REVIEW: Gospelheim – Into Smithereens


Gospelheim, Blackened Gothic Rockers from Manchester kick things off with a statement of intent with their debut single – ‘Into Smithereens’. Their self-released debut album will follow later this year. Featuring alumni from variety of respected underground Manchester-based metal bands, the group appeals to tastes ranging from Paradise Lost to Unto Others, and beyond. Continue reading


ALBUM REVIEW: Disciples of Verity – Pragmatic Sanction


Music fans love a good supergroup. However, a lot of times the results may vary and the resultant music that felt like it would rule on paper doesn’t translate in the end. Well, that sure isn’t the case with Disciples of Verity. Not only does the band boast a who’s who of dynamic talents from across Rock and Metal (Living Colour, God Forbid, Negative Sky, Sekond Skyn), their debut release Pragmatic Sanction (The Label Group/InGrooves) has a ton of memorable songs; heavy enough for the real headbangers, but catchy enough for the masses. Continue reading


ALBUM REVIEW: Victorius – Space Ninjas From Hell


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


EXCLUSIVE VIDEO PREMIERE: Black Passage – ”Silent Home” Guitar Playthrough


Bay Area Technical Death Metal Band Black Passage is releasing their debut album, Veil, this July. An underground supergroup featuring members of Fallujah, Wolf King, and Anisoptera and led by guitarist Kevin Wilson, the band is already proving to have a deft touch for progressive songcraft, soaring melodies, and unflinching brutal vocals. So far the bands’ music is anything but predictable or safe. Ghost Cult is proud to debut the playthrough video for their current single, ‘Silent Home’. Continue reading


Bad Religion – Age of Unreason


You know what’s the best thing about Bad Religion’s latest studio LP Age of Unreason (Epitaph Records)? How it’s such an honest and pristinely produced slab of melodic punk from a band that’s been rabble rousing since 1980. I mean, it’s futile to expect any different from this legendary Los Angeles outfit, but judging by the verbal ammunition in Age of Unreason’s chamber, it’s clear that today’s urine-soaked politics has clearly irked Bad Religion.Continue reading


Délétère – De Horae Leprae


Québécois Black Metallers Délétère have often had an air of mystique and the outrageous in their cannon, and the overriding narrative of latest album De Horae Leprae (Sepulchral Productions) is arguably more conceptual, with it being devoted to “Teredinis, a simple leper whose calling it is to become a prophet of Centipedes, as well as an incarnation of the Plague.” With such a vivid and eccentric conceptual idea behind it, its surprising to note that De Horae Leprae is a comparatively simplistic listen, albeit one with plenty of wealth.Continue reading


Beyond Grace – Seekers


 

Melodic death metal is a very tricky style to get spot on, with a balance that needs to be struck between heaviness and an ear for a tune; a balance that all too often is lop-sided. It’s an understanding that Nottingham based death metallers Beyond Grace have, in a short life-span, have already recognised and mastered and thus, as evidenced on latest album Seekers (Self-released), have proven themselves as one of British metal’s best kept secrets and exciting prospects.Continue reading


Opeth – Sorceress


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Opeth will be releasing Sorceress on September 30th via the bands own label Moderbolaget Records, thanks to their new deal with Nuclear Blast Entertainment.Continue reading


George Kolias – Invictus


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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!

7.0/10

WORDS BY TIM LEDIN


Finsterforst – Mach Dich Frei


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While folk metal may revel in being the life and soul of the party, its slightly more bookish cousin pagan metal is more likely to be found attempting to educate listeners about cultural heritage and ancient lore than waving a plastic sword around and extolling the virtues of wenches and mead. German septet Finsterforst (Dark Forest) may wear war paint but apart from that they’re gimmick free and are more interested in taking the listener on a journey of discovery via the medium of epic-length songs, full-blooded metal passion and a hearty sense of ambition.

With a crystal-clear production that allows every instrument to breathe and an impressively nuanced approach to songwriting, fourth full-length Mach Dich Frei (Napalm) which translates as ‘set yourself free’, carries on the epic and stirring tradition begun on debut release Weltenkraft (World Chaos Production) back in 2007. Influenced by the likes of Moonsorrow and Falkenbach, the band offer a variety of styles over the course of eight lengthy tracks, from the mid-paced stomp of ‘Zeit für Hass’ to the more hook-driven refrains of the title track, all the while ensuring that while grandiose may be the order of the day, things never get out of hand.

Traditional instrumentation plays a big part in the record with the braying horns of keyboardist Sebastian Scherrer in particular lending proceedings a cinematic feel. The guttural Teutonic lyrics of vocalist Oliver Berlin may soar over the heads of many listeners but his delivery is full of passion and grit, while the dual guitar attack switches tempos with ease, no better demonstrated on twenty-three minute closing track ‘Finsterforst’ which features everything from classy melodic interplay to snarling black metal whilst remaining exciting and authentic throughout.

Although a seventy-three minute album will be far too long for many listeners, the sheer quality of songwriting on Mach Dich Frei is enough to warrant many repeated spins and the band deserve every success in reward for their efforts to inform and entertain.

8.0/10

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JAMES CONWAY