Not content to just let the sludgy boi/spooky girl pairings have all the fun with multi-artist collaborations in Doom, A Story Of Darkness And Light (Stickman Records)features the coming together of Elder and Kadavar as Eldovar (I don’t know where that ‘o’ comes from either). The two groups certainly make for interesting bedfellows; while both are arguably rooted in Seventies Rock traditions, Elder has evolved to Heavy Prog splendor while Kadavar largely subsists on off-the-cuff Stoner Blues. However, their shared interest in various genre experiments as well as established track records of high quality material gives plenty of fertile ground for such a union.
If Black Label Society was influenced by Classic Metal and Doom instead of Southern Rock, they would probably sound a lot like Temptation’s Wings. The Asheville, North Carolina-based group features delightfully Ozzy-esque vocals with extra Zakk Wylde gruffness, guitars rooted in beefy bottom-heavy tones with playing that consists of steady gallops and melodic leads, and rhythms with a certain Southern Metal swing. All presented with a barbarian attitude that lends itself well to tales of drinking and mythological conquest.
Failure’s sixth album and third since their 2014 comeback is considerably scaled back compared to their previous outings. At just under forty minutes long, Wild Type Droid (Failure Recordings) is their shortest full-length since their debut, 1992’s Comfort, and a far cry from the hour-plus ventures that have come to define them since the classic Fantastic Planet. This setup suggests a more casual approach than usual but instead results in one of their most focused releases to date.
Of Mice & Men’sEcho (Sharptone Records) exemplifies exactly how a band should sound by their 7th album. It doesn’t even matter what song you start with—It’s blatant you’re hearing a band that knows their identity and is confident in it. At the topic of identity, nearly 6 years later, it’s still hard to ignore how deeply rooted Of Mice & Men’s previous frontman was to their image. However, Echo stands as a testament to how wonderfully they’ve evolved under Aaron Pauley’s leadership. Though Echo is Pauley’s third album serving as a vocalist, it marks the band’s first full-length release under Sharptone Records, effectively forging a new era for the metalcore titans.
At what point do we (I? Is it just me by now…? in which case, I’ll get with the programme asap!) change our default position that bands twenty years deep into their careers shouldn’t be producing their best stuff in a heavy music arena? Cos it’s bollocks. Our staff voted-for album of the year top 3 picks for this year to prove it. The last ten years of evidence proves it. A whole plethora of written-off bands pushing well into their second, third, even fourth, decade with career best releases prove it. There’s a pervading feeling that age dilutes quality and / or heaviness, yet nothing could be further than the truth. Particularly in the Volbeat camp, because, Servant of the Mind (EMI), their twentieth anniversary and eighth studio release, is their best to date. Form is temporary when class is permanent.Continue reading →
Whenever the question of “who else deserved to be included in The Big Four?” raises its ugly head, New Jersey’s Overkill never find themselves too far from the conversation. Formed before the term thrash metal was even coined and named after the seminal second album by English noisy bastards Motörhead, Overkill began life as a covers band formed from the remnants of punk act, The Lubricunts. Having quickly gained a name for themselves with their self titled 1985 EP and full length debut Feel the Fire (Megaforce Records), it didn’t take Atlantic Records long to come calling, making Overkill one of the first thrash acts to sign to a major label.
It would be a stretch to call Wolftooth’s third full-length a Doom Metal album, but Blood And Iron (Napalm Records) is a rather methodical listen by their standards. The songs run noticeably longer than their first two efforts, especially when compared to the compact anthems on Valhalla, with the seven-minute runtimes on the opening ‘Ahab’ and the title track being their lengthiest to date. The pacing also seems slightly more lumbering as the faster sequences have a sort of hesitation behind them and the hooks are decidedly more subtle.
One of the more fascinating projects to be revived during everyone’s pandemic-induced free time, Darkwoods My Betrothed has returned with their first album since 1998’s Witch-Hunts. Angel of Carnage Unleashed (Napalm Records) sustains their old style for the most part, showing off a variant of Viking Black Metal with hearty Symphonic flourishes. Of course, it’s always interesting to see how time will toy with a preexisting formula, especially one that has gone undisturbed for twenty-three years.
Ready to wage bloody battle against the drudgery of everyday life once more, Italian power metallers and emerald sword aficionados Rhapsody of Fire return with all dragons blazing on their latest album Glory For Salvation(AFM Records). Driven by escapism and pure fantasy, there’s simply no room or requirement for conventional subjects like relationships, politics or social commentary in this hour or so of questing and wizard worship.