Sometimes you really do only need to look at an album cover to know what you’ll be getting, and just one glance at Space Ninjas From Hell (Napalm Records), the latest album from German power metal act Victorius will be more than sufficient. Reveling unashamedly in its distinctly mid-late 1980s vibe, the frankly ridiculous cover art features robot ninjas, laser katanas, electric shuriken, dragons, purple skies, plenty of fire, and flying sharks shooting lasers from their eyes. If none of that piques your interest even slightly then it’s probably best to move swiftly along.Continue reading
Ahh, Metalcore. That much maligned subgenre of metal that some naysayers would have you believe was dead and gone. But here come Wage War from Florida to press the reset button with their sophomore album Deadweight (Fearless) and show you Metalcore is far from over.Continue reading
If you are the kind of heavy music fan that enjoys fast drumming with catchy guitar riffs and a hint of blackened death metal, then George Kollias is your man. Coming from Nile fame, the heavy metal world knows George and his accomplishments as a drummer. However, he comes out swinging on his solo début, Invictus (Season of Mist). Outside a handful of guest guitar solos and guest vocals, George recorded all the rest of the instruments for the record. With eleven tracks that clock in around the fifty-four minute mark, there is enough glorious death metal to make even the crabbiest elitist entertained!
Track by track I found myself whistling guitar riff after guitar riff as they get more catchy with each song. It was tough picking out the favorites on this release as each song has its own interesting personality even after a handful of times through the album. I found the tracks that stood above the rest were the ones that sounded like new Behemoth or Septicflesh songs. Of course I am not saying George did covers or is “ripping them off”, but more in the sense that he was clearly influenced by his peers other work to help shape what he wanted Invictus to sound like. There are four tracks right in a row that I cannot seem to listen to unless they are right in order: ‘Aeons of Burning Galaxies’, ‘Shall Rise/Shall Be Dead’, ‘Voices’, and ‘Treasures of Nemesis’. I have caught myself at work on more than a few occasions either whistling the guitar riffs or smacking my two index fingers off of my desk as if I was George Kollias himself behind a set. Not taking anything away from the rest of the album (yes it is that good), but I just felt most connected to this stretch of the album.
Overall, I am more than pleased with the work done by Mr. Kollias here. Aside from the noted guests, George can play guitar, and boy can he play it well. Vocally he’s also quite gifted too! While not anything completely unique to the death metal world in terms of sound, Invictus has proven to all that George Kollias the solo artist is the real deal. Look out Dave Grohl, someone else in the world can play as many instruments as you do!
WORDS BY TIM LEDIN
Anybody who knows anything about death metal has heard of Entombed. Very few bands have broken out of the masses but this name has been propelled to legendary status. Despite maintaining an original lineup for almost 20 years, it’s been all change for Entombed recently. With a complete lineup revamp just two albums ago, and a split announced just before the release of their latest album leaving the original name to founding members Alex Hellid and Ulf Cederlund, the band is hardly recognizable from their original form. Rising from the ashes of Entombed, founding vocalist Lars (LG) Petrov adopts the title of Entombed A.D., but the question remains; can he possibly put out the same quality that he has become known for over the years? The answer is a resounding yes.
Back to the Front may have been a long time coming with Petrov’s last release, Serpent Saints, six years previous, but they have finally returned and the wait has been more than worth it. Back to the Front is a polished entanglement of melody and brutality. The sound has mellowed from their previous albums; the vocals are less harsh, almost sung, but 26 years on Petrov still has the voice to carry this off. There’s also a marked difference in the guitarist style. Rather than Serpent Saints where guitarist and co-producer Nico Elgstrand seems intent of fitting in with the older musical style, in this album he seems to be making his own mark on the sound, adding a heavier dose of melody into the mix.
The music has come a long way from Entombed’s original release, Left Hand Path. They’re not the young angry guys they once were, ripping their way through albums with devastating speed and aggression, but this doesn’t mean they can’t still pull out an outstanding album. I can’t say that initially I wasn’t disappointed by their lack of return to the old sound, but this album has forged its own distinct place. Although it is distinctly catchier in nature and unlikely to be listed among the greats, it’s still enjoyable proving that once again they are still putting a bit of death back into metal.