Toothgrinder – Phantom Amour

New Jersey’s quintet Toothgrinder is ready to entertain and surprise the audience experimenting with multiple music styles ranging from jazz to straightforward metal on the newest record entitled “Phantom Amour”.

With a mix of super crunchy guitar riffs and modern electro layers “HVY” opens the album favoring a heavy approach that will recur throughout the song yet the band proceeds to deliver a more radio friendly melodic blend as the guitar sound acquires polished tonalities enhanced by soothing vocal delivery.

On “The Shadow” the band’s hardcore influences become palpable with a series of fierce guitar riffs and screams yet the smooth breakdown evokes ethereal melodic soundscapes with alt-rock flavors.

“Let It Ride” ensures pure catchiness with the refreshing chorus surrounded by classic rock vibes as well as danceable moments with more modern electro layers bearing hints of radio friendly pop.

The title track sounds definitely catchy with a generous dose of guitar driven grooves that often give way to softer crispy harmonies but don’t refrain from offering more gritty metal rhythmic patterns and furious screams.

“Jubilee” is the must-have romantic ballad stripped down to minimalist acoustic harmonies and mellow vocals but packs a final surprise with the addition of banjo.

“Pietà” drastically changes scenario as hardcore elements take a lead role in the mix with intensely angered screams and massive raw guitar riffs following a faster rhythm that leads to a compelling eclectic guitar solo.

“Vagabond” offers abundant sonic clarity with luminous atmospheric textures but doesn’t refrain from adding a more metal approach with tight guitar riffs, chunky bass lines and venomous screams yet still maintains a catchy melodic core.

With “Phantom Amour” Toothgrinder chooses to take a more melodic route communicating genuine emotions through music & lyrics and also showcases an authentic desire to explore further music territories.

Death Of Lovers – The Acrobat

Featuring Domenic and Kyle from shoegazers Nothing the band Death Of Lovers offers a new artsy manifesto with the debut full length “The Acrobat”.

On “Orphans Of The Smog” certainly the post-punk elements are quite evident as Death Of Lovers skillfully concocts a perfect soundtrack for your daydreaming with hopeful minimalist guitar melodies and soft beats channeling full blown ‘80s nostalgia.

With a distinct cold wave aura “Ursula” could either favor a relaxing time or make you feel like dancing with dazed melodic guitars and a rather catchy rhythm holding the right dosage of retro atmospheric arrangements.

On “The Lowly People” vocals offer mixed feelings of profound melancholy and romantic vibes as the simple rhythmic patterns and warm guitar harmonies flow gently like a breeze reminiscing of ‘80s movies soundtracks.

On “Quay D’Orsay” palapable‘80s vibes can become quite luminous yet maintain a melancholic essence with soft arpeggios and stylish melodic guitars while electro infused instrumental passages ensure a hypnotizing mood.

With a totally danceable upbeat rhythm “The Absolute” is filled with post-punk dynamics but shimmering synths layers tend to gain a primary role favoring a surreal atmosphere that gracefully leads to a slick jazz saxophone solo.

The nostalgic themes of “The Acrobat” certainly will fascinate any listeners as Death Of Lovers focus on creating an overdose of sparkling melodies and dreamy atmospheres.

Beast In Black – Berserker

Those who were heartbroken when Battle Beast songwriter and guitarist Anton Kabanen left the band will be happy to enjoy his triumphant return with the newborn band Beast In Black and the explosive debut album “Berserker”.

The band’s renewed entity is ready to arise on the eponymous track “Beast In Black” with all kinds of power metal anthemic energy. Sharp and victorious guitar riffing & soloing will get you ready for the next battle with the expected generous dosage of polished shredding while majestic choirs and keyboards channel classic 80’s heavy metal.

On “Blind And Frozen” such vintage sound becomes more empowering with loads of catchy keyboards that contribute to build up an easy rhythm which acquires also some pompous yet absolutely irresistible 80’s pop melodic soul.

With “Born Again” the retro pop shenanigans are embellished by a more sentimental mood as the rhythm slows down at times to evoke emotional melodies in the midst of the usual massive guitar fancy tricks.

“Zodd The Immortal” might sound more serious ditching the big pop choruses to focus without any hesitation on a heavier sonic assault that certainly follows the major power metal guidelines but ultimately acquire a bold somber attitude with loads of entertaining guitar dynamics.

To properly close this album Beast In Black chooses the must-have ballad “Ghost In The Rain” which features all the emotional quality necessary to compose soothing dreamy melodies adorned by simple piano and gracefully passionate vocals.

Fans will be delighted to see that Anton’s seasoned songwriting skills are recognizable all over “Berserker”, an album infused with 80’s synth pop and cheesy power metal that has always had its own raison d’être.

b.o.s.c.h – Fleischwolf

It seems that the harsh climate of Germany’s North Sea coast had an effect on b.o.s.c.h resulting in the fierce electro metal manifesto of the latest effort “Fleischwolf”.

Immediately the album opener “Schock” is a delicious surprise as b.o.s.c.h skillfully focuses on big stomping grooves embellished by futuristic electro accents that definitely spice up the massive guitar driven rhythmic assault.

“Reiz Mich” seems to channel more aggressive metal dynamics as guitar riffs & drums become quite thick and harsh followed by inflamed vocals while quirky electro layers bring additional stylish variety.

“Blender” might have a less rambunctious start as subtle melodic guitars are ready to introduce a danceable electro atmospheric ensemble followed by exciting upbeat grooves surrounded by multiple industrial oriented arrangements.

The title track demands serious stomping on the dance floor with a dominant super catchy electro driven rhythm that also delivers some creepy accents while guitars continue to keep a sharp metal edge with bold riffing patterns.

“Du” has loads of intense industrial flavors as synths and guitars work together to ensure steady stomping worthy rhythms while vocals stand out in an energetic big chorus yet this track also features slightly somber melodic moments.

“Zu Spät” takes you to the Black Forest and its fairytale realm where bad witches are waiting for you as vocals shift from theatrical storytelling to bold tones following a mix of frenetic guitar driven grooves and spooky electro arrangements.

Overall, “Fleischwolf” relies on a modern fusion of electro/industrial element and primordial metal roots, inevitably a bit reminiscent of mighty Rammstein, as b.o.s.c.h can create absolutely raw energetic metal tunes without necessarily sacrificing a rather catchy essence.


Complete Failure – Crossburner

American grindcore maniacs Complete Failure finally & proudly unleash the latest full length “Crossburner” which could be easily categorized as one of the most relentlessly angered album of the year.

The vicious album opener “Schadenfreude” relies on a violent rhythmic backbone where guitars and drums try to be as fast as possible creating a rather chaotic whirlwind yet there is also a calmer introvert breakdown favoring modern atmospheric nuances.

“Suicide Screed of Total Invincibility” starts with somber low guitar phrases evoking a contemplative mood but at times blasts of rebellion take over with a crescendo of belligerent guitar driven force and hateful screams.

Some groovy guitar riffs on “I Am The Gun” gradually gain brutality that will eventually lead to breakneck speed rhythmic dynamics and insanely furious screams.

With a dismal mood on “Curse Of Birth” the whole instrumentation concocts another round of old school particularly harsh rhythmic patterns.

“Demise of The Underdog” can definitely be ruthless with impossible speed and an intensely crunchy riffing galore yet eventually the rhythm slows down and you get some space to breathe.

Maintaining the aggressive dynamics that characterize the whole album “A List With Names On It” doesn’t show any sign of weakness with relentless guitars riffs but once again the band introduces slower introspective passages that still hold super heavy dynamics.

“Crossburner” aptly delivers a chaotic inflamed sonic assault with scattered darkened atmospheres as Complete Failure just never seems to take a break with a full blown infectious grindcore formula that true lovers of this subgenre will certainly comprehend.

Archspire – Relentless Mutation

The third album in any bands career can be tricky. it is usually seen as the pivotal release to see if a band can evolve their sound or phone it in by reworking material mastered from their first two. With the well received The Lucid Collective, one wouldn’t blame Archspire for going the route so many have and play it safe. Quite the contrary, the Vancouver crew have achieved something few bands in the tech death scene have been able to accomplish, namely expand their melodic foundation at the same time as doubling down on technicality and retain integrity. While these two elements have of course been featured exclusively in their previous work, Relentless Mutation brings a fresh perspective to their writing and progressing upon it tenfold.

The most notable improvement, which cannot be understated, is the guitar work of axemen Dean Lamb and Tobi Morelli. On previous efforts, majority of the riffing, while technically impressive and played with conviction kinda lacked any real impact. A lot of the parts kind of felt like sped up technical exercises and not really song-like. While any tech death band worth their salt will have the obligatory masturbatory shredding aspects, Relentless Mutation offers a balance to this chaos. The contrapuntal nature to the guitar and bass parts adds a serious depth to the brutality. The progression of the guitar writing from the previous album is so much more advanced its somewhat jarring.

From the neck break pace of opener “Involuntary Doppleganger” with its almost neo-classical main theme that lowers down to the 8th string bowels of the guitar,  featuring a melodic solo, and finally leading way to a somewhat jazzy clean guitar part really showcases whats in store for the listener this time around.  “Human Murmuration” starts with a Muse like arpeggiation leading to a grooving guitar drum dialogue, which is unlike anything found on TLC. “Remote Tumor Seeker” doubles down on the signature machine gun-esque hyper blasting courtesy of Spencer Pruitt. And while a song like this may have previously been filled with guitar exercise riffs, the faster “tech” parts found here almost sound like Johan Sebastian Bach on a cocaine fueled bender: unrelenting 16th notes, with cascading notes playing counterpoint at its most extreme. All of this leading up to the grooviest and catchiest outro on the record.

The production is also of notable improvement. The guitars are so much more full sounding across the sonic spectrum, for both highs and lows. The bass sits just under them, offering a nice low end foundation for the drums to further fill out. The snare drum is prominent in its auditability, but thankfully it sounds like a “real” snare offering a satisfying attack during the insane barrage of blasts found throughout. The vocals are just above all of this, but never overwhelming. This is no small feat considering the vocals from Oliver Rae Aleron, which are spit out & quasi-rapped with the same intensity and vigor as the other instrumentation.

Relentless Mutation while still holding true to their self-described “Stay Tech” aesthetic in which Archspire revels, heightened melodicism and songwriting not only stand out from the pack, but all the while decimating the competition. Opposed to the masturbatory endless shredding and noodling found on the previous releases, the deep counter point and song craft offered here is something to behold. If tech death is your game, Archspire is the name you need to check out, and quick. Stay Tech indeed.

Virvum – Illuminance

Following a record deal with Season Of Mist Swiss quartet Virvum has re-released their punishing technical death metal debut album “Illuminance”.

“The Cypher Supreme” immediately starts with mind blowing tempo variations as the whole instrumentation draws clear inspiration from modern virtuoso prog style and certainly guitars tend to be fundamental in the creation of flamboyant progressions.

In the beginning the title track evokes luminous minimalist soundscape with the softest melodies but swiftly enters a particularly intense technical sonic realm that relies on precise guitar progressions marching through a claustrophobic fast rhythm which continues to mutate from primordial brutality to ambiance driven patterns.

“Ad Rigorem” continues to impress and surprise the listeners with a majestic series of guitars progressions following borderline abstract rhythmic patterns and showcasing great prowess & creativity in fact all the virtuoso guitar leads simply hold a strong charisma.

On the complex lengthy album closer “II: A Final Warming Shine: Ascension and Trespassing” Virvum goes beyond any expectation seamlessly creating dazzling technical prog oriented moments where guitars simply engage in eclectic progressions that inevitably steal the spotlight in the midst of savage death metal dynamics. Also the polychromatic melodies shine for the guitar sound clarity and the surreal atmospheric tonalities.

Overall, Virvum definitely hold an aggressive death metal core yet the truly noteworthy moments of “Illuminance” must be found in the instrumental technical variety that certainly showcases great potential and high expectations for the future of the band.

Diablo Swing Orchestra – Pacifisticuffs

Those familiar with the avant-garde Swedish ensemble Diablo Swing Orchestra will have an idea of what to expect on the newest insanely eclectic work of music “Pacifisticuffs”. Diablo Swing Orchestra fearlessly puts together a collection of highly entertaining songs that draw inspiration from all kinds of music styles and never fails to surprise the audience.

“Knucklehugs (Arm Yourself With Love)” opens the flamboyant show with a super catchy rhythm featuring many lovely instruments such as cello and trumpets to ensure maximum uniqueness (don’t forget the cute bluegrass moment!) and everything is always embellished by eclectic vocals often engaged in the creation of fancy musical style big choruses.

The artsy music piece “The Age Of Vulture Culture” starts with elegant classical strings delivering pure melancholy but with surprising savoir faire the orchestra shifts to a more carnivalesque concoction with aptly dazzling swing flavors and this track becomes just incredibly delightful with an impressive mix of triumphant trumpets, trombone and smooth strings.

On “Lady Clandestine Chainbreaker” lead vocalist Kristin Evegård leads the scene showcasing her vocal prowess and wide-ranging delivery as the song’s shapeshifting structure favors a catchy melodic chorus as well as cinematic soundscapes where trumpets again hold a rather fascinating role and guitars acquire darker crunchy tonalities.

“Interruption” acquires modern atmospheric flavors and holds loads of surprising variations of pace & style but mainly revolves around Kistin’s multifaceted vocal performance as her voice can be exquisitely dramatic or quite malicious while it seamlessly flows through a stylish intricate instrumentation that towards the end becomes extraordinarily majestic with symphonic vibes.

The brilliant retro swing galore of “Karma Bonfire” cannot be missed as the orchestra crafts an irresistible rhythm full of bombastic trumpets and refined strings that will inevitably force you dance & stomp all night long while the vocal duet successfully matches the song’s exuberant essence.

“Climbing The Eyewall” evokes poetic soundscapes as the strings ensemble provides magnificent layers of dreamy classical melodies spiced up by Kristin’s edgy vocal performance and a catchy rhythmic crescendo that once again holds a witty swing mood but also a contrasting growing darkness embodied by the heavy rock guitar driven core.

It would be hard to find another band that manages to incorporate so many music styles in one album and to execute each song with such exceptional musicianship therefore you should keep an open mind listening to “Pacifisticuffs” and simply join Diablo Swing Orchestra on this wild sonic rollercoaster.

Appice – Sinister

For more than forty year brothers Carmine and Vinny Appice have worked with many renowned artists in the metal scene and the first joint studio album “Sinister” showcases these drummers’ exceptional talent and also features some great guest vocalists/musicians.

Featuring Jim Crean on vocals the title track takes some time to get the groove going as melodic atmospheres prepare the listeners for a more rambunctious rhythm attentively built by crunchy guitars and eclectic drumming.

With Paul Shortino on vocals and Bulletboys guitarist Mick Sweda “Monsters And Heroes” immediately channels groovy hard rock flavors as gritty guitar riffs craft catchy dynamics leading to a big old school chorus while polished guitar leads add flamboyant melodic variety.

“Drum Wars” is a way to impress the audience with the Appice brothers drumming skills and the result is certainly entertaining as it doesn’t just feel like putting together a bunch of drums solos since guitars actively participate to ensure a groovy rock essence.

Featuring guitarist Bumblefoot and vocalist Jim Crean “In The Night” tends to favor inspired melodic tonalities with a majestic guitar work full of several simply outstanding leads/solos and the easy chorus effortlessly enhances the overall hard rock style.

“You Got Me Running” is quite unique as it features Carmine on vocals delivering a true veteran rocker style yet there aren’t incredible surprises in terms of songwriting as, once again, guitars and drums focus on the creation of accessible rocking grooves.

On “War Cry” vocalist Paul Shortino joins forces with Whitesnake stringsman Joel Hoekstra to deliver a full blown classic hard rock rhythmic galore with a mix of raw riffing and fancy melodic guitar leads that inevitably hold a sense of nostalgia but also a solid headbanging friendly groove.

With Jim Crean back on vocals, Erik Turner on guitar and keyboardist Erik Norlander the enjoyable “Sabbath Mash” pays homage to Black Sabbath successfully putting together a diabolically wild medley of “Iron Man,” “War Pigs,” and “Paranoid”.

“Sinister” stays true to a cohesive classic rock/metal formula packed also with plenty of catchy melodic moments and as expected the drums in each song tend to stand out for ability and passion as the Appice brothers carefully put together a quite entertaining record.

Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown – Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown

As a classic rock revival is taking over the world the high voltage rock style of Nashville’s young talent Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown, who shared the stage with amazing rock giants, seems to match this particular mood with the exciting self-titled album.

“Heartland” can certainly channel authentic gritty rock energy resulting in an absolutely addictive rhythm filled of steady classic rock guitar riffs & melodies and let’s not forget the empowering role of the true rocker style vocals.

“Don’t Mind The Blood” relies on an overdose of guitar driven rock grooves that inevitably build super catchy rhythmic vibes and as expected Tyler’s wildly entertaining vocal performance makes everything more interesting.

If you are in the mood for bluesy guitars and mellow melodies you will appreciate “Ramblin’ Bones” as this song has a charming retro quality as well as powerfully soulful vocals.

You cannot avoid falling in love with the inflamed rock/blues essence of “Easy Target” which is filled with hummable melodies and absolutely groovy guitar work.

“Aftershock” will rightfully become a hit with its inner melodic emotions yet guitars can always deliver a familiar dirty rock mood skillfully embedded in the engaging grooves and the explosive guitar solo.

On “Into The Black” the whole instrumentation acquires a moody melancholy overload that favors lovable mellow guitar progressions and enhances Tyler’s heartfelt vocal delivery but it should not be classified as your average love song.

Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown put a lot of healthy rock ‘n roll energy and undeniable true passion for music on this album which does have a big stadium rock sound but is also meant to simply reach the hearts of the listeners.