Candlemass – The Door To Doom

The doom legacy of Swedish stalwarts Candlemass is as strong as ever and the long awaited new album “The Door To Doom” showcases the band’s ominous signature elements featuring the surprising return of their first singer Johan Langquist which definitely brings a sense of nostalgia to all these songs.   

On “Splendor Demon Majesty” there is in fact plenty of pure doom splendor as Candlemass confidently channel their obscure roots with the impressive guitar work that fluently delivers bold riffage and intricate solos around Johan’s charismatic vocal performance.

The melancholic melodies of “Under The Ocean” guide us through a realm of gloom and sorrow filled with mighty guitar riffs and tasteful slower progressions that effortlessly build a series of mid paced darkened grooves amplified by captivating vocals and epic atmospheres.

With its majestic darkness “Astorolus – The Great Octopus” is the song that will conquer all the doom lovers featuring the guest appearance by legendary Tony Iommi. The classic doom momentum feels extremely dominant as the exquisite cold tonalities of guitars evoke mournful feelings through the monumental riffs and the alluring grandeur of the soloing.  

“Black Trinity” rightfully belongs to the same sinister doom realm with the tremendous weight of the guitar riffs leading to the expected obscure grooves that will evolve into a hypnotizing breakdown and once again Johan’s voice naturally matches such bewitching darkened vibes.

“The Omega Circle” immediately feels rather dramatic beginning with slow contemplative arpeggios and passionate vocals but soon the monumental doom quintessence will take over with the perfect dose of extra heavy guitar riffs roaring through groovy rhythmic segments and the grave melodic tonalities of the compelling guitar solo generating diabolical vibes.

It’s truly a pleasure to see how Candlemass still maintain their exceptional doom mastery today as “The Door To Doom” has the necessary strength and creative force to show to the world what true doom metal sounds like.

Ghost Iris – Apple Of Discord

Danish progressive metalcore band Ghost Iris started as a DIY internet phenomenon in 2015 and now they are ready to showcase their musical growth and passion with the third full length “Apple Of Discord”.

On “The Devil’s Plaything” the classic metalcore elements feel quite dominant as the band skillfully blends belligerent guitar riffs leading to monumental aggressive grooves and soothing melodies to create an enjoyable contrast matched by the combo of brutal growls and heartfelt clean vocals.

“Final Tale” often has a slower tempo that shifts the focus to the intricate guitar work and crispy melodies surrounded by modern atmospheric accents while the heavier grooves are full of crunchy guitar riffs.

The polished melodic guitars and the borderline pop style clean vocal delivery of “Beauty In Expiration” ensures a rather accessible ensemble yet since there’s no need to sacrifice the heavy momentum guitars are ready to deliver thrilling riffage supported by precise rhythmic variations.

“The Rat And The Snake” sounds darker and harsher as angered growls take the center stage accompanied by the noticeable heavy approach of the technical guitar work and the extra cold atmospheric textures.  

There are still plenty of roaring metalcore twists on “Heaven Was Pure Hell” while the melodic aspects are often emphasized by the brighter tonalities of the guitar progressions and the emotionally charged clean vocals.

“Cowardly Pride” confidently aims to deliver bold guitar driven grooves spiced up by dissonant accents and interesting technical accents while the catchy chorus and the subtle atmospheric arrangements ensure a fair dosage of somber melodies.

Ghost Iris can be still considered an emerging band but they already have a clear music pathway in mind and the necessary drive & catchy vibes to reach a wider audience worldwide with the release of “Apple Of Discord”.  

Malevolent Creation – The 13th Beast

We can all agree that Malevolent Creation are an institution in the extreme metal scene and the best way to celebrate the 13th full length aptly entitled “The 13th Beast” is to deliver a massive overdose of traditional death metal that requires instant headbanging to be fully enjoyed.

“End The Torture” opens the album with ominous vibes as guitars gradually build merciless rhythmic dynamics following pummeling drums to ensure a proper death metal sonic assault spiced up by the intense shredding offered by the guitar solos.

On “Mandatory Butchery” you can easily recognize the key brutal elements of classic death metal but also bold thrash accents as guitars deliver steady fierce riffs accompanied by cavernous growls yet the darkened melodic guitar work adds contemplative depth.

If you’re looking for sheer brutality “Agony For The Chosen” got you covered as relentless guitar riffs and savage drumming lead to a hellish sonic realm without any hesitation and only the fancy guitar soloing allows you to catch your breath.

“Born Of Pain” is another cohesive death metal anthem that relies on the borderline chaotic approach of the super fast rhythmic section but at some point the tempo gets slower to emphasize the grave tonalities of the guitars.

“Knife At Hand” continues to unleash furious rhythmic blasts favoring breakneck speed and a full blown aggressive approach surprisingly interrupted by occasional sorrowful atmospheric instrumental passages.

“Release The Soul” begins with a calmer yet immensely darkened approach and while guitars can still sound utterly ravenous they often put aside the violent speed to focus on anguished melodic phrases and obscure doom tinged tonalities.

Undoubtedly Malevolent Creation stay true to their infamous music formula and as expected “The 13th Beast” is characterized by a consistent classic death metal style revolving mainly around fast uncompromising guitar driven grooves.

Beast In Black – From Hell With Love

Mastermind Anton Kabanen continues his bombastic music endeavor with the band Beast In Black and is ready to deliver a brand new ‘80s melodic power metal galore on the sophomore album “From Hell With Love”.

On “Cry Out For A Hero” there is a lot of positive energy embedded in the anthemic power metal guitar riffs, the nostalgia infused melodies and the enjoyable upbeat rhythm that of course will reach the acme with the rather flamboyant shredding of the guitar solo.

The title track sounds more cheesy pushing on the danceable synth pop arrangements to embellish the main classic power metal core so often the rhythm is a bit slower and extra melodic leading to a triumphantly catchy chorus.  

“Repentless” relies on a full blown symphonic grandeur with loads of solemn keyboards and the warrior metal attitude of the majestic choirs that emphasize the powerful blend of crunchy guitar riffs and polished melodic textures.

The expected mellow ballad “Oceandeep” focuses on folkish elements, profoundly melancholic melodies and subtle atmospheric arrangements creating a mellow dreamy soundscape to support the dramatic vocal delivery.

On “This Is War” there are slightly darkened accents running through the traditional power metal patterns while guitar riffs and drums become noticeably heavier accompanied by a bold vocal performance and the atmospheric breakdown will evoke intense nostalgia.

The spirit of ‘80s heavy metal becomes utterly dominant on “No Surrender” so such familiar winning formula dictates solid rounds of chugging guitar riffs marching through up-tempo rhythmic patterns and the must-have fancy melodic soloing with extra shredding power.

Beast In Black plays it safe and everything on “From Hell With Love” follows a similar ‘80s influenced power metal pathway that was at the center of the composition of the debut album “Berserker” therefore you won’t find any innovative surprises here but a solid collection of catchy songs.  


Kings Destroy – Fantasma Nera

Brooklyn-based band Kings Destroy has chosen a different approach to create the new album “Fantasma Nera” resulting in an intriguing sonic ensemble with an experimental edge and a stoner rock soul.

“The Nightbird” constantly maintains a smooth melodic core as the bluesy guitar work holds a dominant role following the subtle positive energy of the rhythmic section and delivering extra crunchy riffs as well as crispy harmonies.

The title track sometimes amplifies an atmospheric melancholia adding a darker depth to the rich melodic textures which benefit greatly from the dreamy nuances of the guitar work and the compelling solo destined to stand out through the groovy moments.

“Barbarossa” has a groovy rock spirit embodied by the cohesive guitar riffs naturally leading to an entertaining solo while the catchy melodic aspects are amplified by the soulful vocal delivery of the chorus.

“Unmake It” feels significantly darker and slightly heavier as guitars acquire doom tinged tonalities matched by the bittersweet vocals and the rhythmic patterns slow down to create a dramatic mood.

“Dead Before” favors an emotional approach as guitars follow a slower pace with contemplative serenity and carefully weave loads of melancholic melodies with warm bluesy tonalities accompanied by particularly heartfelt vocals.  

The fascinating sound of “You’re The Puppet” is generated by the extra darkened doom nuances embedded in the skillful guitar work that effortlessly shift from trippy melodic progressions to bewitching heavier riffage.

With “Fantasma Nera” Kings Destroy deliberately leave behind their hardcore roots to focus mainly on fascinating melodies that render all the songs quite accessible and absolutely  enjoyable.

Misery Index – Rituals Of power

For American death metal quartet Misery Index it’s time to unleash a ferocious uncompromising sonic assault conceptually revolving around dystopian themes with the sixth full-length “Rituals Of Power”.

“Universal Untruths” opens the album with ominous guitar riffs evidently inspired by classic death metal while the cohesive rhythm section gradually builds up asphyxiating grooves accompanied by massive angered growls.

“Decline And Fall” gets more chaotic demanding extra speed and instant headbanging as hellish growls guide you through belligerent grooves filled with sharp guitar riffs while the fiery shredding of the solo renders everything less hostile.

On “The Choir Invisible” guitars hold an essential role delivering solid technical progressions  as well as subtle melodic accents in the solo while the relentless heavy riffs lead to darkly energetic rhythmic blasts deeply emphasized by the majestic drumming and the untamed growls.  

The title track packs a series of ruthless guitar riffs once again well supported by the steady crushing rhythmic dynamics that generate loads of savage grooves bearing the mark of old school death metal spiced up by the less intimidating darkened vibes of the skillful guitar leads.

“I Disavow” immediately aims to destroy as the rhythm becomes perilously faster with galloping infectious guitar riffs and monumental drums until the lead guitar takes over to craft some grave melodic phrases.

Listening attentively to “Rituals Of Power” it becomes clear how the whole album is mainly  fueled by pure wrath and primal force as Misery Index seem simply unstoppable consistently showcasing a taste for insane speed and brutality.

Windswept – The Onlooker

Formed by Drudkh mastermind Roman Sayenko Ukrainian black metal project Windswept is set to spread absolute darkness with the sophomore album “The Onlooker”.

“Stargazer” tends to sound utterly ferocious with super tight guitar riffs and savage drums bearing the ominous mark of traditional black metal and such primal force inevitably leads to an asphyxiating sonic realm.

While the sonic assault of “A Gift To Feel Nostalgia” arises from the darkest abyss of metal there are hints of moody melodic melancholy emerging through the uneasy and frenetic rhythmic patterns.

From beginning to end the bleak mood of “Insomnia of the Old Men” relies on hellish growls and fast rhythmic blasts which will eventually slow down a bit to emphasize the bitter guitar tonalities.

On “Times of No Dreams & No Poets” extremely tormented growls, relentless guitar riffs and scattered melodic accents build up a constant sense of desperation as the whole instrumental ensemble diligently unleash all the fury of classic black metal.

“Bookworm, Loser, Pauper” is another hymn to darkness faithful to the black metal legacy with particularly obscure guitar tonalities and a frantic no frills rhythmic core that demands extra speed and nightmarish vibes.

“The Onlooker” aims to constantly channel an uncompromising raw energy to efficiently depict the darkest soundscapes and the sonic pathway chosen for this album probably is not too far from Drudkh’s discography as Windswept are also devoted to traditional black metal.

Chrome Waves – A Grief Observed

Formed by Jeff Wilson (ex-Nachtmystium, ex-Wolvhammer, ex-Abigail Williams) post/alt-metal band Chrome Waves is now a full time music endeavor with a revamped lineup so this is the right time to release the debut album “A Grief Observed”.  

“Burdened” belongs to a gloomy realm where subtle atmospheric arrangements naturally embrace the harsher momentum brought by blackened guitar riffs, faster drumming and furious growls but the heartfelt melodic progressions and the perennial melancholia represent the highlight of this lengthy album opener.

“Past The Lights” often conveys monochromatic emotions with calmer catchy rhythmic patterns and hazy atmospheres that convey an accessible dark metal mood and enhance the intense melodic gloom of the smooth guitar work.  

The title track stands out for the enthralling cello arrangements that gracefully adorn the dreamy shoegaze style atmospheric ensemble and the deeply melancholic guitar phrases while fragile clean vocals and enraged growls channel contrasting feelings.

Tormented vocals and extremely sorrowful guitar melodies are the key elements in the composition of “Take Another Sip” and a dramatic slower tempo consistently amplifies the nostalgia infused harmonies elegantly crafted by the charismatic cello performance.

“A Grief Observed” constantly dwells within a dark gelid sonic realm where a primal blackened force is always ready to emerge yet Chrome Waves passionately weave lovely melodic textures and cinematic soundscapes that deserve your attention.

Brick By Brick – Hive Mentality

New York hardcore band Brick By Brick put together a quite angered and relentless new album entitled “Hive Mentality” so you should expect a massive dose of guitar driven grooves.

The title track features a rant by Jessica Pimentel, Alekhine’s Gun vocalist and actress on Orange is the New Black, and basically maintains a furious rhythmic core from beginning to end courtesy of the aggressive combo of guitar riffs and drums.  

“Bad Sign” doesn’t slow down as vocals always feel extremely enraged well supported by the heavy rhythmic approach and the belligerent guitar work.

On “Battleground” the brutal vocal delivery certainly amplifies all the instrumental angst which once again relies on the savage rhythmic patterns spiced up by the fiery shredding guitar solo.

Guest vocalist Vincent Bennet of The Acacia Strain’s contributes to channel raw energy on “In The Ruins” which confidently continues to unleash blistering guitar riffs to build up moshpit friendly rhythmic dynamics.

The entertaining cover of Skid Row beloved classic “Slave To The Grind” gets a super hardcore style makeover so vocals become cavernous while the rebellious rhythmic core of Motörhead’s “Iron Fist” cover might fit better the general mood of the album.

There are no frills or fancy special effects on “Hive Mentality” as Brick By Brick diligently follow a straightforward music formula to generate consistent rounds of crushing grooves throughout the album.

Overkill – The Wings Of War

With outstanding passion and resiliency iconic New Jersey thrashers Overkill have accomplished so much during their long career and certainly consolidated their legendary status in the metal scene influencing and inspiring musicians worldwide. Now for Overkill it’s time to begin a new exciting chapter with the release of the 19th studio album “The Wings Of War” which once again showcases the band’s unstoppable creative force.

On “Last Man Standing” a suspenseful mood introduces a rather aggressive thrash ensemble where soaring guitars constantly unleash sharp riffs and savage soloing well supported by the infectious rhythmic section and the overall blistering energy is further amplified by Bobby Blitz’s charismatic vocal performance.  

The classic and successful thrash formula is still alive on “Believe In The Fight” and Bobby’s vocals are on fire while the whole instrumentation never really slows down hitting you in the face with relentless guitar riffs and wild rhythmic patterns leading to a necessary headbanging galore.

“Head Of A Pin” is full of entertaining hooks as guitars effortlessly deliver endless rounds of groovy riffs with glorious traditional doom accents and a slightly dramatic yet extra fancy solo while the powerful rhythmic segments maintain a moody crushing core.

Everything slows down in the beginning of “Distortion” as the darkened guitar leads inevitably amplify a nostalgic mood but Overkill is still ready to pack massive old school thrash grooves with consistently heavy riffage and thrilling rhythmic dynamics enhanced by the wrathful vocal delivery.

“Where Few Dare To Walk” starts with a contemplative atmosphere and smooth melancholic guitar melodies that will recur throughout the song but there will always be a massive dosage of abrasive riffs to keep alive the raw energy of the faster anthemic thrash elements.

The frenetic rhythmic blasts of “Hole In My Soul” ensure memorable loud thrash grooves always enhanced by solid rounds of gritty guitar riffs & shredding and a super catchy chorus plus Bobby constantly provides remarkable fierce vocals.

Undoubtedly Overkill is in excellent shape and while the nostalgic vibes of the golden era of thrash metal emerge throughout “The Wings Of War” the songwriting feels absolutely relevant in the current scene and continues to consolidate the band’s influential status.