The mighty Behemoth continues to push boundaries and innovation on their twelfth album ‘Opvs Contra Natvram’. Poland’s extreme metal heroes have set such a high precedent with their past releases and achieved soaring success in the genre, almost unparalleled, which is quite something. Fronted by Adam Darski, aka Nergal, his vision has earned this statute and expanded their sound, and this new opus adds new layers being their most extensive and mature.
Thrash metal legends Megadeth return with their sixteenth album, ‘The Sick, the Dying… and the Dead!’ which is the follow-up to 2016’s ‘Dystopia’. This album marks the longest gap between releases for the band and the first album to feature drummer Dirk Verbeuren and bassist Steve Di Giorgio from Testament following David Ellefson’s dismissal last year. Steve re-recorded Dave’s bass parts, but he is not their new bassist; he just featured on the album. The new permanent bass player is James LoMenzo, who was previously in the band between 2006-2010 and rejoined fully this year. For guitarist Kiko Loureiro it is his second album with the band.
Machine Head are back with their tenth album, ‘ØF KINGDØM AND CRØWN’, their first concept album loosely inspired by the Japanese anime series Attack On Titan. Set in a futuristic wasteland where the sky is always crimson red, the album tells you the tale of two characters who believe they are doing good. Still, both sides are committing atrocities, and as the story unfolds through the music, their paths become more heavily and dangerously tangled, which is reflected in the sound. This concept has fuelled some of their most devasting and innovative work.
Swedish melodic death metal masters return ever triumphant with their eleventh album ‘Deceivers’, which marks some of their finest, most ambitious and explosive material to date.
The colossal opener ‘Handshake With Hell’ asserts Alissa White-Gluz’s versatile capabilities displaying incredible clean melodic vocals paired with her fierce ones, making for a crushing combination, and the excellent fiery rapid guitar work makes it unyielding. An exhilarating and impressive one to kick off with.
The intro guitars remind a bit of old HIM distortion, but then silence comes and Lauri’s voices is accompanied but strings…. and aside from being reminiscent of all the collaborations with Apocalyptica, my mind went straight to one of my all time favorite songs of theirs dating back to the album Into, “Last Waltz”. But as the song flows on, there are also heavy vibes from their album Black Roses and those words, “black roses” are even entwined in the lyrics. The song is a bit fragmented in my opinion, stops and starts, heavy distorted guitars that fall off abruptly into the delicate gothic victorian strings. I like all the elements and am really happy to hear the whole band again (after the last few albums that seemed to drag Lauri’s solo electronic pop album out and out). That dark gothy vibe that drew many of us in and held fast through at least three albums (not to mention the similarity of the music video to the US verison of In The Shadows video…. the one that personally started me on this journey)… but also this newish raw, heavy, almost metal sound that you can hear in fits and start (also here and therein their Eurovision single “Jezebel”). I feel like the band has new life blown into them, and I am very eager to see what else is coming!
IANAI is a mysterious multi-instrumentalist project from Jaani Peuhu (Swallow The Sun), which includes collaborations from members of HIM, Massive Attack, Sisters of Mercy and The Rasmus. Through Jaani’s vision and the impressive array of guests, it is no surprise this debut album ‘Sunir’ embodies many sounds and influences, taking you on a beautiful, transcendent journey. ‘Sunir’will take listeners through the instrumentation of Scandinavia, Africa, Asia, the Middle East and South America and beyond.