GMA - Vol 183 - Nightcreeper, Edenfall, Ymyrgar, Archaize, Manic Demise, Alkira, Zaria, Hammerhead, Retrace My Fragments, Frost Tears
What with 'Alpha' being the blazing album that it was, it was going to be tough to see how French Folk Metal sextet Nightcreepers could up their game. But they've succeeded and the result is a sensational offering in the form of 'Hreidd'. Utilizing much of the unforgiving brutality the band has exercised on previous releases, 'Hreidd' storms out of the barn with a trail of blisteringly-hot fire left behind it. What makes this release a powerful slap-in-the-face album is the brilliance in mixing Folk Metal with Extreme Metal elements, whilst avoiding being pigeon-holed in the Black / Folk Metal category. In fact 'Hreidd' has the attitude and firepower to ignite widespread interest for the band, if this does not deliver them a record label deal within the next year or so, then there is something seriously wrong with the..... labels. 'Hreidd' is set to win Nightcreepers a flurry of new fans worldwide.
Download This: "Volcae" - Click here to listen
For Fans of: Windir, Dimmu Borgir, Vanir
'Hreidd' is out now via an Independent release
 RHYS STEVENSON
'The Tale As Far'
Sure Ymyrgar may be singing about Norse mythology and subsequently fall under the Viking Metal or Pagan Black Metal categories, but come on they are from Tunisia! That's just as misplaced as Skiltron from Argentina singing and playing Scottish Folk Metal. However their debut album 'The Tale As Far' really sets the par high for other Tunisian Metal bands albeit Myrath who have already cemented their place in the international arena. By lacing together melodic folkloric elements with the harshness of Black Metal, what Ymygar have delivered here is a rather unique culture clash of-a-release, one that ought to garner some attention from the North African metal scenes at the very least. Featuring Tuoksu (Arij Arbi ) as the guest soprano, her vocals add the missing dimension to the album and thus poise it perfectly as Tunisia's next successful album export.
Download This: "Dawn Of Time" - Click here to listen
For Fans of: Drakwald, Elder Tale, "Pagan Black Metal"
 RHYS STEVENSON
It's not all that often an Australian Metal band gets international recognition, although Archaize might get this with their debut album 'Liberation' which explodes in a minefield of Groove, Death and Thrash Metal, accumulating to develop a brutal form of Modern Metal. 'Liberation' is a 41 minute assault of purely aggressive, insanely catchy and completely arousing numbers that will get your tits hard and cocks up in the air as if sex went out of fashion. With vocals that are so piercingly loud, riffs so savage they rip into your soul and drumming so full of fury, you would be hard to find any other Australian Metal band that can rival the Modern Metal machinists known as Archaize. This is the new sound of metal and it's coming to whip your sorry arse. 'Liberation' is guaranteed to give Archaize that platform needed to start their career, if they carry on this sound, they may well be playing in the UK in a few years to come.
Download This: "Sunset" - Click here to listen
For Fans of: DevilDriver, Mnemic, Six Feet Under
 RHYS STEVENSON
'The Bitter Blood Of Brutality'
Call them blood brothers, call them brothers-in-arms, call them what you like, the fact is the duo known as Manic Demise do not mess around when it comes to releasing stellar material. Especially when the vocalist is in the USA and the instrumentalist is in Australia, the duo's debut EP "The Bitter Blood Of Brutality" may not be the convincing release they could have conceived but it certainly is a respectable slab of Death Metal. In fact it ought to be interesting to see how they progress from this release, surely the debut album will oust the EP with no mercy attached? 'The Bitter Blood Of Brutality' is a gore-guzzling sizzler-of-a-release that demands utmost attention and a stomach cast of iron, so as to stop you from puking at this orgasmic release.
Download This: "Septic Crypt" - Click here to listen
For Fans of: Gorguts, Avulsed, Dying Fetus
 RHYS STEVENSON
Aiming to stake their claim on Australian soil (nay the international metal scene) is South Australia quartet Alkira with their infectious Groove / Thrash effort 'Juggernaut'. Their debut album comes hot off the heels from their second EP 'Red Devil' and with it comes a valiant neck-breaking storm of fast and furious Thrash Metal mixed with the funkiness and elegance of Groove Metal. Through a culmination of gnarly vocals, barbaric riffs and unruly drumming, Alkira's 'Juggernaut' has more balls than those two dudes on the Fosters TV adverts, in fact Alkira are not your average Australian Metal band either. They will go places if they keep this momentum going, the salient point is that 'Juggernaut' is without a doubt hotter than a typical Aussie BBQ on the beach and has tons more glamor than Kylie Minogue, however it does have the sexiness of her though...
Download This: "Submission Therapy" - Click here to listen
For Fans of: Anthrax, Motorhead, Pantera
[7.5] RHYS STEVENSON
'Po Poti Življenja'
Very few bands from Central Europe deliver a sparkling demo and then top that by delivering a debut album that turns heads from further afield. Zaria, a six-piece Folk Metal unit from Slovenia certainly have struck the right chord in delivering their debut album 'Po Poti Življenja'. Aligned alongside fellow countrymen Brezno, it seems that we could have 2 bands simultaneously leading the Slovenian Metal scene. As for Zaria, the one thing holding them back is the lack of English, ironically if they ditched the Slovene language, then the music would lose it's cultural identity as true sounds of Slovenia. With infectious melodies and harmonious elements flowing freely throughout. Zaria's 'Po Poti Življenja' is a must-have album for avid Folk Metal fans, you'd be silly not to, as it expresses the beauty of traditional folkloric tales and the gracefulness of soft, melodic folk music.
Download This: "Moč Brez Imena" - Click here to listen
For Fans of: Brezno, Eluveitie, Ensiferum
 RHYS STEVENSON
'The Doom That Came To Sarnath'
For those not in the know, Sarnath is the place of pilgrimage for Buddhists worldwide, so what inspired Hammerhead to call their second EP 'The Doom That Came To Sarnath'? Simple, the title is taken from the H.P. Lovecraft novel, moreover with this EP the Belgian trio hurl a barrage of gnarly, face-punching sounds that certainly would appeal to fans of neck-breaking Thrash Metal. With some rather dashing tremolo's creating a wall of sound alongside unrelenting drumming and vocals so vile, you'd have to wear a face mask to avoid being spat upon with cyanide; it is that corrosive. The EP is all good and proper but it does take time to kick in, so some impatient "Thrasheads" may switch off, but for those who wait, the rewards are certainly worth it. Hammerhead are a band to watch in 2015 because with this 2014 EP, they are rather promising.
Download This: "The Doom That Came To Sarnath" - Click here to listen
For fans of: Slayer, Exodus, Pantera
 RHYS STEVENSON
RETRACE MY FRAGMENTS
If there is one band that has never shied away from reinventing themselves or challenging the conventions of their own music, it's Retrace My Fragments. Their debut album 'Ethereal Flux' takes on board 101% originality; something that lacks in a vast swathe of modern Death Metal bands, lashing together an awe-inspiring science fiction story (split into chapters) conceived by vocalist Antonio Martija and bringing it to life through a dramatic-yet-theatrical production of brutal vocals, eerie riffs, apocalyptic drumming and an atmosphere so expansive, it makes a black-hole claustrophobic. 'Ethereal Flux' is the finest release by this Luxembourg quintet and should garner some international attention, why these guys are not signed is astounding, however with this album the labels cannot ignore them much longer. Retrace My Fragments are flying the flag for the Luxembourg Metal scene.
Download This: "Rime Of The Instant Space Traveller" - Click here to listen
For Fans of: Cephalic Carnage, The Dillinger Escape Plan, 'Modern Metal'
 RHYS STEVENSON
'九章 (Nine Chapters)'
Leading the way for the new wave of Oriental Gothic Metal is Taiwanese ensemble Frost Tears with their debut album 九章 (Nine Chapters). Singing in their native Chinese language, the sextet embody this with the gracefulness of European Gothic Metal, mix it with an Oriental atmosphere and create an overall sound that will appeal to a wide range of metalheads. '九章 (Nine Chapters)' explodes in all directions with the vocals ranging from operatic to melodic and the instruments delivering a combined solid force that will surely drive Frost Tears into the international limelight. Full of drama, twists and turns at every pulsating second, '九章 (Nine Chapters)' is one album everyone should own, literally everyone.
Download This: "九章 (Nine Chapters) album trailer" - Click here to listen
For Fans of: Lacuna Coil, Tarja Turunen, Within Temptation
[8.5] RHYS STEVENSON
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Global Metal Apocalypse