GMA - Vol197 - Blackdrawn, Storm (HI), Ordo Caper, Ares, Draugûl, Age Of Dust, Luciferum Penis, Lost In Pain, Siroll!, Cerebral Abscess
Now you might well have thought that because of Greece's demoralizing and brutal economic downfall that the quality of metal would deplete as a result; not to mention quality of gear and services available, well, you would be mistaken. Enter Blackdrawn, the new kids on the block who come armed with their rather unforgiving blend of mystical keyboard elements, technical groove riffery, blazing drums and not to mention vocals so gritty they would embed in your soul for eternity. Eloquently expressed, the self-debut album by this Greek unit lashes together the aforementioned Groove / Tech combination with elements of Nordic Melodic Death Metal, conjuring up what could be accepted as part of the 'new wave of Modern Metal'. Already set to perform as support to Arch Enemy in November, Blackdrawn are the Greek Metal band you never saw coming. Simply magical.
Download This: "What I Am" - Click here to listen
For Fans of: Soilwork, In Flames, DevilDriver
[9.5] RHYS STEVENSON
'Storm's A Brewin' '
TIN IDOL PRODS.
Granted the USA has a gargantuan range of metal bands stretching across from the Atlantic to Pacific West, but ever thought of Hawaiian Metal? Well emerging from the secluded island archipegalo is the female-fronted Gothic Metal band Storm with their infectious debut album 'Storm's A Brewin' '. Borrowing properties from the Doom Metal and Symphonic Metal styles, this quintet certainly have ambition on their mind as proven with this effort, despite lacking something that would make this album extra special; no idea what it is, but it's lacking something, Storm certainly are looking the real deal when it comes down to initiative and original-thinking throughout constructing these hallowing and spine-chilling songs. With this album, Storm are leading the Hawaiian Metal scene to greater recognition.
Download This: "Angel Eyes" - Click here to listen
For Fans of: Evanescence, Lacuna Coil, Paradise Lost
 RHYS STEVENSON
ONLY DEATH'S REAL.
Costa Rica in recent years has been enjoying a flourishing of metal bands emerging from the pits of the underground to more continental and international recognition. The latest to make this move is Death Metal duo Ordo Caper of whose 2015 promo exhibits more of the old-school Death Metal style, rather than the polished-off kind you find all too common these days. What also makes this release all the more interesting is one of the songs 'Igbodu', simply because trying to google what it means and not getting anywhere demands more curiosity to be given. The only immediate downside to this promo (and what can you expect?) is that at times the vocals override the music too much, the drums fade too much and thus you're left quite unsure of what to make of the promo holistically.
Download This: "Red Moon Ritual" - Get the promo from the band via their Facebook here
For Fans of: Morbid Angel, Old-School Death Metal
[6.5] RHYS STEVENSON
We've already ascertained that the Japanese Metal scene is built upon breaking the rules, saying no to taboo issues in context with metal music itself, and supporting that notion with their second album 'Divine Creation', is the trio Ares. This is not Melodic Death Metal as you know it, there is much more going on to even demand it's own genre from which can be called 'Modern Apocalyptic Metal'. Seriously there are elements of Symphonic Metal, Power Metal and Metalcore that all combine together to create a sound that is sensationally mind-blowing, one that inevitably demanded a record label deal and one that will catapult Ares higher in the Asian, if not the Japanese Metal scene. Granted the production might well have helped, despite it possibly being naff, sometimes the bad things are actually ironically good. Keep this band in your line of sight, they are sure to make waves.
Download This: "New Created Sky" - Click here to listen
For Fans of: Fleshgod Apocalypse, Arch Enemy, Demonic Resurrection, 'Modern Metal'
[7.5] RHYS STEVENSON
Be honest it's always fascinating when a solo project or a band focuses on singing about topics totally unrelated to where they are from. So when Sweden-based project Draugûl divulges in Nordic mythology and Tolkien-related subjects, immediately the thought of Swedish musicians comes to mind, except that this project has its roots in Malta. Geographical differences aside, Draugûl revels in the Epic Viking Metal style and broods it well with the third full-length album 'Chronicles Untold', but it's stuff we've heard before in other forms and as a result the project probably cannot escape being compared to similar bard-like bands. Putting that notion aside, 'Chronicles Untold' does what it intends to do and does so gracefully, there is no doubt it will capture the attention of Folk Metal addicts, but for the broader metal-listener it might fall short of anything interesting. In short, the album is decent but definitely not groundbreaking nor incomparable.
Buy the album here: Draugûl - Chronicles Untold
For Fans of: Windir, Watain, Faun
 RHYS STEVENSON
AGE OF DUST
'Messenger In A Soulless World'
As far as Operatic Metal goes, this is a new chapter in the genre and without a doubt the small-but-strong Catalan Metal scene. Unleashing their majestic and energetic masterpiece 'Messenger In A Soulless World', is trio Age Of Dust. Drawing the beauty, elegance and dramatics from musical scores like 'The Phantom of the Opera', Age of Dust are positioning themselves as Spain's answer to Sweden's long-running Therion. With 50 minutes of pure lively 'beauty and the beast' serenades rampaging throughout, you would be silly to knock off 'Messenger In A Soulless World' as just another Symphonic Metal album. High hopes are expected of this group and there next outings will be closely watched with interest, what with a choir providing background substance this could develop into something rather interesting to say the least.
Download This: "No Shade Of Grey" - click here to listen
For Fans of: Therion, Epica, Lacuna Coil
[8.5] RHYS STEVENSON
'15 Years of Silence and Rituals'
For a band who has been going 15 years, you'd have thought that by now their sound would have been refined, matured and tolerable. Unfortunately Luciferum Penis have not followed that pattern, instead what you are faced with when listening to their monumental '15 Years of Silence and Rituals' compilation, is in short a waste of air. There is very little redeemable quality on this release and despite it's obvious kvlt status, it fails to capture any real imagination and lacks that convincing element. However for those who associate themselves with the more extreme, underground variant of Black Metal, this is an absolute diamond. But for the all-round metal listener, yeah, this doesn't hold interest on all of the songs, in fact the best one of the lot is 'Tenebris Irae' and to think that this one of the few acceptable songs on the compilation says something about the entire release right?
Download This: "Tenebris Irae" - Click here to listen
For Fans of: Satanic Warmaster, Behexen, Horna
[5.5] RHYS STEVENSON
LOST IN PAIN
If you seek classic Heavy Metal from the Benelux region, then look no further than Luxembourg's Lost In Pain. This quartet deliver a glorious splattering of Modern Heavy Metal with Old-School influences floating around in the background. Their second album 'Plague Inc.' builds upon their successful self-titled debut album and shows that they are a match for anyone, however they choose to build upon this effort will ultimately determine on whether they keep their feng shui intact. With the eccentricity of the riffs, power behind the drums, gritty vocals and unbelievably electric atmosphere, Lost In Pain's 'Plague Inc.' is a solid contender for Luxembourg Metal release of the year, they certainly would do well in the UK that's for sure.
Download This: "Gone" - Click here to listen
For Fans of: Steel Panther, Iron Maiden, Sister Sin
 RHYS STEVENSON
BLOOD FIRE DEATH
Now you probably would not have imagined Metallic Hardcore having a musical relationship with the Spanish language right? Well Siroll! have done exactly that and make their next sermon 'Més llenya' more brutal than being gored at The Running of the Bulls. But please refrain from using the term Spanishcore because one it sounds slightly silly and two it makes the band seem seclusive just because they're singing in their native tongue. 'Més llenya' comes loaded with riffs after juicy riffs, menacing vocals and drums so agile, Lionel Messi has been made redundant. If there was to be a cheeky tongue-in-cheek track it would be '902' because lets face it, it starts off with a phone ringing, it's random, weird and perhaps should not have been, or should it? You decide.
Download This: "902" - Click here to listen
For Fans of: Hatebreed, Converge, All Pigs Must Die
 RHYS STEVENSON
Low-fi recording, gritty, ballsy and downright dirty is what springs to mind when indulging in the the 2015 promo by Russian Brutal Death horde Cerebral Abscess. You can imagine it, extremely guttural sounds, noises, you get the idea. That is just the vocals, the guitars are so thick they seem almost non-apparent and the drums are so low it is as if they were in a recording studio the size of a football pitch. Despite this, the track called 'Exterpation Of The Brain' does have its merits in that it stays true to the designated genre, it just does not warrant any re-listening. It falls short of being called music but does not fall short of being noise, it just falls on it's knees and has very few qualities worth noting. Bit of luck this is a promotional demo right?
Download the promo here
For Fans of: Brutal Death Metal, Russian Gore Metal, 'noise?'
 RHYS STEVENSON
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3rd Chronicles of Metal Music Reviews
Global Metal Apocalypse