GMA - Vol133 - Stormbane, Immanent, Workshop, Rectified Spirit, Imminence, Wintternal, T.A.N.K, Further Dimension, Unbowed, Emphasis
'Tortured in the Arms of Salvation' + 'Abyssus Abyssum Invocat'
Australia has a long and dark history and that may well be the reason behind the influx of Black Metal and Thrash Metal bands that roam the vast continent / country, that said when bands like Stormbane emerge on the scene, it cannot be helped by saying that this is what true underground black / thrash metal sounds like, speaking on terms of their debut 2009 demo 'Tortured in the Arms of Salvation, it is evidently clear that the utilization of atmosphere over production adds a synthetic raw dimension to it. In fact the demo itself is so raw, many die hard black metal fans would masturbate over the eccentricity that reaps every single note on every single song on the demo, but at times it takes a real hard attempt to decipher what or where each musical instrument comes in, its raw for sure but a bit too raw (is that even possible?) Moving forward to the 2010 premier EP 'Abyssus Abyssum Invocat' and instantaneously the production level has dramatically increased whilst retaining that authentic raw buzzing sound that makes the EP sound so lush, its like eating a chocolate cake covered in everything that contains sugar, simply put its so delicious that it would make you physically sick, but that's the great thing about this release, it blasts the whole room with the sonic menacing sound of blastbeats, tight riffs and apocalyptic shrieking, if only there was more songs on the EP; you just cannot get enough of this band.
 +  RHYS STEVENSON
France of late seems to be bringing more and more female-fronted metal bands out, is this a challenge for the rest of Western Europe? Maybe, but when Prog Metal outfit Immanent step into the limelight, heads bow in shame, well almost. The premier EP 'In Acedia' starts off with some promising music until the vocals kick in and there goes the question, are there any vocals? At times it becomes hard to to tell whether there are even any lyrics! It's like a bottle of French wine, fine on the outside but once the sipping has passed and the drinker is into the bottle it is questionable whether it is nice tasting or not, overall the album cannot be totally decried as it does offer a unique style, whether that specific style will catch on is another question. One element that does however offer some brilliance is the piano compositions, which adds a sorrowful sound to the mix, that aligned with the guitar and drum compositions makes the release justifiable.
Download This: "Seclusion"
 RHYS STEVENSON
'Made Love To The Dragon'
EMI MUSIC (INDIA) / DEMONSTEALER
Comedy metallers Workshop make their utmost welcomed return in delivering their second album 'Made Love To The Dragon', what comes this time is another truck load of heavy metal songs that have so much tongue-in-cheek, it makes Comedy Central look like a cabaret act, especially when comparing to the song 'Gajanand Dhige' which explicitly sings about a guy having a fat bottom and issues surrounding the said body part, of course this does not stop the band entering rudimentary territory in relation to the song 'Naagin Ki Nazar' which talks about a guys jewels, or so it would seem, but who cares, whether your sober or pissed out beyond belief, the songs are guaranteed to make anyone smile and laugh, therefore it begs the question of whether metal music and comedy can actually work so much so that Workshop could appear at the Edinburgh Comedy Festival? What also makes the release that extra special is that the songs seem to circulate around the city of Mumbai (Bombay) and has a personal connection to the city, whether that be true or not it certainly feels to it and so when Workshop 'Made Love To The Dragon', they found their inner fire and hot spice.
Download This: "Naagin Ki Nazar"
For Fans of: System of a Down, Iron Maiden, Zimmers Hole
[8.5] RHYS STEVENSON
Heavy Metal being mixed with Metalcore may seem a little daunting and impractical at first, but once it gets into full swing it can be a sensational experience, something which Indian metal mob Rectified Spirit seem to have conquered upon releasing their debut self-titled album last year. What we have here is Iron Maiden-esque vocals and music being weaved into your traditional Metalcore sound, knife-edge riffs coalescing in and out the emphatic double bass drumming and truncated musical composition that slashes every ear that gets caught in this extraordinary musical blast of post-apocalyptic metal. 'Rectified Spirit' may well be the next step in adding a new algorithm to the already complex metalcore matrix, let alone building a sound that separates this band from the clones.
Download This: "Bloodrush"
 RHYS STEVENSON
'Return To Helios'
WE ARE TRIUMPHANT
Could this be the next biggest Swedish metal export? Imminence explode on the international scene with their post-apocalyptic explosion of Metalcore infused Modern Metal, echoing comparisons to Denmark's Scarred By Beauty and England's The Defiled as well as the likes of Caliban and Parkway Drive. From start to finish, the Swedish armada's second EP 'Return To Helios' spits fire at every note produced and is certified to melt faces across the European Metal scene, the vocals alone set the tone for the almighty face-punching onslaught that soon follows courtesy of the ballistic drumming and razor-sharp riffs that provide the solid infrastructure that is Imminence, even so when the melodic sections cut across the insane multitude of elements pieced together, the band and respective EP still maintain that hardcore backdrop, proving why Imminence are rightfully poised to take Europe by storm in 2013.
'Return To Helios' is out 7th May via We Are Triumphant Records
 RHYS STEVENSON
On the tropical island of Madeira (a Portuguese autonomous province) comes the Melodic Death / Groove outfit Wintternal and their exciting debut EP 'The Monologue', as soon as the music kicks in it is clear this lot mean business, furious and exhilarating is an understatement in describing 'The Monologue', this EP has the power to kick your teeth in, beat the living daylights out of the pathetic individuals destroying our planet and the firepower to make an atomic bomb look like a pitiful grenade, with that comes the sensational melodies that keep this release in the overdrive region before taking it back to the origin of the music, 'The Monologue' atmosphere. On the other hand though it is nothing new, but it at leasts offers the band a way forward and the Madeira Metal scene a glimmering chance of being exploited, taking clear groove influences from Lamb of God and melodic death metal influences from bands like Trivium or In Flames, the rest is waiting to be argued upon.
Download This: "The Sword Of Damocles"
 RHYS STEVENSON
'Spasms Of Upheaval'
In recent years the French Metal scene has seen a deluge of fresh and exciting underground bands that have the mettle to prove that they are on the path to gaining international recognition, such a band is Melodic Death / Thrash quintet T.A.N.K (Think of A New Kind) and their sophomore album 'Spasms Of Upheaval', what comes out of this megalithic album is a torrential barrage of differential sounds that emit from the same source, the talented musicians. Layering an aggressive melodic style on top of a percussive thrash element and Scar Symmetry style vocals, 'Spasms Of Upheaval' is the sound that will make T.A.N.K stand out from the rest of their fellow countrymen, now if T.A.N.K was to be compared to Gojira, then the former is a whole league above the latter, with no exception.
Download This: "Through The Disgrace"
 RHYS STEVENSON
At first the sophomore album by French Heavy Proggers Further Dimension seemed to be slacking all over the place, but in fact it is simply the opposite, some of the solos on here start off well but go completely overboard and therefore render the songs they are situated in as questionable. 'They Live' came out last year and delivers once more that technical math rock / djent feel that surges through the center of the band's infrastructure. Granted the level of extreme music is there in context with the level of aggression that spews out of the speakers from which one can be seduced by the mastery represented here, but as said things can be overdone and at times 'They Live' seems a little too pushed to be a great follow up from the band's debut album 'The Monolith Effect' two years ago, however in an overall perspective the album is certified for fans of djent and progressive metal.
Download This: "Dualitude"
 RHYS STEVENSON
Emerging fresh on the Canadian Metal scene is the twelve-legged melodic black / death metal machine Unbowed of whom have just released their debut self-titled EP. What makes the band ever so promising given the evidence herewith is the delinquent melodies that develop a dark and disturbing atmosphere for the rest of the band to poise upon and unleash a barrage of sincere compositions that spew out comparisons between Vesperia, Hecate Enthroned and Cradle of Filth, the latter only adhering to the keyboard and drum elements. 'Unbowed' is sure to get the band some deserved attention from global media outlets and at the same time propel themselves forward to delivering that all important god-smiting debut album.
Download This: "March Of The Giants"
[7.5] RHYS STEVENSON
Estonian Metal on the international scene is not well known besides the most notable band Metsatöll, so when Symphonic Power Metal sextet Emphasis arrive on the block and deliver their debut EP 'Into Infinity' expectations run high. The result is that expectations are surpassed, delivering a sumptuous mix of elegant keyboard symphonies that enliven the release and as a result the vocals, drums and guitars cooperate to perfection, delivering a sound and powerful force that has the potential to land Emphasis in the laps of a record label deal and selection to participate in the Eurovision song contest, in fact the EP blasts similarities to the progressive elements of Opeth, the dramatic atmosphere of Within Temptation, the darkened gloominess of My Dying Bride and a modern metal style that incorporates electronic-tinged background music. All in all 'Into Infinity' has proven its worth as an excellent debut release from which Emphasis can plan an assault on Europe with their catchy lyrics and totally musical compositions.
Download This: "Running Man"
 RHYS STEVENSON
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