If you would have told me a few years ago that I’d be reviewing Dave Ellefson’s new Death Metal band I probably would have thought that you were fucking with me. Megadeth has always been a favorite of mine and I have always enjoyed catching him live. He’s been a thrash titan for years, is heavily involved with his Christian faith and just comes off as a laid-back and mellow dude. The last type of project I thought I’d ever see him as a part of is a skull-crunching Death Metal group.
Since their debut in 2009, Long Beach four-piece Rival Sons have been cranking out seventies-influenced rock records at regular intervals. Since Feral Roots in 2019, COVID forced them to take their time on the follow-up – it turned out to be time well spent as they have two albums due for release this year, Darkfighter and Lightbringer (Elektra/Low Country Sound). Darkfighter is the first one to be released and it is a tight, eight-song offering that continues their accomplished rock n’ roll – marrying Free, Led Zeppelin, and Black Keys influences to Dave Cobb’s rich production values.
Existential dread, class war, and alienation? Seems like a great time for some new American Nightmare. The storm clouds of tomorrow loom over this fantastic new EP from the beloved hardcore (with post-punk sprinkles) institution on their latest release Dedicated To The Next World (Heartworm Press).
Following on from 2021’s Origin, Finnish melodeath act Omnium Gatherum have gained a sixth member in former Arch Enemy guitarist Nick Cordle and recorded Slasher (Century Media), a thunderous four-track EP which plays directly to the band’s many strengths.
The most telling feature of Tomorrow Never Comes (Epitaph Records) is the cover. A band logo and four headshots are framed in a grid. It’s like seeing a novel that puts more emphasis on the well-known author instead of the book’s title, and it’s a testament to the longevity and the roots (radical) of Rancid, a band that’s been active since the early 1990s. Their tenth full-length focuses on the musical experience instead of a flashy album appearance.
Rune Erickson aka Blasphemer has created an impressive career in black metal. After a decade-long run in Mayhem, he has also found himself performing with Aura Noir and Hammer of the Gods, along with many other side projects that fall into other sub-genres of metal. Here is his newest project which sonically falls closer to Mayhem. This was started in 2020 with Aggressor drummer Cesar Vesvre.
After a four-year break, Dutch death/thrashers Legion of the Damned return with The Poison Chalice (Napalm Records), the band’s eighth full-length studio release their inception in 2005. Originally called Occult, only drummer Erik Fleuren and frontman Maurice Swinkel remain from that early incarnation spawned in 1992, the band never deviating far from their original sound, consistently honing their attack into an even more effective riff machine with each successive record.
For reasons well documented that we are not going to touch on here, notverynicecream (Hassle Records) the sophomore record from Bristolian avant-garde noise merchants Phoxjaw, finally sees the light of day some six months after first scheduled. And focusing solely on the music, is this a record that was worth the wait? In a nutshell … Yes!
With a career that has spanned 30-plus years to date (factoring in a 16-year departure), Dutch Death Metaller’s Phlebotomized are a band with a legacy and a cult following even amongst extreme music. Attributed as being one of the first such bands to use additional instrumentation including synths, theirs was a sound that was considered by many unique and pioneering at the time and in part a clear influence on many bands since then and in the current day. With this in mind, how does the new Phlebotomized hold up in the current day? On the evidence of Clouds Of Confusion (Hammerheart), pretty well.