Hot takes on new and recent releases as well as some that we just discovered.
Beastmaker – Eye Of The Storm
With one final EP release (the 11thin less than a year!) Trevor Church winds down the mighty Beastmaker so that his new project, the more traditional metal band Haunt can rise up. The EP series was an amazing feat that ends on a high note with our favorite of the series. Eye Of The Storm combines the best elements of Beastmaker with the new stylings of Haunt to craft a perfect epilogue to the Beastmaker era and prologue to what is to come from Haunt.
Gale – Gale
Arizona band Gale immediately hits you in the face with huge riffs on the opening track of their new self-titled release. Big, thick riffs paired with vocalist Brandon Tutty’s distorted screams make for a formidable follow up to the band’s 2014 release Vol.1. The decimated forest on the cover of the album is a perfect wrapping for this scorched earth sludge release.
Flight – A Leap Through Matter
A fresh slab of late 70s NWOBHM from Norwegian group Flight. The band takes a big leap in both production and song writing on their second release A Leap Through Matter. Flexing their guitar muscle on tracks Reviving Waves and One With The Sun show that the band is comfortable stretching out a tight riff with a solo or two to create a dynamic metal album.
Green Lung – Woodland Rites
The highly anticipated full-length debut from Green Lung lives up to the hype with eight tracks of fuzzed out occult rock. Green Lung brings a slightly more subdued, melodic sound to Woodland Rites which ups the sinister feel of each track without losing their edge. Let The Devil In pulls back just enough to let the hook really grab you before the riff takes over.
Sometimes an album cover is all it takes for me to instantly love a band. Even in the digital age where you only get a thumbnail preview, a good album cover will speak to me no matter the size of the pic. Witchers Creed’s new full-length release Awakened from the tomb… brings that quality doom artwork that signifies this is a release that requires immediate attention. The Swedish band is relatively new to the scene having formed in 2016 shortly after the members left high school. Based on a lot of repeated listens so far, the future is bright (or should it be dark?) for this doom band.
Witchers Creed mine the depths of classic rock, doom and proto-metal to form a modern take on a classic metal sound. Raven’s Claw recalls early Pentagram with a chorus that sounds as if vocalist Dennis Blohm Hedlund was mentored by Bobby Liebling himself. The band absolutely crushes through nine tracks climaxing with the song Monolith that is the heaviest track on the album. Although it spaces out in the middle, the track ultimately falls back to earth with an instrumental groove that segues perfectly into the album outro. Rather than layering on additional fuzz or distortion, the production is surprisingly polished allowing for the band to expose some of its jagged edges. It is very early in the year, but I cannot see another release in 2019 dislodging Awakened from the tomb… from the top of my list. And the cowbell, so much glorious cowbell!
I am of the opinion that we are living in a great time for heavy music. Heavy metal’s genesis can be traced back to the late 60’s thanks to the almighty Sabbath, as well as bands like Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and many others. That sound was deepened and expanded over the course of the 70’s which witnessed the release of many landmark proto-metal albums. Fast forward to the current generation of metal bands, many of which grew up with parents that listened to these landmark albums from the fledgling days of metal. Many in that current generation took a left turn during adolescence through the punk scene with bands like Black Flag and Bad Brains before finding a permanent home in their parent’s record collection. The music they create now has that 70’s feel and structure with the edge and intensity of 80’s punk.
Rough Spells fit the above description almost too well with
their brand of riff heavy, retro-tinged rock.
Modern Kicks For The Solitary Witch kicks off with a riff that sounds
like you mistakenly played Burracuda by Heart only for it to hit you in the
face with a galloping beat that could have easily been buried on Hell Bent For
Leather. The EP continues with a fun mix
of 70’s metal with all of its points sharpened for modern consumption reaching its
summit with the soaring Confessions Of The Dominant Class. I am excited to see more from this band as I
think they are just getting started.