The reviews are on a 5 star scale.
Amber - 'Lovesaken' (Halo of Flies)
Genre: Post Metal
Lovesaken is the first full-length from Maburg, Germany's post-metal outfit Amber, following a promising self-titled EP released in 2012. The five-piece combine the strange, elliptical songs structures favored by hands like Isis with heavy, exploratory and occasionally sludgy riffs, delivered with a post-hardcore grandness that recalls Cult of Luna.
While much of the instrumental is solid, even monumental in places, it is the light and ethereal quality of the vocals and occasional guitar experiment that defines Lovesaken. Each song on the five-track record is vast and full, most clocking in around six minutes and the title track reaching ten and a half. Each track listens like a novella, unraveling at its own pace and making the most of the time and weight Amber allow. If their debut piqued listeners' interests, Lovesaken seals the deal.
The Amenta – 'Flesh is Heir' (Listenable)'
Genre: Industrial Death Metal
Aussie extremists The Amenta have unleashed Flesh is Heir, their third full length and first since 2008. Moving away from the blackened aspects of previous albums, The Amenta are now firmly based in industrial death metal territory.
Mechanical samples and a general robotic feel augment their death metal machinations. Powerful, crunchy riffs steamroll the listener while multi-textured vocals scream and howl. The kick drum is especially prominent and speedy, following the riffs as is common now. It’s exquisitely executed and plays to the sort of aspects young metalheads are looking for. Flesh is Heir is not your boring old death metal, yet neither is it overly complicated.
Blowsight - 'Life & Death' (Eclipse)
Genre: Hard Rock
The Swedish band Blowsight has a gift for writing radio friendly hard rock, and their latest album Life & Death is packed with potential chart-toppers. Their harder edged tracks like "This Pain" use some harsh vocals, and on the other side of the coin they also are able to pull off ballads.
In addition to crunchy guitars, Blowsight utilize electronic elements for added atmosphere, although sometimes a bit too much for my liking. If you're a rock or hard rock fan, you'll find plenty to like with Life & Death. Nick Red is a step above the usual generic hard rock vocalist, and Blowsight know to write catchy, memorable songs.
Cauldron - 'Tomorrow’s Lost' (Earache)
Genre: Traditional/Thrash Metal
Tomorrow’s Lost, the third album from Toronto traditional metal outfit Cauldron, is unfortunately more distinguished by what it’s not than by what it is. It’s not a great album. It’s also not a bad album. It’s not a departure from what Cauldron has produced before, which is great if you think metal was born and died in 1983. It’s also not loud enough, which is particularly strange or a metal album.
But the elements are basically there, which means if you see Cauldron at your local club, and have had more than your share of PBRs, you might well think these songs are great. And that’s what ultimately makes Tomorrow’s Lost a disappointment: the sense that Cauldron can create music that isn’t mediocre and middle-of-the-road.
(Karen A. Mann)
Control Human Delete – 'The Prime Mover' (Code 666)
Genre: Post Black Metal
Seven years between releases can be an eternity in an ever-evolving metal community. The Danish post-black industrial metal outfit Control Human Delete have crafted a dark complex record with their latest release The Prime Mover. Despite lineup changes and a hectic and nerve wracking creation process, it has enabled them to push their song writing boundaries even further.
There are influences of Samael and Aborym in Control Human Delete’s sound. They do an excellent job of adding industrial elements without losing focus of their metal roots. A drum machine is utilized to the band’s detriment. A live drummer would give their sound a more organic feel. The structures are tight, but the songs are not overly memorable.
Genre: Hard Rock
For their 18th studio release, certified rock legends Deep Purple still have an impressive number of riffs and tunes up their sleeves. The strong grooves and exotic licks of “Weirdistan” and “Out of Hand” are high points from the record, as is the laid back restraint of “Blood From A Stone,” which features some amazing solo work from guitarist Steve Morse and keyboard player Don Airey. Legendary producer Bob Ezrin gives the album a modern, yet still raw and rough sheen, while vocalist Ian Gillian sounds strong as he wisely sticks to a lower register.
Horrible album art and title aside, Now What?! is a far better release than this reviewer expected, and shows that despite being 40 plus years into their career, Deep Purple can still pump out a strong LP.
Earthling - 'Dark Path' (Forcefield)
Genre: Blackened Crust
Hailing from Harrisonburg, Va., Earthling’s first full length album gallops at break-neck speed through a crusty, blackened, desolate musical landscape.
Dark Path is composed mostly of songs that have been recorded before, either on one of the band’s two demos, or on their recent split single with Valkyrie (in which Fary plays bass). That’s good because the songs are solid, and while they lose a bit of rawness, they gain significant clarity. But hearing these re-worked songs makes me really eager to hear something new from this ferocious band.
(Karen A. Mann)
F.K.Ü – '4: Rise of the Mosh Mongers' (Napalm)
Genre: Thrash Metal
The latest release from F.K.Ü, 4: Rise of the Mosh Mongers, made me squeal with glee. I love F.K.Ü, and this release is an essential addition to both fans' collections and thrashers' collections in general.
A glorious testament to the nature of thrash, this band does not reconstruct a genre, does not play by listening to the masters, they are masters; they were there in the early days. This album is filled with good hooks and lyrics that get into your head at first listen, thanks to the nice pairing of lyric, riff and rhythm. This is pure thrashing excellence.
Gloomball - 'The Distance' (SPV)
Genre: Hard Rock
Germany's Gloomball straddle the line between hard rock and metal on their debut album The Distance. The songs are radio-friendly with big melodies and memorable choruses. Songs like "Blown Away And Gone" have rougher vocals and more of an edge while still keep that catchiness factor.
The band also busts out a cover version of Robert Tepper's "No Easy Way Out" from Rocky IV. It's pretty cheesy, but Gloomball has fun with it. Their sound is similar to a lot of hard rock bands, and while the songs are good, gaining a foothold in such a crowded marketplace will be an uphill battle.
Grime – 'Deteriorate' (Forcefield)
Genre: Sludge Metal
Italy’s Grime will never be accused of false advertisement. Sludge-matted and achingly unsanitary, their sound is one of malaise and decay, of down-tempo filth with a doom-grin and limbs carved from hardcore. Their full-length debut is called Deteriorate. It’s an apt title.
Led by the relentless screeching of Marco, Grime work like musical grave-diggers, shoveling out huge chunks of muddied weight at an exhausted pace. Tracks like “Down by the River” and “Pills” groove immensely, sounding burdened, tired, and so easily agitated. An abrasive sit-down, Deteriorate is packed to the gills with all manner of grisly things.