Mark Morton – Anesthetic

Renowned guitarist of Lamb of God Mark Morton has crafted his first solo record entitled “Anesthetic” exploring diverse music styles with total creative freedom and collaborating with several acclaimed musicians and vocalists from the metal/rock scene.

“Cross Off” is the song that everybody has been curious to hear since it features Chester Bennington as guest vocalist and definitely the vocals here steal the spotlight with a passionate and at times even savage delivery supported by massive groovy guitar riffs as well as softer deeply melancholic passages.

“Sworn Apart” marks another major groovy moment with a subtle modern metal approach featuring Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach on vocals and a winning mixture of crunchy rhythmic dynamics and melodic elements particularly dominant in the accessible chorus.  

With its Southern rock vibes “Axis” might surprise the listeners but is actually one of the most interesting tracks featuring the unmistakable charming voice of Mark Lanegan that constantly amplifies the warm bluesy tonalities of the guitar melodies and charismatic soloing.

“The Never” packs a more aggressive punch with killer thrash elements which is definitely expected since the guest vocalist is the one & only Chuck Billy of legendary Testament and his monumental signature vocals successfully enhance the darkened grooves crafted by galloping guitar riffs and pummeling drums.

When “Save Defiance” begins you can instantly perceive a change of style as guitars diligently channel classic rock vibes and guest vocalist Myles Kennedy is the perfect choice to embody the catchy rock spirit of the song.

Featuring Randy Blythe of Lamb Of God and Alissa White-Gluz of Arch Enemy “The Truth Is Dead” begins with calm melodies and soothing vocal harmonies but the rest of the song feels like a full blown metal anthem with steady sharp guitar riffs and diabolical growls supported by an intense rhythmic section.

Certainly the intriguing sonic diversity of “Anesthetic” comes from the various artistic collaborations that lead to unique flavors in each song but also from the fact that Mark Morton doesn’t necessarily play it safe and is often willing to push boundaries.

While She Sleeps – So What?

British quintet While She Sleeps continue to gain popularity with their energetic blend of heavy metalcore and catchy grooves that now more than ever have the potential to reach a wider audience worldwide with the latest full length “So What?”.

The sonic formula behind “Anti-Social” can sound quite frenetic mixing steady sharp guitar riffs and angered screams according to metalcore style but all this doesn’t compromise the essential easier melodic approach of the chorus and the electro layers.

“Inspire” often focuses on crunchy guitar driven grooves still featuring familiar metalcore elements amplified by the scattered heavier segments and furious vocals but the song’s main theme relies on a calmer atmospheric & melodic essence.  

The title track offers loads of brighter melodic moments as guitars tend to acquire modern polished tonalities surrounded by dreamy atmospheres but at times the rage becomes real through galloping guitar riffs and faster drumming.

Certainly “Haunt Me” features some cool guitar riffs that successfully channels the band’s heavier roots while the strong melodic ensemble and consequent catchy chorus this time feel a bit darker accompanied by enjoyable subtle atmospheric arrangements.

On “Elephant” the rhythmic sections become more aggressive evoking darkly enraged feelings clearly amplified by the ravenous screams while the melodic passages are characterized by luminous guitar tonalities and atmospheric serenity that enhance the emotional aspects of the clean vocals.

In the beginning the electro elements of “Gates Of Paradise” create a spacey mood that introduces cohesive rhythmic blasts with galloping metalcore style guitar riffs and a sing along chorus while the significantly slower breakdown features an overload of atmospheric melancholia and smooth clean vocals.

At this point While She Sleeps have developed a precise music style which constantly showcases accessible modern metal dynamics spontaneously leading to impactful grooves and big choruses throughout “So What?”.

Within Temptation Live in Chicago

Beloved Dutch band Within Temptation finally returns to North America supporting the new powerful album “Resist” available via Spinefarm Records. Fronted by the charismatic vocalist Sharon den Adel, Within Temptation performed a stunning sold out show at House of Blues in Chicago and the setlist included the new songs “Raise Your Banner”, “The Reckoning”, “Endless War” and “Supernova”. Within Temptation also performed many songs from the previous successful releases such as “The Heart Of Everything”, “The Cross”, “Stand My Ground”, a dreamy acoustic version of the unforgettable song “Ice Queen” and ended the show with the anthemic “Mother Earth”. Throughout the years Within Temptation didn’t tour often in North America but we hope that the warmth and profound appreciation expressed by the fans in Chicago will make them decide to come back soon.


Venom – Storm The Gates

Featuring the unholy trinity of Cronos, Rage and Dante black metal progenitors Venom are ready to proudly rule the night once again with the loud blasphemous force of the new full length “Storm The Gates”.

“Bring Out Your Dead” immediately showcases a hellish sound embodied by the tight guitar riffing galore and the consequent pummeling rhythmic patterns and every instrumental passage holds that particular raw energy that fans absolutely love.

“Notorious” confidently offers another crushing round of consistently ravenous guitar riffs yet the rhythmic core is not just about upbeat thrash blasts as it features a rather catchy & raspy chorus as well as a thrilling guitar solo.

“I Dark Lord” benefits from the utterly sinister atmosphere as tempo is often dramatically slowed down to enhance a sense of impending doom until the fierce drums and the extreme tonalities of the guitar work build cohesive faster segments.

“100 Miles To Hell” aptly emerges from the darkest depths to deliver a mighty rhythmic section full of impactful guitar riffs that ultimately lead to extra groovy anthemic moments plus the killer guitar solo successfully channels major ominous vibes.

With a classic impactful guitar riffage and a rebellious rock spirit “Dark Night (Of The Soul)” goes straight to the point to deliver moshpit inducing grooves and of course the overall diabolical mood is amplified by the darkened guitar leads.

Savage drums introduce the infernal sonic realm of “Over My Dead Body” and guitars swiftly follow a thunderous rhythm reminiscent of old school thrash metal briefly interrupted by slower yet intensely obscure melodic moments.

The title track probably refers to Venom opening once again the gates of hell and in fact roaring guitar riffs march relentlessly throughout the song while the lead guitar work is ready to spice up the traditional instrumental structure with scattered inflamed licks.

A familiar primordial force maintains a classic Venom approach on the latest offering “Storm The Gates” which might not sound like a groundbreaking opus today but it definitely seems to incarnate the obscure metal style that the band’s faithful acolytes expect to hear.  

Emigrate – A Million Degrees

For renowned Rammstein’s guitarist Richard Z. Kruspe the parallel project Emigrate represents a different creative outlet that allows him to passionately explore a wide range of music territories leading to the genesis of the third studio album “A Million Degrees”.

While leaning towards a widely accessible melodic style “War” has its dark & gritty moments as powerful guitar licks and charismatic solo march proudly through industrial blasts and sumptuous atmospheric arrangements.

The title track offers an overdose of catchy electro beats embellished by a vibrant chorus and shimmering guitar melodies that channel positive energy but also softer introspective moments.

Featuring guest vocalist Margaux Bossieux “Lead You On” revolves around bittersweet guitar melodies, hazy electro textures and sultry vocals yet there is a dancey upbeat tempo that truly comes to life in the chorus.

Featuring the unique vocals of Till Lindemann in both German and English “Let’s Go” has a melancholic mood crafted by a series of crispy rock melodies yet everything feels always catchy due to the entertaining electro layers channeling fashionable 80s vibes.

There are goth hints on “I’m Not Afraid” and the guest vocals by the one and only Cardinal Copia of Ghost feel like the perfect fit for the subtle darkened tapestries that constantly dominate the fluent guitar melodies, dreamy synth arrangements and memorable rhythmic crescendo.

On “Eyes Fade Away” nostalgia infused aesthetics become fundamental influencing profoundly the contemplative vocal delivery, the cinematic atmospheric arrangements and the wistful guitar melodies that naturally flow with a lovely rock ballad style.  

It becomes immediately clear that “A million Degrees” does not follow a particular set of rules or any specific sonic template with absolutely catchy tracks often characterized by rather unexpected nuances because here Emigrate shows genuine enthusiasm, a key element that generates such multifaceted work of music.  

Amaranthe – Helix

Swedish sensational band Amaranthe has acquired an unmistakable sonic identity drawing inspiration from diverse and contrasting music leading to a modern vision that never ceases to surprise the audience on the brand new effort “Helix”.  

Futuristic & cinematic synths on “The Score” introduce a colossal ensemble of memorable catchy melodies, which benefit from Elize’s impressive vocal range, harsh metal momentum naturally amplified by Henrik’s ravenous growls and vibrant classic metal style guitar solo.

“365” was chosen as first single and definitely represents the mood of the entire album staying true to the band’s polychromatic music formula, in which all three vocalists have a crucial role yet Elize’s impeccable vocals tend to steal the spotlight, so prepare to headbang to the extremely groovy metal momentum courtesy of the charismatic drum blasts and crunchy guitar riffing without forgetting to sing along because that chorus is on fire.

The darker mood of “Inferno” doesn’t sacrifice the song’s catchiness that revolves around variegated electro layers, vivid melodic grandeur and an infectious rhythmic backbone as certainly all these elements are always enhanced by the multifaceted vocal approach.

With mighty positive energy the title track once again diligently follows the band’s signature style as each singer gets a chance to take the center stage and the chorus in unison sounds loud and colorful marching through the energetic grooves and electro arrangements.

On “GG6” Henrik impresses with a fierce vocal performance delivering primordial growling with a contemporary rap influence over plummeting metal grooves spiced up by cool electro sound effects in contrast with the easier catchy harmonies of the chorus.

“My Haven” features another successful round of bouncy grooves surrounded by dancey electro accents that keep alive the album’s futuristic themes while the addictive chorus will instantly grab your attention channeling heartfelt melodic vibes with impeccable vocals.

Yes “Unified” has the mellow tonalities typical of a power ballad nevertheless it still feels exciting and charming with loads of elegant atmospheric arrangements and smooth crispy guitar melodies plus here new vocalist Nils can truly prove his abilities.

While so many continue to desperately attempt to categorize their music style it’s time to leave behind this boring futile analysis because Amaranthe is moving forward, following a bold evolution that leads to a refreshing blend of edgy metal and modern electro beats on the terrific catchy tunes of “Helix”.

Atreyu – In Our Wake

With a two decades career California’s gold-selling band Atreyu is back for more and aims to reach higher levels with the new effort “In Our Wake”.

The title track is constructed as an obvious hit song where the band carefully weaves crunchy guitar riffing following an engaging bouncy rhythmic section and the expected accessible melodies that reach the peak in the quasi happy chorus and smooth guitar solo.

The best part of “The Time Is Now” arrives when guitars acquire a darker gritty sound that naturally leads to powerful grooves accompanied by highly somber atmospheres while the chorus aims for a radio friendly delivery.

“Nothing Will Ever Change” features massive guitar driven grooves with an evident modern metal approach and a wildly distorted sound accompanied by a heavy rhythmic core with cool bass lines and a polished melodic guitar solo.

“Terrified” becomes emotionally charged focusing mainly on easy ballad style guitar melodies and crispy clean vocals even if the instrumentation will eventually pick up speed while the various atmospheric layers maintain a more modern style.

Initially “Into The Open” focuses on subtle atmospheres and choirs but swiftly proceeds to follow Atreyu’s winning formula of angry & heavier rhythmic segments and warm melodic chorus.

“Super Hero” is another sad track where the classic ballad spirit feels very much alive through soothing arpeggios and peaceful guitar melodies that this time are further embellished by additional sentimental atmospheric orchestrations.

“In Our Wake” might not sound extremely innovative all the time with the massive amount of super accessible and often repetitive radio friendly tunes but it cannot be denied that Atreyu has definitely mastered a signature modern style that can appeal to a wider audience.

Spiders – Killer Machine

Swedish rockers Spiders are on a mission to keep rock ‘n’ roll alive with the latest effort “Killer Machine” so get ready for a wild ride.

Packed with gritty guitar riffs and a catchy chorus “Shock And Awe” channels the energetic mood that will dominate the entire album and the consequent overdose of vintage dazed rhythms is constantly enhanced by Ann-Sofie Hoyles charismatic & wild vocal performance.

With undiluted rock energy “Dead Or Alive” is a fun track full of groovy upbeats built by the deliciously authentic rock sound of guitars and again there are many melodic hooks culminating with the memorable rebel spirit of the chorus.

“Burning For You” picks up speed as guitars become unrestrained focusing on the creation of wild classic rock riffs & leads while Ann-Sofie’s vocals diligently follow such rebellious instrumental ensemble and add hints of nostalgia.

The title track continues to pay homage to the golden days of rock channeling ‘60s flavors and keeping the focus on a widely accessible combo of melodic moments and acidic guitar riffing to maintain a good vibes attitude and nostalgic echoes are still present.

On “Swan Song” the rebel punk attitude contaminates the primary guitar driven grooves obviously executed in proper classic rock fashion but the rhythm acquires a frenetic mode that will lead to the inflamed guitar solo.

Don’t expect “Heartbreak” to sound like a love song because the rhythm is certainly slower and slightly somber but still packs a punch with steady rocking guitars delivering edgy riffs and warm bluesy melodic solos that scream retro rock while Ann-Sofie delivers another delightful vocal performance.

In the midst of an unstoppable retro rock revival from Europe undoubtedly “Killer Machine” preserves the polychromatic nuances of classic rock through loads of melodic hooks that call for good times & party as Spiders express a genuine passion for such timeless music genre.

Black Foxxes – Reiði

Exeter’s trio Black Foxxes is ready to surprise the listeners with the experimental edge and catchy melodies of the second full length Reiði which is the Icelandic word for rage.

The minimalist guitar melodies and the subtle atmospheric accents of “Breathe” evoke bittersweet feelings certainly matched by the highly emotional vocals that contribute to create a very accessible melodic essence spiced up by distorted textures.

“Manic In Me” feels more positive with crispy rock upbeats and a polished melodic ensemble where the band focuses mainly on the creation of a genuine emotional whirlwind with simple chords yet later guitars add a crunchier rock sound.

Initially “Oh, It Had To Be You” has a romantic vibe with soft piano melodies and melancholic vocals but soon elegant atmospheric arrangements and a melodic guitar crescendo craft more complex rhythmic patterns without sacrificing the primary smooth harmonies.

“JOY” amplifies the alternative/experimental approach as charismatic distorted guitars provide energetic grooves seamlessly entwined with softer melodic passages while vocals shift from rebellious screams to soothing delivery.

“Float On” emphasizes a polished melodic essence fully expressed by intensely dramatic vocals naturally floating through subtle atmospheric layers leading to highly contemplative moments and subdued melodic guitars that will eventually become more present with gritty tonalities.

Reiði‘” is not a metal album nevertheless it has the necessary inner energy to invite the audience to an emotional music journey as Black Foxxes don’t really care about following standard music rules and simply follow their heart to deliver a sincere melodic effort.

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.