With decades of genre-defining black metal under his spiked belt as the frontman for Norwegian legends Immortal, one wouldn’t think Abbath had much left to prove when he struck out on his own. But that’s not at all what it sounds like on this eponymous debut record, which roars out of the gate like razor wind through a snow-covered forest.
hese OG SoCal punkers have a big, infectious sound that’s equal parts driving, aggressive punk and stadium-ready, anthemic supersongs. It’s hard to think of many bands that would be just as comfortable midday on the Warped Tour as they would be opening for Def Leppard, but it’s a testament to Ignite’s command of their craft and decades of dedication that they can wield such an unlikely sound and make it work.
Every self-respecting metal fan places Mercyful Fate’s Melissa and Don’t Break The Oath on the pantheon of all-time classic albums. They do so not only to honor King Diamond’s inimitable vocal performances but also, just as importantly, to pay tribute to the mind-bending riffs and solos of guitarists Michael Denner and Hank Shermann.
Hollywood couldn’t be bothered to deliver a non-shitty Terminator movie this summer, but that didn’t stop the much more reliable Fear Factory from putting together another kick-ass soundtrack to the near-future robot apocalypse. Genexus, their ninth album, delivers exactly the mix of brutality, melody, foreboding and ambition we always want from them.
The Plague Within is a surprisingly dark album from Paradise Lost. Yes, I’m keenly aware that these Halifax, England misanthropes have explored death and despair from every possible angle during the past 25 years and 13 albums, and that — to use just one example — one of the band’s more recent videos featured a depressed dude moping around an abandoned building then hanging himself.
Every now and then, when your brain has been fried by so many far-out variants, it’s great to have some old-school capital-H-capital-M, Heavy Metal kick you in the head. It busts you out of your funk with, say, the force of a giant mad scientist shoving a glowing neon syringe into the surface of the planet Earth.
It’s refreshing that these metal luminaries – Max Cavalera (Soulfly.), Troy Sanders (Mastodon), Greg Puciato (The Dillinger Escape Plan) and drummer Dave Elitch (ex-Mars Volta) – came together not to create some wacky abstract sounds as an escape from their day jobs, but to pool their individual strengths and see what happens if you throw ’em all in a metal blender.
It was only a matter of time before mad scientist Devin Townsend filmed a rock opera. His solo material often soars into operatic territory, then divebombs, roaring vocal hellfire and shrieking metallic death from the skies. He and his merry band of pranksters are as comfortable with gospel choirs as blastbeats, life-affirming, glowing choruses, and deathy bellows of Satan’s worst toothache.
First rec in six years, and it’s a doozie! This instrumental trio is heavy blues jam, first and foremost, with space, Sabbath, and psychedelia flavors added to the meaty stew. While there are only four songs, two clock in at a wink under 15 minutes, one tops out at 5 minutes, and the closer title track gives itself over 30 minutes of breathing room.
Ronnie Radke has many skills, but making smart musical choices is not among them. While able to layer his voice beautifully, and write catchy choruses most pop metal and pop punk bands would kill for, he writes some of the worst lyrics you’ll ever try to scrub from memory, and he believes in his statements so earnestly, it’s really embarrassing.