The guys from Kylesa, on their label Retro Futurist Records, are putting together a monster roster of artists, and Jagged Vision, hailing from the black metal territory of Norway, are the latest addition.
Jagged Vision can be hard to put a finger on, but they are indeed a stoner metal band. That said, you you can hear overt influences of thrash and hardcore on Harvest Earth, making a blend that is is an altogether overdose for the senses. It immerses you in a giant wall of riffage.
“Darkness in Light” starts the beating, exposing the true essence of Jagged Vision: a giant riff, played at headbanging speed, with brutal vocals. What more can you ask for? They don’t let up, either. “No Peace” slows things down with a shit-load of groove, and “Supernova” takes a different approach; it is psychedelic, slowly churning, but no less brutal. The production of this album shines through on this song. “Electric Empire” takes you back to the brutality with its punk crossover feel, and when “Lose Control” closes out the album, it leaves you breathless.
Jagged Vision have created a moment in stoner metal that will spark a light in everyone’s tunnel. Harvest Earth has everything you could ask for from this genre of music.
Harvest Earth is out now on Retro Futurist Records.
Rating: 5/5 Stars
An old saying came to mind upon my first listen to Suicidal Angels new album, Divide and Conquer: “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”
There is no hiding Suicidal Angels‘ love for the first three Slayer albums; however, I’m not going to say this is an entirely bad thing, as I have an affection for those albums, too. These Greek thrashers know how to lay down some serious riffage, bringing their pit-inducing songs to life on what is by far their best release to date. While comparisons to Evile, Havok and Warbringer can be made to Suicidal Angels, much can be said for the revival of the thrash genre and those who are keeping this sound alive.
“Seed of Evil” is churning and riff-laden, with a chorus that stays in your head. The musicianship exhibited here is outstanding, as is the mix on the album. “Control the Twisted Mind” starts off with a classical intro, moves into an acoustic section, then turns the heat up and blazes forward in true thrashy fashion. “Pit of Snakes” is my favorite here with a chorus that slows into a chant. “Kneel to the Gun” follows similar suit, but the chunky, chugging riffs, and “White Wizard” is a culmination of all the formulas espoused on this album, forming the perfect outro.
As for my first statement about Slayer, the comparison can be heard on every song on Divide and Conquer. While it’s not original, it’s still awesome.
Divide and Conquer is out now on NoiseArt Records.
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Having never listened to Junius before, my first impression upon previewing this EP was, “it’s like a heavier version of Filter.” It’s true that there are some melodies that may match enough to remind me of the ethereal rock champions, but in many, many ways, their sound is very much their own. Days Of The Fallen Sun is a fantastic record that takes you on a journey using rhythm and almost droning melody as the vehicle.
The EP is supposed to be a prequel to Junius‘ debut record, The Martyrdom of a Catastrophist, so I assume it is a concept, and this is now a buildup to that story. They also have a 2011 release, Reports From the Threshold of Death, which, if I may be so bold as to judge the type of album solely by the title, sounds very much like it could be a concept record, too. If my assumptions are right, then I’m in! I’m a sucker for this kind of shit, so I guess it’s time I find out what Junius is all about!
Days of The Fallen Sun is basically four songs with four intro tracks that really leaves you wanting more. It’s some kind of mixture between what all my German co-workers listen to (weird hipster rock/electronic stuff) and some of the lighter side of what I listen to. Don’t take the “weird hipster rock” part as a bad thing; it actually sounds quite good and not “hipstery.” I guess I could summarize it better by saying it’s heavy, with clean vocals, and an epic, ethereal sound.
At the end of the record, when you’re sitting in silence, there’s not a whole lot that stands out as a “moment” that you will remember, but you realize you just listened to something special. The group definitely works as a whole, creating one collective sound and delivering it with production that is not over the top, but done tastefully to bring out the raw nature of the band.
My final thoughts on the EP is that it sounds great, the production is well done, and although the songs are epic, they leave you wanting more. These are all good signs in my opinion. The only thing missing for me is a “standout” track. While it may not be necessary, I would love to have something stuck in my head right now, because I’m into the whole recording. Days of The Fallen Sun is an EP worth buying, and I highly recommend it. There’s only minor room for improvement in my opinion, which means I am highly anticipating the next installment from Junius.
Days Of The Fallen Sun is out now on Prosthetic Records.
Rating: 4/5 Stars.
Junius, “Battle In The Sky” – Days Of The Fallen Sun
Junius, “Betray The Grave” – Reports From The Threshold Of Death
Toronto, Canada’s Skull Fist have been difficult to peg down. Are they speed metal or “throwback” metal? NWOBHM knock offs? Traditional or power? To find the best answer, put all of those in a blender and let her rip on frappe.
Skull Fist‘s previous releases, Head of the Pack and Heavier Than Metal, garnered them much critical acclaim, and it is all well-deserved. But their newest release, Chasing the Dream, goes a different direction. The thrashy feel is gone, but the album retains a great vibe. Comparisons will always be made to Angelwitch, and that is never more evident than here. Jackie Slaughter‘s are unique, although they maintain a feeling of familiarity with his high pitch recalling Rob Halford. The band can shred, and Johnny Nesta showcases his six-string talents amazingly here!
Each of Chasing The Dreams’ nine songs can stand on their own. The album opener, “Hour to Live,” is a great song to open this book, with it’s blistering speed, amazing drums and catchy chorus. “Bad for Good,” the title track, and “Sign of the Warrior” follow similar suit; they are all great songs that stand on their own. “Shred’s Not Dead,” the aptly titled instrumental, is killer; the band is tight and the guitar abilities of Slaughter and Nesta shine.
If you are a fan of Cauldron and Holy Grail, you will most certainly like Skull Fist. They prove that traditional heavy metal is as vital as ever.
Chasing the Dream is out now on NoiseArt Records.
Rating: 4/5 Stars
If, while listening to I Am Heresy’s new record, Thy Will, you mistake it for a set of b-sides from Killswitch Engage‘s Alive or Just Breathing, you won’t be the only one to make this mistake. And it’s not an insult in the least.
Nathan Gray (BoySetsFire) sounds eerily like Jesse Leach on this record, and it helps that his son, Simon, and Simon’s pal, Jonah (son of BoySetsFire guitarist Joshua Latshaw), have created a fucking monster on par with Killswitch Engage at their best. The band fakes you out with a Dillinger Escape Plan style opening to “Rahabh” before settling into their grungy brand of metalcore. “March of Black Earth,” with its three-quarter groove and intricate melodies, deserves to be as big as, if not bigger than, “The End of Heartache.” “Destruction Anthems” is just that: a breakneck hardcore song perfect for tearing shit down. “Alarm” is the one moment during the album’s 41-minutes where they slow down for just Gray and acoustic guitars. Immediately afterward, the record delivers its best breakdown during “Seven Wolves and the Daughters of Apocalypse.” Instead of relying on chugging, open strings, the band sets it up perfectly with minor key solos going in both ears, while the third guitar and the bass go full steam in the middle, before bringing all instruments together in an absolutely massive wall of sound.
Gray’s melodic vocals are used more frequently in the latter half of the record, but that doesn’t mean the record’s energy is lagging. In fact, after “Seven Wolves,” they deliver three of the heaviest – and in the case of “Devour,” one of the fastest and most pissed off – songs on the record, thus completing an amazing throwback to when metalcore wasn’t synonymous with skinny jeans and haircuts that remain motionless while headbanging.
I Am Heresy‘s Thy Will is a record you do not want to miss and a serious contender for record of the year.
Thy Will is out now on Century Media Records.
Whether you’ve had the pleasure of having Acheron grace your ear drums in the last 25 years or not, Kult Des Hasses is the coup de grace for Vincent Crowley and his band of Satanic merry men.
Acheron‘s goal for Kult Des Hasses was to “get the true ’80s/’90s death metal feel and sound, not the overproduced metal approaches of today.” I would say they achieved that, but still held the production in very high regard. This album is full of chunky, groovy guitar riffs, which fit together perfectly with Crowley’s traditional death metal growl. Deicide meets Asphyx is my best explanation of it.
“Daemonum Lux” starts the beating, clocking in at over eight minutes. It is the epitome of what death metal is, brutal and heavy with blistering guitar leads and breakneck drums. The violence continues with “Satan Holds Dominion” and “Raptured to Divine Perversion.” Crowley’s vocals are pure razor-chugging madness.
The real standout tracks here are “Jesus Wept (Again and Again),” “Thy Father Suicide” and “Asphyxiation (Hands of God).” The grooves presented here in combination with the wall of giant riffs are a sonic feast for the ears!
Acheron have created a masterpiece here. It is truly their best work.
Kult Des Hasses is out March 4 on Listenable Records.
Rating: 5/5 stars