cristina’s vocals shine on this track. This song has some of the darker elements from the band’s earlier work that seems to have faded throughout the years.
The band is known for doing some great covers in the past and on this album they decided to take on a classic in R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion”. As much as I wanted to like their new version, it just doesn’t work for me. It’s as if they have stripped away the core emotion of the R.E.M. song and turned it into a generic rock song. It really lacks that emotional connection that Michael Stipe made when he originally recorded the song.

So, will this new album vault Italy’s finest to that next level of superstardom? There are moments on here in which they seem poised for that. They have all the right elements working in their favor. Cristina’s vocals are full of emotion and energy and can switch from sweet to savage in note. Andrea’s vocals are great, but as mentioned before, need a bit more grit on the more aggressive lyrics to convey the feeling that is warranted. The musicianship is top notch as always, with the guitar attack being taken to a whole new, heavier level on this album. Although, I do miss some of the heavier, darker goth sound that the band had in their earlier days.

There are a few songs on the album that, given the right push my marketing, could blow up at radio and expose the band to a new fan base. There have been so many bands throughout time that have been on the verge of super stardom, but never got that one lucky break needed to crossover to the next level. Will Dark Adrenaline launch them to the next level? Stay tuned to find out.

Nightwish's Rock Opera Imaginaerum

The Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish is back with their most daring release to date. Imaginaerum is an album written around the premise of a movie, a type of rock opera of sorts. It’s a brave move for a band to make take such a bold step and really says a great deal about their artistic integrity. They aren’t happy with playing it safe; they want to push the proverbial envelope of creativity.

It’s been a little over four years since we have heard from the band. Their last release, Dark Passion Play, marked the vocal debut of Anette Olzon who replaced longtime vocalist Tarja Turunen. The album was a big success for the band and they seemed poised for worldwide domination. This brave and bold step at such a pivotal point in their career will be interesting to see how it plays out with their fans. Let’s dissect this “concept” album and see if it’s worthy of elevating this very talented band to a higher level.

The album opens with an odd music box and piano lullaby sung in Finnish. It is almost as if you are sitting in an opera house as the first act is about to begin. I can imagine the lights going dark and the curtain opening. This leads us into the first single “Storytime”, which is familiar Nightwing ground. It has that symphonic and metal sound that blend together so well, plus an added background choir. This is probably the most commercial sounding track on the album and a great choice for lead-off single. Anette’s vocals on this track are hypnotic and smooth and you can’t help but to be drawn toward them.

Up next is “Ghost River”, with it’s almost Van Halenesque guitar intro. Listen to it and tell me that you don’t immediately drift off to “Ain’t Talking About Love”! I think song has a somewhat similar vibe as “Storytime” as it’s heavily orchestrated and very catchy, but the chorus is a bit heavier with the guitars amped up. The tempo slows down on “Slow, Love, Slow”. The simple arrangement of piano and a slow bass line that weaves throughout the song gives it a bit of an old school jazz feel to it. If you close our eyes, you can imagine Anette in a smoke filled bar against a baby grand singing this song.

“Scaretale” is a wild ride of a song as the intro sounds like something out of a horror movie, complete with little kids chanting “ring around the rosies”. The lyrics are also somewhat bizarre as it speaks of the bride eating the innocence of people. There’s also a killer riff worked in there to headband along to. “Arabesque” is an instrumental piece that just doesn’t work for me when I listen to it. Maybe it will make more sense when the movie is released, but for now, it just seems like filler.

The use of dual vocalists, especially one male and one female, doesn’t always work out on a single track or mesh well together. “Rest Calm” shows that when it does work, it takes the song to another level. Marco’s vocals are powerful and commanding, yet Anette’s vocals are too, but in a totally different delivery. She really shines on the chorus as she turns beast to beauty in her delivery.

“The Crow, The Owl and the Dove” is a beautiful song and a standout on the album. All the elements really come together and complement each other on this track. The lyrics are moving and powerful and the vocal delivery adds to the emotional element of the song. “Song of Myself” is a bit of a puzzler for me. It clocks in at just over 13 minutes and about 7 of those minutes are spoken word. It just seems a bit too long for me and maybe trimming it down would have helped it in its effectiveness. The album closes with the instrumental title track.

So, does this rock opera work without the aid of the forthcoming movie? I say yes, but not 100%, especially with the instrumentals. The album is diverse and has a little bit of everything on it. I think Anette really shines on here and shows that she was a worthy candidate to replace Tarja. The guitar work of Emppu Vuorinen and Jukka Nevalainen runs the gauntlet. The acoustic work is a very sharp contrast to the shredding guitars and solos, but its delivery on the songs is just as powerful.

I think Imaginaerum will please longtime fans of Nightwish as well as be a good jumping on point for new fans as well. The movie for this album should prove to be interesting as we wait to see if it propels this piece of art to another level or not. In the meantime, sit back and crank this up and allow yourself to be taken on a journey with Nightwish.

Lamb Of God Are Back With A Vengence

I know that it’s only the first month of the New Year, but the bar has been set and it has been set very high. Lamb of God is back and in a huge way. Their new album Resolution was already on just about every “Most Anticipated Albums of 2012” list out there. We last heard from the Richmond, VA natives in 2009 with their album Wrath. The Virginia Commonwealth University alumnus has again delivered a product to make all other metal bands stand up and take note.

The album opens with “Straight For the Sun” and after an intake of a deep breath, the assault begins with a scream of attack by lead singer Randy Blythe. The riff is slow and churning and is like Black Sabbath on steroids. It’s dark and brooding and ends the same way it starts with that throat blistering scream from Randy. The next track “Desolation” really punches the gas to the floor and takes off into familiar territory of LOG fans. It’s intense, fast, brutal and in your face.

“Ghost Walking” will make you do a double take. Wait, did I just hear an acoustic guitar intro? A very cool, short, blues type intro is quickly plugged in and amped up with the volume cranked high. The solo in this song is blistering to the ears and fingertips both. Speaking of ears, “Guilty” will be reminiscent to fans of the earlier LOG sound of just pure intense assault on your senses. The “no intro” approach on this one is like going from 0 to 90 in a second as Randy launches this one out of the park.

Next up is one of my favorite tracks on the album, “The Undertow”. A bit on the thrash side, but still maintaining the elements that make LOG who they are. The solo is also pretty insane on this stellar track also. “Barbarossa” is a change of pace and a 1:40ish chance to catch your breath from the assault that you just went through. It’s an instrumental and sounds unlike anything else on the album. It’s short, but it solidifies the fact that these guys are great musicians not just a one trick pony.

“Invictus” quickly floors the gas pedal and gets us back into the trademark, aggressive territory with a heavy groove and a blistering solo. “Insurrection” is one of the more complex and rewarding tracks on the album and it has several layers to it. Randy’s vocal delivery is a crazy mix of spoken work, throat blistering screams and at times almost clean vocals. There is another awesome solo provided mid-way through. There’s also a killer riff that chugs along throughout the song carrying it to the melodic chorus and then picks right back up again.

The album closes with “King Me” and the guys may have saved the best for last. The intro to the song should be an indicator with how this song is about to build into an epic masterpiece. The guitars are dark and eerie when combined with the somewhat operatic vocals in the background and Randy’s clean, spoken lines. Then, the song bursts into the rawness that we expect from LOG but with a huge twist. The guys have gone way out on a limb on this track and push the envelope by including an orchestra/string section on this track. I think it works in an epic way and it will certainly be interesting to hear the fans reaction to this track that shows the guys really branching out.

So, is this a perfect album? Well, it’s not 100% perfection, but it comes pretty close. The second half of the album may not be as uniformly strong as the first half, but it certainly is far from being weak my most standards. Randy Blythe will truly astound you on here. If you have been following LOG, then you may think that you have already heard all the range that he had to offer. Well, he takes his epic screams to an even lower level of intensity that you thought was unimaginable. His almost clean delivery and spoken verse on a few tracks will definitely shock you.

The two guitar assault of Mark Morton and Willie Adler has raised the bar as well for their intensity and rawness that they deliver. Yes, there are plenty of blistering solos and insane shredding to the point that you wonder if these guys have any fingertips left. Chris Adler’s drumming is very underrated and his playing has gotten even more aggressive ob this album. I wish that John Campbell’s bass would be brought more to the forefront as it seems to get overshadowed at times by all that is going on around him.

Resolution has everything that Lamb of God fans have come to know and love over the years. The guys have certainly set the bar high for other releases coming out this year. Could the album of the year for 2012 have already been released so early into the year? Well, I think it may just have, but the next 11 months will prove interesting.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Pilgrim Channel Old School Black Sabbath On Misery Wizard

There is yet another label being thrown around in today’s over labeled and categorized scene of metal. It seems as if there are more variations of metal these days than there are different types of blue crayons in a 500 count box of Crayolas. A new form is doom metal and yes, as you probably envisioned from the label, it’s not exactly indicative of Ren and Stimpys’ “Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy” vibe.

Pilgrim, heralding from Rhode Island, is a part of this new breed of metal. They’re not re-creating the wheel, but they are putting their own spin on a familiar sound. The band’s sound is a throwback to the dark, brooding sound of early Black Sabbath, yet updated for today’s listener. The band, consisting of The Wizard on guitar and vocals, Krolg – the slayer of man on drums and Count Elric the Soothsayer on bass, is poised to release their debut record Misery Wizard on Metal Blade Records on February 12, 2012.

The album is only six tracks and it clocks in at almost an hour with the longest track clocking in at 12:54. The opening chords of the first track, “Astaroth”, immediate bring on the Sabbath comparisons. The guys are in no rush to blitz your senses with an assault of your senses. They take their time in their dark and brooding layout of the song. There are a lot of bands that smash you in the face and bash you over the head with their songs in short, three minute intervals. Pilgrim is the unabridged version of a song as opposed to the cliff notes version, yet they do so effectively.

“Forsaken Man”, clocking in at 12:54, is the longest track on the album and one of the best examples of showing exactly why this band is great at doing what they do. The band are storytellers through their song and music and they take their time weaving that story. It twists and turns and weaves in and out, but it all connects together. The dark guitar chords, a bass that rattles your chest and drums that prove sometimes less is more.

The title track is a creepy number that could double as the soundtrack for an apocalyptic horror movie. It’s heavy, yet melodic and maintains its brutality. The song clocks in at 10:44, yet never drags on at any point. The Wizard does Tony Iommi proud in his approach to laying out a song and not rushing the results. There are those fleeting moments on songs such as “Quest” and “Adventurer” that show the band pushing the pedal down a bit and picking up the pace a bit during which they are just as menacing.

If dark, brooding, retro psychedelic rock is your cup of (insert beverage of choice), then you will want several cups from Pilgrim. The guys put their touch on an old sound and make it contemporary without losing its effect. It’s an album that’s hard to just pick out one track and play. It’s best if you listen to the entire thing at one sitting and enjoy the entire trip.

Goatwhore Offer Up Blood For The Master

It seems like everyone has a band in their music collection whose name garners a look of confusion from those not familiar with their work. Well, Goatwhore is definitely one of those bands who receive a “deer in the headlights” look from unsuspecting people. The band heralds from New Orleans and although their music may not be as spicy as some of the Cajun food being cooked up there, it certainly has its spicy moments.

The band, formed by guitarist Sammy Duet back in 1997, released their debut album The Eclipse of Ages into Black” in 2000. They caught the attention of Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne and were enlisted for Ozzfest in both 2008 and 2010. They just unleashed a new album entitled Blood for the Master on Metal Blade records.

There are so many labels for music these days that you almost need a cross reference chart. The band gets categorized as blackened death metal by a lot of circles, but this album contains a lot of old school thrash elements to it. Upon first listen, you can hear bits of old school Metallica and Overkill, plus a touch of Anthrax throughout. The first track, “Collapse in Eternal Worth”, slams you right in your face. The combination of blistering riffs and the thudding drums and bass grabs you by the throat and shakes you.

“When Steel and Bone Meet” is a solid track that the entire band really hits their groove on. Lead singer Louis Falgoust gives a solid vocal performance on here with his throaty, abrasive style. His vocals come up flat and non convincing on some tracks, but this one is an exception. “Parasitic Scriptures of the Sacred World” keeps the musical assault going at full speed. I think this is along the same vein as the previous track, although Louis does push his vocals in attempts for a more sinister type of growl on parts of the song.

“An End of Nothing” is just sick from beginning to end and contains some insane fret work from Sammy Duet. This will be a song to bring to the live show as it will definitely get the pit going at maximum speed. This may be the strongest track on the album as the band is firing on all cylinders in its thrash assault. It’s just a shame that they don’t find this comfort zone on a consistent basis on here.

A major Wayne’s World “I’m Not Worthy” knod goes to guitarist Sammy Duet. This guy gets the MVP on this album for a solid track by track performance on the axe. His solos are blistering and insane, yet he manages to keep them original and fresh. Even on some of the weaker songs, he manages to be the glue that keeps them from falling apart.

Overall, it’s a good effort from the guys and shows a lot of growth by the band. It’s almost like driving a car on a trip and when you’re focused you stay in your lane. Yet, at times you may start to swerve into the other lane if you don’t pay close attention. At times this happens with the band and they come up flat. There are plenty of bright spots on the album too as the band shows growth and those tracks truly shine. This is what is needed to make this band stand out and excel ahead of others in their genre.