GMA - Vol 209 - Darkend, Horricane, Eths, Liveevil, Heathen Beast, Holy Dragons, Ferium, CharmCharmChu, Genetic Disorder, Pestilent Reign
'The Canticle Of Shadows'
A decade has passed since the birth of Italian Symphonic Black Metal conjurers Darkend and with their third effort comes a thunderous yet gratifying explosion of furious speed, elegant harmonies and ear-crunching power. 'The Canticle Of Shadows' is the ideal soundtrack to your own murder, it's full of dynamic suspense, on-the-edge of your seat dramatics and uncompromising menace. Whilst not leaning towards the more Symphonic-based incantations spewed out by the likes of Dimmu Borgir, Darkend offer a new, refined and extreme perspective of this sub sub-genre. With the songs averaging at around 7 minutes long a-piece, you would need utmost patience to enjoy it to the fullest, that said for those who wait the magic laid herewith is spellbinding and awe-inspiring.
Download This: "Of The Defunct"
For Fans of: Shade Empire, Opera IX, Twilight Ophera
'The Canticle Of Shadows' is out 25th April via Non Serviam Records
Veterans of the Estonian Metal scene, Death Metal conspirators Horricane let the handbrake down on their latest offering 'Synthetic Forms'. What is to come is an onslaught of some truly refined old-school Death Metal tinged with modern elements that consequently leaves the sound straddled between the two. In addition to the three straight-edge Death Metal songs is a techno-upbeat version of the song 'Synthetic Forms' that quite frankly could pose as a rather unique sound, if you like call it 'Technodeath Metal'. However good the 'Synthetic Forms' EP is, Horricane won't and should not become complacent, they still have a lot left in their locker and by letting it all out, can give them that much deserved kick towards greater European recognition. For a Death Metal release it satisfies the thirst for something intriguing yet falls short of groundbreaking albeit for the last track.
Download This: "Starblind" - Click to listen
For Fans of: Unleashed, 'Modern Death Metal'
[7.5] RHYS STEVENSON
SEASON OF MIST
A changing of the guard usually signals a change in direction of sound, but for Eths this rule does not apply, they won't allow it. Marching on across planet metal like an out-of-control tornado, France's most experimentally demanding and controversially challenging metal band Eths presents to the world their fourth album 'Ankaa'. Grinding out new and organically unique music is becoming more and more difficult, yet by pooling together Groove Metal, Nu Metal, Alternative Metal and Deathcore, Eths are questioning convention like never before. Not only could 'Ankaa' be considered a contender for 'French Metal release of the year', but also sparking a whole new wave of metal bands following this collated genre. Question is, why the hell they haven't they been playing at the UK festivals? Gojira are old-hat, Eths is the new shit.
Download this: "Vae Victis"
For Fans of: Whitechapel, Betraying The Martyrs, Lamb of God
 RHYS STEVENSON
They cannot escape being compared to Pain and Deathstars and for a damn good reason, they're Industrial / Goth Metallers, of course this is referring to Liveevil. Returning with their latest 'Cyber Metal' offering, the Czech quartet have ensured 'Blacktracks' tops their previous efforts with enough room to spare for future albums. More uniquely you could slot them into the whole 'Dance Metal' movement pioneered by Rammstein as you tap dance to their infectious electronic beats, headbang to the ground-punching brutality displayed and rave so hard that you sweat your pants off and let your jewels swing back and forth to this momentous release. Or if you like, you could pigeonhole the whole album into one made up genre such as 'Modern Dance Metal' or 'Futuristic Cyber Metal', whatever you want to call it, it's too damn good to ignore!
Download This: "Vibes"
For Fans of: Deathstars, Rammstein, Pain, Eisbrecher
 RHYS STEVENSON
'Rise Of The Saffron Empire'
TRANSCENDING OBSCURITY DISTRIBUTION
Where freedom of speech is concerned, most of the time if what is being said is of a delicate or extremely controversial nature then it's best to say it through an alias. In Heathen Beast's case this is giving each member a unique name to hide their real identity, but what is not hidden is this trio's unique take on Black Metal. By incorporating various traditional instruments including the 'tabla' (Indian drums), 'sitar' (Indian stringed instrument), 'carnatic violin' (Indian classical instrument) and 'Shankh' (Conch), Heathen Beast might as well become purveyors of the First Wave of Indian Black Metal; call it that, or call it 'Hindi Black Metal'. 'Rise Of The Saffron Empire' is the latest effort by these Indian masterminds and with it comes all the exoticness of India mixed in a melting pot of grim, violent and political Black Metal. Out comes the harsh sounds, traditionalist elements and aspiration for innovation. Seriously if you're to look for new Black Metal releases to check out, Heathen Beast's 'Rise Of The Saffron Empire' should be top of the pile.
Download This: "Swachh Bharat"
For Fans of: ChthoniC, Rudra, Immortal
'Rise Of The Saffron Empire' is out April 25th via Transcending Obscurity Distribution
 RHYS STEVENSON
Kazakhstan's most successful metal export Holy Dragons emerge from the studio once again to deliver their (gasp) 17th full-length album 'Civilizator'. Once again they deliver that winning formula that has gotten themselves to this position in the first place, a rampant and immersing sound designed to capture the attention of whomever listens to it. 'Civilizator' is a sharp reminder that this group are far from done and are vastly set on course to rival the might of Iron Maiden. For a band who hails from one of the more remote metal scenes worldwide, they certainly know how to make a buzz across planet metal. Riff after savage riff, each one of the twelve songs on 'Civilizator' is designed to open the pits up, headbang like crazy and guzzle beer as if it was out of fashion. You know, if Holy Dragons ever caught the attention of Iron Maiden, fuck, they would become a supporting act no problem. 'Civilizator' is a stab in the back, let it infect your nervous system and control your inner senses.
Download This: "My Fear (Litany)"
For Fans of: Iron Maiden, Doro, Manowar
[8.5] RHYS STEVENSON
'Behind The Black Eyes'
For a band who is celebrating their tenth anniversary by releasing a second album, Ferium appear to come across as a band who have just started crafting works of mass destruction. Hailing from Israel, this Death Metal / Metalcore platoon separate themselves from the boys as men of pure and brutally precise musicianship. 'Behind The Black Eyes' is the band's second album and fuck, does it pack a punch, so much so you would need to don a crash helmet to save your skull from imminent pulverisation. Adopting a protagonist point-of-view, this album is sure to pierce the hearts of those whoever manages to grasp the meaning behind the complex lyrics. Guttural in one hand, brutal on the other, 'Behind The Black Eyes' is a true testament to the burgeoning Israeli Extreme Metal scene and if they are not signed by the end of 2016, then I'll eat my speakers.
Download This: "Losing The Grip"
For Fans of: Lamb of God, Burgerkill, Livarkahil
'Behind The Black Eyes' is out now via an Independent release
 RHYS STEVENSON
'Majestic Brewing Order'
Although Hong Kong now is a specially-recognized area of China along with Macao, the Metal scene there has grown immensely. The latest addition to the Hong Kong Metal scene are Thrashers CharmCharmChu, now despite the rather bizarre band name, the band's debuting EP 'Majestic Brewing Order' is of a socio-political nature and is sure to stir some emotions up in the higher echelons of the Chinese or Hong Konger Government. Full-on 80's style Thrash Metal is the preferred sound and whilst they sound more like Sepultura rather than Slayer at times (and vice versa), the fact they sing in their native Cantonese adds a rather unique dimension to their sound, that somewhat echoes their Taiwanese counterparts State of Emergency albeit with less aggression. 'Majestic Brewing Order' is a beacon for the smaller Hong Kong Metal scene and is one that will please Thrash Metal fans thoroughly.
Download This: "War Horse" - Click to listen
For Fans of: Slayer, Sepultura, State of Emergency
[7.5] RHYS STEVENSON
Emerging out of the underground with their own brand of Technical Thrash Metal is El Salvador's Genetic Disorder and their debut EP 'Cosmic Terror'. Whilst the vocals would be more akin to Math Metal in the style of Psyopus, the riffs belong to the Modern Thrash era and the drums from the likes of Slayer, such a mixing pot no? 'Cosmic Terror' covers societal issues, humanity problems and the future as the main topics, and with it comes a sound that would get even the most evil Dalek army moshing to this spectacular musical Armageddon. Hailing from one of the most underground metal scenes in Latin America is not easy, but they have their ideas in check and ready to unleash themselves upon the world, we say good luck to them!
Download This: "Genetic Disorder" - Click to listen
For Fans of: Psyopus, Slayer, Voivod
 RHYS STEVENSON
After their debut EP established themselves in the Stuttgart Metal scene, German's Pestilent Reign make their filthy welcomed return with their second slab of skull-crushing, anal-fisting Death Metal. 'The Zealot' is a rampant face-punching music marathon that is guaranteed to carve your innards inside out, spewing your gore-rotted blood all over your squelching intestines as they flop out on the floor. Brutal and guttural as they come, Pestilent Reign are destined for big things with their loud and unforgiving maniacal production, with their latest effort well and truly up for grabs, it won't be long before some of the big boys pay attention. 'The Zealot' is a sharp contender for 'German Metal release of the year', you will not be forgiven for ignoring this band! Their music is filthier than your mums undergarments.
Download This: "Ouroboros" - Click to listen
For Fans of: Suffocation, Cerebral Bore, Abhorrent Decimation
 RHYS STEVENSON
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