Hell Or Highwater – Vista

Featuring Atreyu’s drummer Brandon Saller as vocalist/songwriter hard rockers Hell Or Highwater have released the sophomore album “Vista” filled with bombastic rhythms as well as loads of soothing melodies.

“Colors” is full of positive vibes with heavy rock crunchy guitar riffing and powerful vocals but the easy melodic core tends to dominate the whole song with a radio friendly approach.

“Another Good Time” feels almost somber with solid bass lines, raw guitar riffs and fuzzy guitar solo but soon acquires plenty of extremely melodic vibes.

“Lighter Than Air” has a southern rock warmth flowing through the classic guitar melodies well supported by moody smooth vocals and rather catchy rhythmic sections that are easy to remember.

“Don’t Stop. Get Up” revolves around groovy guitar riffs that showcase some degree of diversity and hold vibrant hard rock elements but the chorus and the choir return to the designated radio friendly recipe.

“Dame” showcases intriguing variegated music themes with bluesy inspiration noticeable in the super groovy rhythm and the highly enjoyable lead guitar work.

“Revolution” features mellow melodies and nostalgic atmospheres leading to a catchy chorus and pleasant classic rock guitar leads.

“Vista” can be explosive or emotive in rock ballad style and certainly feels like a well executed cohesive work of music but not incredibly unique.

Volker – Dead Doll

Young emerging French band Volker might have a chance to impress the music scene with the new album “Dead Doll” which delivers a promising melodic catchy music style heavily influenced by 90’s grunge rock and horror punk.

“Freaky Bride” is filled with dirty & gritty grooves enhanced by rebellious punk/metal guitar driven rhythms and a touch of macabre vibes particularly expressed in the moody guitar melodies.

“Obey!” continues to revolve around engaging wild punk rock guitar dynamics while raw diverse vocal deliveries add addictively catchy vibes.

“Suicide Love Addict” explores catchy melodic territories and dark romance themes without sacrificing the inner wild rock nature always present in the cascading guitar riffs and enraged vocals.

“Yell” features subtle decadent melodic passages enhanced by seductive vocals and gloomy atmospheres that surround a crescendo of darkened textured guitars.

“Voodoo Baby” focuses on gothic & horror themes with amplified ghoulish cinematic accents, feverish guitar riffs and angered punk rock style vocals also feels quite dominant.

“Raven” is all about endless darkness and inspired haunting guitar melodies while vocals and rhythmic sections deliver an overdose of borderline blackened primal fury.

Volker are certainly very motivated and passionate about music and “Dead Doll” is an entertaining diverse collection of songs spiced up with a turbulent dosage of girl power.

Lonely Robot – The Big Dream

Lonely Robot’s 2nd album is definitely a progressive work of art. John Mitchell  whom you may know from Arena and Frost*, proves that he is one hell of a composer and song writer.

Prologue (Deep Sleep) opens the albums with kind of that sci-fi film score type feel to it creating a really cool mood to set the tone for the album.

“Awakenings” starts out pretty powerful and full sounding. The verses are just awesome. Really nice groove. The Chorus is Huge sounding. The bridge is nice and atmospheric with a super emotional guitar solo. Talk about hitting all the right notes.

“Sigma” starts out with great layering of heavy guitars and clean guitars, creating a nice atmospheric sound. The verses are super pretty, followed by quite the epic chorus. This guy knows how to write a good song. The drummer rips it up in the mid section, if you pay attention.

“Everglow” kind of reminds me of another great prog band by the name of Threshold. I hear a very similar song writing approach. Very proggy, yet extremely song oriented and focused on hooks. Great dynamics in this song and another very emotional guitar solo.

“False Lights” The mid section gets many thumbs up. Great song in general, but I had to mention that mid section.

I won’t give anymore away. If you like good song writing with lots of subtle progressive concepts, this album is for you. This album was pretty refreshing to be quite honest. It’s worth your time, trust me…

 

Highland – Loyal To The Nightsky

“Loyal to the Night Sky” right off the bat reminds me of the 2nd wave of black metal. The nice thing about this is that the musicians are all actually really tight, even though the style is raw.

“Towards The Absolute” gets to the point where I’m even reminded of the first wave of black metal in some of the riffing. Something to mention here is that the vocalist has a pretty badass voice. Very traditional, which when it comes to harsh vocals, I’ll admit that’s my preference, as opposed to the Core influenced harsh vocals.

“Burning in Forgotten Times” opens up with some cool sounding dissonance followed by a verse that reminds me of Mayhem’s Freezing Moon a bit. The song drones on in a good way. It almost has a Black Sabbath feel, just clearly black metal. Halfway through it picks up and changes feel a bit. Definitely a punchy tune.

“Abu Sindi” The drummer has some interesting ideas that keep things interesting. There’s a lot of subtle things that he does that are really cool if you pay attention. You can really notice it on this monster track. You kind of get a little bit of everything here. This was one of my favorites on the album.

 

If you like old school raw black metal, this album is for you. The thing that makes this different is that it’s a bit more polished, so you can hear the separation in the instruments more. But trust me, it doesn’t lose the eerie atmosphere.

Earth Electric – Vol. 1: Solar

Guitarist Rune Eriksen and vocalist Carmen Simoes, previously members of several bands such as Ava Inferi, are back with the new exciting music project Earth Electric and the debut album entitled “Vol. 1: Solar” features a captivating music blend of classic rock and modern prog metal.

“Mountains & Conquerors (pt2)” has strong guitar driven metal grooves but the vintage flamboyant keyboards layers and the ethereal vocals enrich and mutate the song’s structure to deliver a unique unexpected sonic experience.

“The Endless Road” amplifies the classic rock vibes with sharp guitar riffs and catchy melodies. Carmen’s vocals feel like vibrant enchantments lingering sinuously through hypnotic instrumental layers.

“The Great Vast” has subtle darkened nuances but still holds a strong vintage rock melodic core as guitars and keyboards concoct a highly enjoyable spacey psychedelic jam.

“Solar” features a complex stylish structure with dominant prog influenced guitar melodies and smooth tempo variations surrounded by lighter, yet rather intricate, retro keyboards arrangements and incredibly delicate vocals.

“Sabbatical Moons” delivers intriguing and mysterious melodies as the impressive guitar leads and keyboards continue to channel both darker feelings and warmer 70’s textures.

“Vol. 1: Solar” features a remarkable multifaceted music style with charismatic retro accents and eclectic songwriting that absolutely deserve the listener’s full attention.

Dead By April – Worlds Collide

Following line-up changes Swedish quartet Dead By April now has the renewed energy and focus necessary to deliver the fourth full length “Worlds Collide” on which the band collaborated with the international producer Ben Grosse to achieve a mature distinct sound.

“Crying Over You” opens the album with loads of entertaining catchy melodies that lead to a poppy romantic chorus while powerful screams and chunky guitar riffs are meant to channel fierce metalcore roots.

“Playing With Fire” feels modern and refreshing with loads of variegated synth layers that amplify the electro aspects of Dead By April’s music style.

“My Heart Is Crushable” continues to follow the modern metal & pop combo even if the later seems to dominate the entire song’s structure with easy to remember chorus and melodies.

“Our Worlds Collide” features smooth electro atmospheres, polished guitar melodies that tend to stay in the background and the expected contrasting vocal deliveries.

Featuring vocalist Tommy Körberg, one of the most respected artists in Sweden, “For Every Step” is an emotional traditional rock ballad that feels distant from the band’s modern music recipe, and nevertheless it is one of the highlights of the album.

Blending modern metal and pop trends Dead By April successfully delivers a super radio friendly collection of songs that might feel not enough metal for many listeners but certainly appeals to a wide audience or a younger crowd.

Doyle – Doyle II: As We Die

Legendary Misfits guitarist Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein returns with a new solo album “Doyle II: As We Die”, a nightmarish crunchy sonic endeavor released after lengthy meticulous work to ensure the best possible music experience.

Featuring guest vocalist Alissa White-Gluz and guitarist Michael Amott of Arch Enemy

“Kiss Me As We Die” is a truly charismatic fast paced catchy ghoulish opener with a winning mix of ominous and thunderous guitar riffs & melodies that reach a spontaneous acme with an enjoyable crispy guitar solo while vocalist Alex Story delivers impressive vocals.

“Beast Like Me” does feel like a beast is ready to be unleashed in the midst of an apparent sonic chaos while the vibrant and elaborate guitar work functions as a horror catalyst creating irresistible savage rhythms.

The first single “Run For Your Life” contains the album’s main recurring elements and the nighttime horror story vibe that fuels Alex’s fierce vocal performance and Doyle’s signature Annihilator guitar super sharp licks.

“Darkside” evokes creepy feelings as monsters might be lurking in the shadows or hiding under the bed. Alex’s vocals diligently follow the dominant horror themes and the explosive wild ride built by loads of chunky guitar riffs that always sound spontaneously fun & groovy.

Featuring guest Randy Blythe of Lamb of God “Virgin Sacrifice” offers powerful devilish screams as it amplifies the cinematic horror vibe keeping constant sinister elements/sounds embedded in the guitar riffs and powerful rhythmic structure.

“Night Of Sin” showcases omnipresent darkened vibes especially in the somber doom tinged breakdown while the main metal core features thick guitar driven grooves that acquire even more catchiness in the chorus.

With “Doyle II: As We Die” Doyle and his talented band have crafted a catchy yet quite aggressive horror metal piece that demands to be played loud and will definitely entertain the audience at live shows.

 

Hate – Tremendum

Polish extreme metal icons Hate are back with the tenth full length “Tremendum” which comes with a renewed energy featuring the signature black/death style that has always gained attention in the underground metal scene.

On “Asuric Being” Hate consistently builds solemn momentums with battle ready marching rhythms and relentless blackened guitar riffing but also crafts the necessary somber melodic breaks and glistening guitar solos.

“Svarog’s Mountain” conveys uneasy gloomy vibes and carefully slows down to make space for understated dark themes while the killer crispy melodic guitar solo certainly can’t go unnoticed.

“Numinosum” still offers plenty of raw blackened fury with intensely fierce growls and primordial grandeur embedded in the steady sinister guitar dynamics.

“Ghostforce” unleashes visceral majestic growls and another generous dose of crushing unstoppable riffing & drumming while some grave melodic guitars briefly emerge through a thick wall of a sound.

“Walk Through Fire” closes the album with the expected vicious blackened energy but it’s not just random chaotic fury as crucial melodic passages and guitar leads enrich the song’s structure and texture.

“Tremendum” never slows down keeping the listeners quite satisfied from beginning to end and demands to be played loud in order to fully enjoy its inner ominous power.

Galley Beggar – Heathen Hymns

Kentish band Galley Beggar’s music style is often categorized as folk rock but the newest fourth album “Heathen Hymns” demonstrates a rather eclectic soul effortlessly combining multifaceted elements to deliver a soothing yet dizzying collection of songs.

“Salome” is truly a magical music piece with addictively enchanting atmospheres that convey the harmonious feelings of sunbathing on a bed of delicate flowers. The entire instrumentation carries distinctive vintage nuances, guitar melodies craft subtle hypnotic melodies and vocalist Maria O’Donnell leads the listeners through elegant sonic layers.

“Four Birds” features a more adventurous rhythmic approach that still holds incredibly enchanting melodic themes gracefully enriched by Maria’s seductive vocal delivery while guitars amp up slightly darkened retro vibes.

“The Girl I Left Behind Me” starts with folk influenced enthralling acoustic guitars and inspired violins that channel a wistful emotional palette while the intricate melodic dynamics of the spacey retro rock guitar solo certainly deserve sincere attention.

“Lorelei” crafts genuine ethereal melodic vibes with minimalist acoustic guitar passages and mesmerizing violins while gentle vocals match the overall natural melancholy.

“Let No Man Steal Your Thyme” offers great instrumental fluidity blending mysterious atmospheres with loads of  hypnotic rock rhythmic segments while the psychedelic trippy warmth of the brilliant passionate guitar solo intensifies the song’s irresistible vintage mood.

With fragile melodies as well as charismatic psychedelic rock galore “Heathen Hymns” feels often relaxing like a spiritual & magical experience and Galley Beggar never fails to impress the listeners with compelling songwriting diversity.

Ancient Ascendant – Raise The Torch

British quartet Ancient Ascendant has surprised the metal scene with a multifaceted songwriting style featuring black/death aspects as well as classic rock/metal elements and the third album “Raise The Torch” stays true to this ambitious music pathway.

“Our Way” features plenty of somber guitar melodies and leads that soon evolve into blackened riffing galore at a faster pace while venomous growls further amplify the underlying aggressive themes.

“Scaling The Gods” delivers vibrant rock dynamics with fierce unstoppable groovy guitar riffing, again the brutal growls contribute to keep alive the extreme metal sonic assault while guitars successfully craft catchy compelling melodies.

“Foreign Skies” slows down the rhythm channeling emotional vibes with well structured rich melancholic melodies that will remain the main focus even if crunchy heavier guitar riffs will occasionally step in.

“To The Cold” might evoke gloomy atmospheres but is also filled with intense guitar driven energetic grooves while a series of charismatic melodic guitar solo can be easily appreciated by a wider audience.

Despite the extensive use of furious growls and recognizable extreme metal elements, “Raise The Torch” actually holds a quite accessible melodic rock soul and focuses on an enjoyable exploration of familiar music territories.