REVIEWS 2021 - Page 6

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GOST: Rites Of Love And Reverence
Century Media on Aug. 13 - LP/CD, Digital
What is this then? Some kind of electronic post punk with an industrial twist? It's very dark and not much hapiness here. I think I have to listen to this a few times..
A few days later: Well, except for the useless 2-minute intro this is not so bad. It's like boiling down a soup of post punk, dark synth music and industrial metal, and spice it with total darkness.
About a week later: It might not have hit potential, but I really like what I hear. This is absolutely not bad at all.
GOST is a 1-man band with James Lollar on everything. He has released albums since 2013, and this is his 6th.
Published: Aug. 7

DISKORD: Degenerations
Transcending Obscurity Records on Aug. 13 - LP, CD, Digital
DISKORD is a Norwegian death metal band who doesn't sound like other Scandinavian bands in this genre. Instead they blend the old school sound with dissonant and technical death metal, and then they throw in some progressive and jazz music, among other things. Their music is full of unpredictable twists and turns, so you never really know what will happen next.
It looks like it has taken them as much as 7 years to make this album. And as you probably have figured out already, this is an album for those who want to challenge themselves. Because this is an extremely wild experience.
Published: Aug. 7

Jack Russell's GREAT WHITE: Great Zeppelin II - A Tribute To Led Zeppelin
Deadline Music on Aug. 13 - CD, LP, Digital
In 1998 GREAT WHITE released "Great Zeppelin: A Tribute To Led Zeppelin", which was a live album and as the title says a tribute to LED ZEPPELIN. Over 20 years later Jack Russell's GREAT WHITE will now release "Great Zeppelin II - A Tribute To Led Zeppelin". This time it's a studio recording though.
The band is in top shape, and deliver classic after classic, as well as a few numbers that I have not heard before (I actually don't have that much with LED ZEPPELIN yet, but I'm working on it). This is absolutely worth listening to, because most of the material is great.
It looks like you get 14 songs if you get the CD, but only 9 if you buy the LP. So what version you are going to get depends on what songs you like.
Published: Aug. 6

LORNA SHORE: ...And I Return To Nothingness
Century Media on Aug. 13 - LP/CD, Digital
This 3-track EP is fast and brutal, but also bombastic with those symphonic elements. It's a wild mixture of black and death metal, as well as hardcore and symphonic metal. I would guess that fans of bands like CRADLE OF FILTH and DIMMU BORGIR could like this. It's pretty o.k. stuff anyway.
Since their last release, 2019s "Immortal", they have recruited a new vocalist, Will Ramos (A WAKE IN PROVIDENCE).
Published: Aug. 6

THOR: Alliance
Deadline Music - CD, LP, Digital
In the States they seems to call all and nothing metal. Here in Sweden we call it hard rock for some reason. In this case I would say hard rock and heavy metal, because we get both here.
When it comes to the songs it's as usual - some are good and some are not so interesting, but mainly it's not so bad. So nothing new there. But 17 tracks is way too much at once, even though there's variation in the material - some 70s hard rock here, some 80s heavy metal there, and 1 song sounds like The DOORS, some songs are heavier and some are more melodic, while a couple of them are pure energy pills.
On the guest list this time are legends like Chris Holmes (ex-W.A.S.P.) and Ross "The Boss" Friedman (ex-MANOWAR, The DICTATORS), as well as Danko Jones (DANKO JONES), Neil Turbin (ex-ANTHRAX), Al Harlow (PRISM), John Gallagher (RAVEN), Björn "Speed" Strid (SOILWORK), and a few more.
It seems like American muscle rocker Jon Mikl Thor has released as many as 39 studio albums. Is that really correct? Poor collectors, haha. But then he has been in the rock n roll business for something like 50 years.
The first track, "We Need Musclerock", is a tribute to the Swedish festival Muskelrock.
Published: Aug. 6

E-FORCE: Provocation
Mighty Music on Aug. 6 - Digital single
E-FORCE was formed in Montreal, Canada in 2001 by vocalist/bassist Eric Forrest upon his departure from the legendary Canadian cyber metal band VOIVOD. Eric's wide array of musical influences and vocal capabilities set E-FORCE apart from the pack, and ensure that this band is very original. The debut album, "Evil Forces", was released in 2003. Soon after that Eric moved to France, where he found some new members for the band. 3 more albums was released in the following years.
They are now getting ready to release a new album, "Mindbender", which will be available in November. The single "Provocation" is a taste of that album. And if you like it fast and hard, but with its own twist, then I recomend you to listen to this little song.
Published: Aug. 5

CORNERS OF SANCTUARY: Casualties Of War - Blood And Steel - Volume 2
RFL Records on Aug. 6 - Digital EP
Can't these guys do something different for a change? Because these 4 tracks sounds just as usual - that mysterious mid-tempo US metal sound that only they have. Yes, nice that they have their own sound. But unfortunately everything seems to sound more or less the same. And that's hardly nice. Sorry, but listening to this band just makes me more bored than I already am. Maybe they need a producer outside of the band or something? But if they want to play different versions of the same song for an eternity, who am I to judge?
Published: Aug. 5

The BRONX: Mexican Summer
Cooking Vinyl - Digital single
This sounds more like indie rock than punk rock to me. And I expected some punk rock, so I'm not completely convinced. But I guess it's not so bad anyway. Their last single, "Watering The Well", was much better than this though.
This is actually the fifth single from their new album, "Bronx VI", which will be released on August 27.
Published: Aug. 5

AS I MAY: Breaking Myself Away
UPRISING' Records on Aug. 6 - Digital single
Nu metal seems to be popular again. Unfotunately most of these bands sounds more or less the same to me, so I don't really know what to say. It's o.k. anyway, but not much else.
They seems to prefer to call it modern melodic metal though, which is also a o.k. description.
AS I MAY comes from Mikkeli, Finland, and formed in 2016. They have released 2 albums so far, and a third, "Karu", will be out soon.
Published: Aug. 5

Antti Martikainen: Carmina Gloria
Self released - Digital
Finnish musician Antti Martikainen gives us an epic and melodic kind of metal, and I guess it's pretty good. Yes guess, because all songs are actually instrumental here (except for some choirs here and there). His trademark sound is said to consist of epic orchestral music mixed with heavy metal, synths, folk instruments and ethnic flavours. Main inspiration comes from video games and movie soundtracks.
This man has released as much as 20 albums since 2013. Sometimes there have been 3-4 albums a year. So it seems like he really live for the music, which I like. These albums are not all the same though, as they often have their own theme, like Nordic folk metal, industrial cyberpunk, pirate shanties, Celtic hymns etc. etc. So you never really know what you are going to get.
I would say that this album is somewhere between symphonic metal and a epic soundtrack for an adventure movie. It's bombastic and very well done with all kinds of different instruments.
Published: Aug. 5

Self released on Aug. 6 - Digital
This is a melodic metal band based in Helsinki, Finland, and "Until" is their debut album. They combine elements from different kinds of metal with heavy guitars, and 80s rock and pop hooks with melancholic melodic metal, which gives us a modern sound.
In this case that combination works just fine, because I can hear many good songs on this album. But these 10 tracks last for 50 and a half minutes, which might be a little too long actually. That's just a luxury problem though.
Published: Aug. 4

ESSES: Bloodletting For The Lonely
Bat-Cave Productions/Atakra Records on Aug. 6 - LP, CD, Digital
ESSES is an American death rock/post punk quintet formed in 2014. They succeed to capture an atmosphere that is intimate and intense at the same time. It's gloomy and heavy, but yet energetic, you could say. I like this a lot! This is a fantastic album!
Through the 9 tracks that we get here they highlights topics like mental health, memory and trauma.
ESSES have previously released a EP, "Offering", in 2018.
Published: Aug. 4

Over The Under Records on Aug. 6 - LP, Digital
Post hardcore with a singer who sounds like he suffers. But they are also said to mix that with screamo from the early 2000s. Sometimes it's raw and aggressive, sometimes soft/melodic and emotional.
DISILLUSIONIST is a trio from Copenhagen, Denmark. "Love And Anxiety" is a mini album and a conceptual story that binds all 6 songs together. It's a love story actually, but not of the nice kind. Depression, dysphoria and suicide are some of the themes portrayed here.
Now I'm not exactly an expert when it comes to post hardcore, even though I have heard some through the years. To me this sounds just as good as any of the other bands that I have heard. Maybe you should give it a try if you're into this genre?
Published: Aug. 3

CONSUMPTION: Recursive Definitions of Suppuration
Petrichor on Aug. 13 - CD, LP
CONSUMPTION is a relatively new Swedish duo, featuring multi-instrumentalist Håkan Stuvemark and drummer Jon Skäre. Together they produce crushing CARCASS-like grind/death, but with their own touch to it. It's raw and unpolished, but yet music and not just chaotic noise. This is obviously not for everyone though. But if you like it extreme, then you should give them a try.
The band features members of WOMBBATH, SKINEATER, DEFIATORY, WACHENFELDT etc.
Published: Aug. 3

Self released? - Digital single
"Weapon X" is the title track from BURN THE HIGHWAY's upcoming album, which will be released later in the year. They are an Australian hard rock band, who blend influences from as varied genres as death metal, punk, pop and hip hop. What we get is heavy, groovy guitars and almost rap vocals.
Nah, this is hardly a hit song according to me. O.k., but not much else than a shrug.
Published: Aug. 3

ALCHEMY OF FLESH: Ageless Abominations
Redefining Darkness Records on Aug. 13 - LP, CD
ALCHEMY OF FLESH build their songs on the sound of classic U.S. death metal. A big influence is MORBID ANGEL for example. The lyrics is something different though, as many of them seems to be about classic video games. But there's some horror and other subjects too.
Well, if you like good old MORBID ANGEL albums from the 90s, then this is exactly what you need in your collection. And there's simply not much else to add there..
Published: Aug. 3

SCARECROW: Splatterpunk
82 Records on Aug. 6 - CD, LP, Digital
I always look forward to hear something new from these Finnish horror punks, but what I get is more or less always the same thing as last time - Pretty fast punk with a pinch of metal and horror lyrics. Not much that stand out. It's mainly short and intense. And because the songs are short, there's as much as 16 tracks here, which is a little too much at once.
But they are far away from bad though, and the material grow stronger the more I listen. But maybe they should have a few surprises here and there, and not so many songs? I think that would work much better for me.
This band has been around for over 20 years now, and have released lots of EPs and a few albums. It seems like they will start recording their next album already in the fall.
Published: Aug. 2

TROUBLE IS: Wholehearted
Target Records on Aug. 6 - LP, Digital
This is the debut album from this Danish duo, which is said to be something for those of you who are into modern blues rock with hints of John Mayer, Philip Sayce, and Joe Bonamassa. It sounds more American than Danish, but they are doing this very good, and seems to be experienced musicians. It's dynamic and emotional at the same time. I like most of these 8 tracks.
Published: Aug. 2

TRANCE: Metal Force
Metalapolis Records on Aug. 6 - CD, LP, Digital
This band was founded back in 1974 as TRIBUT, which together with SCORPIONS and ACCEPT makes them one of the oldest hard rock/heavy metal bands from Germany. They changed the name to TRANCE in 1979. But after a few albums they had to change the name again, due to management and business problems. So for a while they were called TRANCEMISSION instead, but went back to TRANCE in 1992. In 1998 they split up.
But in 2011 they decided to give it another try, and reformed the band. It wasn't until 2016 that they recorded a new album though. The latest lineup features members from VICIOUS RUMORS and MANILLA ROAD. And as far as I can hear they have a stable lineup who really can deliver. These songs are powerful heavy metal, and sounds like something that could have been released in the 1980s. So they have really succeeded to make a good album.
Published: Aug. 2

HUNTER: The Return
Metalapolis Records on Aug. 6 - CD
Hard rock/heavy metal band HUNTER formed back in the early 80s, and were one of the most hopeful in the German scene. In 1985 they signed with Earthshaker Records, and recorded their debut album, "Sign Of The Hunter". In 1987 their second album, "Keep The Change", was released through Rockport Records. It looked very promising for the band, but for some reason they went seperate ways for other projects.
In 2019 they decided to give it another try, and the result is this comeback album, "The Return".
Some of these songs reminds me of SAXON, and some of KROKUS. They don't seems to have the same feeling for classic anthems as those 2 had back in the 80s, but there is some good stuff anyway, and nothing is totally useless. They have succeeded to catch the party vibe in some of the songs though. Not bad at all.
Published: Aug. 2

CWF: I (reissue)
Black Lodge Records on Aug. 6 - LP, CD
CWF is TOTO singer Joseph Williams, former CHICAGO singer Bill Champlin and Swedish guitarist/producer Peter Friestedt, who has teamed up for a AOR/West Coast rock project. This album also includes contributions from Steve Porcaro (TOTO), Randy Goodrum (TOTO, CHICAGO), Will Champlin and Tamara Champlin.
The album was originally released in 2015, if I got it right. Now it will also be available on vinyl for the first time, and there will also be an expanded version with 3 bonus tracks on CD.
Some stuff is pretty o.k. here, like the 2 first songs for example, but unfortunately there's way too much ballads and other really soft and silly songs. But if you like pop music like CHICAGO, then go ahead.
CWF has also released a DVD/CD, "Live In Concert" (2013), a mini album, "10 Miles" (2018) and a second full length album, "II" (2020).   CWF Facebook
Published: Aug. 1

VRIESS: Vriess
XENOKORP Militia Series on Aug. 6 - MCD, Digital
This is fast and aggressive. This is brutal man! Intense and straight in your face, but yet just the way it should be.
This 5-track EP is the first release from French thrash/death metallers VRIESS. The band features members of bands like BENIGHTED, ALKALOID etc.
With this release they show us all how it's supposed to be done. Remember where you first heard about them.
Published: Aug. 1

UNDER THE OAK: Ripped Up By The Roots
WormHoleDeath Records - Digital
UNDER THE OAK is a bunch of friends from Norway coming together to honour their speed and thrash metal heroes from the 80s. And that's exactly what you get on their album "Ripped Up By The Roots", except for a cover of doom legends CANDLEMASS then. The material is very good, and absolutely worth listening to. So you should definitely give this band a try.
The members have more then 25 years of experience of playing metal. But as this is a pretty new band, they will blend their own songs with covers when they play live. And they are actually doing 2 covers on this album. Except for CANDLEMASS, they also cover EXCITER.
Published: Aug. 1

Toby Hitchcock: Changes
Frontiers Music Srl - CD, Digital
This might be something for those of you who like it soft and melodic, but still with rock guitars. It's very emotional stuff with titles like "Before I Met You", "Don't Say Goodbye" and "Losing You" for example. In other words many love songs. Some songs are o.k., other songs are a bit too soft for me actually.
PRIDE OF LIONS frontman Toby Hitchcock is an American singer. On this solo album he has hooked up with Frontiers in-house producer Alessandro Del Vecchio, who seems to have his fingers everywhere.
Published: July 31

RIAN: Twenty-Three
Frontiers Music Srl - CD, Digital
Melodic rock from Sweden is nothing unusual, as we have plenty of those bands here. Most of them produce a very strong material though, and RIAN is no exception from that rule.
RIAN released their debut album, "Out Of The Darkness", in 2017. Now they have signed a multi album deal with Italian label Frontiers Music Srl, who has released their second album, "Twenty-Three". This album was produced by Daniel Flores (FIND ME, The MURDER OF MY SWEET).
The band aim at the sound of the second half of the 80s, and bands like BON JOVI, DOKKEN, EUROPE, QUEENSRŸCHE, SURVIVOR and WINGER. A very American sound with a modern production you could say.
Published: July 31

Frontiers Music Srl - CD, Digital
As you might know, RESURRECTION KINGS features former DIO members Craig Goldy (also GIUFFRIA, ROUGH CUTT, BUDGIE) and Vinny Appice (also BLACK SABBATH, HEAVEN AND HELL, LAST IN LINE), as well as singer Chas West (JASON BONHAM BAND, LYNCH MOB, TRIBE OF GYPSIES, FOREIGNER, WEST BOUND). Their self titled debut was released in 2016, and now they have returned with a new album, "Skygazer". And as far as I can understand, it was co-written with and produced by Alessandro Del Vecchio (REVOLUTION SAINTS, HARDLINE, JORN, etc) just like last time.
It's lots of 70s and 80s in their sound. And if you like old bands like DIO, WHITESNAKE, LED ZEPPELIN and RAINBOW, then this could definitely be worth a try for you. Because they have many good songs here, so it would be stupid of you to not give this a chance.
Classic timeless hard rock delivered by veterans.
Published: July 31

Frontiers Music Srl - CD, Digital
This group blend elements of different sub-genres and styles like symphonic metal, electronic, goth, and nu metal, among others. They try to push musical boundaries with the help of heavy riffs, powerful melodies, and emotional vocals. But in the end it's mainly modern melodic metal that we get here. Not bad though. I like what I hear.
INNER STREAM started off in 2008 as a project created by Inés Vera Ortiz and her brother Jorge in Buenos Aires, Argentina. At that time, Inés was the vocalist for some local power metal bands, but her songwriting was headed in a different direction - goth metal. She continued to compose music on her own, but decided to put the idea aside for a while. In 2017 she found keyboard player and producer Guillermo De Medio, who was willing to help her with the songs that she had.
Published: July 31

Frontiers Music Srl - CD, Digital
If you're into bands like RAINBOW, early WHITESNAKE and BAD COMPANY, then HEAVEN & EARTH is the band for you. They deliver good old hard rock like it was done back in the 70s and 80s, but with a modern production. But to begin the album with 3 tracks that are a bit darker and laidback might not have been the best idea. But there is some more "energetic" numbers after that. Even though none of the songs seems to have any hit potential, these songs are definitely not bad at all.
This is an international band, with members from UK (but living in the States), Italy and Hungary. The most famous of them is the drummer Simon Wright (DIO, AC/DC, UFO, RHINO BUCKET etc). And as the title says, this is their fifth studio album.
Published: July 31

BIG CITY: Testify X
Frontiers Music Srl - CD, Digital
BIG CITY is a melodic hard rock band from Norway. Their debut album, "Wintersleep", was released in 2014. The music is said to fit perfect for fans of FIREWIND, QUEENSRŸCHE, Magnus Karlsson's FREE FALL, EUROPE, FAIR WARNING and similar acts. There's absolutely a touch of the 80s in these songs, and a big focus on melodies. But the material is very variated. We can find heavier tracks as well as almost progressive elements, and a ballad (of course).
With this album they introduce the new singer Jørgen Bergersen from the EUROPE tribute band ROCK THE NIGHT.
Published: July 31

Jackson+Sellers: The Devil Is An Angel
ANTI- Records - Digital single
Jade Jackson and Aubrie Sellers united during the pandemic to create a blistering rock n roll album together. The album, titled "Breaking Point", will be released in October, and "The Devil Is An Angel" is the first single.
This is a very cool song! Female garage rock you could say. I like it! And so shold you too if you have any good taste at all when it comes to rock music.
Published: July 30

AXXELERATOR: Living With Nuclear Neighbours
Allegro Talent Media - Digital single
AXXELERATOR began their journey as RUST, but changed the name of the band in 2010, and has since then been called AXXELERATOR. The 4 members comes from Switzerland, and are dedicated to old school Bay Area thrash metal. They are not afraid to experiment with other genres of the heavier kind though.
After the release of the EP "Soulcatcher" in 2015 and several gigs in their home country, they decided to take a longer time out due to lineup changes. But now they are back again, and ready to release their debut album, "Heads Or Tails", in September. And the single "Living With Nuclear Neighbours" is a taste of the upcoming album.
This is a pretty good song who seems to interwine the old with the new. You should give it a try.
Published: July 30

Self released - Digital single
I don't really know what I should think about this song. Sometimes it sounds like groove metal, sometimes like modern metal. So I guess that I should call it modern groove metal then? But fact is that it's stoner rock that they play according to the one who sent me this song. Well, it's heavy anyway.
A o.k. song, but not much else, and soon forgotten.
ASTRODEATH is a duo from Sydney, Australia. And they seems to be popular down there, so who am I to complain? Their second album should be released later this year.
Published: July 30

SWALLOW THE SUN: 20 Years Of Gloom, Beauty And Despair - Live In Helsinki
Century Media on July 30 - 2CD/DVD, 3LP/DVD, Digital
This is so gloomy, dark and depressive that you can save it for a rainy day. And then you can sit there in total darkness or with a candle and listen to this long album.
This Finnish band play a more atmospheric and melancholy kind of doom. They have been around for 21 years now, and released 7 albums. So I guess it was about time that they release their first live album.
SWALLOW THE SUN had planned to celebrate their 20-year anniversary in 2020. They played 10 shows in Finland, and after that everything was cancelled. Luckily they had filmed and recorded their show in Helsinki on February 26, 2020, which is what we get here.
The show includes an acoustic performance, with a string quartet, of the whole "Songs From The North II" record, as well as a fan-voted setlist with not just the most performed songs, but also some live rarities. We get as much as 18 tracks and a playing time of almost 2 hours.
Published: July 29

GRISLY: Salting The Earth
Xtreem Music on Aug. 3 - CD, Digital
Yeah, that's the way I like it baby! Old school death metal that is both fast and catchy, and almost melodic with those guitar melodies here and there. Why they have to destroy the party with stuff like a piano piece and the last track, "Souls Last Caress", is a good question though.
The band started when Dennis Blomberg left PAGANIZER in 2014. He wanted to keep playing with Rogga Johansson, so the 2 gentlemen teamed up with local drummer Henke Lundgren. Their debut album, "The Spectral Wars", was released in 2018. Since then both Dennis and Henke has left the band, and been replaced by Håkan Stuvemark (WOMBBATH) and Nicke Ohlsson (LEPROSY).
GRISLY offers familiar tones from the 90s, in case you didn't get that. And they are a must to check out.
Published: July 28

Epitaph Records - Digital single
It wasn't that long since their last single, "Racist, Sexist Boy", was released, and here is already a new single. That last single got the thumbs up by people like Kathleen Hanna, Thurston Moore and Tom Morello. And it also got thumbs up from me. While that song was more punk, this latest song is more like punk rock/power pop instead. Still really good though, and therfor a must to check out.
"Oh!" is also featured in the trailer for the upcoming Netflix series "The Chair".
The LINDA LINDAS is an all female band from L.A.
Published: July 28

RAKTA: Live At Novas Frequências
Subsound Records on July 30 - LP, CD, Cassette
These people should really stop eating poisonous mushrooms, because listening to this is like a psychedelic dreamscape. It's hypnotic and repeating. For some reason they want to call this post punk and death rock, among other things. I would rather call it psych rock or space rock, even though this is much more than just that.
RAKTA is a trio based in São Paulo, Brazil. Their first self titled album was released in 2013. This recording comes from a show at Novas Frequências, one of the most significant festivals dedicated to experimental music and sounds in Brazil, where they played on December 4, 2016 (funny as Dec. 4 is my birthday).
Well, I just have 1 more thing to say: You have to listen to this!
Published: July 28

SPIRAL GRAVE: Legacy Of The Anointed
Argonauta Records - CD, LP, Digital
This Maryland/Virginia based band play a more catchy kind of doom metal, with hooks and strong, powerful vocals. Inspiration comes from Dio-era BLACK SABBATH, CANDLEMASS, METAL CHURCH, ARMORED SAINT, MOUNTAIN, UFO and JUDAS PRIEST, but with their own touch then. And this is very good stuff, that you absolutely should check out.
"Legacy Of The Anointed" is SPIRAL GRAVE's full length debut, but the band consist of veterans from bands like IRON MAN and LORD. This is a completely new chapter, but fans of IRON MAN should like this.
Published: July 27

FIMIR: Tomb Of God
Argonauta Records on July 30 - LP, CD, Digital
Finnish doom metal band FIMIR was founded in 2019 by former members of CHURCH OF VOID. They used the 2020 lockdown to create their debut album, "Tomb Of God", which is now ready to be released.
The album features 6 tracks of heavy riffs, haunting occult vibes and a ambient soundsphere. But most of all pretty classic doom metal. And it souns really good to me, so I can really recomend you to check this out.
Published: July 27

LUCER: L.A. Collection
Mighty Music on July 30 - LP
This band sounds a lot like good old AC/DC around the "Powerage" and "Highway To Hell" albums. They are just as energetic as AC/DC was back then, and it kicks ass of course. So any fan of that should check this out. Without a doubt.
LUCER is a Danish band paying tribute to Australian bands like AC/DC and ROSE TATTOO, but they also add some Scandinavian flavors like D-A-D and BACKYARD BABIES. This mixture gives us a well-oiled machine, who deliver high octane hard rock n roll like there was no tomorrow. Very old school and very good.
Published: July 26

NITRATE: Renegade
AOR Heaven on July 30 - CD
"Renegade" is the third album from NITRATE. And it follows in the same foot steps as their 2 previous albums - melodic rock from the 80s inspired by classic acts like DEF LEPPARD, EUROPE, MÖTLEY CRÜE and BON JOVI. The lineup has changed a little since last time though. Alexander Strandell (ART NATION) has taken over the lead vocals, while Tom and James Martin (VEGA) took care of rhytm guitars and keyboards.
Well, one thing is for sure, if you like melodic rock from the 80s then this is the album for you. Great songs are backed up by hit friendly choruses. What else can you ask for?
Published: July 26

Stephen Crane & Duane Sciacqua: Big Guns
AOR Heaven on July 30 - CD
It seems like there was a band called BIG GUNS, who formed in 1985 after Stephen Crane's album "Kicks" (1984) was left without any marketing or promotional funds. So Stephen and Duane Sciacqua decided to write and record new songs, and they were joined by Johnny Burnett (rip), Paul Daniel and Matt MacKelvie. The guys began to record with engineer Brett Gurewitz (the man from BAD RELIGION and founder of Epitaph Records or a man with the same name?) at his Hollywood studio. They received label offers for the album, but could never reach an agreement, and people moved on in life. So the album never got released.
But then a re-release of "Kicks" became popular, and the search for the BIG GUNS tapes started. They were found and have now been remastered. And some pieces have even been re-recorded.
The sound of this album was popular in the mid-80s, when this was recorded, but I'm not sure if it's so hot today. The songs are really good AOR/melodic rock though, just like it was done back then. So if you like that, then this is a must.
Published: July 26

THRICE: Scavengers
Epitaph Records - Digital single
Who might THRICE be then? They are a California based rock band, who will release their 11th studio album, "Horizons/East", digitally on September 17 and physically on October 8. "Scavengers" is one of the songs from that album.
I think this is a pretty soft song actually, but pretty catchy anyway. I guess it's pretty o.k., but not something that I use to listen to. The pop kids might like it though. Because if it wasn't for the heavy guitars, it could just as well have been a pop song instead of a rock song.
Published: July 26

DIMMAN: Songs And Tales Of Grievance
Inverse Records on July 30 - CD, Digital
The album begins with fast death metal. But after a few minutes it becomes some kind of modern melodic metal instead, with elements of melodic death metal once in a while. Why? It began so good!
Now the combination of aggressive and melodic might not be so bad anyway. And if I use my brain a little bit more, I can obviously figure out that it would probably have been too extreme with just fast death metal all the way. So after a few listenings I find it interesting instead.
DIMMAN is a Finnish band, and this is their debut album. Their songs have all kinds of ingredients, it's both modern and heavy, as well as melodic and technical. We get both clean female vocals and harsh male vocals.
Are you brave enough to give it a try?
Published: July 25

Weapon Records/Vanity Music Group on July 30
This group was formed in Southern California in 2009. They did lots of shows until 2010, when they decided to put the band on hold due to other projects. In 2014 they were back again, and released their self titled debut EP in December. Members came and left, so it took a few years to get a stable lineup. But when the band finally was complete, they could start recording their debut album, which got the title "Game Changer".
It sounds like this band has taken their inspiration from several different heavy metal bands, and from all kinds of eras. It's most of all a old school sound that we get though. The musicians are very good, and the vocalist too. Yes, even the songs are good. And these songs are powerful compositions that most fans of true heavy metal should like.
Published: July 25

Brutal Records/Sony Music/The Orchard on July 30 - CD, Digital
They call this Chilean band's music thrash metal, but to me it sounds more like traditional heavy metal instead. Probably because they are not so fast, but hard and heavy instead. They do it really good though, so who cares what it's called? Just give this a try and enjoy the ride.
"Malditos" is their debut album, and all 11 songs are in Spanish.
Published: July 25

Kiko Shred's REBELLION: Rebellion
Pure Steel Records on July 30 - CD, Digital
This is a Brazilian heavy/power metal band. This album was released in their homeland in the beginning of the year, but will now get a worldwide release through Pure Steel Records.
Kiko Shred started to play guitar 22 years ago, and have played in various bands through the years. His first solo work was released in 2015. He has also played with artists like Tim "Ripper" Owens, Michael Vescera and Leather Leone, among others.
In his solo band, Kiko Shred's REBELLION, he is joined by Ed Galdin on vocals, Will Costa on bass and Lucas Taliara Miranda on drums. But we also get a special guest apperance from Doogie White (ALCATRAZZ, RAINBOW, MSG, PRAYING MANTIS) on this album, which is their 4th.
The music is melodic but powerful heavy metal and power metal in the traditional way. You should not be dissapointed when you hear this.
Published: July 24

Laurenne/Louhimo: The Reckoning
Frontiers Music Srl - CD, Digital (out now), LP (Aug. 6)
This is a collaboration between the 2 Finnish vocalists Noora Louhimo (BATTLE BEAST) and Netta Laurenne (SMACKBOUND). The songs were written by Netta and her husband Nino Laurenne (THUNDERSTONE), who also play guitar on the album. We also have Sampo Haapaniemi on drums. Who play the bass is unknown to me, but maybe Nino play that too?
It sounds like they have put a lot of heart and soul into this project. And the result is an explosive and passionate album full of great heavy metal anthems. This album is full of heavy guitars and really good vocals. Simply a must!
Published: July 24

HARDLINE: Heart, Mind And Soul
Frontiers Music Srl - CD, Digital (out now), LP (Aug. 6)
This band released their debut album, "Double Eclipse", in 1992. At that time it was almost a supergroup. Except for the Gioeli brothers Johnny and Joey the band featured Neal Schon (JOURNEY), Todd Jensen (David Lee Roth, Alice Cooper) and Deen Castronovo (BAD ENGLISH).
Nowadays it's a totally different lineup, but not less good because of that. Johnny Gioeli (vocals) is the only original member left, and the other members are Alessandro Del Vecchio (keyboard, backing vocals), Mario Percudani (guitars, backing vocals), Anna Portalupi (bass), and Marco Di Salvia (drums).
HARDLINE's sound is best described as riff based melodic hard rock, and they can still deliver after all these years. These 11 tracks (it's very often 11 tracks nowadays by the way) are really good stuff, and absolutely worth listening to.
Published: July 24

FETID ZOMBIE: Transmutations
Transcending Obscurity Records on July 30 - CD, Digital
FETID ZOMBIE doesn't really sound like everybody else. It's a strange kind of death metal with silent, atmospheric passages and melodic elements. But there's classic stuff too of course. The vision is to create dark and atmospheric death metal that is rooted in the classic heavy metal sound.
FETID ZOMBIE is the brainchild of Mark Riddick, and he has put out dozens of releases through the years. Mostly splits with bands from around the world, in addition to 6 full length albums. Now it's 5 years since his last full length was released. He has once again teamed up with a whole gang of musicians (I'm not going to bore you with any names here).
This is an interesting album..
Published: July 22

ELECTRIC SIX: Streets Of Gold
Cleopatra Records on July 30 - LP, CD, Digital
This is a typical covers album, and probably done just because they didn't have anything better to do during the pandemic. A few songs are good, while too many of these songs are not so interesting to me. Yes, there's even a couple of songs that actually sucks. But that's just my taste of course. And I might also add that I have just heard a handful of these songs before.
I must say that they have really covered a wide range of different genres here. It's mainly different kinds of pop and rock though. Usually they are said to play garage rock, so they have absolutely went on a wild ride here. We get covers by artists like INXS, Roky Erickson, The JAM, FLEETWOOD MAC, Alice Cooper and KISS, to name a few. The most funny thing is that they also cover 2 of their own songs, haha!
Best song is "Strutter" by KISS.
Published: July 22

TURBOSNAKE: Cold Blooded
RFL Records on July 30 - CD, Digital
Here's another band for those of you who want the sound of L.A. in the 80s. And they presents a very strong material on this 6-track EP. I really like these songs! And I'm pretty sure that you will like it too.
TURBOSNAKE began as a project in April 2020 out of boredom. The songs came to life from the love of classic hair metal with big hooks, heavy guitars and catchy melodies. The singer was on his hand influenced by screamers like Sebastian Bach and Axl Rose.
They deliver their songs with lots of passion and energy, and the sound is very old school.
Published: July 22

MOJO ALICE: Liquid Sin
RFL Records - Digital
MOJO ALICE comes from New Zealand, and this is their debut album. They mix good old dirty hard rock with classic rock and blues rock. And that drink my friend tastes very good to me. They seems to do this with a lot of passion and the right attitude. You should definitely check them out.
I don't really know what else to say..
Published: July 22

PURGATORY LINE: Purgatory Line
Self released - CD, Digital
This self titled debut from PURGATORY LINE is said to blend elements of SOUNDGARDEN, ALICE IN CHAINS and IRON MAIDEN. I can absolutely hear influences of the 2 first at least, because this sounds like something from Seattle in the early 90s. These guys are not from Seattle though, but from Iowa and Chicago. They are doing a good job here though, so if you are into grunge and similar alternative rock, then this album could be worth a try.
PURGATORY LINE have that dark and heavy sound that was very common in the alternative scene in the 90s. At least when it comes to the American bands. And when it comes to the lyrics, the album is said to be about the internal and external struggles we go through, the ways we internalize and how we get through them.
Published: July 22

MUDHONEY: Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge - 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (reissue)
Sub Pop on July 23 - 2LP, 2CD, Digital
"Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge" is the second album from Seattle's alternative rockers MUDHONEY, and it was originally released 30 years ago. To celebrate the anniversary they release a deluxe version with a extra disc, which is filled with as much as 15 extra tracks, and 7 of them are previously unreleased. That gives us a total of 29 tracks, which last for as long as 84:35 minutes. So you better be a hardcore fan of the band if you are going to listen to this edition.
MUDHONEY have a dirty and raw rock sound that makes me think of old garage rock, and sometimes The STOOGES or something from the 60s. But then there is that alternative touch too, their own little touch. Many of all these songs sounds good to me, so I don't have anything else to add.
Cool rock for alternative people.
Published: July 22

Despotz Records - Digital single
I might have said it before, but SKARLETT RIOT are currently one of the most interesting modern metal bands that we have today. Their songs are strong and powerful, as well as catchy.
The new single, "Underwater", is taken from their third and latest album, "Invicta", which was released in May. It fits perfect to the description that I just gave, and is just 1 of many great songs that they have made. Check out!
Published: July 21

MYSTERY: Rock Revolution
Metalapolis Records - Digital single
MYSTERY release another single from their upcoming album, "Live Life Loud", which will be released in the end of August. And the Australians continue to give us another pretty strong song. This band is absolutely worth checking out. Especially if you like your hard rock with a party vibe, which I think that this song have somehow.
Published: July 21

ETERNAL FLIGHT: Will We Rise Again
Metalapolis Records - Digital single
"Will We Rise Again" comes from ETERNAL FLIGHT's upcoming album, "SurVive", which will be released on September 17.
The band was formed in 2001 from the ashes of DREAM CHILD. They play melodic power metal with a hint of progressive metal.
This song is actually a bit odd with all it's different ingredients, but it has a strong chorus at least, so I guess that I like it somehow.
Published: July 21

ANIMS: Freedom
Self released - Digital single
This is the first single from ANIMA, which is taken from their debut album, "God Is A Witness", which is scheduled for a digital release on August 6.
The Italian band is led by former DANGER ZONE and CRYING STEEL guitarist Francesco Di Nicola. Their music is labeled as "hard n heavy", and sure this song is heavy, but the vocals is melodic. I would say that it's some kind of heavy metal in the heavier league, but not doom heavy.
It's a good song anyway, so maybe you should give it a try?
Published: July 21

DANTALION: Time To Pass Away
Darkwoods on July 31 - CD
DANTALION are here to bring chaos, destruction and total darkness. This is pure old school black metal like it was meant to be. No atmospheric or orchestral pieces here. Just a raw noise.
This is the 8th album from these Spanish veterans, where they deliver 8 tracks in 40 minutes. It's very old school and raw, but yet very powerful and strong material. You have to check this out!
Published: July 20

XALPEN: Sawken Xo On (reissue)
Black Lodge Records on July 30 - CD, LP, Digital
This is like a wall of black metal chaos coming right at you. They know how to steer it right though. It's brutal and noisey, but done with total control. Yet they're constantly on the border to being too chaotic and extreme for me, so I'm actually never really sure if I like it or not. Which you can see as something interesting of course. There's no doubt that these guys know how to do this stuff though.
XALPEN comes from Chile, and is a duo formed in 2014. They have released a few records since 2016, and it seems like "Sawken Xo On" was released last year. Not really sure why they re-release it already now, but maybe it's a international release this time or something like that?
If you want something brutal and extreme, then this could be something for you.
Published: July 20

DRAGON'S KISS: Barbarians Of The Wasteland (reissue)
Firecum Records on July 26 - LP
Really good heavy metal is what we get from this band. I think of something like early ACCEPT and BULLET for example, and they have the same kind of screaming vocals as those 2 bands. They're influenced by classic heavy metal and US speed metal from the 80s.
"Barbarians Of The Wasteland" is the debut album from DRAGON'S KISS, and it was originally released in 2014 via Killer Metal Records. It will now be re-released on vinyl via Portugese label Firecum Records.
DRAGON'S KISS features the duo Hugo Conim (DAWNRIDER, SON OF CAIN, CLOCKWORK BOYS) and Adam Neal (SAVAGE MASTER, HOOKERS, ex- NASHVILLE PUSSY). A new EP, "The Last Survivors", will be released in October.
Published: July 19

CATACOMB: Hallucinated Mountains
XenoKorp - Digital single
After 20 years of silence, Lovecraftian death metallers CATACOMB are back again, and are currently rewriting and re-recording their 1993 demo, "In the Maze of Kadath", which will be released as "Back to Unknown Kadath" on December 10.
To celebrate the band's 30th anniversary, they have released a first taste of the new record, the song "Hallucinated Mountains". And this is a very promising song in the old-school way that you absolutely should check out.
Not much to add there..
Published: July 19

CANKER: Exquisite Tenderness (reissue)
Xtreem Music - CD
This Spanish band began as APOCALYPSE in the late 80s, changed the name to POST MORTEM and released a demo, and then to CANKER (as there already was a band named POST MORTEM in Madrid). The first demo as CANKER was released in 1991, and their debut album in 1994. Their second album, "Exquisites Tenderness", was released in 1997. After this album and some touring, the band took a break. In 2005 they were back again, and recorded a new album, "Earthquake", which wasn't released until many years later.
The second album is now being re-released with the corrected title "Exquisite Tenderness" and new artwork. We also get 2 bonus tracks recorded live in 1995.
It sounds like they blend in some technical thrash metal in their death metal. Think of bands like DEATH, CARCASS and PESTILENCE for example. If you like that, then you should absolutely try this band. It sounds like they know what they are doing anyway, so there's no need to complain.
CANKER is by the way back again with new members, and are ready to record new material and play live as much as possible.
Published: July 19

The BAND REPENT: Unbreachable/War
Self released - Digital singles
The BAND REPENT is a thrash metal band from Casper, Wyoming, USA, formed on August 1, 2019. Their first single, "1,000 Years", was released just a few months later. And here we have 2 more singles - "Unbreachable" was released earlier this month, and "War" was released in January. The first song is heavier, while the second have some more energy, even though it's pretty heavy too. Both songs are o.k., but not much else.
Published: July 19

Tony Stevens SLOW RIDE: Re-Vamped
Sing Song Music on July 23 - Digital
Tony Stevens was the original bassist for FOGHAT (which you might have heard of before?), and this solo band is named after 1 of FOGHAT's most famous songs. The music here is rythm based blues rock. There's some cool numbers here. But also a few that are a bit silly. Like "Heavy Weather", which sounds more like funky disco, and "Pull Me In", which sounds like SANTANA or something. But in general it could be worth a try if you're into blues rock.
Most of the compositions are their own original material, but there's also some covers: "Subterranean Homesick Blues" by Bob Dylan, "Stand Together" by Pete Townsend, "Hoochie Coochie Man" by Willie Dixon and FOGHAT's "Slow Ride" (of course).
Published: July 18

TANTRIC: The Sum Of All Things
Cleopatra Records on July 23 - CD, 2LP, Digital
Is this band for real? Pathetic love songs and modern rock that probably fits better for pop kids who listen to VOLBEAT. They try so hard, but not even when they play darker and heavier it works for me. But it's especially those slower and more melodic songs that I have a problem with. Sorry guys, but I'm the totally wrong man for this.
TANTRIC's music is some kind of alternative hard rock/metal, and it seems like they have been around for over 20 years. It's often melodic, while they try to play powerful.
Published: July 18

PLATENS: Of Poetry And Silent Mastery
Art Of Melody Music/Burning Minds Music Group on July 23 and Japanese edition (with 2 bonus tracks) on July 21 via Marquee/Avalaon - CD
This project is the brainchild of Italian vocalist, producer, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Dario Grillo, who decided to continue the legacy started with the first 2 albums, "Between Two Horizons" (2004) and "Out Of The World" (2014). And what we get is the finest blend of melodic rock, AOR and hard rock - I simply call it melodic hard rock though.
This is said to be the band's strongest effort so far, and I'm willing to agree, because this album is excellent! More or less every song is fantastic (except for a couple of slow songs). So if you have any interest at all in this kind of music, then this is simply a must to check out.
Published: July 17

John Dallas: Anymore
Sneakout Records/Burning Minds Music Group - Digital single
This is a catchy and melodic sleaze rocker with a touch of the 80s that is very easy to like. So you should check this out of course, because I'm sure that you will like it. And I don't have much else to add about this song..
John Dallas is an Italian singer, and this song is the second single from his new studio album, "Love & Glory", which will be in stores on September 24.
Published: July 17

The ROYAL BEGGARS: Jokers & Chainsmokers
Desert Rambler Recordings on July 16 - CD, Digital
MTV Unplugged is back! No, but if you like acoustic rock, then this 6-track EP could be something for you. It's not the most action-filled songs when it comes to the speed, but it's yet catchy and totally o.k. to me.
The ROYAL BEGGARS are 4 men from Göteborg, Sweden. They decided to bring a couple of acoustic guitars and a case of beer to the studio to record some songs. The result has 1 foot in rock n roll and the other in country, with influences from ROLLING STONES, GUNS N' ROSES and Waylon Jennings. We get both rockers and ballads about having a good time.
Published: July 16

RAMPART: WWII - Memories For The Future
Sleaszy Rider Records - CD
RAMPART is a Bulgarian heavy metal band, and this is their fifth album. I have actually reviewed them here before, when their last album, "Codex Metalum", was released in 2016. Then I complained a little about the vocals and something that I thought sounded like a musical box for children. Well, this new album is at least free from that last thing. The vocals might be a little bit better, but now I think I would like a screamer on vocals instead. Something like Bruce Dickinson (IRON MAIDEN, ex-SAMSON) for example - That would have been really cool, and could really take them to the next level.
Their music is a pretty traditional kind of heavy metal, so I don't think I have to explain the sound for you, as you should know that sound. The lyrics on this album is about the less known historical facts about World War 2.
This is good, but it could have been really good instead.
Published: July 16

L.A. GUNS: Cocked And Loaded Live
Frontiers Music Srl - CD, Digital (out now), 2LP (Aug. 6)
"Cocked And Loaded" was the second album from L.A. GUNS, and it was released in 1989. I remember that I got it on a cassette (with BONFIRE on the a-side) from an uncle (r.i.p), and it was much darker than all the other sleaze rock bands that I had heard then. Really good though, and I still have that cassette.
Now that I hear those songs again on this new live recording, it doesn't sound so dark as I remember it. I think of bands like GUNS N' ROSES and MÖTLEY CRÜE, even though L.A. GUNS have their own sound. Still damn good after all these years! No doubt about that!
The story behind this live recording is that in November 2020, L.A. GUNS wanted to get together and do one of the things they love most, which is play a live show. The band announced a special gig at the Fremont Country Club in Las Vegas, NV that would celebrate the 31st anniversary of their beloved album "Cocked and Loaded". The show was streamed worldwide to fans in the comfort of their own homes. And what they got was all the songs from the mentioned album, but also a newer song, "Speed".
Published: July 15

The MUSLIMS: Fuck These Fucking Fascists
Epitaph Records - Digital single
Epitaph Records have signed The MUSLIMS. Which is an all-queer, black and brown Muslim punk band, who formed in 2017 and has released 3 albums and 1 EP. They take inspiration from classic punk as well as afro punk roots, and mix hardcore, rock-rap fusion, political satire and shared experiences as multi-racial Muslims. The MUSLIMS have a lot to say, and they are not afraid of hurting any feelings in the process.
That might of course sound interesting, but what about this little song then and the music itself? Well, I must say that this is a very good punk rocker. Political but yet catchy as hell. Angry but yet melodic. This is absolutely worth a try!
Published: July 15

ARCHANGEL A.D.: Casus Belli
Self released on July 23 - Digital
ARCHANGEL A.D. deliver powerful mid-tempo thrash metal in the old school way, and it sounds good. A few more fast songs like the first track would not have hurt though, because as it is now it's more or less the same tempo all the way. But suddenly they decide to play something else instead, and it's just totally useless crap that doesn't belong here. And there's 2 of these useless pieces - One is a silent piece on bass, while the other sounds like an energetic Spanish folk song. Another song that isn't so good is the dark and slow last track.
ARCHANGEL A.D. formed in 2015, and released their first EP, "Warband", in the summer of 2018.
Published: July 15

Rough Trade Records - Digital single
AMYL AND THE SNIFFERS almost blew me off the chair a few years ago with their single "Monsoon Rock". The self titled album was also really good. I have been waiting since then for some new stuff. And now finally a new single is here, which is the first from their upcoming second album, "Comfort To Me", due on September 10.
Well, here we have another good punk rocker that I like, so I look forward to hear the new album. But I guess there will be 1 or 2 more singles before that, which I also look forward to hear of course.
Published: July 15

CRYPT MONARCH: The Necronaut
Electric Valley Records on July 23 - LP, Digital
Doom/stoner metal from Costa Rica. And this is a pretty new band, formed about a year ago. On this debut the power trio gives us a lesson in crushing riffs and heaviness. There's just 3 tracks, but they are from 10 to 15:41 minutes. During that time they take us on a musical journey that I guess most fans of everything heavy are going to like.
Published: July 14

GODSLAVE: Positive Aggressive
Metalville Records on July 23 - CD, LP
GODSLAVE blend catchy melodies with aggression. And when it comes to the lyrics, every song seems to be a statement to get yourself in control - If something sucks, then do something about it instead of complaining. The music they play is thrash metal, and they do it really good, so I don't have anything to complain about.
I don't really know who I should compare this band with, but I would guess that most fans of thrash metal will like this anyway.
Published: July 13

ERADICATOR: Influence Denied
Metalville Records on July 23 - CD, LP
"Influence Denied" is ERADICATOR's fifth album, where they combine the classic San Francisco Bay Area sound (SLAYER for example) with the Teutonic/German scene (KREATOR for example).
What we get is simply a thrash metal fist straight in the face. And they are just as good as any other thrash band, old or new. So just hit me, I like it.
I'm not really sure what else there is to say..
Published: July 13

NECROGOD: In Extremis - Album
Transcending Obscurity Records on July 23 - LP, CD, Digital
Yes, this is yet another band with Swedish death metaller Rogga Johansson (PAGANIZER, REVOLTING, EYE OF PURGATORY etc etc). This time he has teamed up with someone called "The Master Butcher" (MORBID STENCH, INSEPULTO). The music is groovy and heavy, with influences from both the Swedish and American scene. This is a true neck-breaker.
Rogga handle guitar, bass and drum programming, while The Butcher take care of the vocals. And that vocals is brutal, while the music is built on thought-out structures, tempo changes, build-ups, solos and even traces of sick melodies. It might not be the best death metal that I have heard, but it sure ain't bad.
Published: July 12

Rockshots Records on July 16 - CD, Digital
NOTHING SACRED was one of the first Australian thrash/speed metal bands. They formed in Melbourne in 1983, and released a EP and an album before they disbanded in 1989. The members has since then played with bands like HOBBS' ANGEL OF DEATH and SEIZURE.
In 2012 they reunited for a series of 30th anniversary shows. But despite the succees, the band agreed not to continue with NOTHING SACRED. But they changed their mind after just a few years, and re-activated the band in 2015. There have been a few changes in the lineup through the years, but now their first new album in over 30 years is ready to be released.
"No Gods" includes 8 brand new tracks, as well as 2 that they wrote in the late 80s for an album that was never released. I would say that they have their own sound, but it sounds good anyway.
Published: July 12

IT'S A RIOT: New Impressions Fast
Self released - CD, Digital
IT'S A RIOT comes from Umeå in northern Sweden. A city that have given us many great punk and hardcore bands through the years. This band was formed in 2016, and the members also play with The SOCIAL BOMBS, KARYKATUR and GRAND DELUSION. "New Impressions Fast" is their 4th record.
They deliver 10 songs in 25 minutes, and it's catchy and energetic punk that we get. I would guess that they're mainly influenced by British bands. It's much pogo and drink beer in their sound, if you get what I mean, as well as sing-along choruses.
It's absolutely not bad, but hardly something unique. I think that the punks will like this though, because they usually like their music the good old way (at least old farts like me).
Published: July 12

Inverse Records - Digital
Goth rock and doom metal might have more in-common than you think. And to prove that, this Russian band is flirting with both genres, like it was the most obvious thing to do. And I must say that in this case it works perfect. It's a melancholy darkness that crawls under the skin, while they flow easily between goth and doom/rock and metal.
INNER MISSING is hardly a new band. This is as a matter of fact their 8th studio album. They formed in 2008, and seems to be a duo featuring Sigmund and Melaer.
Published: July 11

BLACK REUSS: Metamorphosis
Black Reuss Music - Digital
Liechtenstein-based doom metal/dark rock band BLACK REUSS has released its debut album, "Metamorphosis". It's melancholy and heavy, raw and unfiltered. There's a gothic darkness over these songs, but backed up by metal guitars.
I would guess that this could fit fans of doom as well as goth and dark rock. I like what I hear anyway, and would recomend you to give them a try.
Published: July 11

ANKHARA: Premonición
Art Gates Records on July 16
ANKHARA is a 5-piece heavy metal band from Madrid, who started back in 1995 already. They are said to be one of the biggest names in the Spanish heavy metal scene. They split up in 2004 though, but was back again in 2013.
Well, here's another one of these heavy metal bands that choose to sing in Spanish. But they seems to do it with real passion, and the songs are not exactly weaker because of that little thing. So give it a try.
Published: July 11

VILE A SIN: Taste The Blood
Cleopatra Records - Digital single
VILE A SIN is a heavy/thrash/gothic metal band from Los Angeles, formed in 2013. They have released a few singles, 1 EP (2017) and 1 full length album (2019). "Taste The Blood" is their latest release, and this is most of all a gothic metal story. Not much heavy or thrash metal here. It's a pretty o.k. song, so give it a try.
Published: July 10

KASTIELL: Brave New World
Self released - Digital single
They call this post hardcore. But to me it sounds more like nu metal. I guess it's more or less the same in some cases.
KASTIELL came to life in 2016, and released a EP the same year. "Brave New World" is their first release since then. It's also the first single from a new EP, that will be released in late 2021.
The Perth band pay homage to the post hardcore from the mid to late 2000s, with all the typical ingredients: soaring vocal melodies, hooky guitars and breakdowns. They mention bands like A DAY TO REMEMBER, THRICE nad RISE AGAINST as their influences.
Published: July 10

KAASIN: Hidden
Pride & Joy Music - Digital single
"Hidden" is the first single from KAASIN's upcoming debut album.
The Norwegian band was founded by guitarist Jo Henning Kaasin (COME TASTE THE BAND, Joe Lynn Turner, Glenn Hughes, Doogie White, Bernie Marsden) when his band COME TASTE THE BAND was put on ice after 23 years. Jo is joined by his cousin Staale Kaasin (SPIDER, 2020VISION) on bass, and Jan Thore Grefstad (SAINT DEAMON, HIGHLAND GLORY, TNT) on vocals. Additional musicians are Benjamin Dehli on hammond organ/analog synth, and Chris Brush on drums.
The band has previously released 2 singles in 2020, "Runaway Train" and "Revelation". Both songs were so good that I wrote that they are a must to check out, so they have set the standard very high. This song is absolutely not bad either, so I really look forward to hear that album.
Published: July 10

The HORNETS: Heavier Than A Stone
Go Down Records on July 16 - LP
For some reason they call this garage rock. But according to me this is not energetic enough to be called garage rock. To me most of these songs sounds more like power pop or catchy rock n roll from the 70s. It's damn good though, so no problem there anyway. And sure, once in a while there's some more action too.
This Italian band was formed in September 2016 out of boredom and to have some fun. And this summer their debut album, "Heavier Than A Stone", will be released. Which is an album that you really should check out if you like rock n roll with good melodies.
Published: July 9

BOTTOMLESS: Bottomless
Spikerot Records on July 16 - CD, LP, Digital
BOTTOMLESS features members of MESSA and ASSUMPTION etc., and this is their debut album. The trio deliver doom metal in the vein of their heroes BLACK SABBATH, SAINT VITUS, PENTAGRAM, TROUBLE and The OBSESSED. It's heavy of course, but they don't forget the swing. With that I mean that it's catchy and not just heavy as shit. I like it.
Published: July 9

PRAYER LINE: Thrill Me, Lick Me, Fuck Me, Kill Me
Self released on July 16 - 12" EP, Digital EP
I guess that we can call this some kind of horror punk. And they have some good songs here, so it could be worth a try for fans of that genre. Just listen to songs like "Thrill Me" and "Night Of The Demons" for example, or something heavier like "Lick Me" - Very good! Stuff like "Poem" and "Ending" is totally useless though. So avoid that.
This band play a little harder kind of horror punk, which is completely free from oh-oh-oh choirs and sing-along friendly choruses like MISFITS. While previous releases was pure horror punk, they have now added a touch of crossover thrash. It's yet catchy though.
This 6-track EP is the follow up to their debut album, "Drink The Blood", which was released in April of 2019.
Published: July 8

ROYAL HUNT: Paper Blood (reissue)
Night Of The Vinyl Dead/Northpoint Productions - 2LP, CD
It's not such a wild guess that these guys have been listening to Yngwie Malmsteen and RAINBOW after Ronnie James Dio (rip) left the band. It's really good stuff of course, except the fact that there's too many instrumental songs. 1 would be o.k., but 3 is too much for my taste. Didn't they have enough lyrics?
A closer description of their sound would be that they actually blend 80s hard rock, progressive metal and power metal. There's also lots of keyboards in these songs.
This album was originally released in 2005, but has now been re-released as a double vinyl (with 2 bonus tracks) and DigiPak CD (with 4 bonus tracks). Both are collector's and limited editions.
Published: July 8

RUBICON: Demonstar
Rock City Music Label on July 16 - CD
"Demonstar" is the second album from this Russian metal band, which also includes members from France and USA nowadays. Their music is based on classic heavy and power metal, but they are not afraid to throw in some other influences. It's both hard and heavy, as well as modern and melodic, even though they are somehow in their own league.
There's 11 songs here, but it feels like this album last for an eternity. There's both better and less interesting moments. It's worth a try though.
Published: July 8

WHITE CRONE: Stargazer
Self released on July 9 - Digital single
You got to have a lot of courage if you want to make a cover of a song with Ronnie James Dio on vocals. And you better be really good at singing too of course. These things are not a problem for this lady though. She sing this RAINBOW classic without any problem at all, and do it almost as good as Dio himself. Impressive! Especially as the song is 9 minutes long.
As you might know already, "Stargazer" is one of the more epic songs from the magnificent RAINBOW album "Rising". Which to me (and many others) is the best album they ever made.
Based out of Portland, Oregon, WHITE CRONE is the metal brainchild of award winning blues artist and bassist/vocalist Lisa Mann. This is mostly a 1-woman project and a tribute to the metal music she grew up with in the 80s.
Published: July 8

UNDERBALL: The Worst Is Yet To Cum
Self released on July 16 - Digital
"The Worst Is Yet To Cum" is the debut album from this Italian thrash/hardcore band, who formed in Rome in 2015, and has previously released a self titled EP. They play loud and powerful, and their lyrics is not of the clean kind. For example we have song titles like "Squirt On My Face" and "Dildo". Probably funny stuff, but I have not really listened to what the singer yell about. The music sounds good though, so if you like thrash metal and have nothing against some elements of hardcore and/or dirty lyrics, then this is something that you should check out.
If I would try to describe their sound, then I would say that it's like a heavier ZEKE, with more thrash metal than speed punk. Not sure if that makes you more intelligent. ZEKE were a really cool American band though, and they played very fast and loud punk.
Published: July 7

TOWARDS ATLANTIS LIGHTS: When The Ashes Devoured The Sun
Melancholic Realm Productions on July 16 - CD, Digital
TOWARDS ATLANTIS LIGHTS deliver heavy doom/death metal with a dark cloud over it. This is hardly a party album. It's slow and atmospheric, and some of the "songs" last for almost 16 minutes. I soon get more tired than I already am. This is not an album for me.
This band is a collaboration between Ivan Zara (VOID OF SILENCE), Kostas Panagiotou (PANTHEIST), Riccardo Veronese (APHONIC THRENODY) and Ivano Olivieri. The band's first album, "Dust of Aeons", was released by Indian underground label Transcending Obscurity in 2018. After reading my review of that album, I can say that I wasn't so impressed that time either.
Published: July 7

Pride & Joy Music on July 16 - CD
STRŸKENINE entered the rock scene in 2015, with influences from classic melodic rock, modern pop and metal. The band was formed in the southern suburbs of Stockholm, Sweden.
What makes this band special is that they add some young attitude and adrenaline to their songs, which they felt was missing in modern melodic rock.
Their first record was a EP, "Nowhere To Run", which was released in 2018. And now they are getting ready to unleash their debut album, which sounds really good to me. Their sound is a bit heavier and more powerful, and they have lots of really good songs. This is a perfect combination of the 80s sound and today's sound.
There's obviously some hope for the new generation. But I think that this can go as melodic hard rock actually, and not just melodic rock.
Published: July 7

VELVET INSANE: Rock 'N' Roll Glitter Suit
Wild Kingdom Records on July 16 - CD, LP
This band comes from Östersund, Sweden, and are one of the few bands in this country that I know of who play good old glam rock nowadays. The songs are really catchy with a party vibe, just like it should be. People who miss the British glam rockers from the early 70s should be happy to hear this, because they are really good, and it seems to be done with heart and soul. But any fan of good rock n roll should like this.
VELVET INSANE has been touring in Europe, Japan, USA and Australia. They seems to be extra popular in Spain and UK.
"Rock 'N' Roll Glitter Suit" was produced by DIAMOND DOGS frontman Sulo. And the Swedish rock legends Dregen (BACKYARD BABIES, The HELLACOPTERS) and Nicke Andersson (The HELLACOPTERS, LUCIFER, IMPERIAL STATE ELECTRIC, ENTOMBED) are doing a guest apperance on "Backstreet Liberace".
Published: July 6

World Without End: An Underground Tribute To Samhain
Black Donut Records on July 9 - CD, Digital
SAMHAIN was formed by Glenn Danzig when The MISFITS split up in 1983. They released a few records before they split up in 1987, but has apparently reunited temporarily 4 times according to Wikipedia. And as we all know, Glenn formed DANZIG after that.
SAMHAIN has always been the lesser known cousin. While both MISFITS and DANZIG have got tribute albums, I don't think that there have ever been a tribute to SAMHAIN. Not that I know of anyway. But now some people decided that it was time to change that. So here we have a whole album with SAMHAIN covers by 12 underground bands. Most of them are, as far as I know, pretty true to the original versions. And most of them are doing a really good job.
The music is best described as occult death rock and horror punk.
Published: July 5

SIGN X: Back To Eden
Pride & Joy Music - Digital single
German hard rockers SIGN X released their debut album, "Like A Fire", in December 2019. They are now working on the follow up to that album, which they plan to release in February next year. The song "Back To Eden" is of course a first taste of the upcoming album.
This song is very symphonic/orchestral. But otherwise a typical melodic hard rock song. And this is a very good song, so you should absolutely give it a try.
Published: July 5

Self released on July 9 - Digital album
RAT KING was formed in 2016 in Evansville, USA inspired by heavy forefathers like BLACK SABBATH, WINDHAND, CONAN, ELECTRIC WIZARD, SLEEP and KYUSS. These people make it even darker though, but it's still catchy enough to be really good. If you're a fan of everything that's loud and heavy, then you should really check out this band.
9 songs is what we get here, and there isn't much to complain about. That would be that last stupid thing then. And we all know that this should be available on vinyl as well, and not just digital (but vinyl cost a lot of money of course).
Published: July 5

MAYHEM: Atavistic Black Disorder/Kommando
Century Media on July 9 - LP+CD Box Set, LP, CD, Digital
I guess that MAYHEM don't need any presentation, they are simply legends.
Their latest album, "Daemon", was released in 2019. Then came a pandemic and stopped them from touring for the album. But instead of just sit and wait for better days (which is not so black metal I guess), the band release this 7-track EP, which consist of 3 non-album tracks from the "Daemon" sessions and 4 punk covers from the same sessions.
The 3 first tracks are pure Norwegian black metal, and nothing unusual. But the most funny thing with this EP is those punk covers, as I am a fan of punk. They are doing pretty cool versions actually, and they are not doing them as black metal songs. I like it! But o.k., their own songs are pretty good too.
Of the 3 non-album songs, "Voces Ab Alta" is previously unreleased. The bands that they do covers of are DEAD KENNEDYS, DISCHARGE, RAMONES and RUDIMENTARY PENI.
Published: July 5


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