ALBUM REVIEW: Bury Tomorrow – Cannibal

Is it weird to have “should’ve leaned more into brutality” as your first thought upon completing a Metalcore album? Asking for a friend. That’s not to say that there is a total absence of the heavier and grimier stuff on Bury Tomorrow’s Cannibal (Music for Nations/Sony), but I wouldn’t have been heartbroken if they would’ve squeezed some more juice out of the amps.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Sylosis – Cycle of Suffering

So, Cycle of Suffering (Nuclear Blast) is Sylosis‘ post-hiatus album? Considering how tight the musicianship is and the sense of urgency you could’ve told me that this was released six months after Dormant Heart, and I would’ve bought the lie hook, line, and sinker. For a band that just reformed last year and have worked their way through various personnel changes, this is some remarkable shit. Continue reading

Boundaries – My Body In Bloom

When it comes to Metalcore there may be nothing new left under the sun. Some detractors would argue that there never was anything to the subgenre. And to those insufferable malcontents may I suggest a long holiday and taking a listen to Killswitch Engage’s Alive or Just Breathing (Roadrunner) or Coalesce’s Functioning on Impatience (Second Nature). There may be a dearth of new or novel sounds on BoundariesMy Body In Bloom EP (Unbeaten Records), but boy does this Connecticut unit know how to make the most out of fundamentals. Continue reading

Agrimonia – Awaken

When your primary musical focus consists of playing in At The Gates, Skitsystem, or Martyrdöd, any and all accompanying projects are going to be subjected to some level of scrutiny. “Yeah, but it’s not Slaughter Of The Soul, is it?” you may hark, but Sweden’s Agrimonia have never been ones to rely on paying lip service to their associated Death Metal and Crust Punk outfits. Five years removed from their last record Rites Of Separation, Agrimonia have presented us with their most ambitious, thematic and musically realised record, Awaken (both Southern Lord). Continue reading

Vampire – With Primeval Force

Having rather disappointingly not emerged from the mist-shrouded bowels of a spooky castle hidden within the haunted forests of nineteenth century Transylvania, but hailing instead from modern day Gothenburg, Sweden, Vampire do their best to transport you to such creepy, bat-infested locations with their form of horror inspired Black/Thrash Metal. Continue reading

Archaea – Catalyst

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When new bands form they usually aim to get their music ‘out there’ as soon as possible, often releasing their début full-length album in the first couple of years. However, Archaea do not adhere to this stereotype as they are finally releasing their début album nearly eight years after forming. Although this may seem like a strange move, it does prove that a lot of thought, effort and time has gone into the creation of Catalyst (Self-release).

One of the most impressive songs on the album is ‘Vacuum’, a dramatic and almost enchanting melodic metal song. The frantic nature of the song is highlighted by the fast-paced keyboard melodies, which manage to fuse well with Nils Bossius’ powerful vocals. There is definitely a theatrical element to this song, however, it does not sound tacky or over-rehearsed.

There are many stereotypes about Swedish melodic death metal all sounding the same, but that definitely is not true. Although Archaea are able to nail all of the genre tick-lists (heavy vocals, melodic keyboard, ect), there is something a bit different about the Gothenburg-based sextet. Every song on the album sounds unique and it is hard to get bored whilst listening to it. Although there may be a slight overload of keyboard melodies, which is slightly reminiscent of Children Of Bodom, it does not change the professionalism of Archaea’s sound.

If you gave this album to someone who was scared of the melodic metal genre it would definitely encourage them to listen to more ‘melodeath’ music. Catalyst is extremely easy to listen to as Archaea have made an album which focuses on creating high-quality music with hints of other genres embedded into their sound. Although it may not be the most ground-breaking record of the genre, Archaea have worked hard to create a release is sure to gain them respect in the metal community and a wide variety of new fans.

 

7.0/10

 

JULIA CONOPO

Nightrage – The Puritan

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Originating in Thessaloniki, Greece, under the fleet-fingered generalship of Marios Iliopoulos (the bands only stalwart and ever-present) and six-string superstar guitarist Gus G. (Firewind/Ozzy), Nightrage have had a fair few well-known faces bolster their ranks and raise their profile throughout the years, including, amongst others, Per Möller Jensen (The Haunted) and Tomas “At The Gates” Lindberg. Yet, despite the constant turn over, through the sheer force of Iliopoulis’ will and personality, the band has maintainted both its sound and style.

And so to opus number six, The Puritan (Despotz), and yet another line-up change with Ronnie Nyman grabbing the poisoned chalice-shaped nettle of the microphone stand, his early Anders  Fridén stylings slotting in seamlessly with an assured and aggressive voice snarling over another dose of the confident melodeath we’ve come to expect from Nightrage. Steeped in the fast riffing, melodic leads and off-beat snare snaps that define post Slaughter of the Soul (Earache) Melodic Death Metal, The Puritan displays all the expected genre trappings, with Nightrage comfortable in laying out a heavily In Flames and At The Gates influenced sound.

Yet, this was the sound of the late 90’s… in the lead up to the turn of the millennium, you couldn’t swing a cat without it picking up the print ink of review upon review comparing bands to the main protagonists of the NWOSDM sound and nearly two decades on it’s disappointing to hear respected outfits slavishly reproducing a style that belongs to yesterday. There were too many bands doing it back then to need any more doing it now.

Iliopoulos knows how to do this melodeath thang til his fingers bleed, and The Puritan is an effectively crafted slab of Gothenburg jagged riffing, harmonized guitars and throaty vocals. For a band that has rubbed more than shoulders with some big hitters and genre-definers, while the proficiency is there, that extra dose of depth of thought and invention in song-writing that would move Nightrage from just A.N.Other band to genuine players, is lacking.

Even seventeen years ago this would have sat as one of the pack alongside your Withering Surface’s, A Canorous Quintet’s and Crown of Thorns as follower, not leader. 

 

6.5/10

Nightrage on Facebook

 

STEVE TOVEY

Allegaeon – Elements Of The Infinite

Allegaeon-Elements-of-the-Infinite

 

Despite their relatively short existence, Death Metallers Allegaeon have proven to be a more than efficient, if not spectacular, outfit. Their brand of melodic and technical death metal is far from being an original formulation, but previous albums such as 2012’s Formshifter showed the quintet from Fort Collins, Colorado, do possess real song-writing prowess and formidability.

 

Latest effort Elements Of The Infinite (Metal Blade) follows firmly on this same path of dogged reliability bar some very subtle differences as the band marginally up the aggression factor at the expense of some of the melody. Elements… also shows a little less of that all too familiar Gothenburg sound in its DNA. These changes are minute however and will not catch established fans off guard by any stretch of the imagination, as the core of their sound is still founded on melodic flourishes and precision.

 The continued persistence to their relatively strict formula is the album’s biggest drawback as EOTI  is lacking both in spark and imagination. It is clear that these guys have musical talent by the bucket load, but proceedings here are uninspired, especially compared to the gems that are its predecessors.

 

Despite some tinkering, Elements Of The Infinite sees Allegaeon firmly sat in their niche bracket and when compared to previous outings it is clear that these guys have a lot more to give. Unfortunately their latest offering is a bog-standard melodic death metal effort, which sadly bears the weight of unlived expectations.

 

6.0/10.0

Allegaeon on Facebook

 

CHRIS TIPPELL

 

Allegaeon – Elements Of The Infinite

Allegaeon-Elements-of-the-Infinite

 

Despite their relatively short existence, Death Metallers Allegaeon have proven to be a more than efficient, if not spectacular, outfit. Their brand of melodic and technical death metal is far from being an original formulation, but previous albums such as 2012’s Formshifter showed the quintet from Fort Collins, Colorado, do possess real song-writing prowess and formidability.

 

Latest effort Elements Of The Infinite (Metal Blade) follows firmly on this same path of dogged reliability bar some very subtle differences as the band marginally up the aggression factor at the expense of some of the melody. Elements… also shows a little less of that all too familiar Gothenburg sound in its DNA. These changes are minute however and will not catch established fans off guard by any stretch of the imagination, as the core of their sound is still founded on melodic flourishes and precision.

 

The continued persistence to their relatively strict formula is the album’s biggest drawback as EOTI is lacking both in spark and imagination. It is clear that these guys have musical talent by the bucket load, but proceedings here are uninspired, especially compared to the gems that are its predecessors.

 

Despite some tinkering, Elements Of The Infinite sees Allegaeon firmly sat in their niche bracket and when compared to previous outings it is clear that these guys have a lot more to give. Unfortunately, their latest offering is a bog-standard melodic death metal effort, which sadly bears the weight of unlived expectations.

 

6.0/10.0

Allegaeon on Facebook

 

CHRIS TIPPELL