'Isolation Der Essenz' / 'Stiller Schrei des Winters (2002-2012)'
SABBATHID RECORDS / METALLIC MEDIA
2010 brought with it a cold and bitter wind blowing from the Ukraine across Europe, carrying with it the notes and despair of Moloch's album release 'Isolation Der Essenz', full of depression, ambience and raw Black Metal, this is the exact sound that is pillaging the airwaves for the last decade. With each song the raw sounds of the guitars and background drumming add a distinct yet peacefully irate sound and it is that sound that develops into something powerful and atmospheric. Firmly for fans of Darkthrone, early Mayhem and Carpathian Forest, Moloch is truly dark and ambient. But for the album 'Isolation Der Essenz' expect nothing less but a pure grim shock and mind-raping, for this album is as perfect as you can get to disturbing evil.
Moving forward to the present day and what we have here is a collection of the darkest, disturbing, raw and yet grim sounds Moloch has blasted out over the decade, from the ambient noise sh*t out on 'Philosophie Der Depression' to the rampant beats from 'Das Leben ist wie ein verwundeter Vogel der langsam von Himmel fallt'. This is a star-studded array of the best songs Moloch (Pr. Sergiy Fjordsson) has developed to date and is sure to please any Raw Black Metal / Ambient fan. With over an hour's worth of grim despair, utmost horror and Ukrainian genius, 'Stiller Schrei des Winters (2002-2012)' is without any doubt one of the finest compilations in the Black Metal sub-genre ever. Now for the modern Black metal fan who finds bands like Dimmu Borgir, Cradle Of Filth and Watain kvlt as f*ck, wait till Moloch robs you of your senses, resistance is futile, the magician from Eastern Europe has spoken.
[7.5] /  RHYS STEVENSON
'Hiding Behind The Light'
Hailing from Iceland, Technical Deathrash merchants Blood Feud emerge on the scene guns blazing with their emphatic debut album 'Hiding Behind The Light'. Mixing intricate riffs with the bulldozing sound of rampant bulls driving the drums and vocals so rotten it makes gangrene look like fruitcake. Clear-cut sounds definitely come from influences such as Kreator (through the drumming and vocals) and Children of Bodom (through the melodies created and the riffs). The only backlash of this album is the clarity of the vocals, hard to sing along to but then again it is ironic in that it adds to the ferocity of the album, so effectively by having a backlash, Blood Feud have also created a benefit to the album, in fact it would be surprising if they don't get sniffed out by a label with this epic being unleashed. Blood Feud with their album 'Hiding Behind The Light' are flying the flag high for the Icelandic Metal scene.
 RHYS STEVENSON
'Flood The Common Ground'
LAST MAN STANDING MUSIC / YEAR OF THE SUN
Now you can not exactly dub this band as Lamb of God version 2, but you can say they are heavily influenced by them. So when Canada's Groove / Metalcore quintet emerge on the block with their 2011 release 'Flood The Common Ground', it is quickly gobbled up and spewed out across the cyber-world as possibly the next big album of the year. Pounding riffs mixed with the thickened vocals that sound not unlike Randy Blythe and the menacing double-bass drumming which drives the album into the unknown. For the record the guitarist is also called Randy, whether this is coincidence or fate it is undecided, but what is decided is that Misguided Aggression will soon become a band on everyone's lips, the cards have been dealt, the next move will hopefully be their ace of spades.
 RHYS STEVENSON
Sometimes bands come out with the idea that they can deliver complex, brutal and fast metal all in one package at once, however few get it right, one of those bands is Acid Death. Coming out of the grave last year and releasing their third album (despite inactivity) and what a return this is, forging the fast slick sounds of Prog Metal with the harsh brutality of Deathrash, the Green quartet emerge as a new reformed band, with their slate clean and their music dirty as a bog, this could be the band of the year in the Greek Metal scene. Pounding drumming come with a host of savage riffs and guttural vocals to produce a fist-punching slab of genius.
 RHYS STEVENSON
You know at first it can't be helped that to think this release is going to be a low-production with utter trashy recordings and failure written all over it, but then after the first track, the 2012 EP and third EP overall, 'Subhuman' wakes up and delivers the Heavy Metal D-Day. This is Essex quartet Osmium Guillotine, a combination of Iron Maiden and Venom and a hue of a Anglo-Saxon Paganism feel to them (for some odd reason), resulting in a classic sound rejuvenated to modern standards, albeit this isn't your one millionth 'core' band. Riffs so rough it would make your grandma break-dance in her latex leotard whilst your grandpa moshes with his band of merry men, it's that kind of release that gets you off your ass and wakes you up, unless of course your a 'Subhuman'.
 RHYS STEVENSON
FORTRESS UNDER SIEGE
'The Mortal Flesh Of Love'
METAL MAD MUSIC
As majestic as the Acropolis and brutal as the Spartans, Fortress Under Siege stand up and make their debut album 'The Mortal Flesh Of Love' sound extraordinarily powerful and easy to succumb to, mixing their Greek atmosphere with the elegance of Progressive Metal to unleash very high vocals, sensational riffs and bullet-blazing drumming in a package that could so easily rival every other Progressive Metal band, such an epic sound drives the listener in the front row of travelling on journeys of discovery, such sounds should be heard at Epcot more often, with trance music arriving via the keyboards, Fortress Under Siege are the next latest big metal export from Greece.
[7.5] RHYS STEVENSON
'Jeanine The Wolverine'
Chinese Thrashers Bad Mamasan kick off serious business with their debut album 'Jeanine The Wolverine' with Iron Maiden-style vocals and a progressive thrash style of drumming, more so a unique combo of Heavy Thrash Metal with Chinese ideas. Whilst the sound essentially is nothing new, the difference between other bands and Bad Mamasan is simply with funk influences, almost so as if the songs are near enough easy to dance to, but overall the music just seems a little too standard, no sort of power behind it, but none the less a decent release, one that doesn't carry much negativity but positivity could be better.
[6.5] RHYS STEVENSON
'Espejo Y Realidad'
Hailing from Colombia, Power Progressive Metal troupe Indomite deliver their first ever release in the form of their 2011 demo 'Espejo Y Realidad', combining their native Spanish tongue with the valiant power found in Power Metal and fast beats found within Progressive Metal, the quintet are starting their efforts off in a decent fashion, not so because the language is different, but essentially they have the musical beats timed well, the riffs are tight and the vocals are in two-tone with both male and female chords at the rein of the lyrics themselves, a combination of fluttery Colombian beauty with the hard-hitting conquistadors of South America makes this demo essentially Colombia's best release this year, Indomite are flying the flag for the Colombian Metal scene.
 RHYS STEVENSON
'Thou Shalt Not'
Escaping the vaults of the underground is Austrian Metalcore newcomers Xenesthis with their debut album 'Thou Shalt Not', mixing a sensational array of female melodic vocals with the brutality and heaviness of Metalcore, so essentially Melodic Metalcore. With classical elements somehow seeming present in the atmosphere, maybe a touch of Mozart in their or a classic response to the titans In This Moment, none the less a unique revelation in the common Metal genre, rhythmical drumming assisted by some of the most in-your-face vocal attitude going around, whilst sounding a little similar to Sonic Syndicate, this band is defining their own genre, as for Austrian Metalcore Xenesthis are flying the flag here, one band to watch for the future.
[8.5] RHYS STEVENSON
'Genocide '71 Split (Ostitto side) and 'Menes' single'
Hailing from Bangladesh is Deathcore quartet Ostitto with their latest single 'Menes' and their own half of the split CD release with Bangladeshi Technical Death Metal band Chromatic Massacre, the split itself features a solid assault of brutality along with traditional Bangladeshi melodies on the single 'Menes', mixing Metal with the secrets of the Asian continent, Ostitto are sounding heavier than the American veterans Whitechapel, with a blazing array of drumming compositions amongst gut-rotting vocals and sharp riffs, extreme enough to make the cricket team seem like softies, essentially this is a pure sign that the Bangladeshi Metal scene is gaining momentum, watch this band at all costs, Ostitto are flying the flag for the Bangladeshi Metal scene.
[6.5] +  RHYS STEVENSON