For the second time in his career, New York bassist Frank Bello steps into the studio without the help of his Anthrax bandmates to record something a little different. Whereas previous side project Altitudes and Attitude was a collaborative affair with Dave Ellefson of Megadeth and Jeff Friedl of A Perfect Circle, six track EP Then I’m Gone (Rare Bird Recordings) is a much more personal affair with Bello playing almost all of the instruments himself.
Anyone familiar with progressive thrashers Voivod will be fully aware of the Canadian quartet’s leanings towards the surreal and strange world of science fiction, so the Ultraman EP (Century Media Records), a short-form tribute to cult Japanese TV icon Ultraman, should really come as no surprise.
After a studio absence of close to a decade, Israeli act Matricide make a welcome re-appearance with Talking To The Walls (self-released), the rip-roaring follow-up to comeback single ‘Walk Into the Flames’ released in April this year.
Bay Area thrashers Vio-Lence might have only been around for eight years but what a magnificent near-decade it was. From their classic hyper-aggressive debut Eternal Nightmare (MCA Records) to the controversial lyrics of ‘Torture Tactics’ and a deliciously questionable vegetable soup and vinegar “vomit bag” plastic record sleeve, the band also launched the career of a certain Robb Flynn who went on to form 1990s game-changers Machine Head, eventually to be followed by guitarist Phil Demmel. With three studio albums under their belts, the band went their separate ways in 1993, only becoming a full-time going concern again in 2019.
Before getting to the bigger business of their next full-length studio album, Glory For Salvation (AFM Records), scheduled for release later this year, Italian quintet Rhapsody of Fire provides a little taster with new eight-track EP, I’ll Be Your Hero (AFM Records).
Returning from the grave after close to three decades, California heavy metal legends Cirith Ungol blasted back last year with Forever Black (Metal Blade), their first album since 1991’s Paradise Lost (Restless Records). Striking back while the iron remains hot, the band follows up last year’s full-length offering with Half Past Human (Metal Blade), a four-track EP that reaches back into the past, resurrecting a handful of tracks that never made it properly onto any of their existing albums.
Recorded towards the end of 2020, Paint The Sky With Blood (Napalm Records) was meant to signal the beginning of a new era in the career of Bodom After Midnight frontman Alexi Laiho. His first release since leaving the groundbreaking Finnish melodic death metal act Children of Bodom the previous year should have been the beginning of an exciting new journey. Instead, his tragic death in late December means it ultimately becomes an epitaph.