GMA - Vol163 - Naurrakar, Inner Reflections, Katastrof, Claim The Throne, Adagio Funebre, Qafas, Sight of Emptiness, Killers Lodge, Starbreeze, Oxymoron
Well if anyone was to think that Black Metal always works best in the Western side of Europe, they'd be horribly mistaken. Hailing from the Czech Republic is the five-piece Satanic Black metal crew Naurrakar whose debut album 'Epilog Lidstva' spits acidic venom on many levels. Granted the band sing in the Czech language and as a result posing as a bit of a problem for non-speakers, but with such a vibrant and darkened atmosphere delivering such bitter crisp feelings it comes as no wonder that they are being monitored by fans and music industry personnel alike. From the start to the very end, 'Epilog Lidstva' bleeds grim and abhorrent Black Metal that will keep you screaming in your sleep till your very last breath. Think along the lines of the 1990's wave of Norwegian Black Metal and ideally Carpathian Forest and Gorgoroth, then you'll get a little indicator of what Naurrakar are like.
Download This: "Dedicove Jaderneho Veku"
For fans of: Carpathian Forest, Gorgoroth, Raw Black Metal
 RHYS STEVENSON
France in recent years has picked up in the international metal scene, with that in mind it comes as no surprise that quintet Inner Reflections have released such a tantalizingly brutal album. Mixing together a ferocious onslaught of Thrash Metal, Metalcore and Djent, the sound that comes out is one that will keep anyone on their toes. You know if this lot were a brand of automobile, they would be a Mercedes-Benz SLR, beautiful on the outside, comfortable on the inside, bloody unpredictable in motion. 'Reset' paves the way for Inner Reflections to drive their own style of metal to the battlefield, the damning thing is the quality is a little about in the grey area, but besides that they have dealt justice with the compositions alone, their next release will be interesting.
Download This: "Sworn Enemy"
For fans of: Threat Signal, Meshuggah, Machine Head
 RHYS STEVENSON
'Screams Of Silence'
You have to admit that the Israeli Metal scene has been a little stagnant on the international stage in recent years and yet historically a number of bands have emerged to whip the world with their own metal sounds such as Orphaned Land, Salem and Melechesh. But burgeoning and wallowing in the deep sand pits of this historical land are Katastrof, a Melodic Death Metal hailing from Haifa Bay who with their debut album 'Screams Of Silence' plan to cause chaos across the Middle East. Take it like this, imagine the rhythmic grooves of Pantera crashing against the melodic solidarity and grit of In Flames and Amon Amarth together, this is what you will be posed with. Besides being named after the Swedish word for 'Disaster' and obviously being influenced by the Gothenburg sound and Floridian Death Metal arena, Katastrof are missing one thing in their world, a record label. 2014 is around the corner and so watch these guys with intent, they are sure to create waves in the coming months.
Download This: "No Price"
For Fans of: Amon Amarth, In Flames, Pantera, Slayer
 RHYS STEVENSON
CLAIM THE THRONE
'Forged In Flame'
PRIME CUTS MUSIC
Making their welcomed return to the international stage is Australian Melodic Death / Folk Metallers Claim The Throne, having dropped their fourth outing entitled 'Forged In Flame' the quintet deliver the goods in exceptional form. However to think that the closest drink most Australians seem to drink is Fosters, it bodes well that this bands lyrics revolve around battles and ale, whether you get drunk and then fight is open for debate. But what is not open for debate is how sensational this band are, make no mistake about it having supported Alestorm on a national tour, 2014 will be Claim The Throne's time to tour the world. With 'Forged In Flame' now firmly out in the open and having proven their worth as a band to watch, it could be said that their music was 'Forged In Flame', burning at your ears throughout. Bard folk melodies and drunken madness, what more can you want?
Download This: "At The Ocean's Edge"
For Fans of: Alestorm, Wintersun, Amon Amarth
 RHYS STEVENSON
'Of Grief & Insanity'
What could be considered the best Doom Metal band to come out of the Czech Republic since the inception of Silent Stream of Godless Elegy, quartet Adagio Funebre harness the cathedral's power and lashes together sombre atmospheric emotions with the cold bitterness of Doom Metal. Their debut album 'Of Grief & Insanity', although a little disappointing at places due to the lack of presence, musters up a classic sound that will appeal to many fans of depressive, sorrowful and macabre music, now whilst the songs at times are very quiet and as said the presence lacks here and there, the overall reception is that this release is one that signals intent but yet quite not manages to convince as the best Adagio Funebre can offer, even though it is a decent enough listen.
For Fans of: Ghost, Silent Stream of Godless Elegy, Candlemass, My Dying Bride
Download This: "The Meaning Of Life"
[7.5] RHYS STEVENSON
Bahrain has always been known for it's fairly active Extreme Metal scene, so it comes to as no surprise that one of it's products, Qafas, unleashes a torrent of darkened misanthropic, raw and essentially bleak atmospheric music in the form of the one-man projects first compilation entitled
'Mesonoxian Conspiracies'. Mixing together elements of Middle Eastern music to give it that Arabian nights feel, this is perhaps one of the darkest releases ever to come out of the island Kingdom. This is an essential release to have if you're a fan of Black Metal and or intrigued by the the ever-developing Middle East Metal scene. Given this solid sound and precise note execution, you are sure to see Qafas arise from the underground in 2014.
For Fans of: Melechesh, Burzum, Aras (Iran), early Salem
Download This: "Time Only Rotts Old Wounds"
[8.5] RHYS STEVENSON
SIGHT OF EMPTINESS
Following from their well received second album "Absolution of Humanity", Costa Rica's Sight Of Emptiness up the volume and open full throttle on their much-anticipated third album
'Instincts'. By delivering a majestically captivating mix of Scandinavian Death Metal and melodic elegance, the sextet scrape out the barrels and use the power gained from 2013 to mold a release that will blow the global metal scene apart with such sheer force, earthquakes will quake themselves, and listeners will be entranced by this magical musical trigger. Enlisted with guest appearances by musicians such as Whitfield Crane and ex-Scar Symmetry's Christian Älvestam amongst others, 'Instincts' takes the listener back to the roots of this Hispanic group, connects melodic metal with the historical cultural aspects of Costa Rica's glorious surroundings and using their own 'Instincts', Sight of Emptiness unleash the finest metal album Latin America has seen since the days of Sepultura's "Roots".
Download This: "Fearless (feat. Glen Drover & Christian Alvestam)"
For Fans of: Scar Symmetry, In Flames, Gojira, Advent Of Bedlam
 RHYS STEVENSON
Sometimes going down the classic original route is the best way, Italian trio Killers Lodge demonstrate this on their debut album 'Unnecessary I', with elements of Speed Metal and Thrash Metal creeping in behind the crux of their sound. What Killers Lodge have done here is revamped the classic 'bikers metal' sound and sped it up, through inducting an array of infectious riffs that are scratching away at your soul at every second, whilst the drums exhibit that classic mid-70's rock 'n' roll, Motorhead-esque sound, that in turn supports the viciousness of the vocals and manages to captivate the listener right throughout the album. Killers Lodge are showing the world that original Heavy Metal is not dead, thus If you're a fan of classic metal, then this album is for you.
For Fans of: Motorhead, Judas Priest, Led Zeppelin, Saxon
Download This: "New Life"
 RHYS STEVENSON
Let's be honest, Russia's Starbreeze have nailed it when they play Symphonic Power Metal, or as they call it 'Space Symphonic Metal', effectively what you have here is keyboard symphonies, Power Metal vocals and electronic influences here and there to give Star Wars a run for it's money. 2013 saw the trio drop their debut album "N7" and with it comes a meteor shower of musical genius, from start to finish listeners can expect a barrage of sensational music. What makes Starbreeze that extra special is the sheer dynamics in the music, captivating and transforming the atmosphere so much that cosmic dust no longer exists. After you have listened to "N7" you can honestly admit to yourself that Starbreeze would be the ideal candidate to write the soundtrack for the upcoming Star Wars film. Rest assured, this is a solid start and it can only progress, watch this band with intent in 2014.
Download This: "A Long Time After In Our Galaxy"
For Fans of: The Kovenant, Nightwish, Dol Ammad, Sonata Arctica
 RHYS STEVENSON
Back in 2012, India's Heavy Groove maniacs Oxymoron aimed to unleash sheer hell through their self-titled EP release. Whilst not including the grandeur of Groove Metal in the style of Lamb of God per se, the EP instead features a sound that tends to lean towards a cross between Pantera, Iron Maiden and Kreator, but don't expect anything completely face-melting as the music, whilst decent, does not deliver that convincing blow that you would at first expect. Given due it is a fair attempt and will serve the Indian quintet very well, but whilst that final cutting edge note is lacking in clarity and precise deliverance, Oxymoron will remain rooted within the underground. Again as said it is a fair attempt and will surely be developed upon. The vocals need the most work, they need to be less forced and more naturally produced, the guitars are inch perfect but the drums need more experimentation in the composition.
Download This: "Mirror"
For Fans of: Pantera, Kreator, Iron Maiden
[6.5] RHYS STEVENSON
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