24/05/19 - Strike Master - Strike Master
Strike Master is a Mexican three piece thrash metal band formed in Mexico City in 2005. To date they have released five studio albums including Up For The Massacre, Vicious Nightmare, Majestic Strike, U.F.T.M (a re-recording of their debut) and most recently a self-released self-titled album in 2017.
This new self-titled release opens with a brooding instrumental entitled “Follow Me” before diving head first intro some old-school thrash on “No Future”. A good dose of frantic riffing with a measure of melody and some spitfire lyrics deliver a decent opener that sets the stage for what is to come. “Boy in the Hole” is in much the same vein although with slightly less melody and even faster lyrics if such a thing is physically possible.
“As I March” begins with a fade in and features a guitar and vocal pairing akin to a combination of Anthrax and Venom. Being the longest track on the album at over five minutes the band give themselves plenty of time to show off their musicianship. The song has several distinct sections each with its own rhythm and feel and the tempo shifts continuously throughout. The next two tracks “Urban Phantasms” and “The Mortarist” return to the short, sweet and brutal arrangement of the opener although the former has some crossover thrash vibes akin to American thrashers Municipal Waste and the latter is darker and much more sinister.
“Anti Aereal Witchunt Battery” follows on 'nicely' by retaining the dramatic yet slightly ominous feel of the previous song before piling on some complicated riffery reminiscent of early Anthrax in places. The bass played in the outro blends seamlessly into the the next track “Chant of Falcons” which also starts on bass before featuring a more hard rock than thrash styled effort which offers a nice change of pace. Still plenty of riffs and solos though with a much slower feel – perhaps what Iron Maiden doing a thrash album would sound like.
After their brief foray into what can only be described as a power-thrash metal hybrid, penultimate song “Machines of Mercy” returns the aggressive style prominent in the rest of the album. Packed with adrenaline fuelled fretwork, immaculate guitar solos and machine gun drumming this one is a real edge of your seat race to a photo finish. And finally “Born Horrible” takes everything we have learnt about Strike Master so far on the album and puts it all into one recording. An epic end to an epic album.
Strike Master is a terrific thrash album: plenty of riffs and solos, progressive bass lines, loads of clever lyrics and hooks, and some savage drums that make you start to sweat just listening to them. I can really hear the 80's thrash sound coming through with a modern twist which really is music to my ears. A thoroughly enjoyable listen for fans of thrash, particularly Anthrax, Slayer and Venom.
Strike Master is out now.
Check it out on Spotify at the link below:
21/05/19 - Seasons - Inner Ruin EP
Seasons is an American five piece metalcore band from Richmond, Virginia. With over fifteen years experience between them and experience playing with bands such as Three Days Grace, Flyleaf and Twenty One Pilots to name a few, Seasons know exactly what they are doing and they do it very very well.
Their latest release Inner Ruin starts strong with “A Cold Night In July” featuring both clean and growled vocals and plenty of riff changes and guitar harmonies to keep even a hard rock/heavy metal fan like myself entertained. “Call Me Karma” albeit slightly less heavy than the opener gradually increases in intensity as the song progresses. With the cleaner vocals and ballad-esque nature of some parts of the track I am somewhat reminded of Bullet For My Valentine too.
“Dead Eyes Alive” on the other hand immediately brings the thunder with a furious drum solo to start. The track boasts both unrelenting drumming throughout and brutal duet style growling courtesy of Randall Sykes and Kent Stewart respectively. Some interesting guitar effects put to good use in the later half of the song build up nicely with a finale that reaches fever pitch.
The title track hearkens back perhaps to early Trivium before the band takes it elsewhere in signature style. Once again the contrast between clean and growled vocals is used to great effect. Some awesome guitar work by Matt Poe and Matt Gregory feature here too although the solo midway through is sadly lost in the mix in my opinion. Otherwise a great song with plenty to keep you guessing. And finally “The Serpent”, probably my favourite track of the EP, showcases some of Chad Pritchett's impressive bass playing. Especially with the recurring main riff between the verses.
Seasons latest EP is a solid effort with more than a few nods to old school metalcore bands such as Bullet For My Valentine and Trivium, especially in terms of arrangement. It was certainly an enjoyable listen and is definitely recommended listening for any discerning modern metal fans.
Inner Ruin is out now.
Check it out on Spotify at the link below: https://open.spotify.com/album/3v8uWUheVF4pFkeqMfLjKF
17/05/19 - Albion Codex - Anguish [Single]
Albion Codex is a five piece hardcore/deathcore band from Sheffield, UK consisting of Danny (bass), Tom (drums), Lewis (vocals), Jordon (lead guitar) and Charlie (rhythm guitar). The band are on the verge of releasing a brand new single, their fourth overall, entitled “Anguish” on the BeheadingTheTraitor YouTube channel. The track also features a guest appearance by Mac Mills from the band Mechromorph.
From the get go Albion Codex wastes no time and gets straight down to business with a thick heavy riff that could easily bring on the apocalypse. Soon after Lewis's death metal vocal delivery certainly packs a punch as the layered guitars of Jordon, Charlie and Danny chug away with gut wrenching finesse. All the while Tom underpins it all with some brutal drumming that only increases in ferocity as the song progresses. Later on in the track the band are joined by Mac Mills, vocalist of the Essex, UK based death metal band Mechromorph. Mac's signature growl adds yet another dynamic to an already well crafted slice of deathcore.
“Anguish” is an unrelenting dose of deathcore in its purest, darkest form. The guitars are loud and unforgiving, the bass cuts straight through the mix just as it should and the drums hold it all together whilst Lewis and Mac's contrasting vocal styles sit perfectly on top. With elements of black and old-school death metal making a subtle appearance too, Albion Codex should be very proud of this effort.
“Anguish” will be released on the 17th May.
Check it out on the BeheadingTheTraitor YouTube channel at 6pm tonight!
14/05/19 - Spreading The Disease - Mindcell EP
Spreading The Disease is an English metal band from Kent and is the brainchild of bassist and backing vocalist Steve Saunders. Formed in 2014, the band has been through a number of lineup changes and to date has released two studio efforts: their debut EP Viral in 2016 and their first full album Insurrection in 2017. On the success of these two offerings Spreading The Disease has recently signed to Surgery Records and has just released their latest EP entitled Mindcell.
“Obsession” pulls no punches and opens the EP in suitably brutal style, a sonic combination of Slipknot aggression, early Disturbed riffage and unexpected melody at the chorus. The breakdown towards the end of the song is particularly head bang worthy. The next track “Voices” on the other hand begins as a more melancholy affair before bursting at the seams with aggressive guitar and more unmistakable Slipknot influences. Connor Russell Snyder's lead vocals at the chorus really demonstrate his range and ability to switch from growled to clean vocals on a hairpin. Jack Apella's drumming prowess is brought to bear in the finale and not an ounce of it is wasted.
“The Anger Inside” begins with what is quite possibly my favourite riff of the EP and the chorus is definitely crying out for audience participation. James Falconer's outro solo following the chorus is technically proficient and well worth a listen albeit a little low in the mix for my taste. Penultimate track “Waves” channels some real metalcore vibes akin to Trivium or early Bullet For My Valentine perhaps. It is good to hear a wide range of influences being put to good use to craft something a little different. And finally “Conflicted” returns to the sheer heaviness of the opener and screams of the bands nu-metal influences with some stellar rhythm and bass playing by Martin Osbourne and Steve Saunders respectively.
Mindcell is everything you would expect from a modern metal band and more, especially one that has taken the time to work on their signature sound. It appears they really have evolved through their several line-ups and picked up a few decent tricks along the way. What will the future hold for such an eclectic band now that they are signed to a label? I for one look forward to finding out.
Mindcell is out now.
Check it out on Spotify at the link below: https://open.spotify.com/album/7sHq3BR2OvZOr3MaInDx1E
10/05/19 - ColdHarbour - Subject & Symmetry EP
ColdHarbour is a three piece rock/grunge band from Norwich, UK featuring Tom Brown on guitar and vocals, Alex Taylor-Thomas Coe on bass and Ian Arnold on the drums. The band infuses their heavy grunge sound with elements of funk, metal and prog. It's an interesting mix but it works really well.
The bands debut six track EP, Subject & Symmetry, is full of surprises. It opens with “Blackest Days” which has the perfect balance of doom-laden riffs in the intro and choruses and clean melodic verses. When Tom's clean vocals first made an appearance after the heavy as hell intro I almost had to double take. I was certainly not expecting the smooth changeover that followed. It sounds like Nirvana covering The Sword, or vice versa, and I love it. In much the same vein as the opener “Hour of the Wolf” takes the level of metal up a notch largely due to some slightly more aggressive vocals and some superb drumming. The breakdown in the second half of the track screams Black Sabbath.
Following a surprise tongue in cheek intro that is sure to make you chuckle “Dorjes' Wish” is a masterclass in drop tuned prog and sees a return to the clean/heavy contrast of the first song. More time signature and tempo changes than you can shake a stick at and I can't get enough. Next track “Somewhere to Call Your Own” begins as a much calmer affair with both Nirvana's “Heart-Shaped Box” and the band REM both instantly springing to mind. Of course this is short-lived as ColdHarbour do what they do best and soon turn it all on it's head.
A particular highlight of the EP for me is penultimate track “Battlestar Spactacular” which is very much Dream Theater inspired I'm sure. Alex's overdriven bass intro is akin to the aforementioned prog metal legends' “Panic Attack” albeit with more distortion. This is where the similarity ends however as the rest of the song heads into uncharted territory with yet more hard grunge sprinkled with clean melodies here and there. Ian's rapid fire drum fills towards the end are also worthy of mention and lead on nicely into the finale “Fall Away”, which is the perfect end to what is overall a great EP.
Subject & Symmetry is an excellent debut effort and is definitely worth checking out for fans of rock, grunge, prog and/or metal or a combination of all four, such is the band's forte. Plenty of riff changes, cool vocal lines and some furious fretwork. Certainly a homage to the band's many influences but in no way overshadowed by them.
Subject & Symmetry is out now.
Check it out on Spotify at the link below: https://open.spotify.com/album/6PB9Hej5jILxkXaMo4LX76