Annihilator – Ballistic, Sadistic

In the metal scene Annihilator will always hold an influential status and they are ready to showcase an unstoppable creative force paired with a true devotion to old school metal on the seventeenth studio album “Ballistic, Sadistic”. 

“Armed To The Teeth” immediately unleashes a crazy frenetic rhythmic rampage with a classic heavy sound revolving around cohesive guitar riffs but as you expect Jeff Waters is always ready to make things more interesting with the intense lead guitar work that stands out for the technical ability and the evident diversity of the various solos. 

“The Attitude” is angry and faster with a solid series of menacing rhythmic patterns accompanied by spiteful vocals and the wild shredding of the guitar soloing. 

“Psycho Ward” keeps a classic thrash metal approach from beginning to end with constant galloping guitar riffs yet there is a crucial melodic essence expressed by the somber tonalities and the tasteful moody solos. 

On “Dressed Up For Evil” the rhythmic patterns can become insanely frantic following a hostile approach that requires immediate headbanging and once again the charismatic lead guitar work will craft a winning mix of crazy shredding and melodic licks. 

“One Wrong Move” continues to follow such winning formula revolving around sharp rhythmic dynamics and enraged vocals destined to reach the acme with the thrilling guitar solos but this track also features a tranquil introspective momentum embodied by graceful guitar melodies. 

“The End Of The Lie” is another energetic track that brings a proper thrash metal assault as the rhythmic approach definitely showcases an enjoyable vintage flair full of groovy guitar riffs and sharp leads. 

With seventeen albums in over thirty years Annihilator have already reached a huge milestone and “Ballistic, Sadistic” certainly stays true to their legacy delivering all the massive guitar driven grooves that thrash metalheads will love. 

Morbid Angel Live in Joliet

Morbid Angel is making their way through the U.S. on their The 2019 USA Sickness Tour alongside Watain and Incantation. Their show at the Forge in Joliet highlighted some of the band’s best songs from both new and old albums alike. According to frontman Steve Tucker, “this is a relentless lineup of pure evil and uncompromised dark art! We look forward to melting the faces off of all of you seeking the comfort of the dark!

Michael Monroe – One Man Gang

Renowned worldwide for his work with the iconic Hanoi Rocks, Michael Monroe might be one of the last true rockstars, one that lives and breathes rock ‘n’ roll no matter what is happening out there so it’s a pleasure to see him back with the exciting new album “One Man Gang”. 

Featuring Captain Sensible of The Damned, the title track gets the party started with a rebellious attitude and an overload of positive energy perfectly expressed by the super catchy chorus and the badass guitar licks. 

Paying homage to Japan, one of Michael’s favorite countries, “Last Train To Tokyo” has softer vibes due to the melancholic tonalities of the guitar work yet the rhythmic ensemble ensures plenty of catchy rock dynamics emphasized by the true rocker vocal delivery. 

From beginning to end “Junk Planet” is full of passionate sleazy rock guitar riffs generating memorable grooves with the lovely addition of dazzling harmonica melodies and another electrifying vocal performance. 

“The Pitfalls Of Being An Outsider” throws in the mix a bit of sheer nostalgia and Michael’s voice perfectly depicts the outsider figure channeling intense emotions through the explosive guitar driven grooves. 

“Hollywood Paranoia” holds a gritty rock essence certainly amplified by the inflamed vocals and once again groovy guitars never fail to keep you entertained shifting from bold riffage to the glamorous melodic elements of the solo. 

“Helsinki Shakedown” has some mellow melancholic moments especially evident in the bittersweet vocal harmonies and the smooth guitar melodies yet the rock ‘n’ roll dream is still alive on the sing along chorus. 

The addictive track “Low Life In High Places” is a great way to close the album with a mix of nostalgia and a vibrant rocker spirit as Michael’s vocals naturally channel wistful feelings following a charming harmonious rhythm enriched by the flamboyant soloing and the cello melodies courtesy of Eicca Toppinen of Apocalyptica. 

As we all know Michael Monroe has always been a charismatic vocalist in fact on the latest release “One Man Gang” he pours his heart out with sincere passion and evident energy to create an entertaining collection of authentic rock ‘n’ roll songs. 

Diamond Head – The Coffin Train

Known as New Wave Of British Heavy Metal pioneers Diamond Head have inspired countless bands and their explosive music journey that started back in 1976 continues today with an excellent line up on the brand new full length “The Coffin Train”.

“Belly Of The Beast” relies on electrifying guitar driven grooves to amplify the classic heavy metal headbangers friendly approach and the consequent catchy vibes plus there are some thrilling guitar leads that will certainly grab your attention.

“The Messenger” might seem less bombastic but offers plenty of memorable rhythmic dynamics supporting the variegated & energetic guitar soloing as well as the inner heavy metal spirit of the song always emphasized by the skillful musicianship and the charismatic vocal delivery.

The title track still features many groovy moments yet gets a bit nostalgic with some calmer refined melodic crescendos and comforting vocal harmonies as vocalist Rasmus Bom Andersen tends to steal the spotlight showcasing an impressive range and a truly passionate performance.

“The Sleeper” marks another highlight of this album as contemplative guitar melodies introduce a sophisticated sonic ensemble where this time the energetic guitar riffage is enriched by the darkened melancholic allure of the majestic atmospheric arrangements and understated epic vibes.

The structure of “The Phoenix” balances the mellow tonalities of the soothing guitar melodies and the raw energy provided by the crunchy riffs following a catchy mid tempo rhythmic section  embellished by the dazzling crispy guitar solos.

The album’s fascinating grand finale comes with “Until We Burn” as subtle atmospheres surround an impeccable mixture of captivating sorrowful guitar melodies and bold riffs leading to opulent epic rhythmic segments accompanied by deeply melancholic vocals.

At this point in time “The Coffin Train” might not sound innovative as the classic albums that cemented the legacy of Diamond Head but it still incarnates a powerful sonic experience that should not be overlooked.

Morbid Angel Live in Chicago

Death metal legends Morbid Angel are currently co-headlining a U.S. tour with Cannibal Corpse. Their set at the Concord in Chicago showed a wide range of heavy material; opening with three songs from their latest album, 2017’s “Kingdoms Disdained,” to older fan favorites such as “Day of Suffering” and “God of Emptiness.” Their harsh, chaotic death metal sound was a massive hit with fans.

Soen – Lotus

Swedish based progressive metal band Soen is ready to impress the audience once again with the highly anticipated release “Lotus” which certainly showcases the expected stunning musicianship but also focuses on the expression of contrasting emotions.

“Opponent” marks such a compelling beginning for this album as guitars fluently craft exceptional prog passages with the perfect dosage of technical prowess and groovy tonalities following a flawless rhythmic section which stands out for the eclectic variations and the monumental bass lines while the atmospheric breakdown enhances the song’s grand melodic gloom with dreamy textures and crystalline guitar phrases.

“Lascivious” has all the magical tonalities and technical quality to become a favorite offering smooth introspective vocals that naturally match a rather melancholic mood while guitars are ready to deliver tight prog oriented riffs as well as loads of lavish melodies during the cathartic calmer moments.

The profound  emotions and the contemplative nature of the title track are destined to spellbind the listeners with the sophisticated melodic flow and the crispy tonalities of the guitar work that definitely reaches a natural acme with the absolutely dazzling solo.

The melodic grandeur of “Penance” is made of fascinating atmospheric arrangements, passionate vocals and luminous harmonies but in the midst of such emotive ensemble guitars will concoct some sharp groovy dynamics.

With an intricate multifaceted approach “Lunacy” always maintains a balance between proggy technical rhythmic segments featuring enjoyable dense instrumental patterns and catchy melodic tapestries that can convey a brighter hopefulness while later the final part of the song fully embraces a hypnotic atmospheric ensemble embellished by understated guitar phrases and poignant vocals.

While “Lotus” certainly holds a charismatic progressive metal core Soen always aim to go beyond the standard rules of such genre in order to translate personal feelings into music and this new sonic endeavor ultimately stands out for the unique melodic alchemy.

Annihilator – For The Demented

Canadian metallers Annihilator are simply unstoppable holding a solid influential status in the metal scene since 1989 and writer/guitarist/vocalist Jeff Waters has joined forces with bassist Rich Hinks to deliver some new explosive thrash melodic anthems in the latest effort “For The Demented”.

“Twisted Lobotomy” is a quite energetic album opener that unleashes a fast borderline aggressive sonic assault with vibrant traditional thrash vibes skillfully embedded in the prominent thick guitar riffing and bass lines that relentlessly build moshpit friendly grooves rightfully followed by a majestic shredding galore.

It’s a creepy wonderland when the title track kicks in with sinister and melancholic feelings as loads of crispy melodic guitars introduce a more frenetic thrash infused rhythmic backbone yet the entertaining vocal delivery and the fierce guitar riffs hold absolutely catchy vibes.

“Pieces Of You” is almost a ballad since passionate vocals and sincere darkened melodic guitars take the center stage yet ‘this is not a love song’ even if the whole instrumentation concocts plenty of lovable harmonies and emotions.

“Phantom Asylum” acquires obscure atmospheres and aptly channels chaotic insanity through style/tempo variations shifting from proper thrash rhythmic dynamics to slower melodic moments evidently enhanced by another grandiose dosage of shredding guitars.

“Altering The Altar” features some subtle atmospheric arrangements but its rambunctious primordial core is unmistakable fueled by straightforward old school thrash groovy patterns amplified by impressive lead guitar work.

Overall, metal veterans Annihilator definitely demonstrate interesting songwriting ideas and a healthy creative force behind the conception of “For The Demented” and let’s not forget that is the 16th album in the career of such influential band.