Earthless – Black Heaven

Psychedelic power trio Earthless has already a dedicated fanbase that will inevitably grow with the newest long awaited full length entitled “Black Heaven” which definitely follows a stoner rock music pathway similar to previous albums but with the addition of a lot of vocals, therefore what started as an instrumental band is evolving into an even more intriguing entity.

With the album opener “Gifted By The Wind” Earthless immediately embarks on an impulsive wild jam that will drag the listeners into a psychedelic whirlwind evoking classic rock nuances spiced up by the band’s artistic freedom that allows a strong catchy melodic up-tempo structure accompanied by Isaiah’s rocker style vocal delivery, yet the guitar acrobatics that effortlessly shift from chunky riffing to utterly hypnotizing solos often loaded with wah-wah are the absolute highlight of the song.

Eerie noisy guitars create a suspenseful mood on “End To End” and introduce a power jam focused on the inflamed tonalities of authentic stoner rock mood fueled by spaced out melodic moments and variegated groovy dynamics that always provide the perfect rhythmic backbone for an exciting dosage of trippy experimental guitar solos.

Prepare to be dazed & confused with the trippy sensations brought to you by “Electric Flame” which sets the mood with gritty guitar riffs that gradually build an entertaining groove again accompanied by Isaiah’s confident vocals. The powerful drums & bass backbone also showcases ‘70s classic rock nuances while the multiple outstanding guitar solos focus on channeling full blown psychedelia infused melodies and endless shredding that will make you feel dizzy.

The title track screams classic desert psychedelic rock and takes you back to the trippy old fashioned days with an enticing series of guitar driven grooves full of raw rock riffing and irresistible beats while Isaiah’s lead guitar work is simply impressive and never fails to entertain the listeners with delicious fuzzy momentum and refreshing creative force as he keeps on tearing it up with intense spontaneity and sonic variety that could go on for hours.

Undoubtedly Earthless deserve to be recognized worldwide as Isaiah Mitchell demonstrates his singing abilities and once again proves to be a guitarist of rare talent & creativity in modern times therefore “Black Heaven” is most likely the album that will gather a wider audience and solidify the band’s status in the current music scene.

Ministry – AmeriKKKant

The return of industrial pioneers Ministry could not be more explosive as with a revamped line up and intense creative force the new album “AmeriKKKant” aims to leave an indelible mark and Al Jourgensen fearlessly delivers a strong message in the midst of the current political chaos and inevitable decline.

“Twilight Zone” could be the right post-apocalyptic soundtrack with loads of creepy, unfortunately familiar, samples layered over a slower borderline dramatic rhythm filled with simple melodies, industrial synths noisy accents and harsher guitar riffs while the southern rock style harmonica doesn’t even feel out of place.

“Victims of a Clown” is definitely self-explanatory as this track aptly showcases a slightly carnivalesque mood enhanced by creepy background sounds but there is a very dominant melodic streak that maintains a rather slow groove running through raw guitar riffs and furious vocals until the emergence of a final more aggressive and faster thrash style blast.

With nightmarish energy “We’re Tired Of It” channels pure untamed industrial metal fury full of enraged screams, courtesy of Burton C. Bell of Fear Factory, and old school speed/thrash guitar driven dynamics clearly showcasing a more violent approach that calls for serious stomping screaming ‘we’re tired of it’ in loop.

On “Wargasm” the industrial aspect is generously amplified with loads of samples & synths that dominate the song’s structure and ultimately create a darkly oppressive mood while guitars surely add a moderate dosage of distorted rage.

“AmeriKKKa” gets slower again to build up a suspenseful mood where the expected overdose of wrath comes from frustrated vocals while guitars offer several entertaining melodic moments as well as rhythmic segments showcasing edgy polychromatic industrial textures and aptly apocalyptic grooves.

The lyrical concept of “AmeriKKKant” is rightfully angered and is certainly matched by the belligerent industrial roots of Ministry’s musical direction therefore this album definitely deals with serious matters yet musically it might be considered one of the most fun albums of the year.

Letters From The Colony – Vignette

Swedish progressive extreme metal architects Letters From The Colony proudly presents to the world their opus “Vignette” which, far from being an average debut album, showcases songwriting complexity and virtuosic performance.

An ambiance intro creates suspense on “Galax” which seems to rely on a rather lethal sonic assault with recognizable death metal hints as punishing drums and guitar riffs lead the way until a series of eclectic variations mutate tempo & style welcoming cathartic polished melodies and jazz oriented instrumental passages where the stellar guitar work gains a rightfully deserved crucial role.

While the main structure of “Erasing Contrast” continues to showcase aggressive & fast rhythmic patterns this track is rendered more interesting by the continuous tempo variations that will ultimately lead to a radical change of scenario when guitars begin to focus on luminous melodies surrounded by surreal atmospheric layers.

The rhythmic backbone of “Terminus” features massive raw guitar riffing surrounded by cold atmospheric tones channeling once again the darkest depths of extreme metal spiced up by highly technical guitar work that will slow down dramatically towards the end of the song to deliver ethereal shoegaze vibes.

“Glass Palaces” hits you in the face with a wall of heavy guitar riffs and enraged growls supported by impeccable bass & drums dynamics but this burst of untamed fury is further enriched by meticulous technical guitar progressions that will later acquire a sense of serenity as guitars focus on the creation of crispy melodic tapestries.

The title track is definitely the most complex offering on this album as the band continuously combines multiple music styles, starting with super heavy rhythmic patterns interrupted by fancy prog style guitar leads and bright melodies that will often craft peaceful yet intensely technical hypnotizing breakdowns accompanied by ambience accents before returning to more straightforward extreme metal moments.

Math metal acolytes will rejoice listening to the insane instrumental intricacy of “Vignette” but Letters From The Colony doesn’t focus solely on this style as these talented musicians demonstrate the ability to deliver a multifaceted work of music confidently blending also prog and shoegaze elements.

Therion – Beloved Antichrist

The return of symphonic metal titans Therion could have not been more triumphant as Christofer Johnsson has been working meticulously on the magnum opus “Beloved Antichrist” for many years. This is not a typical symphonic metal album as “Beloved Antichrist”, loosely inspired by Vladimir Soloviev’s philosophical Russian novel “Short Tale Of The Antichrist”, is properly structured like a classical opera divided in three acts therefore the listeners will experience the grandeur and passionate performance just like they would in the context of a live opera in an old fashioned theater.  In fact, Christofer plans to create a revolutionary live stage performance as this rock opera is designed to be presented in opera houses. On this exciting music endeavor featuring 30 different vocal roles and a playing time of over three hours, Christofer is joined by all Therion’s members and many utterly amazing vocalists.

The first act begins with “Turn From Heaven” which brings melodic warmth as well as epic vibes with luminous kaleidoscopic orchestral arrangements and solemn choirs while sharp guitar riffs certainly add a traditional metal attitude.

On “Where Will You Go?” guitars maintain a pleasant crunchy riffing that is seamlessly entwined with charismatic operatic vocals & choirs and absolutely lavish orchestrations that will soon acquire mysterious tonalities.

“Signs Are Here” amplifies the spellbinding classical inspiration behind this opera with refined orchestrations that flawlessly shift from graceful atmospheres to excitingly sumptuous moments and the amazing operatic vocals & choirs channel additional symphonic grandeur.

“Bring Her Home” features stunning delicate orchestral tapestries that flawlessly embrace various more metal oriented moments skillfully built by cohesive rhythmic guitar patterns that provide groovy layers on which impeccable female & male operatic duets add stunning dramatic tones.

“Garden Of Peace” is filled with ethereal atmospheric layers and soft guitar harmonies while enchanting operatic duets contribute to enhance a tragic essence typical of a classical live opera.

“Our Destiny” is another magical moment where simply groovy guitar & drums dynamics contribute to create a steady cohesive rock approach while subtle lavish orchestrations feel particularly inspiring depicting a sincere emotional palette enriched by lovely melodic guitars.

The beautiful elegance of the melodic passages of “Nothing But My Name” evokes peaceful soundscapes with impressive sonic clarity, melancholy infused symphonic accents and intense vocal delivery.

The second act starts with “The Arrival Of Apollonius” where otherworldly operatic vocals and intense choirs continue to hold a dominant role softly surrounded by captivating multifaceted orchestrations and even if guitars tend to stay in the background they do provide a strong rhythmic backbone and occasional melodic accents.

On “Night Reborn” guitars take the center stage to deliver a tight ensemble of sharp riffs while diverse operatic vocals featuring male soloists and opulent choirs keep alive a classical vibe surrounded by rich symphonic textures.

“Dagger Of God” begins with lovely sorrowful piano melodies soon accompanied by shimmering melodic guitars and radiant soprano vocals resulting in a deeply melancholic composition.

Grave operatic male vocals on “Temple Of New Jerusalem” solemnly introduce a catchy rhythmic ensemble of familiar rock/metal grooves with mid pace guitar riffs and a flamboyant solo that often display ‘80s vibes.

The magnificent atmospheres of “The Lions Roar” ensure a strong impact also with the contribution of the expected glorious symphonic elements mixed to the metal edge of guitar riffs and superb operatic choirs.

“Behold Antichrist” has a wicked essence matched by a wonderful theatrical vocal approach that definitely enhances the live opera style but also features a series of super catchy guitar riffs & eclectic melodic progressions.

With a gloomy mood “Astral Sophia” features familiar elements of symphonic metal with darkened atmospheric nuances always embellished by delightful soprano vocals and intense guitar riffs enriched by a somber male operatic performance.

The third and final act starts with “Shoot Them Down!” which is evidently influenced by classic ‘80s metal and focuses on easy guitar driven grooves mixed with a wide variety of vibrant classical operatic vocals.

“Beneath The Starry Skies” starts with strong bass lines and wistful atmospheric layers but soon picks up speed to build another round of entertaining mix of metal grooves and classical finesse.

“Burning The Palace” feels almost furious with thunderous drumming and fiery guitar riffs yet the exquisite soprano delivery brings a sophisticated aura and the subtle orchestrations evoke gloomy soundscapes.

“Day Of Wrath” channels immediately an understated opulence with the flawless operatic splendor of vocals and the refined melodic tapestries created by melancholia infused instrumental passages that can evoke mystical vibes as well as surreal atmospheres.

“My Voyage Carries On” is filled with mesmerizing melodies but also showcases powerful symphonic metal grooves always embellished by stylish instrumental variations and dazzling classical accents.

“Theme Of Antichrist” shines for the baroque allure that influences the whole instrumentation as inflamed metal oriented rhythmic dynamics are carefully mixed with absolutely dramatic vocals and intricate melodic textures ending with monumental choirs.

“Beloved Antichrist” certainly showcases the primary aspects of the creative symphonic metal essence that characterize Therion’s previous releases yet for some listeners it might be too lengthy or not metal enough, indeed it would be challenging to find time to listen often to the entire album, but nobody could ever doubt that mastermind Christofer Johnsson with absolute fervor and rare dedication has crafted what will be remembered as the most majestic album in the history of metal.

Machine Head – Catharsis

Fronted by charismatic vocalist/guitarist Robb Flynn, Machine Head is ready to deliver the ambitious ninth album “Catharsis” which aims to reach a wider audience confidently mixing diverse stylistic elements while keeping an understated fury.

The familiar undiluted rage blasting through “Volatile” will take you back in time as a brutal rhythmic assault is fiercely built by super crunchy guitar riffs and blistering drums that undoubtedly hold a classic Machine Head style and the whole instrumentation marches triumphantly creating all kinds of heavy grooves and belligerent tonalities while the big chorus focuses on pure melodic catchiness.

The title track offers an enigmatic mood that momentarily seems to deviate from the band’s signature style favoring modern atmospheric layers that will introduce an intriguing mixture of luminous melodies and punishing guitar driven grooves creating a somber duality, matched by a combo of soulful clean vocals and venomous growls, which will dominate the song’s structure.

“Beyond The Pale” might start with somber melodies but swiftly gains more aggressive dynamics with loads of entertaining fiery guitar riffing and a steady heavy groove without necessarily sacrificing the song’s inner melodic essence.

“Kaleidoscope” returns to a more enraged approach where guitars lead the way with distorted crunchy tones as well as nu-metal accents enhanced by almost ferocious growls that become strangely accessible in the catchy chorus surrounded by subtle electro/orchestral background layers.

“Hope Begets Hope” features several inspired melodic moments leading to a powerful shredding guitar solo but certainly doesn’t refrain from offering some classic punishing rhythmic patterns that pack massive crunchy guitars and savage screams.

Putting aside any sign of rage “Behind A Mask” is an acoustic piece where guitars acquire an ethereal luminous aura and the vocal harmonies become poignant and absolutely melancholic contributing to the soothing poetic quality of these easy melodies.

Opening with a graceful atmospheric moment “Heavy Lies The Crown” acquires a rather epic feel enhanced by Robb’s theatrical storytelling delivery but soon thick guitars take over with darker aesthetics, occasional venomous groovy dynamics and scorching leads yet the melodic nature of this track remains quite dominant.

With a contemplative atmosphere “Eulogy” relies on soft ambiance echoes, minimalist melodies and emotional depth that at some point will inevitably dwell in a particularly darkened realm with a slightly experimental sonic approach that deliberately deviates from your standard metal track.

Fans of the band’s early discography will recognize similar vicious rhythmic patterns shining throughout “Catharsis” which for many could/should have been a better album but is certainly the result of a desire to explore multiple metal subgenres and overcome standard music rules with absolute freedom.

Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons – The Age Of Absurdity

Everybody knows and appreciate the work of Motörhead guitarist Phil Campbell so the new sensational band Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons featuring his sons Todd Campbell on guitar, Dane Campbell on drums, Tyla Campbell on bass, and vocalist Neil Starr is certainly destined to get a lot of attention with the upcoming debut album “The Age Of Absurdity”.

While old fashioned rock ‘n roll style is palpable on “Ringleader” this is not just a revival song as there is so much more to be enjoyed with addictive guitar driven grooves that also have a rebel metal attitude particularly evident in the explosive fancy guitar solos and the often frenetic rhythm.

“Skin And Bones” is filled with the perfect dosage of raw rock dynamics as all these deliciously groovy guitar riffs must be played loud to fully enjoy their vibrant energy and the compelling guitar solo skillfully embellishes the whole catchy rhythm.

Keeping alive a true rock legacy “Gipsy Kiss” is another super groovy track with an entertaining fast paced ensemble of guitar riffs that once again channel a versatile delightful rock mood with the help of crunchy bass lines and powerful drumming.

“Dark Days” will easily become a favorite with a lovely bluesy essence packed in each slow burning melody and Southern rock style harmonica while the main guitar riffs & solo flawlessly craft additional rock grooves bearing a subtle melancholy.

“Step Into The Fire” features another round of utterly entertaining upbeat rock grooves while lead guitars add extra powerful dynamics as well as flamboyant quality and the vocals certainly hold a proper wild rocker attitude.

“Into The Dark” becomes exquisitely melodic channeling a profound melancholy through refined guitar work and a rather brilliant solo as a significantly slower borderline ballad approach is enhanced by recurring bluesy harmonies and a more emotional vocal delivery.

Those who are looking for passionate hard rock will immediately fall in love with the outpouring rocker charisma of “The Age Of Absurdity” as Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons already have plenty of thrilling ideas and talented musicianship to craft exciting memorable songs.

Bleeding Gods – Dodekathlon

Young Dutch metallers Bleeding Gods are eager to unleash their latest epic death/black metal opus “Dodekathlon” conceptually based on the Greek myth of the twelve labors of Hercules.

On the album opener “Bloodguilt” the band focuses on delivering a high impact sonic assault with mandatory tight guitar riffing and savage instrumental passages yet the addition of symphonic arrangements certainly evoke a mythological realm matching the lyrical concept.

“Beloved By Artemis” is heavily influenced by the darkest depths of metal as the rhythmic patterns gain a distinct brutality following a faster aggressive tempo that will eventually give way to a symphonic approach with a large dosage of opulent atmospheric layers leading to a polished melodic guitar shredding solo.

“From Feast To Beast” begins with eerie atmospheres that slowly introduce heavier rhythmic blasts that will keep a rather frenetic & aggressive groove surrounded by plenty of symphonic haunting orchestrations while lead guitars tend to focus on luminous melodic concoctions.

The initial mix of somber guitar melodies and sumptuous atmospheric arrangements on “Inhuman Humiliation” foreshadows a moody composition that is constantly embellished by sinister accents and soon evolves into a gravely blackened rhythmic ensemble but darkly graceful melodies continue to have a major role.

“Birds Of Hate” surprises with a precise unrestrained groove characterized by clear thrash dynamics with a rather fast rhythmic backbone that seems almost unstoppable and insanely angered just like the particularly strong growls until symphonic elements appear in the mix.

“Tyrannical Blood” puts aside the album’s blackened death metal essence to deliver mainly a soothing acoustic composition where ethereal arrangements evoke melancholic soundscapes while enchanting guitars offer warm melodic tonalities and elegant harmonies.

“Hera’s Orchard” focuses on refined darkened melodies surrounded by majestic atmospheric layers that will continue to ensure an epic mood and guitars will often steal the spotlight creating extra melodic textures through cohesive blackened rhythmic patterns and ominous growls.

With a renewed lineup and a strong desire to reach a wider audience Bleeding Gods definitely worked hard to craft the twelve tracks on “Dodekathlon” which shows great potential successfully blending fierce extreme metal roots and absolutely accessible melodic tonalities.