Cleveland’s Exorcisme unleashes utter hell with a raging, speeding two track barnburner of a demo, Visceral Lifestyles, fitting perfectly in line with their hometown’s reputation for gnarly, ripping metal. Though the demo is really short, it clearly represents a distinct answer to Hellripper, Letal Cross, and Raw Pöison, so hopefully this isn’t the last we’ve heard from the band. Raging metalpunk seemingly inspired by Venom, yellow goat Bathory, and the Exploited. Somewhat blackened, thrashing, speed metal-infused, punkified metal in all its glory. In the band’s own words, “Enter the fucking flames.”
The Cocoon is where progressive metal guitarist Richard Henshall pulls himself away from his well established role of Haken guitarist and experiments with a blend of progressive metal, jazz and electronic elements, combined to create a sound that is both eclectic and innovative. Joining forces with Haken brother Conner Green on bass and with drummer Matt Lynch, he proves himself not only as a guitarist but also as a keyboardist, vocalist and overall composer. The album also features guest appearances from Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater), David Maxim Micic, Ben Levin and Jessica Kion (Bent Knee) and Haken vocalist Richard Henshall. It is an album that prog nerds simply can’t refuse.
NorthTale was born of vocalist Christian Eriksson (ex-Twilight Force), drummer Patrick Johansson (ex-Yngwie Malmsteem) and guitar maestro Bill Hudson with the dream of bringing back the glory of late 90s/early 00s power metal. Whether you’re in the mood for that golden-age power metal, anthemic stadium metal, or even a vegan happy meal, Welcome to Paradise delivers all that and more, complete with facemelting solos, diverse arrangements, and catchy melodies. This is one of the year’s best power metal albums and is as technically impressive as it is fun.
Hailing from Israel, Obsidian Tide is a three man band delivering a unique progressive metal experience in their debut album Pillars of Creation. While highly reminiscent of Opeth, it is also spiced up with twists of compositional originality and unexpected instruments such as flute, violin, saxophone or upright piano. And if that’s not enough, Symphony X’s Mike LePond has a guest solo on their single which is certainly a reason to look into it!
Twenty years after the release of their first full-length, the infamous Molesting the Decapitated, Dallas metalheads Devourment come out with a release, the suitably named Obscene Majesty, that not only rivals, but even surpasses their already excellent magnum opus, and may as well be, from a critical point of view, the best album the slam scene has ever seen. Completely packed with ferocious drumming, guttural vocals, nasty riffing and memorable songwriting, not to mention the insanely fitting production, this beast of a slam album will definitely please any metalhead eager for something heavy and uncompromising to listen to.
One of the most beautiful things about metal is to discover a great new, unsigned band that blows away a lot of the more established bands with ease. Enter Connecticut based Dialith and their debut album Extinction Six. Heralded as symphonic power metal and the description is not wrong, but this is a good bit different from the usual power metal that comes around these days and not just because they have a lady on the mic with Krista Sion.
No, the first name that comes to mind upon opener “The Sound of Your Voice” is Epica and that is a great start. The balance between classical symphonics and heaviness, paired with the inspired performance by Krista create an outstanding slab of metal that should be able to draw people in from power and symphonic metal alike and. The symphonics feel truly orchestral and not just as a synthesized version of canned food, while some shredding moments, flamenco styled guitars, heavier outbursts and Krista’s vocal range deliver plenty of variety and surprising moments to keep the listener on edge.
Crowned with a very good production and breath-taking artwork Extinction Six is one of the biggest and most positive surprises of 2019 so far!
20 Buck Spin has been on a roll this year and the killer releases from the label just keep coming. The latest, coming just weeks after Cerebral Rot’s Odious Descent into Decay is Witch Vomit’s sophomore album, Buried Deep in a Bottomless Grave. Like many of their label mates, Witch Vomit plays a blend of classic death metal styles without sounding too derivative of any particular sound. I hear bits of Incantation, Autopsy, Swedeath, and even a little Finnish influence on Buried Deep in a Bottomless Grave. The result is an excellent, crushing sophomore album that will go down as one of the year’s best death metal releases.
Silly title notwithstanding, this time around Freedom Call have actually dialled down the silliness! Known for their ultra-happy, saccharine vibrancy, the German power metallers trim any extraneous flab that has pervaded the majority of their post-2010 material to produce a concise, urgent and speed-based melodic power metal gem. The Helloween influence is heavy on this one and, despite a lack of chunky riffs (expectations owing to the album title), it provides fans with a short, sharp burst of bright, energetic Euro-power gallops and memorable hymns done the way only the Germans know how. Anthemic, infectious, ferocious (by Freedom Call standards), and fun as hell! Standing tall for heavy metal, for all eternity!