Astronoid – Astronoid

For all the directions and manner of subject matter that Metal music conveys, for a record to be purely joyous and sincerely uplifting, not simply fun or adrenaline pumping, is a rarity. It is this feeling that Boston, Massachusetts’ own Astronoid tap in to. Their debut effort Air came from out of nowhere and made waves in some circles, whilst criminally going unnoticed by many others, with a sound entirely of their own. Where Air was an excellent and unique debut, their self-titled (both Blood Music) follow-up is Astronoid refining and fully realising who they are. Continue reading

The Mound Builders – The Mound Builders

After seven years of relative silence since their debut, the excellently monikered The Mound Builders use the opening minute of their self-titled sophomore album (Failure Records and Tapes) to well and truly set the scene. There’s a triumphant opening chord ringing out, with more than a hint of Volume 4 (Vertigo) about its tone, Ryan Strawsma hits a vintage clanking bass run and the swinging drums come in. By the time Jim Voelz’ raw shouts come in on top, we’re well underway to establishing this is going to be a fun, riffy, High On Fire fuelled uptempo Sludge Metal romp, with all the essential hints of Hardcore to pepper things up. Continue reading

Cloudburst – Cloudburst

One of the most appealing aspects of getting to listen to Cloudburst’s self-titled sophomore (Samstrong Records) effort is learning that they hail from Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Through years of tape trading, international touring and eventually communicating online we’ve always known that the extreme music market is indeed a global one, but it’s always exciting to receive these imports. Continue reading

Trees – Trees

Search online for bands named Trees and the only entries you’ll find are references to the glorious British Folk outfit of the late sixties and early seventies. Deep in the recesses of Finland, however, comes another such incarnation: one that joins the gathering of acts that have revitalised the genre this year. Continue reading

Burning Vow – Burning Vow

We’re nearing the end of another year and no doubt we’re all scrabbling together our now mandatory album of the year lists, all the while agonizing over those handful of records that we leave out or forget, to showcase our personal highlights and the standouts that will be used in future years as a signifier for the high quality of music 2018 has bestowed upon us. Continue reading

Thunder Horse – Thunder Horse

Fancy that, Thunder Horse (BC/TX) just happens to be the debut LP from well, err, Thunder Horse. I’m only surprised because even the youngest bands today seem to have a trail of EPs and singles before jumping onto the hollowed full length. And as far as musical maiden journeys go, this San Antonio outfit has hit the ground running. Continue reading

Dead Letter Circus – Dead Letter Circus

The self-titled album is an interesting concept. Where the eponymous opus is not a debut, it is usually installed into a band’s canon as a way of stating that a specific album is either a summation of everything that represents a band – their pinnacle and natural conclusion of a journey of sound – or a launch of a bold new chapter, a “look at me now” redesign and rebranding. Fourth album in, and Australian Alternative Rock act Dead Letter Circus have opted to go down that route as a way of combining both those factors – a presentation of all that they have been, and a refocusing and refining of direction. Continue reading