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New Heavy Metal Album Reviews: February 12, 2013

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Sink - 'The Holy Testament' (Svart)

Sink - 'The Holy Testament'
Svart Records

Genre: Black Metal/Drone/Sludge
The CD version of The Holy Testament collects 2011's The Holy Testament along with its sequel The Holy Testament 2, also released separately on vinyl. The Finnish band Sink combine elements of traditional black metal with extended sections of drone and dark ambient with a little sludge mixed in.

It's an atmospheric album and an acquired taste. Both part 1 and 2 are equally strange, mesmerizing and unusual, although I think the first part is slightly stronger. This genre isn't for everyone, but for those who like drone/ambient with doses of black and sludge, Sink will fit the bill nicely.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

Spoken - 'Illusion' (eOne)

Spoken - 'Illusion'
eOne Music

Genre: Hard Rock/Heavy Metal
The long-running Christian band Spoken have landed on a new label, eOne, for their seventh album Illusion. They haven't released a studio album since 2007, and only vocalist Matt Baird and drummer Oliver Crumpton remain from that album.

Illusion blends intensity and melody into a potent package. Baird's vocals range from hardcore barks to melodic singing. The songs are aggressive, but also catchy. The band mixes things up as well, injecting a few other styles into their sound. As their song "Through It All" says, 'we will rise from the ashes again,' and they have.

Rating: 4
(Chad Bowar)

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U.D.O. - 'No Limits' (AFM)

U.D.O. - 'No Limits'
AFM Records

Genre: Traditional Metal
AFM is reissuing U.D.O.'s back catalog as "anniversary editions" with bonus material. Originally released in 1998, No Limits is the typical U.D.O. album with a lot of big hooks, melody, soaring guitar and of course, Mr. Dirkschneider's unmistakable vocal style.

This edition's bonus material includes a live version of "No Limits," a remix of "Azrael" and demos of "Rated X" and "Tough Luck." There's also "The Key," which was a Japanese bonus track on the initial release. Hardcore U.D.O. fans will scoop up these reissues for the bonus material alone, and No Limits is a good representation of the band's sound.

Rating: 3.5
(Chad Bowar)

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U.D.O. - 'Solid' (AFM)

U.D.O. - 'Solid'
AFM Records

Genre: Traditional Metal
Solid was the album released just prior to No Limits, and hit the shelves in 1997. It was U.D.O.'s first record since 1991, as Dirkschneider reunited with Accept and released a few albums with them before resuming U.D.O. The album lives up to it's name, being solid but not spectacular.

There are only three bonus tracks on the anniversary edition: demos of "Mad Dogs and Loaded Guns" and "Warchild" along with a live version of "Independence Day." The fact that it wasn't an Accept album made Solid a letdown for some, but in retrospect it holds up pretty well.

Rating: 3
(Chad Bowar)

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