Tag Archives: Nuclear Blast

New Releases – 6th July 2018

The new release bonanza continues… this is an even better release week than last week.

Immortal – Northern Chaos Gods

One of 2018’s major releases here. The black metal giants return with their first album since their split with frontman Abbath. And by the sounds of it, I don’t think anyone will miss him. This is vintage black metal with enough glacial riffing to cover the whole of Blashyrkh with an impenetrable and grim permafrost. Or something like that! It’s great basically, that’s what I’m trying to say.

Bundle with bonus single and signed certificate!

Rotting Christ – Under Our Black Cult

Peaceville cover the Hellenic black metal bands’ early days with this 5CD box set. Covers the bands early demos and also contains the Passage To Arcturo mini-album and also has the albums Thy Mighty Contract and Non Serviam. Throw in a 72 page book and a bundle with The Call 7″ and you’ve got a must-buy. I pre-ordered this the moment I found out about it.

Death – Death By Metal DVD

The great Chuck Schuldiner and his seminal band Death get a welcome and long-overdue documentary feature. As well as covering the man and band, the doc also gets into the early days of the death metal scene too. This is such a fascinating genre, guy and career… I don’t see how this could be anything other than essential viewing.

Mortuary Drape – Necromantic Doom Returns

I’ve been wanting to get into this Italian band for years but it’s quite hard to get their stuff on CD or vinyl. So I can’t possibly pass on this compilation of their first demos. Absolute raw demo sound but you know that sound totally fits necro music like this. Reminds me of a gruffer version of the other big Italian band Death SS. Hopefully more reissues of the early albums will follow.

Lucifer – Lucifer II

I checked out this band’s first album because of the link to Cathedral but I found it quite disappointing. But the band has changed a bit for album No. 2. Now Nicke Andersson of Entombed fame has joined and I’m intrigued again. Sounds like better songs this time around but I’m not totally convinced I could go a whole album. Worth checking out though, might be a dark horse.

Y&T – Earthshaker, Black Tiger and Mean Streak

Three classic Y&T albums get the Rock Candy treatment. It doesn’t look like there’s bonus tracks here though, just the label’s usual quality remastering and liner notes. Got these albums on vinyl and CD already so can’t see me being tempted by these. But if you like fun, catchy meat-and-potatoes LA hard rawk then look no further!

And that’s the lot for me, tons of great stuff coming out lately. What are you going to be buying or checking out today?

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Riot V – Armor Of Light (Review)

Riot V – Armor Of Light (2018)

Riot’s history as a band is the stuff of metal legend, thanks to decades of perseverance through bad breaks and tragedy. But musically I’ve been largely unfamiliar with the band’s career beyond the early Guy Speranza-fronted albums of the late 70s/early 80s. With the passing of founding guitarist Mark Reale in 2012 there is now no-one left from those early days. But the US band, respectfully renamed Riot V due to Reale’s passing, have vowed to carry on his good work.

And on their latest album Armor Of Light they do a pretty good job of it. Like a more polished version of 1988’s Thundersteel, it’s upbeat melodic power metal akin to Gamma Ray or Dragonforce. Todd Michael Hall’s soaring Kiske-esque vocals deliver some instantly memorable choruses with high-flying aplomb. Songs like Victory, End Of The World, Heart Of A Lion and Angel’s Thunder, Devil’s Reign sound like the sort of warring, singalong stuff that will go over a storm at festivals. The guitar soloing is superb too: jousting, harmonized Helloween-type stuff.

But there isn’t quite enough killer riffing here, and it all starts to go through the motions in the second half. The band is too content to chug along with the double-kicks, and many potentially interesting parts are drowned out by the relentless drums. But there’s good pure metal fun to be had here. The first side is a blast, I guarantee you a good two or three songs that will instantly embed in your brain and warrant further listens. A solid effort rather than a great one; but if the goal is to uphold the legacy of Reale and Riot then it achieves its aim. I definitely want to catch up and hear more.

HMO Rating: 3 Out Of 5

New Releases – 18th May 2018

It’s time to turn ze shpotlight on ze new releases! Hello new releasAAHHSSS!!

Amorphis – Queen Of Time

At The Gates – To Drink From The Night Itself

Both of these bands are from the files of “Really Popular Bands I Never Got Into”. I’ve heard wee bits here and there but I’ve just never felt a compulsion towards either. If I ever feel inclined I’d probably rather start at the beginning and work my way from there. I’ve already got the early Amorphis demos on vinyl so that’s a start, and At The Gates debut was reissued recently too. Call me an old out-of-touch poohead if you like.

Coroner – R.I.P., Punishment For Decadence and No More Color

Wasn’t expecting this. These have been long out-of-print (unless you caught the brief CD reissue run on the band’s own webshop) but now they are reissued and remastered on CD, vinyl and download. If you don’t have these buy them right now, they’re totally essential albums from the Rush of thrash! I’ve got them on CD already but would like the new versions so the vinyl editions are quite tempting. Reissues of Mental Vortex and Grin will follow in June.

Avenger – Blood Sports and Killer Elite

Don’t know much about this band but I’ve been on a right NWOBHM kick lately and buying a lot of the Dissonance Production reissues. This band was relatively late to the NWOBHM party though so I’m not sure if I’m as excited about them as, say, Raven. But ones for the wishlist anyway. Also, there’s a cool looking NWOBHM box set coming out soon so I might dip my toes into that first.

That’s it for me but there’s an Overkill live set too, the Burn The Priest/Lamb Of God covers thing and a new FFDP for anyone that likes that kind of thing. And that’s about it for another week. Happy hunting!

New Releases – 27th April 2018

Not a huge amount out today, compared to last week’s madness anyway, but there are a couple of important new releases at least!

Voices – Frightened

This is the one I’ve been waiting for. Comprised mostly of ex and current Akercocke members (with links to other great bands like Shrines and The Antichrist Imperium), Voices’ previous album London was a masterpiece and a very tough act to follow. But the two singles released since, Petrograph and Dead Feelings, were top dollar and bode well for a satisfying and different follow-up.

Aura Noir – Aura Noire

Another great band, one of the key black thrash bands, back with a much-anticipated new album. The three guys here have been in a wealth of great bands like Virus, Immortal and Mayhem (as well as a gazillion others) so there’s a lot of talent here. I’m a big fan of 2008’s Hades Rise and it’s been a good six or so years since previous album Out To Die so it’s exciting to have them back.

Anthrax – Kings Among Scotland

Glasgow crowds always goes totally ape-shit for Anthrax so recording a live show here was a good call. I reckon I’m done with these guys now though. I know their last couple of studio albums were well-received but they didn’t do much for me and I’ve got enough live Anthrax stuff to live without this. Usual bunch of formats available… take your pick.

Count Raven – Storm Warning and Destruction Of The Void

Couple of early-90s doom reissues here from Metal Blade. Only available on digital or vinyl so I’ll probably pass. The vinyl editions do look pretty sexy though.

And I think that’s as far as I’ll go, nothing else on my radar today. Let me know what’s on your shopping list today.

New Releases – 23rd March 2018

Today’s new releases are brought to you by the letter ‘M’.

Memoriam – The Silent Vigil

Remember how cool it was when your favourite bands used to bang out albums every year? The old dudes in Memoriam certainly do, which is why they’re back already with the follow-up to their 2017 debut album For The Fallen. That was one of last year’s best releases so I’m well excited about this one and from what I’ve heard so far it sounds like they are pumping some extra aggression into their grooving, crusty, doom-laden death metal. And the time-capsule 90s production confirms that this is a band just does everything the way it needs to be done.

Mournful Congregation – The Incubus Of Karma

With very few exceptions I tend to skip on extremely slow doom bands with big long songs. But after hearing great things about these funereal Australians, I checked out one of their new tunes and it was total class. A beautiful wall of morose guitars and way more immediate than any 15 minute song has any right to be.

There are some other fairly notable things out today. Satanic space lords Monster Magnet return with their new album Mindfucker, Led Zep hit the reissue trail again with a new edition of their live album How The West Was Won and Kip Winger treats his fans with The Solo Collection, a sexy package with four solo albums and rarities galore. But there’s no point in me blathering on: Memoriam and Mournful Congregation are the bands I’ll be splashing my cash on today.

Paradise Lost – Medusa (Review)

Medusa – Out Sep 1st!

The recent reissue of 1997’s One Second harked back to Paradise Lost’s “experimental” electro-goth era but, although the band has since returned to metal, they are no less experimental today.  2015’s The Plague Within featured the surprise reintroduction of doom/death metal and growled vocals to the band’s modern style and on their latest album Medusa the veteran band continues their increasingly extreme trajectory. This is Paradise Lost’s sludgiest, trudgiest album since 1992’s Shades Of God.

The album kicks off with Fearless Sky, Gods Of Ancient and From The Gallows. All crushing slabs of epic misery with crusty riffing, mournful harmonies and Nick Holmes’ increasingly impressive vocal snarl. Anyone expecting the UK band’s traditional melody and immediacy might find this opening trio uninviting but repeat listens prove rewarding and reveal the kind of compelling emotional depth that is the hallmark of great doom. The entire album follows in this imposingly bleak vein but, as it progresses, the band factor in Type O-style clean vocals and anthemic, gloomy hooks in songs like the stunning title track, The Longest Winter and Blood And Chaos. The skillful pacing and variation preventing the album from buckling under its own miserable weight.

Fans of the band’s earliest albums and tracks like Beneath Broken Earth from The Plague Within will find Medusa very satisfying indeed. Fans of One Second are advised to be patient. Whereas that album offered easy and immediate songcraft, it has proven a shade disposable over the years. By comparison, Medusa is a difficult album to get on with but it’s an uncompromising work of substance that will continue to repay dedicated listeners. It’s another wonderful offering in the stellar career of these fearless, ancient gods.

HMO Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Avatarium – Hurricanes And Halos (Review)

Avatarium – Hurricanes And Halos (2017)

Avatarium were originally devised as a combination of crushing doom and 70s prog. But on their third album Hurricanes and Halos there’s very little doom left at all; the focus is now firmly on retro rock stylings of swirling Hammond organ and sultry psychedelia.

Into The Fire/Into The Storm is a bold opener that makes full use of Jennie-Ann Smith’s forceful, dramatic lung power and The Starless Sleep is a wonderful mix of dark fable and summery 60s pop. But there’s a sense of diminishing returns on album number three. Although it’s one of the doomier tracks, Medusa Child is overlong with cheesy child vocals. And the breezy, bluesy When Breath Turns To Air and the closing instrumental parp of the title track barely register. The album’s uneven second half is saved by the stomping Uriah Heep worship of The Sky At The Bottom Of The Sea and the ominous beauty of A Kiss (From The End Of The World), one of the band’s best tunes to date.

It’s another strong effort from the Swedes but it finds them veering away from my own taste. As the band dial down the doom I find myself less engaged. But the band’s charismatic and summery take on classic 70s rock will win them more fans and appreciation than they lose. And those listeners may well find this the band’s most accessible and enjoyable album so far.

HMO Rating: 3.5 out of 5