GMA - Vol 225 - Talbot, Afterlife Symphony, Storm, Awrizis, Vanfrejd, Psicosis, Absentation, Crow Black Sky, Atrofia, Wasp Sting Danger
Light a bong and chill out to the thick distorted sounds of Talbot and their third album 'Magnetism', for the Russian-Estonian duo this is a well put together effort that puts you at ease, through it's ethereal and atmospherically charged sound, this is an album worth of a double listen. The finely balanced mix of Stoner and Doom Metal is clear as daylight and has left no room for error, the vocals in fact are split between growling and clean styles and are both engulfed by the thickened sound produce by the guitars and drums. Estonia rarely gets a look in for metal bands albeit Metsatoll as their best export, but for those metalheads willing to explore, Talbot is a prime example of what keeps the underground ticking. Their latest effort 'Magnetism' will surely gather some fan attention from outside of Estonia.
Download This: "Infra" - Click to listen
For fans of: Huntress, Kyuss, Electric Wizard
[7.5/10] RHYS STEVENSON
Italian quintet Afterlife Symphony return with their third effort 'Lympha' and they deliver what you would expect, in that there is a lot going on throughout this album that is very typical of the Symphonic Metal style. That does not mean that it follows the same pattern as Nightwish, no in fact the album draws in elements from the Gothic and Melodic Metal styles and yet retains a sort of operatic feel. It's the sort of music that you could expect in a fantasy film like the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, full of suspense and fluctuating atmospherics at every turn. However, even though 'Lympha' might not set the world alight it will certainly strike a chord or two with fans of Symphonic Metal and bands with female vocals. Afterlife Symphony certainly seem to have found the sound that will carry them forward, here's hoping they can build on this and not fall backwards.
Download This: "XXI"
For Fans of: Within Temptation, Epica, Therion
[7.5/10] RHYS STEVENSON
TIN IDOL PRODS
Hawaiian Gothic / Power Metallers Storm deliver their third opus 'Zodiac' and it continues the bands exotically-charged style of metal that befits the laid back nature of theirsurroundings; even though Hawaii is nowhere near the US mainland (Hawaii is closer to Kiribati, is there a scene there?). 'Zodiac' delivers a punch with Sandy once again leading the front-line with her Suzi Quatro-esque style of rock / metal vocals, whilst the music as a whole delivers an Iron Maiden like sound, thunderous and unrelenting in every aspect. Sticking to the theme of the zodiac signs, each song depicts the traits of each sign and so what does Storm say about you? There is a song on this album for everyone as there is so much variation both lyrically and musically, it's like a Chinese buffet in that where do you start? But one thing is for sure, you will feel contented after gorging on this awesome effort.
Download This: "Aquarius" (or your own sign)
For Fans of: Iron Maiden, School of Rock enthusiasts, Suzi Quatro, Battle Beast
[8/10] RHYS STEVENSON
It's amazing what a few member changes can do to a band's productive output, in Awrizis's case it's not for the better. Having switch members in the vocals, drums, and guitars department, the anticipation of how this Czech unit would fare was steadily building since their debut album back in 2013. The new album 'Dreadful Reflection' might as well be a direct attack upon themselves, because whilst the music is a decent effort, the overall finesse is as entertaining as yawning your head off. The aggression that once was a musical threat now seems to have gone on holiday; but returns on some songs, at times the music is rather cliche but somehow delivers a respectable pulverising blow, but overall the album is nothing new, nothing special and as said a decent effort... it just flopped at the change of members.
Download This: "Burn The Flame"
For Fans of: 5 Finger Death Punch, DevilDriver, Lamb of God
[5.5/10] RHYS STEVENSON
Hailing from the Åland Islands, an archipegalo off of the Finnish coast is what could be argued as the one-man project Vanfrejd; although one cannot be sure as the info on the band/project is as useful as a dead battery. However, the debut album by this Black Metal entity is a strikingly good one, for the lack of physical presence the album justifies the band/project's existence. 'I' delivers the classic rampaging riffs, raucous vocals and blazing drums that we've all come to know from the generic Black Metal style. It will definitely please those die-hard fans of Black Metal, but for the wider metal music followers it might not be their cup of tea. All in all it's a decent effort but until Vanfrejd becomes more active socially it more than likely will be confined to history as an undiscovered release.
Download This: "Tomhet" - Click to listen
For Fans of: Mayhem, Immortal, Finnish Black Metal
[7/10] RHYS STEVENSON
OK so it has taken ten years for Psicosis from Nicaragua to release their debut album, it's always an eyebrow raiser when a band takes that long before releasing a major release but damn the wait was worth it. Combining the Spanish language with the unmistakable brutal heavy force of Groove / Thrash Metal, this ten-legged beast have done justice to the long wait. Clunking bass and riffs meet Latin influences and are jointly crowned with vocals of Sepultura elk, and drums so tightly precise that you wonder if the drummer is a mathematician at heart. 'Toska' is one album that will certainly gain considerable attention across the Central American Metal scenes and reinvigorate the whole Latin Metal style.
Download This: "Dominacion" - Click here to listen
For Fans of: Sepultura, Brujeria, Ill Nino
[8.5/10] RHYS STEVENSON
'Ascending To Desolate'
Whilst the war and conflict ensues on the streets of Damascus, Syria, a thriving underground metal scene takes place an Daesh in their music. Absentation are a Death Metal duo and are arguably one of the most exciting metal bands to emerge from the Middle East. Their debut album 'Ascending To Desolate' is a full on Death Metal-epic, with nods to the old-school style with some modern bits thrown in here and there, the slight downside is the production - over exerted and thus somewhat ruins the album, but overall it packs a furious punch that will leave you with piss-sodden pants. They hold much promise in these dire times and can be seen as a band being picked to play Wacken in the next few years. Absentation are flying the flag for the Syrian Metal scene.
Download This: "Absent-nations" - click to listen
For Fans of: Napalm Death, Cannibal Corpse, Suffocation
[8/10] RHYS STEVENSON
CROW BLACK SKY
'Sidereal Light - Volume One'
When it comes to the South African Metal scene, in specific the extreme side of it, there are numerous bands who know how to smash out a brutalising and powerful opus. Just ask the Melodic Black / Death Metal trio Crow Black Sky whose second album 'Sidereal Light - Volume One' is a tour-de-force. Sure it has been eight years since their debut, but the craftwork that has gone into the album is enriching and rewarding as a result. If Winterfylleth were a South African band they would be called Crow Black Sky, the ferocity and atmosphere conjured up is beautiful (can Black Metal be beautiful?). However some might not have the patience to listen to four tracks that on average last over eight minutes long, but the patience is worthwhile and for those who will take up the challenge, rest assured they will not be let down.
Download This: "Lightless, Lifeless" - Click here to listen
For Fans of: Winterfylleth, Shade Empire, Wildernessking
[8/10] RHYS STEVENSON
'Programado Para El Caos'
If you fancy a bounce on your chair like a pogo stick, a bop of the head or a jiggle then look no further than Cartoon Network. if you fancy a chance to ruin your chair, fling your head around or act like a thing possessed, then tune into Atrofia's highly anticipated debut album 'Programado Para El Caos'. It comes loaded with insanely fast Thrash Metal, mixed with the Spanish language and a feeling that the drummer is tanked up on red bull. Seriously this album is a romping marathon of which is hard to keep up with, especially when air drumming or doing the air guitar. It seems that this Panamanian outfit have their craft sussed out, for every second it does not disappoint and leaves you quenching for more. Think Panama is only famous for the canal? Think again. Atrofia is set to place Panama's metal scene on the world stage.
Download This: "Et Gran Final" - Click here to listen
For Fans of: Slayer, Kreator, Holy Moses
[8/10] RHYS STEVENSON
WASP STING DANGER
'Wasp Sting Danger'
Ever been stung by a wasp? Ever been prodded by the wasp's pointed arse? South Korean Crossover Thrash / Hardcore merchants Wasp Sting Danger are here to warn you of the consequences of being violated by the wasps through their own brand of humour, human nature and barminess. Dropping their debut EP, this quintet know how to belt out a song or two, songs that ultimately will leave your hearing impaired, senses rearranged and genitals with a massive hard on. It's not often a South Korean Metal band garners attention outside of Asia, but damn if they carry on with this style of metal and their attitude, attention will come their way in the form of a label signing, if not festival slots overseas... this music is the absolute nuts! It's the dogs bollocks.... ever seen bollocks stung by a wasp... let's not go there.
For Fans of: Brujeria, Corrosion of Conformity, Municipal Waste
Download This: "Hate You" - Click to listen
[8/10] RHYS STEVENSON
GMA - Vol 207 - Vodun, Al-Namrood & Darkestrah, D.A.M., Ifrinn, Wildways, Demonstealer, LAMORI, Cretura, Elvaron, Anient
It's the sort of music that would do well at the Notting Hill Carnival (maybe even winning the Eurovision for the UK), blending a mix of psychedelia with stoner metal and injecting Aretha style vocals, Royal Blood rock intuition and ancient West African voodoo vibes. All hail 'Possession', the latest effort by the London trio Vodun, which does more than just giving listeners something to rock out to, it is a conglomerate of rock/metal elements. With songs like 'Bloodstones' almost providing itself as an ideal bond song, well on this effort Vodun could easily write a bond song, even if Live & Let Die would provide the perfect comparison to the band's music. Vodun have proven that music not only brings different music styles together, but also it breaks down the ethnic barrier and as the band evidently proves, there is no room for discrimination. 'Possession' would certainly have been given the thumbs up by Baron Samedi, had he not been 'killed' by the snakes....
Download This: "Oya"
For Fans of: Royal Blood, Kyuss, Aretha Franklin
'Possession' is out now via Riff Rock Records
 RHYS STEVENSON
AL-NAMROOD / DARKESTRAH
'Tajer Al Punqia / Akyr Zaman'
Two of the most underground Black Metal outfits have come together to collaborate and unleash a truly unique and historical moment in the history of metal music as we know it. Saudi Arabian trio Al-Namrood and Kyrgyz trio Darkestrah lock horns to release the split album 'Tajer Al Punqia / Akyr Zaman', a full-on 22-minute, 3 track epic consisting of some rather unrelenting Black / Folk Metal seen from the Middle East / Central Asia regions. Quintessentially important to the survival of the smaller, 'endangered' (as-it-were) metal scenes, this split offers an insight into the extreme underground and with it, exposes a simply awe-inspiring and magical horde of musicians and subsequent music that defies the odds and stands for two things, one freedom of speech but more importantly to rejoice alongside the world's metal scenes. For ethos, charisma and utmost diligence in remaining true to their cause, 'Tajer Al Punqia / Akyr Zaman' is a truly symbolic release for those who believe in metal as a cultural expression.
Get it here:- http://www.shaytanproductions.com/Releases/Releases.html
For fans of: Black / Folk Metal, exotic music.
'Tajer Al Punqia / Akyr Zaman' is now out via Shaytan Productions
 RHYS STEVENSON
By layering classical, occultist and theatrical elements across Melodic Death Metal, Brazil's D.A.M. have crafted their own sound out of the forest of metal music. This evident on their latest offering 'Premonitions' as they hire the services of Marina Guimarães and Jéssica Delazare to cover the female side of this rather promising Brazilian outfit. Whilst perhaps the first two tracks may be unconventionally long, the latter 2/3 of the release certainly deal justice, through the use of intricate keyboard compositions, murderous riffs, blasting drums (programmed) and vocals so vicious that the favela's would weep in terror. To the trained ear you can tell that there are similarities with other bands, but for the more diverse metal fans, 'Premonitions' is a truly ambitious release from this promising unit. D.A.M. are flying the flag for the Brazilian Metal scene.
Download This: "Anorexic Dysphoria (An Elegy For The Brainless)" - Click to listen
For Fans of: Arch Enemy, Children Of Bodom, The Agonist
'Premonitions' is now out via an Independent Release
 RHYS STEVENSON
In the deepest grim and most serene valleys of bonnie Scotland resides a Black Metal band so youthful yet so mature in their music, that quite frankly deserves immediate appreciation. Hail to the new brethren Ifrinn and their tantalisingly raw premier self-titled demo. Smothered with atmospherics of all kinds, this demo demonstrates that this Scottish group hold much promise in joining the second wave of British Black Metal. Hiding their identities under a shrouded veil of mystery, all that can be said of the composers is that their dank and hallowing harrowing music is one not to be taken lightly and is ultimately intended for those who revel or succumb to the powers residing within the Black Metal force. 'Ifrinn' might as well become one of the darkest and eeriest releases found within the entire Scottish Metal scene, proceed with caution, you have been warned.
Download This: "Dweller Within The Gulf" - Click to listen
For Fans of: Winterfylleth, Immortal, Wodensthrone
'Ifrinn' is now out via Iron Bonehead Records
[7.5] RHYS STEVENSON
'Into The Wild'
Russia's long-awaited answer to Asking Alexandria is finally a reality, but with an additional twist here and there. Take for example their latest effort 'Into The Wild', it incorporates Trance, Hardcore, Metalcore, Post-Hardcore, Emocore and elements of Dubstep and EBM. Hell let's call them electronicore, but with that in mind because the band prefer to be genre-less let's call them a work of art. 'Into The Wild' is jam-packed with enough tunes to get a party started, chill out, surf to or whatever listeners do best, the salient point is that no matter what you're into, Wildways have it covered. Primed and prepared to instate themselves as Russia's most successful Metalcore export, Wildways are ready to assimilate the world with their infectious, emotional and well-thought-out works of musical art. This sh*t is too damn catchy.
Download This: "Princess" (feat. Rebecca Need-Menear) - Click to listen
For Fans of: Asking Alexandria, Eskimo Callboy, Enter Shikari, Betraying The Martyrs
'Into The Wild' is now out via Artery Records
 RHYS STEVENSON
'This Burden Is Mine'
The latest effort by soloist Sahil 'Demonstealer' Makhija is here, featuring Ashwin Shriyan on bass and legendary drummer George Kollias of Nile. 'This Burden Is Mine' is a tremendous effort as it weaves its way through Death Metal, Thrash Metal and even into the Heavy Metal category. Through the use of guttural and clean vocals, savagely crafted riffs and thunderous drumming, this album flits from force to force and as a result is designed to satisfy all matters of metal music taste. 'This Burden Is Mine' is not just another album, it's a personal statement from the man himself that somewhat suggests that the achievements in life are being carried on his shoulders as depicted in the artwork. Sonically diverse, 'This Burden Is Mine' will have you head-banging, moshing, dancing and possibly masturbating at every passing song, who knows what you will do when listening to this release but one thing is for definite, this is just the start for this metal music genius; a true god within the Indian Metal scene.
Download This: "How The Mighty Have Fallen" - Click to listen
For Fans of: Nile, Demonic Resurrection, Fleshgod Apocalypse
'This Burden Is Mine' is now out via an Independent Release / Demonstealer Records
[8.5] RHYS STEVENSON
'To Die Once Again'
You could say that LAMORI hail from Finland, but we prefer to say they hail from the Åland Islands, an archipegalo straddled between Sweden and Finland; the latter owns it. 'To Die Once Again' is the band's second album and upon listening to it, stark comparisons with HIM can be drawn like a shooting star in the midnight sky. But despite the clear linkage, 'To Die Once Again' offers a darker overtone with the lyrics primarily covering topics like death, sadness, depression and Gothic aesthetics. Musically sound, 'To Die Once Again' is mainly a Hard Rock album but borrows elements from Alternative Metal and Gothic Metal; with subtle pinches of Doom Metal. This is more than just music, this album paints a picture of how the darker side of life and love becomes neglected, the harsh reality, the wicked truth and it goes without saying, 'To Die Once Again' is to suggest a rebirth gone wrong. But for LAMORI, this is the album that will take them to further international recognition. Now, about that geographical dispute....
Download This: "Lost In Love"
For Fans of: HIM, The 69 Eyes, The Doors
'To Die Once Again' is now out via Wormholedeath, digital release is 10th May
 RHYS STEVENSON
'Fall Of The Seventh Golden Star'
Hailing from the throne of Norwegian Black Metal that is Bergen, sextet Cretura throwaway the rulebook and write their own with their unforgiving and eccentric form of Symphonic Extreme Metal. By taking their forthcoming offering as a pure example and breaking it down, it is clear that the Symphonic, Black and Gothic Metal genres coalesce in becoming the nexus between their created vision and background heritage. Their forthcoming album 'Fall Of The Seventh Golden Star' is a genre-defining album if not at least an attempt to break free from the shackles of the Norwegian Black ('extreme') metal scene. Lasting a full-on hour, this album will serve the band as their calling card for the summer festivals, demanding that the band should be booked, because after hearing this effort you will definitely want to experience it live. In essence, Cretura are revelling in the time we can effectively call: 'The 3rd Wave of Black Metal'.
Download This: "Voices Of Hunger"
For Fans of: Dimmu Borgir, Nightwish, Theatres Des Vampires
'Fall Of The Seventh Golden Star' is out now via Wormholedeath
 RHYS STEVENSON
'Ghost Of A Blood Tie'
After reforming back in 2014 after five years inactivity; formed in 1993, France's Elvaron are back and it seems with new and fresh ideas. With the current line-up consisting of two original members, an ex-drummer and a brand new keyboardist, it's a meeting of old and new ideas being channelled down into new ambitions. 'Ghost Of A Blood Tie' is the band's fifth album and is consequentially the band's first album since reformation, now for those who are good at waiting for the music to kick off, this album is for you. However for those who prefer something quicker, well with 8 tracks collectively lasting 64 minutes, on average 8 minutes per track, well you get the picture. Despite the insane length, this Progressive Thrash Metal effort is a decent effort and will certainly get the Elvaron fan base rampaging once again. Emphatic solo's, ballistic drums, savage riffs, majestic vocals and keyboard elements so atmospheric, that all of this combined would be the perfect soundtrack to a summer's thunderstorm.
Download This: "Silent Windows"
For Fans of: Sonata Arctica, Voivod, Meshuggah
'Ghost Of A Blood Tie' is out 11th April via Fantai'zic Productions
[7.5] RHYS STEVENSON
'Elemental' + 'Consigned To Flames'
To Anient is to frustrate or to annihilate, suffice to say that is what the Australian quartet have done on their premier EP 'Elemental' released last year. Splattering together a raucous mess of expertly laid Death / Thrash Metal with the embodied attitude of destruction, these boys have crafted a sound that whilst may bode well on the South Pacific circuit, might just lack that element to gain attention from fans overseas. That's not to say the release is crap, it just lacks that killer blow. Despite the stated criticism, it's a solid effort that garners some element of authority over it's listeners, demanding them to listen to the release to the very death. Gritty as it comes, tidy as it goes, 'Elemental' is a really interesting release that not only could be their best material, but also serves as a decent salutation to their 10th year of activity.
Their debut album 'Consigned To Flames' is a rather solid effort that ironically somehow is not as good as their later EP yet ironically once again does show elements that it is just as good as their EP, confusing right? The sad thing is that we've heard this thing before, it's nothing new and despite the excellent effort at making a mark, it slips slightly at the very last moment. That said, given it took the band nine years since their formation to craft this work, the overall impression given is that they wanted to take their time to make it sound perfect. They did make it sound perfect, just, it lacks that one bit of spark that would otherwise have given it a greater rating. But this should not deter Anient from hitting the studio and unleashing an expected belter in the future.
Download this: "Awakening" - Click to listen
Download this: "Haemoserous"
For Fans of: Nervecell, The Haunted, Hatesphere
[7.5] +  RHYS STEVENSON
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